In Part Three, the penultimate segment in our examination of the third era in Scientology’s criminal evolution, we’ll look at how David Miscavige’s assumption of power reflected a continuation of Hubbard’s obsession with Scientology’s ruthless utilitarianism, as well as how Miscavige’s own violent, thuggish temperament reflected a Gotti-like use of fear as his primary mechanism of control. We’ll also examine how Scientology’s use of the legal system shifted from the harassment-focused days of Hubbard to a more nuanced strategic approach, as well as how several key incidents that occurred under Miscavige redefined how Scientology’s La Cosa Nostra (“This thing of ours” or “Our thing”) -like mindset operates to this day. Continue reading “Scientology Financial Crime Part Three: Miscavige’s 20th Century Mob”
In 1964, the Church of Scientology published a small document authored by L. Ron Hubbard called “Scientology Plan for World Peace,” which set forth a vision of a “one world government” headed by the UN, with all decision-making to be handled by diplomats and bureaucrats resident in a giant “International City” to be built in North Africa. This document was only circulated for a few years, perhaps only until the early 1970s, when it apparently was allowed to fade quietly from sight. While it’s been available on the web for a while, it hasn’t been the subject of much scrutiny.
We’ll give a general overview of the proposed structure of Hubbard’s world government but we’ll focus on the economic prescriptions Hubbard throws out to solve all the world’s ills. Unsurprisingly, they’re the usual Hubbard stew of naively simplistic ideas presented with unwavering confidence in their brilliance.
The biggest conundrum is why Hubbard would propose something under his own name that’s so far left on the surface. Hubbard’s political views, especially in the 1960s, were so rabidly anti-communist that they could have been lifted wholesale from the propaganda of the John Birch Society. We take a guess at Hubbard’s real motivation. In particular, the bland assurance in the introduction that “the following programme has no other purpose or interest than attaining these ends” is highly suspect. Continue reading “Hubbard’s 1960’s Bizarre Vision for the Global Economy”
News over the last week or so on the cult front has featured multiple cults who seem to focus on sexual abuse of women members. We wrote extensively a week ago about the arrest of Keith Raniere, founder of Albany, New York-based Nxivm (pronounced “Nexium”). The indictment alleges that Raniere headed a secret “master/slave” group where the all-female membership were branded with his initials in their pubic region. Be Scofield, a journalist specializing in new-generation Internet gurus, recently published an article on yet another abusive group. Scofield looks at the followers of Padma Aon Prakasha, who leads various workshops in the US; 15 women and 2 men have accused Prakasha of physical and emotional abuse and other things. And the well-received Netflix documentary Wild, Wild Country about the 1980s Rajneeshee cult in Oregon recounts stories of physical abuse aimed at women.
We are writing to start a discussion about treatment of women in cults, including in Scientology. For those of you who are ex’s, we would be interested in understanding what happened to you, for both former staff/Sea Org and for rank-and-file members. And we’re particularly interested in whether high-control groups always end up committing abuse of women (and, probably equally of children). What general inferences can we draw and what can we do about it? Continue reading “Opening an Inquiry: Do Cults Always Abuse Women?”
Earlier this week, Keith Raniere, the leader of Nexium (pronounced “Nexium”), a cultic group headquartered in Albany, New York, was arrested in Mexico after fleeing the US and swiftly extradited back to the US for trial. He’s accused of sex trafficking in conjunction with a secret “sorority” made up of Nxivm members who agreed to function as slaves for him, and who were branded in their pelvic region with his initials. There are other investigations pending that may result in further charges.
Though Nxivm never achieved the success of Scientology in its 20-year history, there are some interesting parallels between Nxivm’s modus operandi and Scientology’s as well as some parallels between Keith Raniere and L. Ron Hubbard’s claims about themselves. We look at some of these parallels and try to determine whether there’s any way to use the accelerating collapse of Nxivm to predict the endgame for Scientology, particularly in seeing how activists can target their efforts to hasten its demise. Continue reading “NXIVM Cult Leader Arrested: Parallels with Scientology?”
This post is a request for help. I’m trying to understand the link, if any, between Scientology and conspiracy theory thinking. I was struck by how well-known old guard critic Arnie Lerma, who recently attacked his wife and then killed himself, had degenerated into the conspiracy mindset. The story is more complex, involving significant medical challenges that affected his mental health, which may have been primarily responsible for his increasing paranoia. (Lerma’s tragic saga merely sparked my interest in the general mechanism; I’m not trying to understand the particulars of his journey or to diagnose him retroactively.) The news about Lerma’s death came only a day after another post from Tony Ortega about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s “SMERSH” conspiracy, a ludicrous tale of opposition to Scientology, and the juxtaposition led me to start thinking about the connection.
