CoS has yet to legally threaten Going Clear; filmmaker talks cult’s tax free status

For all the ways that Scientologists harass, threaten, stalk and personally attack anyone who dares to question their cult, their legal strikes are perhaps the most effective. That’s why it’s notable that Scientology has yet to issue a single legal threat against HBO for their wildly popular Going Clear documentary. (Note that filmmaker Alex Gibney has said their lawyers have sent him letters. It’s unclear how ‘legal’ they are.) In a recently interview with CNN Money, HBO CEO Richard Plepler stated that they have yet to receive a legal threat from Scientology. HBO of course got their ducks in a row before airing the show, with the head of their documentary division stating that there were “probably 160 lawyers” involved in fact checking the film. As for why he hasn’t heard from Scientology, Plepler said simply that facts cannot be challenged. “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, but they’re not entitled to their own facts. I think the documentary bears up very well to any kind of scrutiny.

Filmmaker Alex Gibney stated that their team of lawyers checked every detail to ensure that they would not be vulnerable to a protracted legal battle. “We were very rigorous in terms of how we checked our story, how we had it scrutinized extensively by lawyers – not only my own lawyers but by HBO’s lawyers.

Now that the film is out and is a resounding success (it was the highest viewed documentary on HBO in ten years), Scientology is running scared. Going Clear revealed the malicious way that the cult achieved tax free status in America, by wiretapping, harassing and conspiring to intimidate IRS agents, which is basically business as usual for them. They didn’t meet the US Government’s requirements for a tax free religious organization and they still don’t. In a new editorial in the LA Times, Gibney lays out the reasons why Scientology should have it’s tax free status revoked. It’s a convincing, well reasoned essay that someone unfamiliar with the cult’s tactics can understand. Here’s some of what he wrote, with more at the source:

The church maintains that its activities are protected by the 1st Amendment as religious practices. Partially on that basis, the church convinced the Internal Revenue Service in 1993 that Scientology should be tax-exempt and that all donations to the church should be tax-deductible. (The film shows that the church’s method of “convincing” the IRS featured lawsuits and vilification of its agents.)

In the past, critics of the church have called for its tax exemption to be revoked because it is not a “real religion.” I agree that tax-exemption isn’t merited, but not for that reason. The Church of Scientology has a distinct belief system which, despite its somewhat strange cosmology — mocked by the TV show “South Park” and many others — is not essentially more strange than, say, the idea of a virgin birth. Scientologists are entitled to believe what they want to believe. And the IRS website makes it clear that anyone is entitled to start a religion at any time without seeking IRS permission. To maintain the right to be tax-exempt, however, religions must fulfill certain requirements for charitable organizations. For example, they may not “serve the private interests of any individual” and/or “the organization’s purposes and activities may not be illegal or violate fundamental public policy.”

On these points alone, it is hard to see why Americans should subsidize Scientology through its tax-exemption.

Regarding “private interests,” it seems clear that Scientology is ruled by only one man, David Miscavige. Further, powerful celebrities within the church, particularly Tom Cruise, receive private benefits through the exploitation of low-wage labor (clergy members belonging to the Sea Org make roughly 40 cents an hour) and other use of church assets for his personal gain.

It appears that many church activities may have been either illegal or in violation of public policy. Numerous lawsuits, my film, other media accounts and an abandoned FBI investigation have turned up allegations of false imprisonment, human trafficking, wiretaps, assault, harassment and invasion of privacy. And the church doctrine of “disconnection,” in which members are forced to “disconnect” from anyone critical of the church, seems cruelly at odds with any reasonable definition of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

A proper criminal investigation that followed the money — a virtual river of cash from tax-exempt donations and fees — could sort out some of these issues. Or a congressional subcommittee investigation could force Miscavige — who was unwilling to answer questions for Wright’s book or the film — to testify under oath about allegations of abuse.

[From The LA Times]

Gibney goes on to cite legal precedent for revoking an organization’s tax free status, and he states that it’s done over 100 times a year in the US. I really like the fact that he separates out the cult’s belief system from its criminal activities. I’ve heard this argument so many times from people unfamiliar with cults in general and Scientology in particular: that they’re welcome to believe/worship/practice whatever strange or bizarre thing they want. Of course they are, but it is illegal to harass, torture, imprison and control members. They ruin lives, separate families and engage in human rights abuses. Their tax free status should be revoked and this documentary is a strong step in the right direction.

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102 Responses to “CoS has yet to legally threaten Going Clear; filmmaker talks cult’s tax free status”

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  1. Annie says:

    I can’t wait to see this dangerous cult go up in flames. I’m fairly certain that the COS has tampered with the site and/or stats of the IRS petition to revoke its tax exempt status. There is no way, given the wild popularity of Going Clear, that there are only 23K signatures on this petition. Something is fishy and I certainly wouldn’t put it past them: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/revoke-scientologys-tax-exempt-status

    Somebody should look into this.

    • Kat says:

      Hmmm, fishy indeed. If I were American, I’d sign in a heartbeat, but the petition asks for a zip code. Even if the Co$ gets to keep its tax-free status, its reputation is beyond repair at this point.

    • Kiyoshigirl says:

      The fact that White House petitions require people to input personal information might intimidate some. Given the fact that the CO$ has been known to harass and intimidate those who oppose their status may be enough to dissuade some from entering personal identifiers. That, in and of itself, is a jolly good reason to investigate their tax exempt status. So sad.

  2. The Other Pinky says:

    First person to get Miscavige in a deposition should win a prize. I think only that along with the tax exemption revocation will spell the death of this cult.

    • Izzy says:

      It may very well be Monique Rathbun. $cientology made a huge miscalculation when they went after her.

