Editor’s note: This is the first post of what I hope will be daily summaries of news from around the Scientology universe. Initially, I’ll focus on the three key blogs: Tony Ortega, Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun. Over time, particularly if some people can help me, I’d like to include a roundup of key Scientology-related posts on WWP, ESMB and other forum boards. I’ll typically try, schedule permitting to get this out around 10pm US Eastern Time, though I can’t guarantee this.
I need feedback to determine what would make this document maximally useful to you; this is an evolving document and I’m very flexible on what to do with it, or even whether it’s necessary.
Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker
Tony’s lone article today continued Claire Headley’s series of actually “doing” Scientology. Today, she described what it was like to do the OT 1 level, the first stage past clear.
My take: As always, getting even a taste of what it is like to do Scientology training is interesting for a never-in like me. The OT 1 level itself sounds pretty lame, hanging around out in public and looking at people and trying to figure out what they might be thinking.
Though the article didn’t go into it in any great detail, I recall reading from other sources that the cult pulls on people is to make it difficult for them to start doing the OT levels at all. That’s the “OT Eligibility” process that Claire references in the article. Interestingly, it costs $9,800 while the OT 1 level itself “only” costs $3,300. I’ve heard that the OT Eligibility is where they like to throw lots of curves at you, magically discovering that there was some screw-up way back when and you now need to redo a whole bunch of lower-level stuff before you are going to be permitted to join the big time.
- Chuck Beatty gave a nice firsthand description of watching people walk around the neighborhood of the Big Blue building in Hollywood doing their OT 1 observations.
- Longtime member Patty Moher weighed in with her recollections of how the cult dragged out the OT Eligibility process for her, even though she was a loyal and successful OSA operative at the time.
- J. Swift dredged up a copy of a legal threat from Scientology to WikiLeaks in 2008 for posting the OT materials on line. Yeah, that obviously got Julian Assange whimpering in the corner.
- “Guest” presented one of the nicer parodies of a missive from ham-fisted cult spokeswoman Karin Pouw to emerge in a while.
- Bruce Hines mentioned that the OT 1 level went through a few radical revisions over the years. I’m not sure I understand the details, but this is a source that may be worth noting. Anyone know Bruce’s history? Apparently he was there.
- Observer dredged up a link to a story from The Skeptic’s Dictionary where Hubbard allegedly subjected bacteria to jets of steam and tobacco smoke to determine whether they inherited instincts. This is in a beautifully snarky review of Hubbard’s Rediscovery of the Human Soul, a book which I hadn’t previously seen. It appears to be almost as pathetic as A History of Man, which Tony had leading evolutionary biologist P. Z. Myers review back in August. The scientific method demonstrated in Hubbard’s experiment looks positively medieval.
Mike Rinder’s Blog
Mike reports that the cult has now filed permits for street closures, well after the normal 30-day deadline. He references a Tampa Bay Times article filed this evening that the cult is going to request that busy Ft. Harrison avenue be closed during the entire weekend of November 17th, a prime beach weekend. While the article quotes local officials as attempting to be flexible, one wonders whether the economic firepower of the tourism industry will overpower the fear-driven clout of the cult. There are a couple interesting details:
- The cult has asked for several traffic signals to be removed to support filming, which the city has refused to consider. This little detail, if granted, would apparently cost in excess of $100,000 per signal.
- The cult plans on putting Jumbotron style video screens in the area so you can get a video feed of the festivities anywhere in the neighborhood. Of course, this means they have to get the streets blocked so protestors can’t film the video on these screens with their phones.