The Church of Scientology Crackdown June 23, 2009

The Church of Scientology Crackdown

You’ve probably already seen this incredible exposé of the Church of Scientology and leader David Miscavige, courtesy of Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin of the St. Petersburg Times. The entire three-part series is now available online.

If it’s the beginning of the end for Scientology, fantastic, but I don’t know how much of an effect these articles will have.

Still, I am pleasantly surprised that a newspaper bankrolled this type of report. Normally, I would’ve expected this kind of piece to run in a magazine. If newspapers supported this kind of reporting more often, no doubt they would become more relevant and thus be more likely to get out of the dire straits they’re in right now.

Charles McAlpin, the Portland Skepticism Examiner, said this in an email:

I used to volunteer with cult awareness, and I can tell you that these people were huge names in Scientology. A public statement against Scientology by any one of the four would be earth-shattering news, and the four of them together have to have that organization shaken to its core.

He adds in his post that this sort of article would not even have been possible a decade ago because the Scientologist leaders would have bullied or harassed the reporters into silence.

(Thanks to Charlie and Brian for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • K

    As a person who lives near Clearwater and has family members who work for the St. Pete Times, I’ve heard that Scientologists are buying these papers up from stores or are stealing them from coin-operated newspaper boxes and later burn them. It’s crazy to what lengths they’ll go to cover it up, but there is still plenty of bad publicity going around.

  • llewelly

    Perhaps this is an optimum time for skeptics to dismantle the claims of Scientology. Strike when the iron is hot?

  • schism

    If it’s the beginning of the end for Scientology, fantastic, but I don’t know how much of an effect these articles will have.

    If the “effects” on the Catholic church after waves of pedophilia scandals are any indication, Xenu and co. will survive just fine.

  • The church probably has billions of dollars at its disposal, so this is far from the end of Scientology. That’s okay; that’s not why these articles are so good to see.

    Here’s the thing: the church is losing control of its image, and it is losing its ability to silence critics. That is going to change a lot of lives for the better.

  • trixr4kids

    Earlier this year, here in Southern California, a local news station (KESQ-News Channel 3) aired a multi-part investigation of Scientology. Reporter Nathan Baca interviewed Tommy Davis, the cult’s chief spokesperson.

    The entire interview is brilliant–Baca basically lets Davis hang himself. But don’t miss part 7: that’s the part where Baca mentions the Xenu story, and Davis is reduced to saying that asking a religious person to explain his religion’s core beliefs is offensive.

  • trixr4kids

    Oops, here’s the link to that KESQ interview:

  • trixr4kids

    Trying again–here’s the link, I hope:

  • freddie mac

    from here:

    ““One thing I do know is Dave Miscavige, and I’ve known him from December 1999 on and way before that,” Walsh said. “And I never saw any change in his personality when he became a defendant in the case. He didn’t become more antagonistic. He did not become more violent. And he’s never been irrational.””

    never been irrational? he’s a scientologist.

  • K’s opening comment struck me as funny. These people just don’t get it…it’s the INTERNET that is the opponent for which they have no defense. They can burn all the newspapers they want…it’s the millions of people being able to access information and church documents from that leaves them flayed open for the ruthless cult they are.

  • Zar

    They got Mike Rinder to talk??? That’s really amazing; this guy was incredibly high-ranking and in charge of the Church’s investigative/propaganda/dirty tricks organization. He has a lot of skeletons in his closet. I know he’s been out for a long time (tons of people are leaving, which isn’t surprising as few cults outlast their founders), but I never thought he would speak up. This is really, really big.

  • gribblethemunchkin

    I always considered Scientology to be a potential “Big religion” in the making. I found it fascinating watching how they elevated L Ron to some kind of semi deific level of wisdom and ability when the guy’s actual history is anything but. Relieved from command of his boat during WW2, sent to a mental hospital, lousy sci-fi writer, tax dodger, fraudster, eventually forced out by his own church. Yet now its L Ron had magic powerz!

    If this can happen in the 20th century with the level of record keeping we have available to us, how can people not believe it happened 2000 years ago in a time of greater belief in the supernatural, less understanding of science and less accurate record keeping.

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