Humpday – the Aftermath

Ok, so hopefully no spoilers here. If you haven’t watched the 2 hour Scientology and the Aftermath special on A&E, please stop, go watch, and then come back 🙂

Welcome Back 😉

My overall gut reaction to this special was , “Wow! It was a masterful combination of first person stories and actual documented LRH policy”. To hear how Janet Reitman, Mark Ebner, Bryan Seymour, and the others, were “handled” and how it was textbook LRH policy, confirmed by Mike and Leah, should be a wakeup call to humanity.

Initially, I was taken aback by Leah’s comment that LRH was a “genius”, but to be cognizant of the need for all these policy letters to deal with critics and “enemies” is undebatable. While no one outside of Co$ should accept these policies as valid, the mere fact that he identified the need for such rules, and built them into the “system” was very smart. To insulate themselves from external “attacks”, by having one unifying method of dealing with them, ensures that every effort to expose them is met with the same vigor.

From a personal perspective, the “jaw-dropping” moment for me was from Bryan Seymour. For all the posturing and accusations that from both sides, it was still shocking to hear that someone uttered into his ear that it would be best if he killed himself. Understandably, they were trying to bull-bait him into a reaction, and fortunately he didn’t take the bait. While this type of “threat” has been seen, and used by others, what makes this stand out, is that it is seems to be completely acceptable, per LRH policy.

For all the smearing and deflecting coming from Co$, they cannot seem to shake the fact that these attempts to ruin someone’s career, relationships, and family bonds are codified within their policies. They are compelled, as scientologists, to use these tactics. While it does not insulate them from accountability of their actions on a personal level, it does make it clear that, as a member in good standing, they must follow the policy verbatim. That is a sobering cold, hard truth.

The overarching message of this special episode to me is, if you are going to speak out in criticism of Co$, you should expect to be met with the same type of reaction. Their response to perceived “enemies” is policy, which must be followed. As such, you can predict and prepare for such scenarios. You can then, hopefully, avoid knee-jerk reactions to their attempts to “ruin” you. Having a plan of action in place, will allow you to respond in an effective non-violent way.

As for the smattering of Season 2 previews that were used during this special, I think we can expect a major focus on the 2nd and 3rd generations. Those who were “born” into, taught to live by, and grew up within this “system”. To some degree, these folks did not have any pre-existing moral compass or values to make them question these policies and actions. It also seems Season 2 will peel back the bandages covering a very troubling narrative history of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that these members had to endure. We will see, again, that this type of behavior and treatment is “baked into” the policies and “scripture” created by LRH. It is safe to assume that the coming season will be uncomfortable, somewhat disgusting, and completely disheartening. Unfortunately, these stories must be heard and shared. Not only to stop them from occurring for anyone else, but to further the ground-swell of support for ex-members, current members who wish to leave, and those willing to oppose the policies, actions, and beliefs of Co$.

It also seems that there may be a focus on a particular celebrity member who was recently accused of potential crimes, and an attempt to hold the police department to their designated role and responsibility to investigate these claims. This summer should end up being a hot one, and I cannot wait to see where this show takes us.

Stand Up, Speak Out, and Be Heard!

 

Rumpelstiltskin

There is no such thing as the “Deal of a Lifetime”. In nearly every instance, what appears to be “too good to be true”, is nothing more than a con. To enter into such an agreement, one must consider all unspoken consequences and the impact to others.

Sure, they will lure you in with allusions of grandeur, fame, riches, and other false rewards, but at what cost? Are you willing to lose your integrity, honesty, or virtues? In taking the “easy” route or “quick fix”, how can you then look at your friends, family, or coworkers and not feel embarrassed or ashamed that you have “sold out” to another group or individual(s)?

Group dynamics can be inspiring, thought-provoking, and healthy. They can also be cold, callous, and mind-numbing. It is key to understand how the group is organized and maintained. Are you joining a group that requires secrecy, has a clear dictatorial hierarchy, and punishes for disobeying strict rules of conduct or thoughts? Are you expected to mirror the ideas and values of the leadership, even if you might not agree all the time?

And, what do you gain from this “partnership”? Will the benefits continue even if you fall out of favor with the group, or decide to leave? Or, are they specific to your continued acceptance to be “managed” by the group leadership?