      • The Other Pinky says:

        I watched a clip of her confronting some Scientology stalker, Monique is amazing and tough as nails apparently.

        Americans, could one of you explain this whole First Ammendment argument that allows them to harass her husband since he was once a member but not Monique because she was never a Scientologist. He is no longer a member so why is he subjected to THEIR religious practices?

      • Nick says:

        I believe the church will argue that Marty Rathbun is still a member of Scientology therefore the church’s actions are protected. I think the Church is alleging that Marty is still practicing Scientology “stuff” including auditing in his private residence.

        What the Church will also try to prove is that Marty is practicing Scientology WITH Monique at their home. Providing auditing services and similar types of “religious” practices.

      • The Other Pinky says:

        Thanks Nick. But hasnt Scientology itself called Marty is an apostate and accused him of setting up a separate sect (or cult as they call it)?

        Does this mean that in the US if I quit going to Catholic Mass and denounce both the Church and the pope and then set up my own off shoot religion that borrows from Catholicism, they can still consider me a church member? How far does this go? Are High Anglicans ( the ones with church rituals very similar to Catholics) considered Catholics in the States? Does this mean that there can be no splinter religions there?

      • Nick says:

        I sort of remember Marty continuing practicing Scientology in a different sect after he first defected but I thought I remember him saying that he does not believe anymore.

        You make a good point. I think Scientology’s argument is flimsy at best and even if Marty was considered a Scientologist by a court of law, how does that give Scientology the right to harass him or his wife? Would the Catholic Church, people of Jewish Faith etc. harass and intimidate defectors from their religions?

        Scientology would have to prove that some of their core practices like auditing is still being performed by Marty (and potentially Monique). They would have to convince the Judge/Jury that those practices are integral to Scientology and therefore falls under the Scientology umbrella. If you split from the Catholic Church but continued taking communion/doing confession, the Catholic Church may argue that you are performing rituals which are pivotal to the Catholic religion and therefore is similar.

        ETA: Even if Scientologists can prove that Marty is still practicing, how can they argue that their intimidation tactics and harassment is protected by the 1st amendment? That’s where I get lost.

      • TrustMOnThis says:

        Just because they are arguing it doesn’t mean it’s right or true or even necessarily legal. It’s all strategy.

  3. savu says:

    So what do we think? Will they threaten legal action? I think if they’re smart, they’ll lay low. They could let the attention die down quicker that way. But I’m honestly surprised they haven’t been whiny and litigious about it – yet. It’s also really encouraging to see that they fact checked SO much of it, because we scrutinize our journalists and documentarians so hard. They get one fact wrong (and we all know in a project like this, there are LOTS of facts) and the whole project is discredited. I’m not saying that’s wrong, it’s just a very high standard to uphold to have the most impact. So I’m very happy to see they did all their homework to make sure it’s trusted as a whole.

    Side note: we need Travolta to be patient 0 on this one, you know? Even if he doesn’t want to live through it, how amazing would it be if after his death in a will he totally exposes all the crap they’ve done to him and others? I know that’s a pipe dream, but it’d be awesome.

    • Annie says:

      I think that too many people are out for their blood now to let it just die down. There’s too much out there about their outrageous, criminal conduct and they’ve behaved so badly for so long, I bet there are a lot of people just lining up for payback. Plus so many people have been too afraid to speak out until now. I”m really hoping this film opened the floodgates and this will spell the end of them.

      I’d like to see Tom Cruise go down as well for profiting from this.

      • Jayne says:

        if the criminal behavior is all legit why does nothing stick in court?

        Tom go down? for what?
        he hasn’t done anything close to criminal.
        Work done to his car? Do you have proof he ordered it done? or knew they weren’t paid?
        PROOF- not assumption or “well he must know”. Not really. Even when asked directly tony ortega couldn’t give proof for that.

        but it’s much more to believe all the dirty laundry.

      • Nick says:

        @ Annie – I think I want Cruise to go down more than Miscavige. The fact that TC has profited so much from slave labor is really hard for me to fathom. I know DM is a little napoleon and assaults people etc but…..Actually I want both of these guys to down equally hard. They are horrific people and taking advantage of hundreds of people is just terrible.

      • Anne says:

        Tom will be impacted, at least to a degree, if people act on their disapproval and choose NOT to see him film this summer. Public perception matters tremendously in his business.

      • Annie says:

        @Jayne Do you work for Scientology or what? Seriously??

      • FLORC says:

        Annie
        If it’s so obvious Jayne is wrong don’t attack the poster. Attack the comment with proof to support that side. I think they’re playing devil’s advocate. The name is familiar around here.

        Jayne
        It’s no secret members sign that infamous 6Billion year contract to work as slaves for all those higher staning members should they need them. Cuises household staff is entirely made up of Sea Org members. They are paid about 10 cents an hour, fed rice and beans maybe twice a day, and are constantly charged thousands for their testing monthly if not weekly.

        As far as proof some members that have fled have admitted this is how it works and there’s no way Tom doesn’t know.

      • Deanne says:

        @FLORC I thought it was a regular poster as well, but I was reading the name wrong. The poster I was thinking of is Jayna, who posts thoughtful, intelligent things. I also think this poster is a Scientology troll and not playing devil’s advocate, but pushing the agenda of the COS.

      • Maria A. says:

        The IRS could audit Cruise for all those goods and services he received basically for free from his ‘church’, because technically he is a member, not an executive in that church. What do you think?

  4. Jenns says:

    So what does this say to the members of Scientology that their “church” has been so silent on this. For years, they’ve gone after a mouse fart if it sounds like something negative against the organization, and now the most damning thing to ever hit Scientology happens and…nothing.

