Archive for April 2007

A New Slant on Tragedy

April 30, 2007

One of the most disturbing aspects of Scientology is their exploitation of human tragedy. On a small scale, they do it every day. When you meet Scientology on the street by stumbling upon a table where they offer a free “Stress Test,” they are trying to “find your ruin.” They are looking for the aspect of your life that is giving you trouble and they latch on to it as a way to lure you into the group.

You are, in their terms “raw meat.” That is the phrase Hubbard used to describe the unsuspecting public to be drawn onto the Bridge, to be put into the grinder and shaped into placid little Scientologists.

The people giving the Stress Tests are called body-routers which accurately describes their assignment: to take bodies off the street and route them into the Org to begin their Scientology training.

I consider the stress test to be fraud. They aren’t measuring stress. They are merely stopping you to give a sales pitch, and not even an honest pitch. They want new recruits. What is ruining your life? Relationships? Marriage? Finances? Children? We can help.

It’s seldom that Scientology tells the truth. I caught Scientology doing stress tests at the local Wal-Mart a while back. They told the manager it had no connection to Scientology or religion. They were merely selling the secular book, Dianetics. It wasn’t until I pointed out they were using the e-meter which is labeled a “religious artifact” that they got booted off the property.

On a larger and more disturbing scale, body-routing is at its worst when Scientology exploits a national tragedy such as the recent shootings on the Virginia Tech campus. Even before the shooter was identified, Scientology had issued statements blaming the incident on psychotropic drugs.

Before any time had lapsed, Scientology sent out urgent e-mails to its members, asking for generous donations to pay for copies of their booklet, “The Way to Happiness,” to be distributed on the campus. The booklet is a glorified, expanded reworking of the ten commandments, finally done right by humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers raced to the scene to pass out ten thousand copies of the booklet and offer their services. As they’d done so ghoulishly from Katrina to Ground Zero in New York after 9/11, they preyed upon the victims of catastrophe at their most vulnerable moments.

On Friday, April 27, 2007 CNN ran a report on Anderson Cooper 360 in which Scientology spokesperson Sylvia Stanard put a happy face on their activities and demonstrated such Scientology techniques as Locationals and Nerve Assists. Former Scientologist Michael Pattinson offered some balance.

One thing which jumped out at me from the story is Sylvis Stanard describing the Nerve Assist as only used for medical purposes. She wanted to allay the reporters concerns that there might be some religious connotation to the assist. What she did was open up a can of worms because Scientology shouldn’t be practicing medicine. Oops.

9/11I’m glad CNN covered this story. It’s come up in the past, most notably after 9/11 when Scientology managed to trick FOX news into displaying their Dianetics sales number 1(800)FOR-TRUTH on scrolling text as the phone number for people to call “For Mental Health Assistance.” It ran for hours before FOX was notified and pulled it down.

In the guise of helping the injured, Scientology moves into a scene and starts to take over while gleefully bragging about how they chased the actual mental health experts away from the area.

While many churches and other social groups also aid in disasters, how many of them issue press releases about the fine work they do? Hubbard issued orders that this type of activity should be done to Safe-point Scientology, that is to make it appear that Scientology is a good force in the community. Getting good press is part of getting new members.

While I believe the volunteers on the scene mean nothing but good and believe they are helping people, the organization sees the activity as another recruiting tool.

Need proof? Look at the bottom of the Volunteer Ministers’ main page. “What is ruining your life? Relationships? Marriage? Finances? Children? We can help.”

Scientology Embraces Xenu

April 26, 2007

Scientology can reform. I’ve seen proof. Where once they went to great lengths to bury the word “Xenu,” now they are actually buying domain names featuring Xenu…and using them.

It was brought to my attention that Scientology purchased the domain http://www.xenu.tv in hopes that people might be looking for my website http://www.xenutv.com and mistype the url. What do you get at xenu.tv? Well, cable access shows touting Scientology and the wonderful system developed by humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.

I contacted xenu.tv yesterday by email and got a reply this morning:

Mark Bunker wrote:

Wow. Here I thought XENU TV was critical of Scientology but it turns out you guys are fans of L. Ron Hubbard.

Can you tell me what the Xenu stands for in your url?

Thanks.

—-Original Message—–
From: Ron Savelo [mailto:ron@humanmind.tv]
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2007 12:31 AM
To: Mark Bunker
Subject: Re: XENU TV

Wow back at ya.
You’re such an ass, Mark.
Why don’t you tell me what it stands for.

