Our tipsters continue to funnel us the best Scientology material at a rapid rate. May 9 was Dianetics Day — 62 years since the day in 1950 when L. Ron Hubbard first published Scientology’s Ur-text, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health — and already we have in our hot little hands the video that the church forced, er, encouraged its members to watch on that day.
Above, a typically over-the-top intro video put out by the wizards at Golden Era Productions, the A/V drones at Scientology’s International Base about 90 miles east of Los Angeles. Former top executives tell us church leader David Miscavige obsesses over every detail in these presentations, and he sure loves the dramatic presentation of lettering sweeping over the planet.
What followed next was another short film, this one going on and on about how copies of Dianetics are sweeping over the planet and reshaping the history of mankind, yadda, yadda, yadda. Trust us, you are happier that we spare you having to sit through it.
But then, the third chapter is all kinds of fun. Because Miscavige has assembled people from all over the place, of all shades and hues and funny accents, to talk about how much Dianetics is the greatest thing ever!
Personally, I really enjoy that there’s this erupting volcano behind every single one of these people, and no explanation of why it’s there.
But also, hey — aren’t there quite a few healing claims being made here? And isn’t that a no-no? (Ha, yeah, like the US government would ever give a crap anyway.)
Once again, I want to thank our tipsters, who so quickly get us this stuff. It’s a riot.
More Hints about the Scientology-Like Content of The Master
News about Paul Thomas Anderson’s upcoming film The Master continues to grow, and boy, did I pick a bad week for a vacation. Still, while on the road, I’ve been keeping one eye on what’s going on, and I want to thank reader V for Vacation for spotting the following description of a portion of the film.
In Cannes this week, reports Drew McWeeny, Harvey Weinstein showed an extended clip of the film which is scheduled to open in October. McWeeny took amazingly good notes as he watched the clip. Here’s what he saw…
If you saw the trailer earlier today, you have some idea of what we saw, but it was a different assembly. While the soundtrack was the same at the beginning, with that unnerving Jonny Greenwood score and the interview between the Army official and Joaquin Phoenix, the images themselves were different. We saw Phoenix standing in a hallway, writing on a piece of paper affixed to a corkboard. As the interview reached its end, the camera pushed forward so we could read the very short and direct note: “Gone to China,” and then his signature.
We saw the same footage of the fight on the beach, the footage of him drinking the alcohol that looks like it’s coming from a torpedo, and then the close-up of him sitting across from the guy that’s interviewing him. “What happened? Sir?”
“Let’s just see if we can’t help you remember what happened.”
Then began new footage. Joaquin Phoenix running across a field, afraid. Him on a boat, walking along a deck at night. And then his first encounter with Philip Seymour Hoffman. He asks Hoffman, “What do you do?”
“I do many many things. I am a doctor, a writer, a nuclear physicist, a theoretical philosopher. But above all, I am a man.”
We see Hoffman onstage, addressing a group. “I’d like to talk to you today about cold feet and narrow minds. People who have cold feet cannot move forward. People who have narrow minds cannot move side to side. They both take courage. This is what I’d like to talk about.”
Then Amy Adams is introduced, and she’s got a crazy intensity, even in these short clips, that practically radiates off the screen. “This exercise will help you with your concentration. Look at my eyes. I want you to place something in the future for yourself that you would like to have. It’s there, waiting for you.”
Then it’s back to Hoffman and Phoenix, sitting across from each other in some intense encounter, Hoffman challenging him. “Say your name.”
Phoenix sounds hesitant in his response. “Freddie Crock.”
“Say it again.”
Louder this time. “Freddie Crock.”
“Might as well say it one more time, just to make sure you know who you are.”
We see a group of people shooting on the beach, Phoenix among them, and then we see Adams confronting Hoffman, almost in tears. “And this is where we are at,” she says. “At the lowest level. To have to explain ourselves. For what? For what we do, we have to grovel. The only way to defend ourselves is to attack. If we don’t do that, we will lose every battle we are engaged in. We will never dominate our environment the way we should unless we attack.”