    • The Other Pinky says:

      well, I wouldn’t say they have been completely silent. They did make a bunch of “rebuttal” videos (read smear jobs) and are paying for them to run as ads just before any anti-Scientology video on YouTube. If you are wondering what the videos say but haven’t got the patience to sit through polished bs, the most frequent accusation is that of “wife beater”. If one of the documentary sources left a wife behind in the cult they just accuse him of having beaten her up. If the source is female then they summon her ex to accuse her of adultery or being an attention whore.

      • Jayne says:

        so anything said against a current member is to believed at face value and anything said against the ex members is smear?
        No questions asked?
        There is a reason they lost in court. Might want to check it all out.

        Slave labor? allowed in the US? don’t think so.

      • The Other Pinky says:

        Jayne, as you well know, that cult follows the teachings of a man who asserts that anybody who criticises them is a “criminal”. Which is why they bleat out the refrain “…..and what are your crimes?” at demonstrators. They are completely unable to defend their appalling behavior so they go on the attack, which incidentally is another teaching from L Ron Hubbard. And it was that very same “fountain of wisdom” who writes that they should employ whatever means possible to attack their critics including lying. Smear jobs are as much religious practice for them as is holy communion for Christians or Friday prayers for Muslims.

        But I am certain you know that already. You wouldn’t be typing this out from Clearwater Florida would you?

      • FLORC says:

        Jayne

        Are you the Jayne from these threads? You can believe as you like, but common sense, wrapped with facts as they come out all play a part here.

        That so many escape and had credible accounts of what happened that all are alike, having not met. That the COS practice is well known and not hidden from the public is another.

      • delphi says:

        Jayne, Jayne, Jayne.

        How would you feel if someone was berating you, belittling you, forcing you to do hard labor at rates that would make a Nike sweatshop manager balk…all the while being told that unless you cowtow to the whims of your church president, you’ll forever be removed from your family, and quite possibly the only friends you’ve ever known (depending on the length of time of your involvement in the organization)? Hello, Stockholm Syndrome. The human mind can only be broken down so much before there’s complete and total collapse. It’s an evil organization. A cult, just as much as Jonestown, the Moonies, the Branch Davidians, or fantasy football leagues.

        And no slave labor in America? Have you seen the CONFIRMED, PROSECUTED cases of women who have been kept as slave labor in the homes of wealthy families all over the country? California, Florida, New York…it’s not an isolated case. Any time anyone uses the defense that “_________ can’t possibly happen in America!”, I die a little inside. Bad things can and do happen anywhere at any time.

      • Lola says:

        @Jayne:
        You wrote: “so anything said against a current member is to believed at face value and anything said against the ex members is smear?”
        There are plenty of videos out there about ex members giving interviews. Watch them. If, one or two ex members where to speak one thing and the rest another, then I would probably be more skeptical. But, the thing is that by watching plenty of the interviews of the ex members from all walks of life, you do get a sense that they are being truthful. On the other hand, the ads that appear before videos against COS paid by the church are the videos designed to smear others (ex-members) reputations. The church can’t have it both ways, to say that people smear their reputation, when in truth the church is doing all the smearing.

        “No questions asked?” The director did state that he did ask people related to the story of the documentary if they wanted to be interviewed, and they declined. What he received was a list of names by the church of people that the church would allow the director to interview. The research on the book is pretty solid. One of the things that I found interesting was the letter written by LRH to Veteran’s Affairs asking them for help. The author understood that LRH could have thought at one point in his life that he needed psychiatric help, but apparently did not receive it.

        “There is a reason they lost in court.” There are many reasons why people can “lose in court.” Some don’t even have to do with a party being correct.

        “Slave labor? allowed in the US? don’t think so.” Slave labor can happen anywhere, not just the states. One of the arguments is, did we ever abolish slavery of do we call it now human trafficking. But, mentioning only COS, yes, when you only pay $50 a week (even if you give them food and board), for working over 80 hours a week, you can consider it slave labor (depending on the laws and jurisdiction) Your last questions I have found interesting because from what I have gathered because the US has Employment At Will and COS is considered a Religion, a case against COS for slave labor can be treaky, but not impossible. I think they would have better luck in 1st trying a case (if someone has not done so already) regarding the labor minors do in COS, because you have laws protecting children’s rights that could go above the so call liberty of any religion.

    • Anne says:

      They’ll spin it internally. What it says to Scientologists will depend on how critical they are willing to be of an organization they are deeply invested in (emotionally, financially, etc.). And, critical reflection, apparently, is one trait Scientology strongly and openly discourages.

      • lucy2 says:

        I agree – I’d imagine they’re quite the opposite of silent behind closed doors, and really laying the victimization by the media or whatever on thick to the members.

    • The Other Pinky says:

      They seem to be reevaluating methods, although that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still very deadly. They won’t be going to court over this, it draws too much attention.

      http://gawker.com/ex-scientology-exec-thinks-church-tried-to-frame-him-ov-1695999187
      This will be more their style for years to come.

  5. ava7 says:

    I’ve wondered about this myself. I’ve read every book out there about CO$ and their threats, lawsuits, and sabotage are legendary. Maybe they’ve decided that in this situation, revenge is best served cold? I’m expecting to read any day now that Alex Gibney has been “suicided”. God forbid.

    • dr mantis toboggan says:

      Yeah I’m sure there’s been plenty of action taken against the makers of the documentary, and none of it’s legal.

    • Isabelle says:

      Have they ever sued anyone as pop public as HBO? no one cares if someone sues the IRS but suing HBO? they would be scrutined too death by the talking heads if they did it. Its why they will never sue HBO.