XENUAlright. Xenu is the evil intergalactic overlord who blew us all up in volcanoes 75 million years ago and caused all of our problems here on Earth. It’s the basis of OT3 and all the following upper level formerly top secret levels of Scientology.

Scientology used to go to great lengths to hide this word. They cropped it out of pictures. They blocked it on picket signs. They raided peoples homes. They even had their attorneys white out the word in court documents.

Now Scientology loves itself some XENU!

This is quite a remarkable turn of events and shows just how much an impact the web has had on Scientology. To show my support, I am going to consider xenu.tv a sister-station to my website and will do what I can to promote their material. Hopefully, they will send people to my site as well and we can live in simple peace and harmony.

Here’s a sample of what you can find on the Scientology XENU TV:

UPDATE:

I let Ron know about the blog post last night and here’s his reply:

Thanks for the free promotion Mark.

Of course my web stats haven’t increased as a result of your promotions, but I’m sure they will because of the huge numbers of visitors to your sites, and the incredible power that your work has had and will continue to have on the Scientology world.

Let’s change that.  Anyone want to contact the media and let them know about XENU TV’s new sister station?

“The Profit” Public Response

April 8, 2007

John asked me a question in the last entry about the premiere of “The Profit” in Clearwater.

QUOTE 1:
It had a very successful three week run at the theater and drew attention from the local TV stations.

QUOTE 2:
….I wasn’t being honest about the ineptitude of the film’s production so I sat down and wrote a lengthy review of the movie ….

So, which quote carries more weight ?

Both are correct.  There was a great hunger in Clearwater to see someone take on Scientology.  Even though the newspaper review was dreadful, people still came out to see the film.  Did they like the film?  Not that I could tell.

As I left the screening last night, I was met in the hall by a group of teenage guys waiting at the door to see the midnight screening.

They were asking everyone, including me, “what did you think?” I told them it wasn’t for me to say but I asked them what they had been hearing and they replied “Negative! Very Negative!” They had big grins on their faces as though they knew “yeah, it may be bad but I can’t wait to see a certain cult get blasted.” The faces of the people coming out were nowhere near as happy.

I met another group out in the parking lot who were hugging each other goodbye and saying “We’ll have to get together again for a GOOD film.”

I went over and asked them what they thought and they said “You’re not the director, are you?” I said no and they told me they thought it was lousy. That was the general consensus. Ignoring the obvious and blaming the LMT for sabotaging the film or accusing the SP Times’ critic of potentially costing someone their life for being honest about the movie won’t help a thing.

Ever since I posted my review, I have been accused by the unofficial mouthpieces of the producers of trying to “destroy the movie” which is just plain silly.  As I said in my review, “The Profit” will live or die because of the quality of the movie.

Now, perhaps in the years since it opened in Clearwater, much work has been done on the movie and it is a better film than it once was.  I’m curious to see if that is the case which is one of the reasons I support the re-release of the movie.  As I’ve said,  I would buy another ticket to see it again or buy the DVD.  I have “Battlefield Earth” in my collection, after all.

I think it unlikely that it can overcome all of its shortcomings, however.  You can make a bad movie from a good script but it isn’t possible to make a good movie from a bad script.  While you can trim away the worst aspects of the film, you can’t magically make good dialogue and solid performances appear out of thin air.

I got viciously attacked for putting a few clips of the film on the LMT website at the request of Bob Minton, the executive producer and the man who funded the film to the tune of $2.5 million.  He asked that the cameos of the LMT members be put on the site and who was I to say no?  He was a partner on the film, the fund-er of the film and certainly had the right to do so in my opinion.

The charge from my detractors has been that they were clips which were from a work-print and didn’t give the real story about the quality of the finished movie because they weren’t color corrected and so forth but look at the clips in the newscasts and you’ll see the film which was shown theatrically in Clearwater was the same shoddy quality.  Far from what Peter Alexander boasted on a.r.s.

I can’t tell you a lot about the film just yet except to say that some of the raw footage is amongst the most powerful and beautiful ever filmed.

“Profit” Production

April 8, 2007

These newscasts from the Tampa Bay area detail the production of the feature film, “The Profit.”

Courage Productions was formed by Bob Minton and Peter Alexander for the express purpose of producing a feature length film exposing Scientology.

Bob Minton was executive producer and funded the $2.5 million dollar production. Peter Alexander wrote and directed the film which was produced by Alexander’s partner, Patricia Greenway.

Production commenced in 2000 in and around Tampa Bay and much effort was taken to shield the film from Scientology’s glare. It wasn’t until the first day of location shooting that Scientology got a good idea of what was going on. Immediately, they sent people out to picket at the filming location.