Now we appear to be jumping scene to scene, moment to moment. It’s just impressions. Adams laughing, out of control. “It’s a grim joke.”
Hoffman groans. “I was thoughtless in my remarks.”
As the scenes cut from one to the next, we keep returning to a haunting image of Phoenix, framed in a window, punching himself in the head. Fast.
Hoffman accuses him. “You linger in bus stations for pleasure.” Another shot of Phoenix, punching faster now. Back to Hoffman. “Is your life a struggle?” Punching faster and faster. “Is your behavior erratic? Are you unpredictable?” Phoenix, sitting across from Hoffman, farts loudly and begins to laugh as Hoffman recoils. “What a horrible young man you are.”
It seems like they’re picking at him, breaking him down. “You’re a dirty animal who eats its own feces when it’s hungry.”
We see them meeting, talking about Phoenix. Amy Adams in particular doesn’t seem to trust him. “I wonder how he got here and what he’s after. Is it really all so easy that he just came across us? He’s dangerous and he will be our undoing if we continue to have him here.”
Hoffman’s not convinced, though. “If we are not helping him, then it is we who have failed him… is it not?”
Adams is the last one to speak as the title comes up. “The Master.” Simple white letters on a black background. “Perhaps he’s past help. Or insane.” And the Greenwood score ends on a lone violin, mournful. It was a dizzying piece of footage, and much of it was just close-ups against stark black backgrounds, these great actors and their faces and nothing else. It certainly made me eager to see what PTA has been up to, and it also pretty much confirms any report that tied the film to the origins of Scientology. While they may not be doing a straight biopic of L. Ron Hubbard, if you’re familiar with his life, it would be impossible not to see him and his wife and the early followers in what we saw tonight.
So it sounds like we have a very Hubbard-like Hoffman spouting generalities as wisdom, a manic Mary Sue Hubbard in Amy Adams, and some sort of early convert/burnout played by Phoenix — our illustrious former Scientologists may have some interesting guesses who he may be a parallel for.
It’s killing me to be out of town while this is blowing up, but we’ll have plenty of time before its actual opening in October to prepare great material for newbies coming to learn more about Scientology’s early days as it’s portrayed in the film.
As for (unconfirmed?) reports that Anderson screened the film for Tom Cruise — that’s only to be expected for a director who used Cruise in Magnolia and doesn’t want to burn bridges. If Anderson is already showing extended clips of the movie, and with only a few months to go before its opening, it’s hard to believe that any fundamental changes would be coming to its script or to its story — even if Cruise had objections. We’ll try to find out more after we get back in a few days.
Mitt Romney and Battlefield Earth
We’ve noted before that one of the odder things on presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s resume is the surprising inclusion of L. Ron Hubbard’s 1982 novel, Battlefield Earth among his favorite reads.
Over at Salon, Daniel Oppenheimer does the best piece about this that we’ve seen, bringing his own extensive familiarity with the novel to help explain why it might appeal to the former governor of Massachusetts.
Oppenheimer encountered the book for the first time when he was just a lad…
I first read the novel when I was 12 or 13. I didn’t quote the above passages from memory, but you’ll have to trust me when I say that I knew exactly where to find them in the text when I booted it up on my iPad. “Battlefield Earth” is a ridiculous book, every bit the gargantuan exercise in nerd-boy wish fulfillment you’d expect from someone like Hubbard, who was such a nerd-boy bent on wish fulfillment that he invented a religion to fulfill his dreams of mastery and immortality.
Romney, he points out, didn’t discover the book until he was around 36 years of age and parasitizing companies at Bain Capital.
So if Romney wasn’t an adolescent sci fi fanboy looking for adventure (even the ridiculous kind), what made him dig the book? Oppenheimer has some very interesting answers to that question.
Scientology on the High Seas
In November the Voice obtained hundreds of copies of L. Ron Hubbard’s previously unpublished “Orders of the Day,” which he gave to crew members as he sailed the Atlantic and the Mediterranean on the yacht Apollo. Our documents cover the period from late 1968 through 1971, and this time we’re looking at what was happening the week of May 20 through 26 during those years.