      • Laura says:

        Yes, they sued Time magazine in 1991. The suit was dismissed but not before Time magazine was almost bankrupted with legal fees.

    • Anne says:

      No, the filmmakers are safe. Scientology is laying low because, by hiring teams and teams of lawyers and thoroughly vetting their material, HBO defended themselves successfully against the Church’s litigious ways. Legally, they’re covered. Both sides know it.

      Retaliation would only hurt them at this point. In my opinion, they’ll try to weather the storm as best they can. That means focusing on internal morale and spinning their case internally to members of the organization.

      It’s my opinion that they are currently experiencing the greatest threat they have experienced in a long time.

      • Lola says:

        I do also think that HBO did a good job prior to airing the documentary.

        I also wonder if the fact that it is HBO (a network) and it’s association with the film industry (through Time Warner) and other probable relationships with other film industry and / or businesses, can influence COS not filling a lawsuit.

        In the end, there are actors (that need to work) that are COS members. Could there be a backlash towards these actors in COS (discreetly of course) of not getting any work if a law suit is presented.

        Plus, I did see a documentary on youtube on how COS employs courses geared to people wanting to become actors in order to recruit “new member”, if they decided to sue HBO, could they see it as affecting these people from joining?

  6. Hautie says:

    Honestly, I assumed that the Cult… decided to ignore it. And just pray to L. Ron’s ghost, to haunt the executives of HBO for degrading his memory. :)

    But what exactly can the Cult sue for? For ex-members telling their personal history of being abused.

    I do hope though since the HBO show was so widen seen. That local police will now be more aggressive with handling the harassment, that happens to the folks that escape.

    What I am surprise about…. that Kirstie Alley and Jenna Elfman have been so silent. They are normally the aggressive big mouths of the group. And not a peep out of them.

    • doofus says:

      “What I am surprise about…. that Kirstie Alley and Jenna Elfman have been so silent. They are normally the aggressive big mouths of the group. And not a peep out of them.”

      yes, exactly. either they KNOW they’re headed toward a fall and are “on the run” or they’re gearing up for something EPIC.

      but you are so right about both of those rhymes-with-witches…Alley is usually the first out of the gate.

      • Jaded says:

        I was thinking that too – obviously Miscavige has told them to keep schtum about it until the kerfuffle quietens down. But I don’t think it will, given the exposure Co$ has been under for a long time, thanks to the efforts of Marty Rathbun, Marc Headley, Paul Haggis and many others who risked life and limb to reveal the dark truths.

      • The Other Pinky says:

        Miscavige is the King of micro managing, people only comment once it comes down in the pipeline that he has allowed it. Notice that Travolta did make a comment. Clearly Miscavige saw the documentarysfocus on Travolta as an attempt to attack the perceived weak link, so Travolta was sent out to make it clear that he won’t even watch the documentary. Nobody else will speak upon the matter, for awhile atleast. Not until the attention dies down anyway.

      • doofus says:

        jaded, I don’t think it will die down, either.

        there are a lot of folks who knew how bad $cientology is, but this doc has exposed their crimes to many more people. I hope people keep defecting, members keep leaving, the IRS revokes the tax-exempt status and Miscavige dies poor and alone.

        (I know that’s not nice, but I can’t help but wish on him what he perpetrated on so many.)

    • Itsa Reallyme says:

      I thought Jenna Elfman had left the group a few years ago?

  7. Jayne says:

    actually they aren’t totally silent
    they have released some info on the people talking in the video
    tbh, I said on the other thread I do think it is a cult but I also think not everything these ex members said are totally true.
    why would they be? they were crooks before- so are they virgins again?

    often anything said against those people is considered an attack but that is not the case. Anyone making an accusation should be questioned.

    here is one video and although I know it is put out by the church, if you do some research you find out the critics were all denied in court and Marty was arrested for abusive behavior. So why so quick to believe everything they say just because they say it?

    don’t they have an agenda to make things sound more sensational?
    if child abuse and slavery were really going on wouldn’t child services step in? wouldn’t their law suits been successful?
    So every judge is in the back pocket of this cult? That doesn’t add up either.

    maybe the truth is some where in between
    I know its hard to think out of the box but watch the video

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XG8IvaIcUg

    • Jaded says:

      The truth is nowhere in between. When people join Co$, then spend all their money on courses, work for peanuts at grueling jobs, be monitored, yelled at, humiliated and punished, be separated from family and loved ones, etc. etc., it’s because Co$ has perfected the art of brainwashing to keep them there WILLINGLY. Therefore, child services can’t just step in because of an allegation someone else makes who isn’t a Co$ member.

      Make no mistake, this organization is first and foremost a secretive cult that mind-controls people and makes the few at the top very very rich. They prey upon the most gullible and troubled people who are looking for an answer, then brainwash them to bleed them dry.

      • Jayne says:

        so with all the law suits no one can get anything that sticks?

        I know even in Christianity you can’t hide behind the law and hit your kids and say it’s biblical(as some believe)

        They come and take your kids away

        I find it noteworthy that no child services has been called to take them away then.
        They would interview the child not the adult.

      • H says:

        @Jayne how are they going to call? All Co$ outgoing calls from their offices are monitored. Most Sea Org members cannot afford cell phones and if they do, Net Nanny is installed to block all negative information on The Church.

        Maybe members should call up Xenu and get him to call CPS? I know that as a member if I thought calling CPS would get me disconnected from my family or sent to a “re-education” camp, I would be too afraid to call, if I could actually find a non- wiretapped phone.

