Bringing up Scientology does NOT exploit Jett Travolta’s death

4 01 2009

With the death of John Travolta’s and Kelly Preston’s teenage son Jett, the inevitable reference to their “religion” will come up. Some critics of Scientology have immediately tied his tragic death to his parent’s belief in the rantings of a lunatic, while others wish to hold off on all criticism to let his parents grieve. Some mainstream media commenters even call our response ghoulish. On the Operation Clambake Message Boards, a poster by the name of J. Swift requested a “Global Day of Peace”, a small ceasefire of all criticism of the “Church” of Scientology, on January 9th, 2009, to give condolences to the Travolta family. Here are my two cents.

Any day spent not exposing the nature of the cult is a day wasted. Before Jett Travolta’s death, there had been reports on celebrity news websites about his condition. Rumors have circulated for years that Jett Travolta was autistic, but his parents have never acknowledged that. Instead, they have maintained that their son suffered from Kawasaki’s Syndrome, which was caused by environmental toxins such as carpet cleaners. A report by the blog Hollywood Interrupted has some confirmation about Jett Travolta’s autism:

On Friday, April 7th, Hollywood, Interrupted was treated to the Los Angeles premiere of “Normal People Scare Me” – a feature-length documentary about autism, co-directed by the high functioning autistic teenager Taylor Cross and his mother, Keri Bowers. The event was sponsored by an organization called Cure Autism Now (CAN) and the new magazine, The Autism Perspective (TAP).

This enlightening film was produced by b-movie actor/director/producer and former special education teacher, Joey Travolta. Joey’s brother and sister-in-law, “Battlefield Earth” co-stars John Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston, were not present. Too bad…

…Had John and Kelly been at the screening, they might have a better understanding of the disorder reportedly affecting their 14 year-old son, Jett. Sadly, the Scientology couple cannot even publicly admit that their son is afflicted with a neurological disorder, lest – according to the incontrovertible doctrine of Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard – he be labeled a “degraded being” that brought his affliction onto himself. Instead, the Travoltas have long blamed their son’s disability on Kawasaki Syndrome-related “environmental toxins,” specifically carpet cleaning chemicals.

Read it all to decide for yourself. But if John Travolta’s brother and Cure Autism Now lend credence to the claim of Jett’s autism, then something is wrong here. Were Travolta and his wife in denial about Jett? A Florida restaurant owner named Tim Kelly also makes some serious claims against John Travolta and Kelly Preston regarding Jett:

Joking aside, the Kennys are “disgusted by” Travolta. They claim that Travolta has turned down invitations to participate in autism fundraisers, and most recently refused to participate in a local celebrity golf tournament if a connection to autism advocacy was promoted. The organizers of the charity tournament scheduled at the Golden Hills Country Club in November are alleged to have changed the billing from an autism event to the more generic “fundraiser for disabled children” to accommodate the star. Calls to event organizer, the Family Resources Coalition, were not returned by post time.

The Kennys also claim that Kelly and John “let Jett sit in front of video games all day eating junk food, while they eat the best organic food money can buy. They exclude Jett from all social events because they are embarrassed.”

“Once,” reports Kenny, “when Kelly took him to the movies, Jett started to have a meltdown and Kelly pointed at the nanny and ordered, ‘Take care of it.'”

“Jett does not speak at all,” confirms Kenny. “He has not even been taught how to communicate. We struggle every week to pay for our daughter’s therapy. How dare he [Travolta] ruin his own son’s chances of recovering! We want to get the word out on this.”

No one will ever know if Tim Kelly’s claims are true. Earlier last year Kelly passed away, and Jett is no longer with us either. Only Jett knows how his parents treated him while he was alive. But that doesn’t mean questions shouldn’t be asked. The “Church” of Scientology has gotten away scot free for their responsibility in the deaths of Lisa McPherson and Elli Perkins, two people who would still be here if not for the sheer quackery of L. Ron Hubbard’s teachings.

Perhaps some restraint should be maintained until an autopsy report comes out. But a Global Day of Peace is useless, even foolish. Think of how Scientologists would behave if a teenager committed a massacre with a gun. Scientologists like Jett Travolta’s mother Kelly Preston (who is a big shill for the “Church”‘s Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights) would make all sorts of baseless claims that psychiatry messed up that kid. If they can do that, why can’t we? At least we will have facts instead of baseless accusations.

If you wish to honor the Global Day of Peace, go ahead and do so. But for me personally, peace will only come when the “Church” of Scientology is finally reduced to pussy cat size and people don’t get sucked into it’s warp.


