Nxivm’s Super Kids Program vs. Scientology Applied Scholastics

Two weeks ago, we wrote about the similarities between Scientology and its founder and the group Nxivm, whose founder, Keith Raniere, had been arrested in Mexico and extradited to the US on charges of running a bizarre sex slavery ring, where the women in the group were branded in their lower abdomen with Raniere’s initials.

Today, we follow up with another comparison, this time, focusing on the similarities between Nxivm’s “Rainbow Cultural Garden” program, designed to teach kids seven different languages at the same time and the Scientology “study tech” program pushed into often unwitting schools by its Applied Scholastics front group.

We look at how the similarities may portend a common feature of well-established personal development cults, pressured to come up with ever greater “super powers,” and ways to create second-generation members.  Continue reading “Nxivm’s Super Kids Program vs. Scientology Applied Scholastics”

Scientology Financial Crime, Part 2: From Tax Evader to Mob Boss

This week, we continue our examination of Scientology’s evolution from that of a self-help process, the origins of which were rooted in founder L. Ron Hubbard’s pseudo-scientific epistle Dianetics, to that of a mafia-like Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO), essentially a criminal conglomerate couched as a “religion.” In understanding Hubbard’s motivations for wealth accumulation, it was clear from last week’s examples that Hubbard’s obsession with money was as much about funding the furtherance of his legacy as it was furthering Scientology. In continuing with our use of behavior within a given era to examine the evolution of Scientology’s financial criminality, we now go from the era of Hubbard as tax evader, on to the transitional era of Hubbard as an established crime boss-like figure. Contemporary to Hubbard’s transitional era is the seemingly inevitable rise of David Miscavige, from that of indispensable lieutenant to consigliere and in our final era, his eventual role as capo de tutti capi of Scientology.   Continue reading “Scientology Financial Crime, Part 2: From Tax Evader to Mob Boss”

Scientology Organized Crime, Part 1: The Beginnings

As my introductory post mentioned, my goal in this series is to provide a historical perspective on money in the church in roughly three eras: the first era will address Hubbard’s financial behavior up until the time of his final days; the second, David Miscavige’s assumption of power and the 1982 Mission Holder’s shakedown, and third, money in the church under Miscavige following the Mission Holder shakedown up to the present day.

This historical arc provides a convenient means of analyzing the church’s transition from its roots in providing Dianetics-based therapy into a pseudo-religious conglomerate with all the trappings of a cartel, or more so, demonstrating many of the characteristics reflective of a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) of significant proportions. Key to understanding any crime are the factors of means, motive, and opportunity. While the past certainly provides valuable context in understanding both L. Ron Hubbard’s role and Scientology’s means, motives, and opportunities for accumulating wealth, understanding the doctrine, ideology, and psychological profile of the church is also crucial. Thus the rigid adherence to Hubbard as “Source” for all of Scientology’s teachings, doctrine and operational foundation, and the resultant cult of personality that compels its malevolent zealotry, are the nexus for its criminality.   Continue reading “Scientology Organized Crime, Part 1: The Beginnings”

Scientology Financial Crime through the Years: an introduction to a new series

I was first drawn to the Scientology critic movement as a result of my background in anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism and the forensic analysis of financial crime. Having come across several Interpol reports that mentioned L. Ron Hubbard’s money movements from his days on the Apollo, my interest was piqued as to the why and how of his intentions. The further I delved into the financial affairs of Scientology, the more I became convinced I was potentially dealing with a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) of significant proportions. While I’ve enjoyed investigating a variety of topics within Scientology, over the next few weeks I’ll be returning to this premise.

I’ll be looking at the historical perspective of money in the church in roughly three eras: the first era will address Hubbard’s financial behavior up until the time of his final days; the second, David Miscavige’s assumption of power and the 1982 Mission Holder’s shakedown, and third, money in the church under Miscavige following the Mission Holder shakedown up to the present day. Over the last several months, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with several key figures in Scientology history who are intimately familiar with money management over the three eras I’ve mentioned. Further to these firsthand experiences, in recent weeks we’ve undertaken several investigations into some of the foundational writings of Scientology, as well as the link between conspiracy theory, Scientology and cults in general. Continue reading “Scientology Financial Crime through the Years: an introduction to a new series”

The Responsibilities of Leaders, Part II: Power, Mary Sue, and Where’s Shelly?

