The St. Petersburg Times has been running stories on Scientology recently. (St. Petersburg is right next door to Clearwater, Florida, which was taken over by the Scientologists.) It’s a multichapter expose of the cult, including David Miscavige’ abuse of members:
High-ranking defectors provide an unprecedented inside look at the Church of Scientology and its leader, David Miscavige.
They even give the “Church” a chance to respond to the articles. It doesn’t make them look any more benevolent.
Scientology’s response to church defectors: ‘Total lies’
The Church of Scientology pressed vigorously Friday (June 19, 2009) to delay publication of the Times’ Scientology story… The church also said the Times needs to talk to more people.
Church spokesmen, executives, attorneys and others flew in from around the country to meet with reporters in Clearwater. The parade started with ex-wives of the three male defectors. All three are Scientologists still. Each praised Miscavige’s visionary leadership and said their ex-husbands can’t be trusted.
Jennifer Linson said her ex, Tom De Vocht, had a reckless streak. Anne Joasem said her ex, Marty Rathbun, “lives for war.” Cathy Rinder said her ex is so out of touch with their children he doesn’t know his 24-year-old son has skin cancer.
Flying in ex-spouses who are cult members to do character assassination? That doesn’t seem creepy at all.
The church prepared binders of indexed material that included confessions the defectors wrote during their time in Scientology.
A key tenet of Scientology is that an individual who admits and takes responsibility for his bad thoughts and acts feels unburdened and joyful. Church members write confessions, which go into “ethics files” that are supposed to remain secret. But to rebut the defectors’ allegations about David Miscavige, church officials took the extraordinary step of releasing excerpts from the files. In them, the defectors admit transgressions and praise the leader. The church says the files undercut the credibility of those attacking Miscavige. The defectors say the “confessions” are given under pressure, and writing them is the only way to survive inside Scientology.
I remember the CoS saying that auditing sessions were never available to the church, and they were only used for later reference by the auditor. Now, the Scientologists are using the auditing sessions as a weapon? Surprise!
About the time that the expose was being released, the Scientologists started releasing commercials. It’s amazing how vague the commercials are. You can’t even figure out what they’re promoting until they show the logo at the end. They could end with any religion — “The Church of Latter Day Saints” or “Northfield Baptist Church”. Or maybe it’s a car commercial — it could end with “Chevy: we’re there for you”.
They’re a bit similar to the “Human Element” Dow commercials.
I guess that’s one type of advertising: just aim to create positive associations with your product. I guess that’s why they didn’t end with their regular slogan – “Scientology: give us your money”:
Maybe we can combat Scientology by just showing how messed up L. Ron Hubbard is — by playing the audio of him talking. (Don’t miss the part at 3:50 where he says, “I am not from this planet”.)