Recently, I’ve been looking into L. Ron Hubbard’s claims regarding his military career as a US Naval Reserve intelligence officer in the Pacific theatre early in WWII. I was curious as to the contexts of these claims, given the variances in accounts from Scientology historians such as Chris Owen, Jon Atack and Jeffrey Augustine. The Scientology Myths website also provides an excellent resource for source documentation regarding Hubbard’s naval service, as well as his brief time in the Marine Corps Reserve, though with a distinctly revionsist position as to Hubbard’s claims. While I’m interested in Hubbard’s brief Marine Corps service and will be examining that in the future, in this, the first of a multi-part series, I’ll be deconstructing his claims as to having been involved in espionage against the Japanese on Java in 1942. Future posts will look into his role as an intelligence officer in Australia from 1942 onward, as well as his postwar service and hospitalization.
My purpose here is to add to the existing body of research on the matter, by bringing my service background and life-long interest in military history to bear. The Pacific Theatre is of great personal interest to me, as my father served there as a Naval aviator. Indeed, his stories and those of friends and family, along my own reading on the subject, engendered a great deal of respect for those who fought in the Pacific, and were all significant motivators in my joining the Marine Corps. In revisiting Hubbard’s record, I hope to provide some useful additional context regarding his claims, and in doing so, further expose the exaggerations and outright lies of Mr. Hubbard in regards to his service early in WWII. For the most part, Hubbard served his country honorably in a time of war; it’s his exploiting his time in the Navy to further Scientology, as well as embellishing his service record, personal decorations, and overall contribution to the war effort that I find repellent. Continue reading “Debunking Military Lies, Part 1: Hubbard’s Tales from the South Pacific”
In this series, we will finally collect what we have learned about the Ideal Org program and the strategy behind it in one place. Here, we’ll take our best guess about why Scientology is so focused on building lots of expensive new churches that nobody visits. There is a strategy behind it, and there are rational reasons why Scientology leader David Miscavige thinks this is a good use of cash, but the logic behind the strategy may surprise you.
Part 1 looks at what Hubbard thought made a Scientology org ideal, and we’ll look at why Miscavige took the idea and turned it into something very different. There’s an underlying strategy as well as the usual cult needs to exploit both staff and members. Continue reading “Scientology Ideal Orgs as Destroyers of Wealth, Part 1: The Strategy”
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”
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?”
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”