As for the leadership, do you know the “true” agenda or goal? And, are you sure you do? Do you know why you were approached to become a member in the first place? Do they acknowledge your thoughts and ideas, are they quick to dismiss or criticize, or do they spoon-feed information to you? Are you willing to provide personal details or information with the expectation that they will remain private? Or, have you ever felt betrayed by the leadership?

Regarding existing interpersonal relationships, are you required to hide your “membership”, or are you asked/expected to relay information back to the group? Should your relationship with this group become known, are you directed to deny or deflect, and would you face consequences from the group, if you confirm that fact?

While I admittedly don’t have answers to all these questions, I am confident that I neither belong to a secret group, nor follow anybody’s orders when it comes to Co$. My words and posts are my own – unless it’s an obvious retweet ;). I’m not beholden to anyone but me, and that’s where I want to be. You may agree, or you may disagree with what I do or say, but you can be assured that I believe in what I’m doing. I believe that many of us have been inspired by #ScientologytheAftermath, #GoingClear, #TheUndergroundBunker, #MyScientologyMovie, #Troublemaker, #Ruthless, the countless stories of former members, or other reasons. We may share common ideas, but I do not receive directions from others or force others to adopt mine.

To me, the focus are the policies, actions, and beliefs that lead to abuse, disconnection, silencing of critics, or smearing of former members. This is what inspires me to Stand Up, Speak Out, and Be Heard. The reward is knowing that you did what you could to make sure there are no additional victims.

Friday…Five for Fightin’

Tax-exempt status for Co$ should be overturned. Believe what you want about it being a “recognized” or “official” religion, I’ve heard members refer to it as a “system”, not a religion. As such, the only other option for retaining tax-exempt status would be as a “charitable” organization. Haha, uhm, pretty sure that 99.99999999% of charitable organizations do not horde money or real estate as they seem to do, spend tax-exempt money to hire PIs to tail, or launch smear campaigns against ex-members. If there is no tax benefit to “donating”, the war chest starts to dry up.

Disconnection must end. Period. Yes, people in all walks of life may stop being friends or choose to stop communicating, but there really is no comparison to disconnection or shunning. While a friend/family member may ask you to not stay connected to someone, they do not normally threaten to declare you “evil” if you refuse. There are just far too many stories of families ripped apart by this policy. Parents, children, and even grandchildren should not be “forced” to stop associating with one another just because they decided to leave, said something even moderately critical, or even something more petty.

The “Fair Game” and “Smear Site” campaigns against ex-members and critics has to stop. It is simply schoolyard bullying, but with funded by tax-exempt money. Rather than focus on the alleged abuses, they find it more convenient to try and publically shame someone by exposing anything in a person’s past that could be viewed as negative. The world is waking up to this tactic, and generally dislikes the approach, in my opinion. It is very unbecoming of a “church” to attack they way they do.

Co$ needs to come out of the shadows and address the accusations of it’s ex-members and critics. Failure to be accessible to the public or journalists only breeds more contempt for their policies, actions, and beliefs. Sending a lawyer that is not a practicing member to “defend” them, is beyond ridiculous. It is unfathomable that current members are not calling for COB to publically address all the stories of abuse that have surfaced. Ignoring the criticisms will not make them go away. Starting your own TV channel, will not lessen the impact of blogs, documentaries, TV shows or print.

And, finally, just to jump off the Co$ soapbox, please take a moment this weekend to remember those who have sacrificed to make the world what it is today. I know, I know…but I’m speaking to the real reason behind Memorial Day. While I have been fortunate that none of my relatives or friends have given the ultimate sacrifice, they did serve in the military, so I have great respect and admiration for all those who have, or are, serving. In our current social-political environment, it can be easy to forget those who have come before us. But, there is no rule against raising a frosty cold one in their honor and remembrance 😉

Have a great holiday weekend!

This and That

Ok, I’m going to go a little (maybe totally) off topic today 🙂 As Americans gear up for Memorial Day Weekend, I thought it would be fun to share all the “Honey-Do” items on my list, as well as some of my own.