This week, the Commodore just wants some peace and quiet, fer crissakes…
May 22: The beatings will continue until morale improves.
The other evening, on a request, I said members of the company could do part time study on the Dianetics Course. This became an absolute order, an arbitrary which was put in full force and chewed up Div. III. Not only that but nobody would handle it. The 2nd Mate said it had nothing to do with him.
The Purser, and MA, would not handle it, according to the Chief Steward.
If anyone of these had bothered to trace the order that “all must study” they would have found it was a false arbitrary.
Almost every outness around is of this breed of arbitrary.
A group that insists on sitting inn the glorious irresponsibility of orders and only orders will never develop into a true group.
If you want to get a real look at what you’re doing, ask yourself this question: Where do I get my orders from?
I get them from observation of the situation. And I give instructions based on a prediction of consequences.
Until you can do that you will feel harrassed, ordered around and oppressed.
Not because anybody is interested in oppressing anyone. Just because they try to make a safe environment, bump into people who haven’t observed or acted and so issue orders.
I don’t think anybody fully understands the antipathy I have to authoritarian rule. The reason you see me get cross is in no small part protest at being forced to cope with a situation which occurs by neglect of others. Why elect me to save the day? This ship, this planet and universe are the concern of others too. I have no monopoly on the ability to observe and act.
The campaign to force into a dictatorship a group which has freedom as its main objective is about as popular with me as a fire in a powder factory.
Freedom depends on ability.
We can and will bring freedom to this planet. But only if and when we cease to demand orders and begin to observe and act on our own predictions.
You sure don’t make a safe environment for me when I’m the only one to hear a man overboard and the only one to see that the stewards are allowed to wash dishes.
May 20: Truth was, the Commodore loved all the attention of the critical press. It meant he was in the “Big League.” Heh.
The local passport visa officer is reported as making it very clear to Richard W that he is not antagonistic to Scn or the Apollo and went out of his way to get the message across and was very helpful.
What isn’t generally known is that the MI-6 representative in a British Consul or Embassy is called the “Passport Officer”. And handles passports part time.
So somebody got the word to pass the word to us to cool it.
The amount of flak we wrap around them in London may be getting felt.
This is an interesting piece of news.
Lends color to a changing UK attitude.
A lot of SO people do not realize that we play in the Big League. It’s not from choice. We are apparently considered a prime threat to those who run things from behind the scenes.
A new estimate based on new data of the money spent to knock us out is at least ₤20,000,000.
Your concept of security and concept of snap and pop on operations and actions should be scaled upward to match the Big League.
We are so tiny in numbers we have to make up for it in brilliance and efficiency.
No other group on the planet gets the simultaneous international attention that we do.
We cave in the pressure against us by highly effective operation of orgs and ships. And it is gradually giving ground.
We will win in 3 years IF we play it with Security, brilliance and efficiency on all our parts.
May 23: Damn psychs! They ruin everything!
The 20th Century has been made horrible by European Fascism. Two violent and catastrophic wars and the many ugly world situations can be traced directly to the growth of European Fascism.
Scientology’s role in Europe is to get there with Scientology before Europe is once again embroiling the rest of the world.
You guessed it. Psychology and psychiatry have been traced as the direct authors of Fascism and today propound the Fascist message of violence and death across the world.
This tangled web is being laid out like a carpet from documents being unearthed from the Nuremberg trials of war criminals and other sources.
We always knew they were bad. We did not know Psychologists and Psychiatrists were the men behind Hitler and the gas chambers. By documents unearthed there is no difference whatever between psychiatric doctrine now being voiced in the East and West and Nazi doctrines so abhorred by all the world. “Racial Purity”, “eradicated minorities”, “genes”, the lot.
So it all begins to fit into a pattern. We had to be fought, for the appearance of real mental tech on the planet spelled the end of Fascist usage of false mental tech to politically dominate the world.
