Scientology Daily Digest: Monday, November 25, 2013

Shameless plug:  An earlier post today highlights a poster listing the most common logical fallacies in persuasive writing.  Read this carefully every day for a week or two and you will find yourself making fewer logical mistakes in your own writing, and you will have great fun seeing what gaping errors people make in the arguments they use to sell you stuff, get you to vote for them, etc.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Today’s post reports that Leah Remini was officially declared a Suppressive Person by the cult.  While the biggest wave of actual disconnections has already taken place, this move is yet another own goal by Miscavige since it gives the Hollywood gossip press another chance to revisit the disconnection story, just when it was starting to die down a bit.

My take:  As Mike Rinder points out in the article, the fact that Tom Cruise didn’t have to disconnect from Suri when Katie Holmes divorced him has probably rankled many ordinary Scientologists who have been forced to disconnect from wives, parents and kids when they blew.  So with typical Miscavige ham-handedness, he’s going to “make an example” of Leah by not cutting her any slack.

It seems to me that this is yet another situation where Miscavige has boxed himself in with arbitrary decisions in the past to accomplish whatever short term goal he had in mind at the time, which then limit his flexibility in dealing with the present.  His inability to think clearly about potential unintended consequences of his actions is a crippling flaw that would have, if present in a CEO of a real company, caused him to be fired long ago.

Selected comments: 

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • Mike’s first post today reprints a letter from a longtime “field auditor,” who remains in the cult due to family connection and fear of disconnection.  He complains that the new Golden Age of Dreck 2 is so awful that it’s put him back at square one.  He’s wondering what to do next… I am sure some people here can come up with helpful suggestions, though it’s probably tough to formulate a pithy suggestion we haven’t already heard a few times.
  • Mike’s second post raises an interesting possibility: given that Leah Remini and Jennifer Lopez are BFF’s, would Miscavige order J Lo’s father to disconnect from her if she continues to hang out with Leah?  Technically, according to Mike, she’s guilty of a “suppressive act” which could get Dad in trouble.

Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)

South African Independent Scientology Blog

  • Today’s article estimated “crowds” for the GAT2 launch video event in J’Burg at 300 to 500, down substantially from the 800 they got in 2005 opening the Johannesburg Ideal Org, versus 1,200 confirmations on Facebook.  Pretoria supposedly had about 120 as did Durban.  Wonder if they had any seat fillers, which according to earlier comments on that blog, were used in the past at some events.
  • Cultural RevolutionA great article from a couple days ago written by someone who grew up in China during the Cultural Revolution compared the mind control tactics of the government to the way Scientology attempts to stamp out dissent and disagreement in its ranks.

General Press

  • Apparently, the cult’s German membership base has dwindled to the point that the watchdog BFV (Agency for the Protection of the Constitution) has stopped monitoring it, despite protests from some German states.  BFV officials base the decisions on what they estimate as 4,000 members in the country, though that seems rather high versus what we think is a more reasonable estimate of 500 to 700.  Interestingly, some BFV offices say that the cult is trying to lure new members through “hidden Internet portals.”  Craigslist, anyone?
  • From a few days ago, Huffington Post ran an article about local Clearwater fundamentalist Christian pastors complaining that Scientology “serves a false god.”  A fairly lame “my God can beat up your God” article, but nice use of some of the aerial shots that may have come from Rinder & Bennitt.  Some fairly amusing comments, though.



Scientology Daily Digest: Sunday, November 24, 2013

Programming note: We’re back in the saddle after a couple of days off due to an exhausting trip plus commitments that ran way late on Saturday night.  We’ll be putting out Digests for tonight through Wednesday night inclusive and we’ll be off for the US Thanksgiving holiday (our annual date with gluttony, for readers outside the US who are unfamiliar). We’ll resume daily publication on Saturday night.

More details of the Golden Age of Dreck 2 release are emerging, as well as abundant evidence that the cult is going into overdrive to get people to come into their local orgs to see the videos of the events.  The prose is more purple, the promises are more extravagant, and the testimonials are more over the top than ever before.

New York GAT 2 video broadcast invitation
New York GAT 2 video broadcast invitation

Last night, the cult held a video viewing event in Manhattan.  The tipster who e-mailed me the flyer was unable to attend, on account of being a declared SP (a minor impediment in the staff’s eternal quest to be upstat by inviting tons of people).  The most notable detail is that the event was held not at the NYC org’s “chapel” but at the Washington Irving High School auditorium.  That’s the biggest auditorium of any of the NYC schools.  They did this because renting from the school district is dramatically cheaper than renting a hotel ballroom in NYC, but it’s nowhere near as classy and successful.  But there are other private event venues that are also extremely competitive versus hotels, but which are a lot nicer than a high school auditorium.

I couldn’t get the exact seating figure, but based on a couple of pictures, it seats at least 1,500, probably a few more.  I would be extremely surprised if the NYC org was able to draw more than about 50 people given that the cult has never been that big in NYC in per capita Scientology involvement.  22 million people in the metro area served by the Org and they are unlikely to have gotten more than a few dozen to show.

It would be incredibly difficult to hide the number of empty seats in an auditorium that size.  I’m sure the acoustics were pretty interesting, with hard floors to make the empty hall echo all the more.  And it’s a good thing there aren’t many “whales” in the NYC area, since the hard plywood seats standard in NYC school auditoriums is not the plush comfort that they presumably expect.

Tony Ortega’s Blog

Today’s post had a brief comment by Jenna Miscavige Hill, niece of David Miscavige (daughter of his older brother Ronnie, who blew long ago).  She says, “I can’t believe people still buy any of this BS about ‘discovery’ of ‘lost tech.’ It’s just such an obvious and blatant money making scheme.”  While this is probably obvious to the readership of this blog, it’s nice to see somebody from the gene pool point this out.

Also worth noting is the annual “Christmas Stories” event invite, which features a few of the usual celebs reading Christmas stories.  You know, the holiday for that guy Christ, who turned out to be nothing more than a momentary blip in the R6 implant all those years ago.  Mostly the C-listers, but Kirstie, Anne Archer and others a bit nearer the top of the list are not there.  Not sure about the significance of this particular guest list. People with access to prior years’ lists might be able to shed some light on the changes in the cast from, say, 3 or 4 years ago.

Selected comments: 

Mike Rinder’s Blog

Mike’s been pretty prolific the last couple of days. Here are the most relevant posts:

Forums (ESMB, WWP, OCMB)

General Press

  • The cult recently purchased a building in Auckland, New Zealand.  The purchase price was NZ$16 million (US$13.1 million).  Interestingly the article reports that the building was financed by a loan from CSI to the local group, which will have to be repaid later (terms unknown).  There may be less than 250 Scientologists in all of NZ, if they exist at the same rate as in Australia, excluding staff (the 2006 census listed 350, but defections have obviously reduced this number over the course of nearly a decade).  Financing the building in advance of fund raising could be an interesting change in strategy, if we start seeing this elsewhere.  In fact, it could be a recognition that large donors () are getting tapped out, so Miscavige is going to take more cash over time rather than getting all the proceeds from an Ideal Org purchase up front.  The only problem is that if the org continues to spiral downward and is unable to meet payment deadlines a year or two out, the international management may be left holding the bag, which is of course very unattractive to DM.