  • the contractor was supposed to start residing my house, but due to the rain won’t start until tomorrow.
  • Empty out the back patio so the contractor can take down the deck
  • Mow the yard – probably not going to happen, due to the rain
  • Rent a roto-tiller and till the garden
  • Put down weed block in the garden
  • Put up the garden fence
  • Pull the pool cover off
  • Start the process of opening the pool
  • Take the kids to soccer and gymnastics
  • Entertain the MIL, SIL, and her kids
  • Grill for all of them
  • Watch the @PixelDwellers live stream tonight
  • Watch the @PixelDwellers live stream tomorrow night as they do a launch day play-through of Friday the 13th
  • Partake in some adult beverages
  • Watch Scientology and the Aftermath on A&E Monday night
  • Go to the Gym
  • work on my next podcast
  • Partake in some adult beverages
  • Grill

And, did I say partake in some adult beverages? 🙂

So, what do you have planned for the holiday weekend? Or, what does your “Honey Do” list include?

 

For those about to rock…

We salute you. Today, I want to send a personal thank you to all those who have stood up and spoken out about Co$. From the celebs, bloggers, ex-members, authors, journalists, and every day citizens of the world, you continue to inspire and educate. Due to the words and actions of all of you, the world is waking up to this organization. They cannot continue to ignore the accusations, they will not be able to deflect by using black PR, “Fair Game” or smear sites, and they will not be able to outrun the clutches of justice.

While most tend to focus on Leah, Mike, Tony, Chris, Aaron, etc , and rightly so, I also know that each day there are more people waking up to the policies, actions, and beliefs of Co$, more ex-members willing to share their stories, and more never-ins willing to stand with anyone who has survived this organization.

I expect the new 2 hour Memorial Day weekend special Scientology and the Aftermath to be yet another thorn in the side of Co$, and I cannot wait. I salute your bravery and desire to expose the trust about Co$. To this end, I stand with all of you. Stand Up, Speak Out, and Be Heard!

 

Oh, mystical magi…

Ok, this might be a relatively short one today, but felt it needed saying. There is no great “middle path” or enlightened way to protest a reportedly abusive organization like Co$. For those who are attempting to spread this myth, please ask them how effective they have been over the past 60+ years in ending the policies, practices, and beliefs of abuse. How many people have they “rescued” from the grips of disconnection, the RFP, or kept from oppressive debt and bankruptcy?

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’m confident that there is no “playbook” on how to confront this group. I find it very disingenuous for someone to play the sage elder in this situation. There are no “hard and fast” rules on what is acceptable or moral, and anyone who tells you differently should be viewed with a decent level of cynicism.

While I do not support or promote hate, abuse, or violent speech, I do recognize that we all fall into that trap from time to time. I would be hard-pressed to believe that one has never found themselves so passionate about something that they haven’t uttered words that they immediately wished they could take back. The same is true with Co$. Everyone should know by now that they indeed play this game. The bait you into responding in a way that you typically would not.

To those who have been caught by this ploy, a simple apology is all that’s required, in my opinion. No need to dwell on it. Continue confronting and protesting as you can. But, the catch is, you can expect this transgression to live on for months or years later. It will not only be used against you, and other protesters, by Co$, but also those who preach this “Middle Path” philosophy.

I’m not saying I support using violent, hateful, or abusive language, but I also understand why you may have been baited to using it. I am also mature enough to weigh one utterance against a larger body of work. While I wish things like this didn’t happen, I’m also pragmatic enough to understand that anyone can fall for this game.

At the end of the day, this stunt is just a way to apply “divide and conquer” technology. For some, there is value in the continued existence of this organization. Whether it be that it “validates” their prior participation in it, or they are profiting from the continuing conflict, it is certainly a topic of further investigation, but perhaps for another day.

To all of us who are against the abusive policies, actions, and beliefs of this organization – Stand Up, Speak Out, and Be Heard!

Crap scientologists say…

Today, just going to document some of the highly hypocritical, unintelligent, and down-right unethical things that scientologists have said on social media. Those of us who have had “conversations” with a scientologist quickly notice that they rarely, if ever, answer a question, provide no detail or depth, and often cannot recognize sarcasm or common sense. In my experience, you question a scientologist enough, they will block you – as they cannot adequately address all the stories of abuse or provide proof that the tech works, that their addiction “treatments” work, or that Co$ is “growing”.