Scientology drug rehab facility to be shut down

30 12 2008

Cross-posted at

A drug rehabilitation facility run by the “Church” of Scientology front group Narconon in Alberquerque, New Mexico, had its lease agreement terminated for violating its terms. Second Chance was only intended to house non-violent criminals from the local county jail. However, the facility housed violent criminals as well – and covered it up. According to police officer Peter Dinelli, 11 inmates of the total population of 46 had committed crimes such as “aggravated battery, robbery, battery, assault on a household member, armed robbery, kidnapping”. Second Chance has 30 days to somehow salvage their lease, or it will be kicked out of its current premises.

Mayor Martin Chavez insists that this eviction notice comes only because of the violation of the terms of the lease, not because of its affiliation with the “Church” of Scientology. Perhaps he and other public officials in Alberquerque, and the state of New Mexico, need more education on the pseudoscience of the “Church” of Scientology’s so-called drug rehabilitation treatment. I touched upon Narconon briefly in a recent article about Scientology front groups. The treatment used in Narconon facilities is called the Purification (or Purif for short) Rundown, which is given to Scientologists who want to get rid of any traces of drugs supposedly still in their system. However, in this internal memo from L. Ron Hubbard in 1982, the Purif Rundown is also intended to be used to “bridge masses of people into Scientology”. Like many patients at Narconon facilities, the inmates at Second Chance are treated to high doses of niacin and long hours in a sauna. Long hours in a sauna can cause dehydration, and high doses of niacin can cause liver damage.

The quackery of this drug detoxification “treatment” is bad enough. What makes it worse is the “Church”’s useful idiots in public office who unwittingly push for Narconon facilities to be built in their communities.

Second Chance was started by two prominent Scientologists named Joy Westrum and Rick Pendery in Tijuana, Mexico. After bringing a New Mexico state legislator named Anna Crook to see the Tijuana facility, they got the support needed to bring Second Chance to Alberquerque. According to this suspiciously positive article about the so-called success rate of Second Chance (authored by Kris Nickerson), recidivism has been reduced by 90 percent thanks to the “wisdom” of L. Ron Hubbard.

As is the case with all Scientology front groups, the only thing accomplished is the recruitment of more fresh blood into Scientology’s ranks. Even military recruiters are more ethical than this. Kim Gawlick, a former patient at a Narconon facility in Vista Bay, California, says Narconon staff members pushed her to join the “Church” of Scientology (see page 5). As a result, she left after one month, fearing for her life. This point is sadly lost in Mayor Chavez’s decision to evict Second Chance: Second Chance has done more than just house violent criminals. It has taken advantage of people at their most vulnerable and given them a new drug, worse than any other: Scientology.

Scientology: Former employees of Diskeeper sue owner for violation of First Amendment rights

23 12 2008

Crossposted at

Craig Jensen

Two ex-employees of Diskeeper Corporation have filed a lawsuit against their former employer after they were wrongfully dismissed for refusing to undergo compulsory “religious” indoctrination. Alexander Godelman, the former CIO, and Marc Le Shay allege that the owner of Diskeeper, Craig Jensen, forced them to “study, learn, and apply the fundamental principles of the Scientology religion”. Their refusal to comply with this company requirement (Godelman and Le Shay are both Jewish) led to the termination of their employment on October 16th, 2006. The two plaintiffs allege that the firing was unlawful according to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, which is supposed to prevent discrimination because of age, race, sex, disability, and religion, among other things.

Clearly, this is a violation of California and even Federal law. But the lawyers for Diskeeper argued that the lawsuit ought to be dismissed in a “motion to strike” filed in December. The motion alleges Godelman and Le Shay “seek to have the Court dismantle Mr. Jensen’s and defendent’s entire way of doing business, as these methods, the Hubbard Management Technology and the Hubbard Study Technology, are supposedly religious”. In a word, yes: they are definitely religious. Study Technology is supposedly a “secular” off-shoot of the “spiritual technology” of the “Church” of Scientology. Yet, in an executive directive issued in 1972, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard wrote “Study Tech is our primary bridge to Society”. The Study Tech manuals often bear striking similarities to the “Church” of Scientology’s “religious” literature. You can find examples of that in this essay written by Columbia University professor Dr. David Touretzky.

For a time, the insurance company AllState trained it’s managment using Hubbard Management Technology. Scientology concepts such as the “tone scale” and the concept of “up stats” were taught to upper level management from 1988 to 1992. The whole “up stat” concept is what also drives the “religious” aspect of Scientology: in this Hubbard Policy Letter, L. Ron Hubbard wrote:

We are not in the business of being good boys and girls. We’re in the business of going free and getting the org production roaring. Nothing else is of any interest then to Ethics but (a) getting tech in, getting it run and getting it run right and (b) getting production up and the org roaring along. Therefore if a staff member is getting production up by having his own statistic excellent. Ethics sure isn’t interested. But if a staff member isn’t producing, shown by his bad statistic for his post, Ethics is fascinated with his smallest misdemeanor.