I’ve heard stories about other former Scientologists who have similarly crossed into the conspiracist world. I’m trying to understand the relationship between Scientology and conspiracy theory obsession, and I can’t get it right without a lot of different perspectives. I’ll set out my thinking so far, which is indeed incomplete, and then set out particular questions I’m struggling with. I welcome the thoughts of ex-Scientologists, never-ins and people who are familiar with the mindset of conspiracy theorists. Thanks in advance for helping me (and hopefully, the reader base) understand the conspiracy mindset and how it relates to Scientology. Continue reading “Request for Your Thoughts: Link Between Scientology and Conspiracy Theory Thinking?”
Earlier this week, Scientology TV began broadcasting on the DirecTV network. Tony Ortega’s story the day before the launch, explaining the apps and channels involved is here, and Tony’s review of the first slug of programming the day after the premiere is here.
Here, we’ll look at the strategic imperative driving Scientology leader David Miscavige to begin to broadcast to generally accessible public, which we think is a case of doing the best job he can in playing a terrible hand. We suspect that some percentage of top donors are starting to wonder about the efficacy of the expensive Ideal Org strategy. In particular, they might be starting to wonder why there are so few new members in these opulent facilities, which was the justification for building them in the first place.
We predicted a few months ago that Scientology Media Productions would not begin broadcasting anytime soon, because of the potential for blowback and further tarnishing of the already toxic Scientology brand. We still believe all the reasons we cited in that post arguing against broadcast operations are still valid, and we now look at why Scientology management might have felt it necessary to go forward with a broadcast plan even though it will likely backfire. Continue reading “Another Angle on the Strategy Behind Scientology TV”
Recently, Chris Shelton located a previously unknown letter from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to Ronald Reagan, who had been elected to President a few weeks earlier. The letter offers Reagan laughably bad advice on how to fix the US economy, which at the time of the vote in late 1980, had been wracked with soaring inflation and even higher interest rates for over a decade.
According to Chris, the letter was circulated among Sea Org members in the late 1980s as part of efforts to keep key people in the organization motivated to keep up the war against the IRS. So this letter was clearly intended for internal consumption, to burnish Hubbard’s reputation for brilliance, and to support the IRS campaign.
Dr. Jeff Wasel and John P. appeared as a guest on Chris Shelton’s podcast discussing the letter (also published today) and we’re presenting our analysis of the letter here. We’re writing after the podcast was recorded so our commentary here contains analysis and discussion that doesn’t appear in the podcast. Continue reading “Hubbard Cozies up to Ronald Reagan With Sage Economic Advice”
A part of another project we’re working on here at JohnPCapitalist.com, I’ve been taking a dive into one of the more esoteric bits of Scientology “tech”: the “Data Series” in the Management Series, Volume 1. Volume One also contains the Organizing Series and the Personnel Series. The Management Series or “Green Volumes” are an extensive set of works that cover every permutation within the organizational domain of Scientology management.
Written over several years starting in 1970, the Data Series is defined as “a series of policy letters written by L. Ron Hubbard which deal with logic, illogic, proper evaluation of data and how to detect and handle the causes of good and bad situations within groups and organizations.” Hubbard felt that Scientology management was failing in certain areas of understanding and leadership, and in writing the Data Series, he created a highly prescriptive set of policies, procedures and instructions in dealing with every conceivable challenge those in management might face on a daily basis. Starting with “The Anatomy of Thought” (HCO PL 26 April 1970R), Hubbard pontificates on “Logic,” “Breakthroughs,” “Data and Situational Analyzing’” and “Information Collection” among other topics, all in his uniquely bloviating and paradoxical fashion. However, what struck me most while reading through this “guidance,” was not only his convoluted, typically tortured syntax, but more so, the abundance of nonsensical historical analogies and examples he alludes to throughout as a means of “illustrating” his points. Continue reading “The Data Series as Revisionist History”
In a recent conversation with Hana Whitfield, former captain of the Apollo and the Avon River, as well as a senior executive who reported directly to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, I broached the subject of the most absurd job title I’d ever seen. In Scientology, the person who pushes the mail cart around emptying everyone’s OUT box and refilling the IN box with more mind-numbing paperwork, is called the “Particle Speed Flow Officer.” I figured this was just another comical example of Hubbard’s pomposity of trying to make everything vastly more important than it was. But Hana pointed out that she was actually the first “Particle Speed Flow Officer” in the history of Scientology, and she reveals here that there’s a sinister side to this.
There’s a valuable object lesson in the story: that there’s almost always a sinister side to Scientology, even in small-scale things that initially seem to have only comic relief value. Continue reading “Hana Whitfield Writes About the Sinister “Particle Speed Flow Officer””
In an article published on Saturday, Tony Ortega reported that Scientology is pushing to open the new Ideal Org in Orlando soon. I decided to take a look at the numbers behind the building and behind Scientology in Orlando. This Ideal Org is doomed to failure because of the small number of members in Orlando and the location of the facility, even further off the beaten path than most new Scientology buildings.
Once we’ve gotten a handle on the numbers, we’ll look at whether this particular Ideal Org might herald a change in the Ideal Org strategy. Continue reading “A Deeper Look at the Upcoming Ideal Org in Orlando”