      • FLORC says:

        Jayne
        There’s total control here. Because you can’t fathom that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. I can’t fathom hitting a child, but it happens despite my struggle to understand how it can happen.

        There have been situations where parents that have left return with CPS to retrieve their kids. The children have had such stories to say the parents that left was abusive and they refuse to leave. In turn the COS is looking their best and treating the children better than ever. Later some of these kids have fled and told their account.

        These stories are everywhere and now resurfacing. You only have to look and not let your bias lead you to click on the proCOS sites. The organization is evil and they have demonstrated this time after time. While encouraging their devoted to lash out at those who question things like Sea Org.
        Not long ago Cruise’s daughter’s boyfriend left. He was in COS since birth and signed up for Sea Org. Tom’s daughter wanted to join him, but Tom wouldn’t let her… Why not if it’s not bad? something like 2 weeks later he escaped. He was a lifelong member, but once in Sea Org had to escape? He couldn’t simply walk out?

      • doofus says:

        FLORC, to add to what you said…

        …consider Katie Holmes.

        a high-profile, very famous person with (presumably) some of her own money…not Tom Cruise money, but still.

        even SHE had to use burner-phones and rent an apartment without anyone from $ci knowing…why, if what people say about imprisonment/kidnapping isn’t true, did she have to engineer a clearly (secret) escape?

      • The Other Pinky says:

        To add to Doofus comment

        Even with burner phones and a supportive dad waiting for her on the outside, Katie had to wait for her minder (Tommy Davis wife) to fall ill forcing her to leave her “post”. If leaving was such a straight forward process why all the subterfuge? Oh and Tommy Davis (a second generation follower who was in top leadership) and wife left the cult shortly after, possibly over this dereliction of duty that caused so much embarrassment for Cruise and the Church.

      • doofus says:

        Pinky, thanks for the follow up.

        I knew that Tommy Davis and his wife had left $ci, but I didn’t know that the wife was one of Katie’s minders/guards. now it does make sense why they left…they were likely kicked out as Cruise and the rest of the $ci nutters were caught off-guard.

    • H says:

      Every comment you’ve made seems to be pro-Scientology, maybe an ethics checker? Could be wrong, but I suggest you read the Going Clear book, which would make any rational person realize this cult is dangerous.

      BTW, Scientology has gotten around the labor laws stating their members are “donating” their time not working. As for proving a child labor violation, who is going to report it as its going on? A member? A child being forced to work? Don’t think so. Most Sea Org members don’t have phone, how could they making between 30-50 dollars a week? All the labor violations have come after long-time members left the group and statue of limitations apply. There is plenty of documentation going back as far as the 1970′s of Scientology forcing female to have abortions, sending pre-teens into service in the Sea Org and failing to educate their school-age members. Those rules don’t apply to their celebrity members (TC or JT), but having lived near Clearwater for many years, I know about how Sea Org members are treated…and it’s not nice.

      • Jaded says:

        Thank you H – apparently we have a Co$ troll here.

      • Hautie says:

        “Jayne – maybe an ethics checker….”
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        In reply to “H”

        Bless their little hearts. Got to love those Cult helpers. They do amuse me.

      • Jayne says:

        I knew someone would accuse me of being a member just for questioning what was said and not eating it all up as juicy gossip

        With all the complaints, if real abuse is going on. Please call cps asap.

        Even from the outside you can call cps if you know it is going on some place.
        Why no fbi breaking down the doors of this sea org is child labor is going on?
        surely they would and could if it was believed Christians were abusing their kids in that way.

        Religion doesn’t get a pass in the US for child abuse.

        why don’t you personally call cps now and have them go check it out?
        I know they would if I call on one of my neighbors. They would take the kids and interview them. Kids can’t lie like adults.

      • H says:

        @Jaded, as an early member of Anonymous, when it was just focused on Scientology, I can spot a Co$ troll a mile away. And before anyone calls me a hacker, I’m not. I was an old school activist. We protested Scientology in front of their Washington DC building with meetings, raising awareness and peaceful demostrations. Why did I do this? When I used to go to LA for business, we stayed on Hollywood Blvd. The number of times I was accosted by the Scientology brigade for a “personality test” was staggering. So, I read up on them because I’m not giving any group my money without knowing their background, and was shocked by their abuses, how they broke the law and possibly killed people (Lisa McPherson). So I got involved in protests against them. I’m very happy Going Clear is letting the masses know what a horrible organization this cult really is. The way Co$ thinks they own the streets in Clearwater and how they harass the locals is disturbing.

    • Jaded says:

      Jayne, give it up. You’re revealing yourself as a Co$ sympathizer and troll.

      • Jayne says:

        for asking questions.
        yep, I expected as much.

        but you all don’t provide proof other then some ex with a grudge said so

        whatever, you all can gossip all day and night but real change would happen in the courts and there is a reason they all get denied.

        But again, much more fun to believe the juicy sensational gossip.

        I’m off to work so have fun with the gossip today..and be sure to believe everything they hand feed you with no questions.

      • Lola says:

        @Jayne:

        I don’t mean to be rude, but if you think the court system works flawlessly, I wish I had your optimism. If you think Social Services works flawlessly, speak with a Social Worker, they can tell you stories, (even of a kids lie because mom or dad won’t let them date the “dude” they like, so the girl yelled wolf)

        So, let’s say the system is not working 100% as maybe it should. So, it’s harder than you think to get these cases the proper care.

        Personally, I don’t think your basis should be the upper level members that have left, but other members who have told their stories, of getting huge free loaders bills after leaving, etc.

        But we can all be free to think, and base an opinion.