A “stat” in Scientology is an individual new recruit to Scientology, so if a Scientology staff member brings in a lot of new recruits, they are considered “up stat” and “[i]n short a staff member can get away with murder so long as his statistic is up and can’t sneeze without a chop if it’s down”.

With enough proof, plaintiffs Godelman and Le Shay can prove that Diskeeper, which is a major supplier of software to Microsoft, improperly forced “religious” indoctrination on them, violating their First Amendment rights.

But what if Diskeeper is successful in getting the lawsuit dismissed? This could pave the way for an evangelical Christian to require all employees to attend church on Sunday. Or for a Muslim to require all female employees to wear the hijab, regardless of their faith.

Church of Scientology loses to First Amendment

14 12 2008

Crossposted at

Recently, the “Church” of Scientology pushed an ordinance in Riverside County, California, to keep “members” of the group Anonymous away from their fortress-like Gold Base, and it was passed almost unanimously by Riverside County supervisors. But today, Riverside County decided to back away from that decision, at least for now because of the inevitable fall-out from such a restrictive ordinance.

The ordinance pushed by the “Church” would restrict picketers by prohibiting them from protesting within 300 feet of Gold Base. The “Church” and their friend inside Riverside County, Supervisor Jeff Stone, argued that Gold Base is a residential area, and there is already a law that prohibits picketers from picketing a person’s home. During the hearings, proponents tried to argue that Anonymous is a hate group by pulling images from imageboard 4chan, which is regarded as the “birthplace” of Anonymous. 4chan is an image board which has spawned many internet inside jokes and memes such as the Rick Roll. Its humour is often explicit, and, admittedly, sometimes offensive.

Free speech has not quite won this battle yet: the Riverside County board of supervisors still think this ordinance is worth “massaging and tweaking” so that a compromise can be reached. But, for now, this is a temporary victory for Anonymous, and a temporary loss for the tyrannical “Church” of Scientology.

Scientology 101: What is the Rehabilitation Project Force

7 12 2008

Cross posted at

Reading our recent review of The Complex by John Duignan, you may have come across the term Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), which Duignan describes as “a dark prison complex”. You may have been skeptical about the nature of the RPF. I was, too, when I first heard about it. But sometimes, as the saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction.

Gold Base is Scientology's main headquarters, and it also has a huge RPF complex

Gold Base is Scientology's main headquarters, and it also has a huge RPF complex

First of all: yes, the RPF is real. Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard created it in 1974 for “delinquent” members of Scientology’s elite Sea Organization so that they could have a chance to “redeem” themselves and not get kicked out of the Sea Organization. Sea Org members are taught that they are the only people that can save this planet from destruction so to be in the bad graces of the Sea Org hierarchy is a serious matter. The RPF is said to be voluntary, but many ex-Sea Org members were dragged into the RPF involuntarily. Hana Eltringham Whitfield, who was once in L. Ron Hubbard’s inner circle, was reportedly taken to the RPF in Clearwater, Florida “escorted [by] heavy men, both well over 6′ tall”.

Per her statement, RPF inmates have to perform hard labor from sunrise to sunset, with little rest in between. They are served leftovers from what regular Sea Org members eat, and they have to run everywhere. Those who aren’t sufficiently ”rehabilitated” are sent to “the RPF’s RPF”. Hana Whitfield states:

One of my buddies was assigned to the RPF’s RPF for two months for refusing to divulge confidential information for which she had been bonded in the Guardian’s Office. She was kept in that space excommunicado for the entire time, with limited bathing and toilet privileges, all the time being threatened and verbally harassed by RPF superiors. She finally emerged a broken, silent, sullen person who soon after managed to escape from the RPF and the Fort Harrison Hotel. Her name was Lynn Froyland. I have never seen her since she left.

So what are the heinous “crimes” that a Sea Org member can be interned for? Not bringing in enough revenue for their franchise, bringing bad publicity to the Church, questioning their superiors’ orders, and “having negative thoughts about L. Ron Hubbard” (or about the current leader of the Church of Scientology, David Miscavige).

Along with days of back-breaking labour, RPF inmates have to go through auditing, which normally is used as therapy. But when auditing is performed on RPF inmates, it mirrors the brainwashing techniques used on American prisoners of war during the Korean War. Dr. Stephen Kent, an expert on new-age religions and cults writes “People confessed to all manner of crimes, including ones allegedly from past lives (Nefertiti, 1997: 12). In essence, Scientology’s supposedly “religious” tool – the e-meter [a machine with two steel cans which pick up electrical signals-Ed.] – became the functional equivalent of a secular lie detector”.