These first newscasts happened after Scientology discovered the film was in production.

BROADCAST DATE: September 27, 2000

A year later, the film premiered at the Clearwater Cinema Cafe, a second run movie house where people could sit at tables and dine during the film.  I attended opening night and reported on the sold-out performances.  It had a very successful three week run at the theater and drew attention from the local TV stations.

BROADCAST DATE: August 24, 2001

By this time, the relationship between Bob and Peter had fallen apart, and Peter and Patricia had been removed from the board of the Lisa McPherson Trust. In the last of the newscasts, Patricia had decided to tell the reporter that the filmmakers no longer wanted to be associated with the LMT. That was how FOX 13 ended their news report.

I felt this was an unnecessary slap in the face to Bob who graciously had funded the film for millions of dollars and given the filmmakers complete artistic control of their project. The news report aired in the FOX 13 evening newscast and the following morning’s AM edition.

The first newscast attributed the quote to an unnamed production source and had me outraged. I called Bob and let him him know. Bob called Peter and Patricia and was told by Patricia that she had never said anything remotely like that, and it couldn’t be her they meant. The following morning’s broadcast (the one shown here) said the quote came from the film’s producer.

I documented this and other outrages on the newsgroup, alt.religion.scientology. Having bitten my tongue about the poor quality of the film, this petty slap from Patricia on what should have been the positive event of the film’s opening, made me reevaluate why I wasn’t being honest about the ineptitude of the film’s production so I sat down and wrote a lengthy review of the movie.

Who Wants To Be An OT8?

April 4, 2007

I really hope that Ron (Friend to Mankind) Hubbard has picked up a new body because I’d hate to have him miss out on all the fun he has brought into the world with his raving lunacy.

This is a very funny series of sketches on Scientology from comic John Safran. Never heard of him? Well, neither had I but I gave him a chance and was richly rewarded.

This was part of his series entitled, John Safran vs. God which aired in Australia in 2004. Did I say, I had never heard of him? Well, actually I was aware that the final installment of this show had Safran encounter another religious conman, Rev. Bob Larson. It was an infamous episode because Safran dropped the humor and Larson expelled a demon from him in the broadcast.

Real or fake? People still wonder.

Fake.

Music Makers

April 1, 2007

MC Lars has a terrific music video about Scientology.

I like this interweb thingie. You can find homemade entheta or major league endeavors such as “Flyentology” by Hip Hop artist El-P from the album “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead.”

Vince Daniels at a Crossroad

April 1, 2007

BROADCAST DATE: March 31, 2007

The Many Moods of Vince DanielsIn the first segment of Vince Daniels’ radio show, Keith Henson appeared to talk about the legal hell he has been in since speaking out about Scientology. He was sued for posting Scientology copyrighted materials back in the 90’s. Then he was arrested for picketing Scientology’s desert compound near Hemet, California. He was charged with “interfering with a religion” and put on trial. Unable to mention the word Scientology in court, Henson’s attorney put up no defense. Henson was convicted and fled to Canada before he could be sent to jail in Riverside County.

 

After Canada refused his request for political asylum, Keith fled back to the US and was recently arrested in Arizona where he awaits extradition. If you want to help Keith, contact Governor Schwarzenegger and ask that Keith not be extradited back to Riverside County where Scientology has great influence.

 

Download the mp3

 

In the longer segment of the show, Vince was joined by his permanent guest host, Retired Army Col. Ray Coughenour. Col. Ray has been doing a lot of research of Scientology and he is very worried about Vinnie talking on this nasty, litigious group.

Col. Ray brings up the IRS battle, which he recently discovered wasn’t President Clinton’s fault but rather had started in the Bush Sr. era. One of the outrages he mentions was Scientology’s use of 9/11 as a recruiting device. They actually got their phone number scrolled on FOX NEWS during the nationally broadcast religious service attended by the nation’s leaders. Underneath the image of President Bush in the cathedral was a message to dial Scientology’s phone number “for National Mental Health Assistance.”

 

 

Once Col. Ray gets Vinnie worked up about the dangers of taking on Scientology, Professor Dave Touretzky calls in to sooth his nerves and explain how the Internet has changed everything for Scientology. They can’t get away with the crap they used to pull.

Download the mp3

It’s good to know that Vince Daniels will continue to report on Scientology’s fraud and abuse. We need more brave people to come forward and speak out and in coming weeks on “The Many Moods of Vince Daniels,” it looks like that will happen.