    • Ester says:

      Jayne – Please consider checking out the Homeland Security website (official website of the Department of Homeland Security) the “Blue Campaign”, then you will see “What is Human Trafficking (indicators)”. It is a list of those indicators. Check, check, check, check, check, and CHECK. In my opinion the Church of Scientology has violated everything listed, thousands and thousands of times over. No one hears about it because number one, if they speak out, they will have hell to pay and the “church” will make sure of that, and number two, the church has had an unbelievable strangle hold on the media for years and years. Is it hard to believe? Of course. Is it true? Of course.

      There are thousands of YouTube videos of people telling their horrific experiences, dating back decades and all the way up to the present time, of what happens after your are lured with lies, falsities, and fear, into the more sinister recesses of this organization, notably the Sea Org division. Does it sound strange? That’s because it is strange, very strange.

      It’s strong stuff and it’s not for the faint of heart. Just go to YouTube and type into the search “Scientology story” or use your creativity. Either way, you’ll be well on your way to exploring the rabbit hole of all rabbit holes.

      • laura says:

        Bless you for trying Ester, but I imagine ‘Jayne’ has used up her allocated time on the computer and has to get back to the cult so (s)he can save the Universe.

      • Bethy says:

        @laura Or become an immortal being who can levitate and move objects with their mind. I want those powers!

      • doofus says:

        Jayne is really earning her $.40/hour today.

      • anne_000 says:

        @doofus – LOL!

        They upped it from 36 cents per hour? That extra 4 cents is really going to add up after they get out in a billion years…

      • Crumpet says:

        I don’t think there is any harm in asking questions. I am a scientist, and I would never click on you tube and type in “stories” if I was looking for facts about CO$, because anecdotes are not facts. It is only when you do an extensive investigation considering a variety of evidence, are able to piece things together and see for common threads that you can begin to get a picture of what the truth might be.

        Jayne needs to read up on the excellent research that has already been done on CO$ and come to her own conclusions.

      • Ester says:

        But Crumpet, when you have thousands of witnesses, telling the same type of stories, over many, many years, and you have all these dates, times, events, names, documents, recordings, videos, legal testimony, it becomes clear all of these things are an endless corroboration of people who were once held back in terror and in fear from coming forth, but do so now. Because of the internet, there have been too many leaks and too many avenues for expression for Scientology to keep up with and successfully suppress as they so excelled at, in the past.

        There is safety in numbers, and the numbers of people stepping forth increase dramatically with each passing month, week, and now, daily, as it becomes obvious to everyone, the “church” is losing its power to continue to hold them hostage in fear and with threats that these people know all to well, will be carried out unmercilessly.

        Corroboration can be backed up with countless documented judicial rulings, depositions, police reports, it goes on and on.

        When one begins to take all of these things into consideration, there will start to appear an overall picture that is undeniably single themed and terrifying in its scope of crimes committed against humanity and governments of the world in its one true aim, which is gathering power. And there we start to go into the cult of personality this “church” has become when you begin to learn of Scientologies illusive leader, David Miscavige. Wow, that’s another whole ball of nasty wax and is the directing root of the entire conglomerate of Scientology divisions, corporations, front businesses, polices, procedures, and you name it. Nothing is done until he gives his nod and orders.

        Okay, if you don’t want to type into YouTube “Scientology story” try Google and type in “SCIENTOLOGY + JUDGES”.

        I think once you get a gander at some of those documented judicial declarations, you may start to sing a a tune that is a little different.

        There are actually people, many who are past victims of Scientology’s cruel actions, who are diligently working together in gathering whatever evidence they can, from whatever dependable sources avaible, in attempts to help educate the public and attempt to get the authorities to pay attention to undeniably credible evidence, much of it easily provable.

        It has become to huge to continue to ignore.

        There are too many incriminating documents, written by Scientologists, themselves. Scientology is freaky about detailed note taking and event recording documentation, storing mountains of paper records in warehouses stockpiled to the ceiling. They are freaky about not using a lot of computers also.

        They document what occurs in each and every audit session, of each and every “parishioner”, including audits that are actually psychologically brutal interrogations which they refer to as sec checks. When I say interrogations, I’m talking about real interrogation tactics that have been used in the past by numerous real despots.

        I’m just sayin.

    • Bill_Hicks_is_God says:

      Jayne,

      Argument aside, your writing/syntax screams Clam. You sound like someone who was born into the church and is now sitting behind your computer in the Sea Org pounding out $cio propaganda for 50 cents an hour.

      This is not an idiot forum. People here are smart, have your number, and that of $cientology as a whole.

  8. Shambles says:

    I think if they were to launch a lawsuit, they would inherently be acknowledging the power of Going Clear, and the fact that this documentary is a huge threat to their dubious organization. I’m sure they know this, which is why Miscavige has instead instructed his sheep to simply plug their ears and close their eyes because we all know that means it’s not real.

  9. Me myself says:

    Katie’s miserable face explains it all. How sad when a religion dictates how to live your life and treat your loved ones.im sure this cult reminds tom every second they r the reason for his success.. so thank your church Tom giving you artificial love and being alone! I’m sure travoltas marriage would crumble if one of them left the church too

  10. jen2 says:

    It is telling that they are laying low. Not even Kristie Alley has said anything and she is usually first off the blocks to defend them and trash “traitors”. Even Travolta’s defense was muted. He never said the documentary was crap, he just spoke highly of CO$.

    I think they realize that they would be in front of some very savvy lawyers themselves and would not allow them to hide from the truth. They saw that even though Tommy won his battle with the tabloid, he lost the war as he had to answer some very embarrassing questions and showed him to be a bit off, especially when he said he was too busy to visit his child but had plenty of time for CO$ functions.