I always seems counter-intuitive that they demand respect, or are quick to label someone a “bigot”, yet when compared to the smear sites and hashtagging that they use, it’s clear they are not the “most ethical people on the planet”. In fact, they seem to lack even moderate application of ethics online.

So, let us begin –

  • #facepalm
  • “oh dear”
  • “Nope”
  • #bigot
  • #hater
  • #wifebeater
  • #deadbeatdad
  • “What courses have you studied?”
  • “What org have you visited?”
  • “So you know nothing, then”
  • “This is the dumbest person on Twitter”
  • “So nothing then”
  • “You’re the one lying. Or just stupid”
  • “You sound like a fool”
  • “Is that a veiled threat?”
  • “Don’t eat dinner with that guy, he’ll try to poison you”
  • “Nah, you really haven’t”
  • “you really haven’t sweetie”
  • “And, where have I lied?”
  • “Then you really are an idiot”
  • “So believing hearsay?”
  • “No circular logic, just truth”
  • #religiousdiscrimination
  • #religiousprejudice
  • “Get the facts, then tweet. In that order”
  • #religioushatred
  • “You are ignorant of the facts”
  • #fakenews
  • “That’s pure #religioushate. Enough already!”
  • “What Scientology books or courses have you personally studied?”
  • “Stop spreading #religioushatred”
  • “Ever tried Dianetics? It might really help you…”
  • #leahremini
  • “DM me your address and I’ll get you taken off the list”
  • “Have you ever had a go on the E-meter?”
  • #hatewontwin
  • “You can’t believe a thing that hate blogger Tony Ortega says”
  • “What courses did you do?”
  • “Yapping dogs”
  • “Here’s the true data on that”
  • “Not by listening to a lying ex-member”
  • “Scientology is an official religion”
  • #propaganda
  • “Scientology is expanding now faster than ever…”
  • “ADHD & all chemical “imbalances”, Total 100% fraud”
  • #perjury
  • #perjurer
  • #unreliablesources
  • #hatecrime
  • “This is the biggest hypocrite out there”
  • “Now I’m ready to show how dumb you are”
  • “You two are competing for the dumbest anti-scientology award?”

There are obviously tons of hashtags and tweets to pick from, but these were some of my personal favorites as they have either been levied against me or some of the folks that I have met on Twitter.

So, do you have any personal favorites that have been used against you? Post in the comments.

 

Friday 10/2

Ok, only have time for some quick hit conversation starters –

Be wary of people who seem to have all the answers. Chances are, they are orchestrating the conversation

Be wary of people who want to control you. Chances are, there is a hidden agenda

Be wary of people who seek out power. Chances are, they haven’t earned it

Be wary of the shadows. Chances are, there is trouble lurking

Be wary of those with hidden agendas. Chances are, they do not mirror you goals.

Have a great weekend all!

For whom the bell tolls…

Today, I’d like to spend just a moment to remind everyone of what is on the horizon. There has been a lot of activity on social media, in the courtroom, and local government.

First, was the City Counsel of Clearwater voting unanimously to buy the parcel of land from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It was significant in that Co$ wanted the land, and was willing to pay 3X the price that CMA accepted from the city. While hard to determine if this parcel was an essential part of the “Imagine Clearwater” revitalization plan, it is important to note that most attendees and the counsel were in favor of the purchase even after pressure from Co$. The Pinellas County Commissioners also ignored Co$’ efforts to disrupt expansion funding for the aquarium, despite last minute black PR campaign from Co$. Unfortunately, I don’t think we have heard the last of their efforts to thwart the city or aquarium in retaking Clearwater.

Next up is their “treatment” centers. If you recall, as a result of a 911 call in Cannon County, Tennessee, police “rescued” two “patients”. One was kept in small, relatively unfinished cabin, the other in a padlocked room. The two “caretakers” pleaded guilty to 2 counts of unlawful imprisonment, and the owner charged with 2 felony counts of facilitation to kidnapping. The judge ordered all facilities in Cannon County be closed.  And, just yesterday there was another pre-trial settlement for Narconon Arrowhead, bringing closure to 2 of the 3 “mysterious” deaths at the facility. It will be intriguing to see if the final case makes it to trial, and what information will be disclosed about Narconon.

