We were first to report the death of Alexander Jentzsch, the son of the Church of Scientology’s president, Heber Jentzsch, and the subsequent controversy when the church refused to allow Alexander’s mother, Karen de la Carriere, to view his body before it was cremated.
We continue to follow developments in this case as the L.A. coroner investigates Alexander’s death. But in the meantime, de la Carriere made one of the most wrenching radio appearances about Scientology’s controversies and abuses that we’ve ever heard, and on one of the largest AM stations in the country, KFI in Los Angeles.
You’ll hear the radio hosts gasp, shocked to learn about Scientology’s nature — a nature that the readers of this blog have been well aware of for years.
But perhaps it takes a grieving mother to take this story to a larger audience. De la Carriere certainly seems to have picked up where Debbie Cook left off.
Katie Holmes, Daughter Suri in Car Accident
Last night, Katie Holmes and her daughter Suri were involved in a fender-bender as a dump truck dented the black Mercedes Benz sedan they were riding in.
The actress and her daughter had been in the back seat of the sedan and weren’t injured in the minor accident, which occurred near Chelsea Piers at about 9:30 pm.
Katie’s recently divorced husband Tom Cruise, in his infamous 2004 video that surfaced in 2008, insisted that only Scientologists can help at the scene of a car accident, which leaves us with two possibilities:
1. Tom, as an Operating Thetan Level Seven, had gone exterior and used his theta powers to guide Katie and Suri’s car out of greater danger, but did so invisibly so that he will not get any credit for his heroism.
2. He’s a fruit loop.
Prepare Yourself — Here Come the Academics
Well, this was predictable. Now that the mainstream media is actually paying close attention to Scientology’s abuses — its treatment of people in the Sea Org, the way it rips families apart with disconnection, and the way it goes after people with private investigators whom it considers enemies — you knew it was only a matter of time for the religious studies professors to show up and tell us this is all a lot of fuss over nothing.
A great example of that showed up today in something called Religion & Politics. Religious scholar Joseph Laycock does the classic academic maneuver and cherry picks just one of Scientology’s problems — the way it treats young women — and then tries to convince the reader that this is all just in our heads, and the real problem is that we have stigmatized poor Scientology based on what we’ve been told by “apostates.” (Seriously, he uses that word without a hint of sarcasm.)
While Laycock insists that he takes seriously the allegations of Valeska Paris and Astra Woodcraft, his article repeatedly proves that he doesn’t. This concern we have for young women being abused, forced into abortions, and having a difficult time escaping Scientology is just this thing we Americans have with “escape narratives,” he explains.
What Laycock doesn’t explain, of course, is that Scientology’s abuses have been well documented not just in the escape-narrative-obsessed United States but in every other country Scientology has been involved in, including the country Valeska Paris is from, Australia. And while it may be easy to parcel out the stories of these few women, Laycock’s escape-narrative theory hardly begins to explain the very real mistreatment of ex-Scientologists and critics in Scientology’s “fair game” retaliation schemes — most of which the public never even hears about.
For some reason, religious studies types have a difficult time understanding that Scientology’s shocking treatment of kids, women, and anyone else who crosses it actually has nothing whatsoever to do with religious belief or religious studies, and every time these scholars come out of the woodwork to defend this problematic organization, they only do themselves a disservice.
What Katie is saving Suri from: Scientology interrogation of kids
Scientology’s new defections: Hubbard’s granddaughter and Miscavige’s dad
Scientology’s disgrace: our open letter to Tom Cruise
Scientology crumbling: An entire mission defects as a group
Scientology leader David Miscavige’s vanished wife: Where’s Shelly?
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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 email@example.com, 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.