    Cruise has a movie coming out soon and I am sure he does not want this to still be front page news, so, maybe they are waiting until he is safely out of the media picture. After all, he is their only remaining super star and he has to be protected at all costs.

  11. EM says:

    US defamation law is good. It has a higher threshold, which is why people like Tom Cruise start lawsuits in other foreign jurisdictions. I think in the US a party has to also establish malice, which is difficult to establish.
    I doubt the COS have a legal leg to stand on.

  12. LAK says:

    It was very telling that Sundance took it upon themselves to guard him physically when the film was shown there.

    He will need protection, physical and legal for the rest of his life because co$ won’t ignore this long term.

    • Nick says:

      Unfortunately, I agree with you.

      Hopefully, this film will spur the IRS to withdraw their tax exemption and the subsequent tax demand cripples Scientology. First, they would have to start selling properties and eventually they will have their money (and power) drained. It will not happen overnight but once the exemption is revoked, that is the beginning of the end. Today, I think we are at the end of the beginning for Scientology.

      • alicegrey12 says:

        Jayne, I am not here to bash your opinions, but I am here to give you a piece of advice. The people who left scientology knows what goes on inside those walls and they know first hand the abuses and they would be willing to give you a lesson of why the need the to be shut down. Seek out these people and hear what they have to say and maybe it might just open your eyes to the abuses and harrasement of the cult.

    • FLORC says:

      No way are they sitting back and doing nothing or waiting for lawyers to find a weak spot.

      Nick
      Hopefully.

  13. Ella Raitch says:

    Discussions about how to generate complaints to the IRS are fomenting at Tony Ortega’s Bunker

    http://tonyortega.org/2015/04/13/if-you-want-the-irs-to-reexamine-scientologys-tax-exempt-status-its-time-to-get-real/#disqus_thread

    Join in with this fast growing cottage industry

    • The Other Pinky says:

      On a totally unrelated and admittedly completely shallow tip, I had heard of Ortega for years and never actually seen him. That dude is kinda hot. And his devotion to fighting these sickos makes him even hotter imo.

  14. TheGirl says:

    I’m not so sure the “Slave labor” is illegal. Is it voluntary work? The Jehovah’s Witnesses have the same setup. They are building a huge facility in upstate New York using thousands of volunteers. I personally know a couple who rented out their home, quit thier jobs and moved to help with this project. They do not get any money. They receive food and lodging only.

    Also when the project is finished it will be home to hundreds of “Bethelites” who work 9 to 5 in addition to mandatory religious services. Compensation is lodging, food and a very small monthly stipend for personal items.

    These “volunteers” own nothing and upon leaving will have to procure transportation, housing, jobs etc… Many go in as teenagers and never live on the “outside.” Being a “Bethelite” is viewed as a very prestigious position in the JW religion.

    College is frowned upon and advancement in a secular career is seen as materialism. Those with titles, “Pioneer, Bethelites, Missionary, Circuit Overseer” etc. must volunteer many hours advancing the religion in lieu of personal gain.

    Many children are homeschooled and participate in the preaching activity as part of their “spiritual education.” It is viewed as more important than secular education.

    I have researched Scientology and found it to be similar. The beliefs are not the same, but the structure of command and control are the same. Those who leave or commit a sin are shunned, losing all friends and family members immediately and indefinitely. (Unless brought back in line with beliefs.)

    • Laura says:

      Perhaps there are similarities, but do the JW ask their followers to pay to learn about their religion in stages? COS does, from the wealthy down to the lowly sea org slaves. And those poor sIaves, they try to leave the COS, they’re handed a freeloader bill (not legally enforceable btw) which can be for thousands of $, so they feel trapped.

    • JBC says:

      Its an interesting question @TheGirl. But when you outline the “Bethelites” like that, it really doesn’t sound that different from Catholic nuns does it? And that’s not regarded as slave labour (nor am I at all implying that it should!). Maybe its the difference of when you enter and how easily you can leave? The support and contact you can have with your family and those outside?

      • Bella says:

        Catholic nuns often live cloistered lives but they are never asked to shun their relatives, for any reason, no comparison there.
        Former Bethelites/JW’s are shunned by all congregants, including family, for leaving the faith and becoming part of what they call the secular world. Scientologists who leave, are declared SP’s (suppresive persons) and are not merely shunned by family and friends, but, stalked, harassed, sued and threatened for wanting to return to a secular lifestyle among regular folks.

  15. MAM says:

    Maybe CO$ are behind the leaked episodes of Game of Thrones, is a bit hit against HBO¡

  16. Anne says:

    I have a question for you guys about Tom Cruise.

    We’ve all witnessed the staggering hit Tom’s reputation has taken in recent years due to his involvement in Scientology. It’s incredible, especially for someone who held such sway over the media in his early years.

    Do you think the increasingly negative publicity about Scientology and his role in it is causing him any personal concern? I would think someone in his position (and with his ego) would care deeply about his public image. Surely the growing public backlash he is facing is of concern to him?

    Any thoughts?

    • FLORC says:

      He’s bestie’s with the leader DM. They treat eachother like Kings (literally).
      There is the matter of egos. I doubt Tom will ever leave. Plus, they have dirt on every member.
      Tom is huge within the Church, but he doesn’t reallly discuss it much in public. He doesn’t deny it, but he’s learned peope like Tom – Actor. Not Tom – Scientologist. 2 examples are Tom with Matt on Today Show and Tom with Oprah.

      • Anne says:

        Hi FLORC,

        Good points & thanks for your reply.

        I’ve wondered about some of these influences myself.

        Regarding his role within the church: I know DM has given him a lot of power within the organization – essentially making him an informal #2 in command and I can see how that can be appealing for him.