There is also the Garcia’s fraud case hanging over Co$. While the judge decided to use the “church’s” arbitration process, most recently he ordered Co$ to turn over a list of 500 members “in good standing”. The judge received the list, but void of any contact information. As a result, he ordered Co$ to turn over the list with contact information so that he can choose the 3 arbiters. That list was due by May 11th. While it might be an uphill battle to get 3 current members to side w/ the Garcia’s, it is important to see how this one judge has interacted with both parties.

We have also been receiving information from a 2009-10 FBI investigation on Co$. Although they previously have denied that the investigation ever took place, a FOIA request has produced 300+ pages from the FBI. While the investigation appears to have been abandoned in May 2010, there should be a significant amount of information to comb over in the coming weeks and months.

There are also a few other “cases” that may either directly impact Co$ or certainly shine poorly on them such as, the Masterson sexual assault allegations, Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced abortion case, and hopefully more information regarding Cat White’s death. I’m sure there are others, but those were at the top of my head.

So, let’s get to the really “good” stuff. I think everyone is very excited for “Scientology and the Aftermath” Season 2 to kick off. Around the same time, Co$ will begin “broadcasting” from SuMP on Spectrum. Hmmm, competing channels and shows…the ratings war should be interesting. Leah and Mike’s show appears to have been perfectly timed as Going Clear and My Scientology Movie whetted the public’s appetite for the subject. I’d like to see Season 2 share the stories from 2nd and 3rd generation ex-members, where they were born into it, or indoctrinated at a very early age. It will also be very interesting to see if the “guests” experience the same type of “smear site” campaign as the first season participants.

And then we have Anonymous. You may not know who they are, but you surely have heard of them. Seems they have had a renewed interest in exposing Co$. As of today, significant protesting is scheduled for June 24-25th in the UK and LA. I think there will be more protests around the globe on those dates as well. I think we can all expect additional protests in the following months. My sense that they are putting significant resources and effort into #OpScientology. I will be sure to share any additional information, on protests, that I receive.

I’m sure there are additional efforts in the works that I’m either forgetting, or are still not widely known. Safe to say, there is a focus on Co$ from many different angles. They need to be careful in how they handle responding to this attention. With more eyes on this organization every day, will they continue to respond by attacking? Is the bell set to toll on Co$? Only time will tell, but the forecast is not looking sunny for them.

Disturbance at the Heron house…

“They’re going wild” the call came in
At early morning predawn then
The followers of chaos out of control
They’re numbering the monkeys

The monkeys and the monkeys 
The followers of chaos out of control
“They’re meeting at the monument”
The call came in the monument
To liberty and honor under the honor roll
“They’ve gathered up the cages the cages and courageous”
The followers of chaos out of control
The call came in to Party Central
“Meeting of the green and simple”
Try to tell us something we don’t know“Disturbance at the Heron House”
A stampede at the monument
To liberty and honor under the honor roll
The gathering of grunts and greens
Cogs and grunts and hirelings
A meeting of a mean idea to hold
“When feeding time has come and gone
They’ll lose the heart and head for home
Try to tell us something we don’t know”
Everyone allowed, everyone allowed
– Peter Buck, Bill Berry, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe
So, what can we learn from this R.E.M. hit? It’s a warning to the powers-that-be, the underlings (grunts, greens, cogs, hirelings) can be rallied to organize, but don’t expect them to click-step to your directives. You may find that once you take your eye off them, they have a very different “mean idea to hold”. You can only hold their attention for so long, if under false pretenses, until their own needs to be met.
You can claim the rally-cry is for nationalism, party, human rights, etc but if your motives are nefarious or self-serving, those you consider “underlings” will soon grow weary of you. As a result, your power will wane. You do not rule/lead simply “because”, you are allowed to rule only so long as the underlings are either apathetic, believe you are honorable, or trustworthy. When the façade of our heroes & leaders are shattered, there is no more trust, admiration, adherence, or influence. You can no longer cast your spell on the masses. You no longer hold the key to the kingdom, and you cannot expect to lead without being challenged.
For the followers, it can either be absolute freedom or absolute chaos. In the vacuum created when leaders are discarded, they must be wary of replacing one despot with another, falling into complacency, or feeding a thirst for power. True leaders will emerge organically.
Steer clear of those who seek or claim power. True power is not assumed it is given. It should not be built on the backs of others, or rely on secrets, lies, or misdirection.