Until we came along they were winning very nicely.
So that’s one reason its so important to establish Scientology in Europe and England.
And we’re making it.
May 25: Tinkle somewhere else, ladies.
TO ALL ABOARD: (1) Anyone who makes any shuffle, bang, clatter — ANY NOISE — while the Commodore is IN SESSION will get NO AUDITING themselves for 3 months. (2) For FEBC’s — they lose a week’s stats. (3) The Commodore’s Messengers are keeping a list of these people and will turn the list in to D of P as well as a copy for Dir I&R. If one isn’t considerate enough to let the Commodore audit — one doesn’t deserve it himself. (4) If the Port Prom deck is roped off — it is for a PURPOSE — don’t go walking under the rope. IT IS OUT OF BOUNDS! (5) The radio A & B Deck ladies heads are closed off with a sign saying — “LRH IN SESSION — NO ENTRY” you don’t walk under the rope — go somewhere else! (7) If a section of the Port B deck passage and 4 cabins have been roped off it’s because LRH is in session RIGHT ABOVE and you may NOT ENTER THIS AREA! (8) REMINDER — IF ANYBODY BREAKS THESE RULES, THREATENING THE COMMODORE’S SESSION THEY WILL RECEIVE NO AUDITING FOR THREE MONTHS.
Msm Terri Gillham, Commodore’s Messenger I/C
While L. Ron Hubbard was moving HQ from the yacht Apollo to the Florida coast, Advance! magazine was thrilling Scientologists with its tales of “OT Phenomena.” Those church members who had reached the higher levels of spiritual training shared their stories of superhuman powers with fellow dupes — er, enthusiasts. This excerpt is from Issue 34, September-October 1975. (And another cover featuring a photo by the Commodore!)
Tonight, as I ate my dinner, I became aware of a distress call. It emanated from some distance away and seemed quite urgent, involving some life-and-death situation. I pin-pointed the source in the French countryside and went to take a look.
I found a peasant woman tied to a chair in a small building. She was surrounded by a dozen men whose intentions were obviously less then ‘bon.’ Her tone level was terror and the men appeared to be in sadism, punishing bodies, or something equally unappetizing.
Being without my body, I decided to handle the situation with pictures and emotions. So, I permeated the room with “fear of discovery” and pictures of the police closing in on the villains. Fortunately, at this same time there was a young couple coming down the road. Their noise and physical approach added reality to the pictures I was generating.
The ‘bad guys’ fell for the description and fled, leaving the heroine alone in the room. Naturally they were caught a short time later when they blundered into the police.
As the woman was still tied and gagged, my job was not yet complete. So, I installed curious feelings in the young man and girl and they wandered obligingly into the cabin where they rescued the woman and helped her back to her family.
All the way home and for some time after she kept stretching her arms to the sky thanking me for saving her life. However, try as I would, I could not convince her that I was not ‘God.’ She could not grasp the term ‘Scientology’ and I finally settled for leaving her with the name ‘Hubbard.’ Perhaps, some day, she will find out for herself the magic I was trying to bestow upon her. I hope so. — Fred Roeschke, OT
The other night I came home terribly uncomfortable from the heat. I plugged in the fan but it would not work. I moved it to another outlet and it still wouldn’t work. Pulling it over I decided to take it apart but decided that was too much work. I looked at it and said, “WORK!”. It hasn’t stopped yet. — Amy Gage, OT
Don’t you hate when “God” gets credit for stuff the Commodore really made possible? That just drives me batty. And anyone know where Amy Gage is these days? We have a couple of appliances down here that could use her OT skillz.
Please check our Facebook author page for schedules and updates. We may or may not be out of the underground bunker today (ssssshhhh, don’t tell OSA), but we’re trying to keep up with our regular posts.
Tony Ortega has been the editor in chief of the Village Voice since March, 2007. He started writing about Scientology in 1995. You can catch his alerts at Twitter (@VoiceTonyO), at his Facebook author page, on Pinterest, 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.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 25, 2012