High-ranking Scientology leaders assume inmates have committed crimes or are working for their enemies (guilty until proven innocent). Former Scientologist Monica Pignotti details how an auditing session would go:

They had prepared lists that they called security checks where they would ask you all kinds of questions on every possible thing a person could have done wrong–any possible thing you could think of in your life or… against the organization. ‘Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever had any unkind thoughts about L. Ron Hubbard? About Mary Sue Hubbard? About Scientology?…. Have you ever committed murder?’ Just a whole list where anything [might] read on the e-meter. And the auditor would say, ‘What are you thinking of right now?’ and you would have to answer the question until… the meter didn’t read anymore…

When inmates are deemed “rehabilitated”, they have to write “success stories”. The normal formula of an RPF success story is to acknowledge their past crimes, tell of how their RPF experience improved them, and to glorify L. Ron Hubbard and his perfect spiritual “technology”. See an example of such a success story here.

The average RPF sentence can be served quickly depending on satisfactory completion, but, in many cases, inmates stayed on for longer than a year. Former Scientologist Chuck Beatty served the longest term on the RPF: 7 years. Sent to the RPF in 1995 for wanting to blow the whistle on the “Church’s” upper management, he initially wanted to spend just six months. But after expressing a desire to leave, or “route out” of the Sea Org, he was talked into staying on the RPF so that he could redeem himself among his Sea Org colleagues. Finally in 2002, he regained his freedom and left the RPF – and the “Church”. Asked why it took 7 years for him to leave the RPF, he writes in an email:

It’s a lot of rubber bands that one has attached very tightly to oneself, when one gets into the Sea Org and stays in for a couple decades. Walking out is not easy. It’s not made to be easy just to walk out, not unless they don’t want you. If they want you, they want you to stay.

Church of Scientology Waiting To Pounce In Mumbai, India

28 11 2008

Cross posted on

As events unfold in Mumbai, India, there are already murmurings among Scientology front groups about how best to take advantage of the tragedy.

The Way To Happiness, a book written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, has the honour of an organisation (the innocuous-sounding Association for Better Living and Education) dedicated solely to its distribution. The British branch of ABLE just sent out an email to members, asking for money to print copies of The Way To Happiness to be sent to Mumbai. Thanks to an ex-Scientologist, we have acquired the leaked email.

This is not the first time that Scientology front groups have taken advantage of tragic events: after the September 11 attacks in New York City in 2001, a group called the “Volunteer Ministers” appeared at Ground Zero along with other “charitable” organisations. But the Volunteer Ministers were sent solely to keep people away from trained mental health professionals, and to use their own form of mental therapy – dianetics – to console the bereaved. The same thing occurred after the Beslan massacre in Russia in 2004, in London on July 7, and in Blacksburg, Virginia after the mass shooting at Virginia Technical Institute. And now, while the gunfire and explosions continue in Mumbai, Scientology is wasting no time in spreading the word.

Also featured in the UK Telegraph.

Former member shot and killed outside Church of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre

26 11 2008

Cross posted at

On Sunday, November 23 in Los Angeles, California, a former Scientologist wielding two samurai swords was shot dead by a security guard as he approached the Church of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre. Police initially detained the security guard for questioning, but later released him after watching a surveillance tape that backed up the guard’s version of events. LAPD detective Wendi Brendt is quoted in the L.A. Times as saying the man had a previous relationship with the Church of Scientology, but it was unclear to what degree.

In the hours after his death, journalists and members of the internet collective known as “Anonymous” scoured the internet for details about the man, identified as Mario Majorski, of Florence, Oregon. According to this AP newstory featured on a local Oregon news channel website, Majorski was not of entirely sound mind. In October, he had been arrested for threatening an auto club member. He also threatened the police. He had a prior arrest for unlawful possession of a weapon, and, in 2006, a medical facility that was taking care of Majorski’s mother sought a restraining order against him.

In 1993, while he was a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, the Church of Scientology used Majorski as a plaintiff to sue psychiatrist Dr. Louis J. West. The lawsuit claimed that West interfered with Majorski’s Scientology practises, but it was dismissed for lack of evidence.

Mario Majorski may already have been unstable when he got into Scientology, but did Scientology make his mental illness more manageable, or did Scientology make it worse?

This is not the first time the “Church” has aggravated mental illness in its adherents: in 2003, Scientologist Elli Perkins was stabbed 77 times by her schizophrenic son Jeremy. Jeremy’s schizophrenia could have been controlled with medication, but following advice from the “Church”, Jeremy did not get the treatment he needed. While the security guard did what he was trained to do to protect the safety of his client, the Church of Scientology is surely – at least in part – responsible for Majorski’s breakdown and tragic death.

UPDATE: In the LA Times piece I linked above, Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis lied about Mario Majorski’s involvement with the Church of Scientology. Further research has shown that Majorski may have been active as recently as 2004. His name is shown among a list of people slated to start an important Scientology course. I have produced the scans of that magazine HERE and HERE