        But – here’s the thing – it’s not like this is a man who is unaccustomed to power or who’s only experience of power comes through this organization. For years, Tom Cruise has known and held a certain kind of power in the world. He has had money, worldwide fame, public goodwill, decent looks, the allure of being the guy who plays the hero in film after film, creative freedom – and all that comes along with that.

        Power has it’s appeal, sure, but Cruise has access to power & ego-stroking WITHOUT Scientology.

        And – as far as egos go – For all he is gaining by being treated well within the small world of Scientology, he is LOSING just as much face outside of it for his involvement with it. Surely that takes it toll on his ego, don’t you think?

        Regarding the dirt: Yes, by all accounts, they have it and that would give them a certain power over him if he chose to leave, but, given the enthusiasm of his voluntary commitment to them, I doubt they have ever had cause (so far) to use it to threaten him. I doubt it’s why he stays.

        His closeness with Miscavige IS really strange, though. I have to say.

      • funcakes says:

        Correct me if I’m mistaken but after viewing going clear the reason tom c is the poster boy for scientology because membership was plunging and they needed his star power.

        Miscavag was responsible for making tom c believe that he was so powerful at the church that he went on a media meltdown believing his own press.

        The only problem is that it back fired bbecause not only did he have a media meltdown in public, he
        pissed off the higher ups in the movie industry. Top that with firing his publicist(known as the wizard master of public images) in favor of his sister you have a catastrophe of epic proportion.

        This is when tom’s career went crashing down along with his fan base leaving Miscavag scrambling for new ways to recruit new members.

      • Anne says:

        @funcakes,

        Yes, you’re right. I can understand the appeal that Tom Cruise holds for Scientology. I just don’t understand the appeal Scientology holds for Tom Cruise as the publicity from his association with it continues to negatively influence his public image.

        How can the appeal of it be so great that he would allow himself to potentially lose so much through his association with it? Is he even aware of it’s cost to him?

    • Susan says:

      I think Cruise is unable to mentally process the info because for him to truly understand the abhorrent nature of the organization he has given his entire life and fortune over to would decimate his entire view of himself and he would be left with nothing internally (and perhaps materially) to fall back on. How much of his wealth has gone to them? He may be much less wealthy than one imagines. Everyone assumed a Katie got some sort of big payout, but the legal docs stated 40k a month in child support and nothing else. He got off amazingly cheaply. He made a mess of his life…….. It’s so sad. So much potential.

      • Nick says:

        I don’t think Tom is that intelligent.

      • Diana B says:

        It’s like the thinking process the nazi’s had to make in order to do their jobs. They had to believe they were right even though they new they weren’t otherwise how could they live with themselves?

      • Anne says:

        Susan & Diana B,

        Ah, yes. At this point, his ego would likely be very threatened if he questioned his own involvement. It’s possible that he identifies with the church and is choosing to tune out the growing waves of criticism. I just suspect that his ability to tune it out will, increasingly, suffer as this publicity storm gathers strength around him.

        It’s curious to me that Tom chose to involve himself so deeply with an organization that gives most people the creeps from day one.

        It all just speaks to me of something unexpected: either tremendous insecurity – or – voracious narcissism – or – innocent gullibility – I don’t know.

        But I agree with you, Susan, about his potential. I really liked what I knew about him as a person before the coverage of Scientology came through.

    • Annie says:

      I’m voting with my feet and with my money. I’ll never see another thing that Tom Cruise or any other adherents of CO$ are part of.

    • lucy2 says:

      Just seeing how quickly he got angry and snotty with Matt Lauer a while back, I would say he’s very defensive about CO$ and his involvement in it, and probably very concerned how all of this will affect him – but after the Today show blow up he’ll never show that emotion again.
      I listened to the Nerdist podcast with him a few months ago – often in a long form interview like that, i end up liking many people I previously did not care for. I had the opposite response to his – it was Tom in Mr. Movie Star mode, and it really rang hollow, like there’s not even a whole person in there anymore, just a puppet who occasionally does action movies. There was nothing personal, and every answer felt well rehearsed or vague.

  17. bettyrose says:

    Those pictures of Katie Holmes looking like a frightened child are sad. She got out but how many more like her aren’t as fortunate?

  18. islandwalker says:

    Don’t be surprised when the collapse comes and Miscavige is nowhere to be found. I suspect he and his stollen billions will disappear in the near future and his followers will be left to clean up the mess.

    • Nick says:

      I wonder how liquid Scientology really is. I know they have a lot of its money tied up in Real Estate but wonder if Miscavige has a lot of money set a side for a quick getaway. I guess it wouldn’t surprise me either way.

    • funcakes says:

      Miscavige is a walking text book example of Napoleon Complex.and this is his Waterloo. Your so right in thinking that he will disappear before he admits defeat. The only problem is that there’s probably someone in the background waiting to take over.

      I can’t wait for his very own episode of “American Greed”.

  19. Crumpet says:

    These film makers have proved that the way to beat CO$ is to make damn sure your legal bases are covered and then go after them. It’s how Katie successfully got herself and Suri out. You have to beat them at their own game.

  20. MadMenluv says:

    i would love to hear what that other scientology guy from “70′s show” “i think Danny Masterson is his name??” would say now about his wonderful “religion”…

    i remember that terrible interview he gave a few months back, he was so incoherent and sounded so brainwashed lol

    • funcakes says:

      Several months ago he did defend his beliefs but he’s was using so much profanity he really did more harm than good.

      Celebitchy covered it. I’m sure it’s in the archives

  21. Me too says:

    Katie Holmes has a great bone structure. That’s all