In last week’s post, I provided an overview of The Responsibilities of Leaders, one of Hubbard’s more iconic writings, along with some observations from former Scientologists Brian Lambert and Jefferson Hawkins on the importance of this policy in understanding Scientology’s zeitgeist. Both gentlemen frame their observations of this policy as being perhaps a sort of “command legacy” from Hubbard to David Miscavige given that it’s Miscavige’s favorite LRH essay, which he uses to illustrate what he literally expects from his subordinates in terms of loyalty, ruthlessness, and Keeping Scientology Working. This week I begin by contrasting Hubbard’s power-as-leadership model against more traditional concepts of leadership, and then examine the connection between Mary Sue Hubbard and The Four Seasons of Manuela, and lastly, how The Responsibilities of Leaders may account for David Miscavige’s behavior and its subsequent impact on his relationship with wife Shelly Miscavige. Continue reading “The Responsibilities of Leaders, Part II: Power, Mary Sue, and Where’s Shelly?”

Reappraising Hubbard’s “The Responsibilities of Leaders”

Certain Scientology policies written by L. Ron Hubbard have assumed almost mythic proportions. Keeping Scientology Working is perhaps the penultimate example but there have been others. These policies provide an inside look at the mind of Hubbard and are very helpful for those seeking an understanding of his motivations and thought processes. To some extent, these policies also illustrate not only Scientology’s group-think on expanding their reach, but also how Hubbard expected Scientologists themselves to think and act. Continue reading “Reappraising Hubbard’s “The Responsibilities of Leaders””

Indirect Proof Auditing Doesn’t Work: The Failure of Independent Scientology

Another reason Scientology auditing doesn’t work: if it worked, there would be tons of “independent Scientology” groups, practicing the “tech” outside of the evil cult. But they’re nowhere to be found. Auditing is thus less valuable to ex-Scientologists than many think. Those leaving today want to distance themselves from all of what they experienced in Scientology, even the allegedly good parts.

I recently posted an article showing why success stories are not sufficient to prove that Scientology auditing actually works, even though there are many people who claim to have received life-changing “wins” while using this technique.   That’s because of the nature of establishing the statistical validity of a hypothesis.  The essence of the argument is that “the plural of anecdotes is not data.”

But here’s another reason that we can be fairly confident that auditing is a relatively ineffective tool for fueling personal growth: “independent Scientology,” the practice of L. Ron Hubbard’s “tech,” should be a much bigger movement than it actually is.

Continue reading “Indirect Proof Auditing Doesn’t Work: The Failure of Independent Scientology”

Strategic Activism: Fighting Scientology Asymmetrically, Part 1

In this, part one of a series on strategic activism, Dr. Jeff Wasel looks at the applicability of the theory of asymmetrical warfare in countering Scientology’s abuses. He revisits and revises some of his previous thoughts on the efficacy of OSA, as well as the current state of the church. Lastly, he looks at historical examples of the use of asymmetric warfare, as well as how the critic community at large can leverage its disruptive abilities.

Continue reading “Strategic Activism: Fighting Scientology Asymmetrically, Part 1”

The Irony Goes to 11: Steely Dan Founder to Guest on New Spinal Tap Album

Today, it was announced that Spinal Tap’s bassist Derek Smalls will be releasing a new solo album on April 13.  It’ll be called “Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing).”



Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) in concert in 2009


The mind-blowing news, from my view, is the presence of Donald Fagen, co-founder of Steely Dan, on one of the songs.  Continue reading “The Irony Goes to 11: Steely Dan Founder to Guest on New Spinal Tap Album”

Will Scientology Media Productions Ever Start Broadcasting?

Recently, tawdry fame whore/Scientologist Joy Villa announced that her strategy for gaining fame involved waiting for Scientology’s new media arm to begin broadcasting, as she expected it to become a bigger media platform than Fox News, thus boosting her career stratospherically.

Scientology spent millions to acquire the historic five-acre KCET Studios  in Hollywood in April 2011, then spent five years and untold millions more to refurbish it into Scientology Media Productions (SMP).  Scientology leader David Miscavige held a grand opening event in June 2016 (press release on Scientology web site here) and promised that broadcasting would begin by the “summer solstice 2017.”  Seven months after that deadline, the radio silence continues.

We look at the strategy driving the creation of SMP and assess whether Scientology will ever begin broadcasting to the “wog” (their derogatory term for non-Scientologists) world and how they might justify their lack of action to their membership and those donors who gave to open the facility.

Continue reading “Will Scientology Media Productions Ever Start Broadcasting?”