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FBI Probes Church of Scientology
I haven't finished reading the 26 page New Yorker article yet. Some of this (maybe more) isn't necessarily new news to us, but had we heard the FBI was investigating? I don't remember hearing that, or us discussing it here. Someone please refresh my memory if we have.



According to a report in The New Yorker, the Church of Scientology is under investigation for human trafficking and using free labor -- in part, to service the lavish demands of its celebrity icon, Tom Cruise.

After 34 years as a Scientologist, Hollywood screenwriter and director Paul Haggis opened up to The New Yorker in a super-sized feature, revealing, along with other former members, secrets of the Church. It comes at a bad time for Scientologists, who have been under investigation for quite some time, the article reports.

The allegations splashed against Cruise in the article involve David Miscavige, the head of the Church and close friend of the actor. Allegedly, he ordered workers to do tiresome, dirty work to customize a building, rebuild motorcycles, spends years fixing boats and much more for Cruise and the Church.

Their compensation? Fifty dollars a week.

The financial impropriety allegations don't stop there, though. While federal law forbids the heads of tax exempt organizations from receiving excess financial or material benefit, many ex-members say that Miscavige lived a very lavish lifestyle. He flew on chartered jets, wore custom-made shoes, had an impressive collection of expensive cars and motorcycles, and even had two chefs.

The investigation in large part is alleged to center on human trafficking, and to further accusations of human trafficking and unpaid labor, the article explores the "reeducation" camps to which Scientologists that fail to live up to their religious duties are sent.

One member, Bruce Hines, said that he was at one camp for six years.

"In 1995, when I was put in [a camp], there were twelve of us," Hines said. "At the high point, in 2000, there were about a hundred and twenty of us."
This is new stuff. About time too.

Looks like some serious allegations.
Skeeve wrote:
This is new stuff. About time too.

Looks like some serious allegations.


Here's this from the Los Angels Times:


Paul Haggis and the New Yorker Scientology piece: What will be the fallout?

Paul Haggis might not be writing a book about Scientology, but he might not need to after Lawrence Wright's 26-page story in the New Yorker about the director and his decades-long relationship with the religion.

It took us nearly a day to find the time to read the thing, so we won't bother to recap all the details at this point. (Vulture has a good Cliffs Notes version here.)

There's a lot of grist on Haggis, the church, founder L. Ron Hubbard, the religion's celebrity roots and everything else Scientology. The piece details Haggis' attraction to the religion and why he didn't question it for more than three decades (it was a combination of laziness and fear; he also assumed that others higher up than he had tested theories he didn't test).

There are details about celebrities including Tom Cruise and John Travolta; in one particularly bizarre story (denied by the actor), Travolta healed a wound on Marlon Brando's leg at a dinner party using Scientology principles.

But the three juiciest -- and by far the most charged -- allegations have nothing to do with the Haggis aspects of the story. They can be boiled down to three items:

a) That current church head David Miscavige has physically abused adherents
b) That the church engages in human trafficking and under- or unpaid labor, primarily through its Sea Org program at its Gold Base facility in Southern California
c) That the FBI is investigating the organization for alleged trafficking and child-labor violations

Emphasis mine.
Edited by catman on 03/09/2012 00:57
They just had the author of that article on NPR talking about the results of his fact checking L.Ron Hubbard's biography. I wonder when the Church of Scientology will declare jihad on all media.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
I made it to page 22 of the New Yorker article. Most of the Scientology stuff has been reported on before, the first person stuff is similar to other ex cult members.

I just couldn't read any more. It is NOT religion.

I just can't figure out if it is worse or better than.
I think it is neither better nor worse. Any system based upon faith and irrationality is going to lead to abuses by those who find ways to take advantage of their flocks' credulity. And there are always some who will.

Scientology doesn't have the haze of ancient origins to hide behind. It is clearly rubbish from the get-go.
Edited by catman on 02/08/2011 20:51
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
Skeeve - I would argue that the thinking behind Scientology IS religious thinking in the same way that the equally ridiculous claims of Christianity, Islam et al are religious. The only difference is scale.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
Bob of QF
In many ways, Scientology is similar to UFO-ism. It does hide in a way-- it hide behind the trappings of pseudoscience.

As such, people who have rejected traditional faith, may fall prey to it's "sciency" appeal.

Then again, you'd have to be the sort who thinks that stage "magic" actually involves.... real magic. To be taken in, I mean.

Quantum Junction: Use both lanes

Reality is that which is left, after you stop believing.
Most recruiting is done to the desperate - have you ever heard a happy go lucky person suddenly announce they have considered all the support and evidence for Islam, its laws and practices and have decided I really want to be a Muslim?

Beyond the indoctrinated through childhood crew, the rest of the herd were just looking for some out from something or another in life - and the godbotherers just happened to be there - by design of course.
That's why most of the conversion stories you here include some version of 'being down and out' or 'hitting rock bottom'. Religion preys on people at their most vulnerable.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
That gives me mental images of wolves separating the young, weak & sick from a herd. Appropriate, I'd say. My cousin is a fundie and turned to religion because of his alcoholism. Now he credits his god with getting him off the stuff, although the credit is rightfully his.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
Doubting Thomas
The FBI better watch out, or they're gonna get sued. Scientologists are a sue-happy lot when it comes to protecting the image of their religion.

Religions do prey on the down & out. Why do you think there are so many prison ministries and religious-run soup kitchens? You think they're just there to help people out without preaching to them?
You're just jealous because the voices are talking to me and not you.
Just posted some more to News. Lawsuits have been filed.

Let's hope that it goes somewhere.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
I hope it will as well. In any case, it will be fun to see the negative publicity (unless the Scientologists can figure out a way to hush it up).
I don't remember seeing any follow-up reports. The OP is a year old.
"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
Is it a case of all the right people were paid off?
Not only is the OP a year old so is the quoted newspaper article. Living in California I would think I would have heard of any progress in the law suit. I have not.

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"The world is my country, and do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine
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