Scientology Financial Crime Part Four: Miscavige’s Golden Age of Grifting

In Part 4 of our series on Scientology financial crime, we conclude our look at the evolution of Scientology as a criminal enterprise, specifically at how Scientology’s many rackets have evolved over the last 20 years or so under the authority of David Miscavige. Having essentially abandoned auditing in favor of less risky income streams, we look at the “Golden Age of Tech,” “Super Power” and other scams such as the “Ideal Org” real estate portfolio racket and their place within the criminal enterprise that is Scientology in the 21st century. Lastly, we’ll examine Scientology’s vulnerability in the post-9/11 era of financial regulation. However, before we return to examining David Miscavige’s and Scientology’s behavior during the Lisa McPherson trial that we described in Part Three, it’s important to establish some additional contextual understanding of several key events in the mid to late 1980’s that influenced not only church behavior during the McPherson trial, but also served to shape the church’s behaviour and culture within Scientology into the present day. Continue reading “Scientology Financial Crime Part Four: Miscavige’s Golden Age of Grifting”

Hana Whitfield Guest Post: What Happened when Hubbard Used the Data Series Himself?

The Data Series is Hubbard’s “special sauce” for how to analyze an organization and either fix what’s broken or improve what’s working.  Today’s post features Hana Whitfield, who spent years working directly for L. Ron Hubbard in the 1960s and 1970s.  She recalls a story of Hubbard using the Data Series “tech” to fix a problem in the organization.

The ending of the story surprised me, and I’ll try to fit what happened into the overall context of the multi-part critique of the Data Series that Chris Shelton, Dr. Jeff Wasel and I have been doing.  There are already two videos on Chris’s YouTube channel. Click for Part 1 and here for Part 2.  We’ll have several more parts to go in the coming weeks.   Understanding the Data Series is key to understanding why the Scientology organization will ultimately fail.   Continue reading “Hana Whitfield Guest Post: What Happened when Hubbard Used the Data Series Himself?”

JohnPCapitalist.com Is Dead; Long Live Reasoned.Life!

Effective today, we’re retiring the brand identity of JohnPCapitalist.com in favor of a new site name.  We’re now posting at Reasoned.life.  Yeah, there really is such a thing as a “.life” domain name, and we thought that it sounded cooler than “reasonedlife.com.”  Cheaper, too: $1.99 to register the name for the first year instead of the ten bucks for a “.com” domain.

Continue reading “JohnPCapitalist.com Is Dead; Long Live Reasoned.Life!”

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 Three: Miscavige’s 20th Century Mob

 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”

Hubbard’s 1960’s Bizarre Vision for the Global Economy

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”

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”

Opening an Inquiry: Do Cults Always Abuse Women?

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?”

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”

NXIVM Cult Leader Arrested: Parallels with Scientology?

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?”