(2012’s) Top 25 People Crippling Scientology, Nos. 14-16


Last summer, we put together a little list that took on a life of its own.

We counted down the 25 people and groups who had been doing the most to get word out to the wider world about the Church of Scientology’s many alleged abuses, and who have contributed to its steep recent decline.

A year later, we thought it was time to update our list. This time, we’ve put a premium on what’s happened in the last twelve months, so you might see some of your old favorites drop off the roster. But never fear — you can always revisit our choices from last year, or the choices of our readers.

So let’s see who’s next on the list!

The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology — 2012 Edition

#16. Dave Touretzky

We’re moving Carnegie Mellon University professor Dave Touretzky up in our list this year. Touretzky is known for his many years of gathering and hosting information at his websites that describe Scientology’s secret upper-level teachings and other detailed research. But it’s Touretzky’s dedication to getting out information about Scientology’s drug treatment program, Narconon, which is making a big difference this year as the church’s rehab centers have become the center of controversy. We’ve referred to Touretzky’s pages often in our stories, and we hope readers use them to come to the understanding that Narconon’s issues are longstanding and systemic.

#15. Mark Bunker

The Wise Beard Man has had something of a quiet year, but don’t let that fool you. He’s been hard at work at his upcoming Scientology documentary, Knowledge Report, and we’re hoping he’s nearing something we can look at soon. Of course, we’ve seen bits and pieces of it all along, as he’s released short but powerful interviews with seemingly all of the most intriguing former church members. Just a couple of days ago Bunker put out the latest of these, including an account by Steve Hall of what it was like to face Scientology leader David Miscavige’s fury.

#14. Tory Christman

Last year, we cited Tory Christman as the epitome of what we called “noisy ex-Scientologists” — former church members who defy Scientology’s reputation for retaliation and speak out about its secrets. In the past year, Tory has only worked even harder to get the word out, both in her regular video chats, but also with a recent trip to Ireland.

A lot of other noisy exes also had a big year. We’re thinking of Denise Brennan, Chuck Beatty, Gary Morehead, Gerry Armstrong, Dan Garvin, Michael Fairman, Tiziano Lugli, Nancy Many, Margery Wakefield, Patty Moher, Jesse Prince, and especially Michelle Sterling, who put up with a lot of ‘net nonsense this past year. Heck, even Jon Atack has resurfaced!

The new media interest in all things Scientology should give these folks even more chances to be heard, and in our opinion that’s a very good thing.

See also: 25. Xenu, 24. Kate Bornstein, 23. Lisa Marie Presley, 22. John Brousseau, 21. Dani and Tami Lemberger, 20. Jamie DeWolf, 19. Jefferson Hawkins, 18. Amy Scobee, 17. Marc and Claire Headley

Look for the next installment of our Top 25 on Wednesday. We have things timed so that we’ll reveal this year’s number one just a few days before the opening of “The Master,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film that should explode interest in all things Scientology.


Scientology Sunday Funnies!

Just about every day, we receive the latest wacky and tacky fundraising mailers put out by Scientology orgs around the world. Thank you, tipsters, for forwarding them to us! On Sundays, we love to reveal them to you.

Taking advice from Scientologists about parenting? Hm. I think our commenters can think of a few reasons why that might be risky…

These Freewinds fliers are getting so disappointing. I mean, this is the spiritual supership that is supposed to rocket you into total freedom with OT 8, right? So why sully it with some half-assed pre-OT cruise to “havingness”? I am disappoint.

Prosperity? Hmm. In regards to this next flier, I couldn’t help but find this interesting.

Bonus Item: Inspiring words from COB!

Bonus Video: IAS 2012 Preview!

I, for one, can’t wait for this year’s October IAS gala. And here’s a preview to whet your appetite…

That footage was shot at last year’s gala, and if you want to experience what actually happened then, you can check out our coverage of it.

See also:
“Tom Cruise worships David Miscavige like a god”
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?
Neil Gaiman, 7, Interviewed About Scientology by the BBC in 1968
The Master Screenplay: Scientology History from Several Different Eras
And a post that pulls together the best of our Scientology reporting

Please check out our Facebook author page for updates and schedules.

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.