Scientology's "Hole" - alleged torture-camp for high-ranking execs who fell out of favor

The Village Voice has a haunting, well-sourced account of "The Hole," where upper echelon Scientologists who have fallen into bad odor with the group's leader are imprisoned under inhumane conditions and tortured.

Debbie Cook was in for only 7 weeks in 2007, but her experience was brutal. She testified that Miscavige had two hulking guards climb into her office through a window as she was talking to him on the phone. "Goodbye" he told her as she was hauled off to the gulag. Like Rinder, she described a place where dozens of men and women were confined to what had been a set of offices. Cook testified that the place was ant-infested, and during one two-week stretch in the summer with temperatures over 100 degrees, Miscavige had the air conditioning turned off as punishment. Food was brought up in a vat riding on a golf cart. Cook described it as a barely edible "slop" that was fed to them morning, noon, and night. Longtime residents of the Hole began to look gaunt.

They had to find places on the floor or on desks to sleep at night. Rinder said there were so many of them they slept only inches from each other, and having to get up in the middle of the night was a nightmare of stepping over sleeping figures in the dark.

In the morning, they were marched out of the offices and through a tunnel under Gilman Springs Road to a large building with communal showers. They were then marched back to the Hole, and during the day would be compelled to take part in mass confessions.

During these, Rinder says people he had considered friends would put on a show for the officials overseeing them, trying to outdo each other with vile accusations against each other. Cook testified that Miscavige wanted Marc Yager and Guillaume Lesevre, two of his longest-serving and highest-ranking officials, to confess to having a homosexual affair. The men were beaten until they made some forced admissions. When Cook objected to what was happening, she herself was made to stand in a trash can for twelve hours while insults were hurled at her, she was called a lesbian, and water was dumped on her head.

Scientology's Concentration Camp for Its Executives: The Prisoners, Past and Present


    1. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that’s not actually true. Have you really heard comparable things about other notable cults like, say, Raelians? They get mocked a lot, but I’ve never heard of this scale of abuse from them.

      And even if someone as all-knowing as you doesn’t find it surprising, shouldn’t it be at least a little disappointing that people have allowed this to happen?

      1.  I have heard similar stories from Jonestown, and the Unification Church.  Family of God, too, if I recall. 

        It seems like I’m being mocked for knowing this.  I am sorry if I have offended any cult members.

        1. Speaking as a member of the Cult of the Blue Oyster, I am deeply offended by your comments.

        2. Jonestown is a special case and one taken very seriously. Not quite sure what incidents you’re referring to with the others, but either way, I think this level is far from universal.

          It’s not a question of being polite to cult members. It’s whether a hundred-some people inhumanely imprisoned for years is nothing special, or something we might want to, you know, care about.

          1. chenille,
            you seem to be saying that because you’re ignorant of how various cults work, the practices depicted cannot have happened.

            just off the top of my head, I can think of two cults, Heaven’s Gate, Aum Shinrikyo, which committed mass suicide and mass genocide. oh, yeah, and Jonestown.  i also don’t see how Jonestown is a “special case”; it’s just another “case.” 

            comparatively, the punishments the scientologists inflicted are much more tame. 

          2. you seem to be saying that because you’re ignorant of how various cults work, the practices depicted cannot have happened.

            Ok, but I don’t understand why I seem that way. I have been saying this is not just something normal, but seriously abusive and worth paying attention to. How does this question whether it is the sort of thing that can and does happen in awful cases?

            Edit: and given that Jonestown is one of the worst mass killings in US history, and not all cults even make the news, where do you think it goes on the bell curve?

      2. Read up on the Westboro Baptist Church and think about how well these techniques work inside a family. The first and most severe punishment is the withdrawal of parental affection and support. These techniques are basic training for disturbed and violent people worldwide.

      3. I agree with you.  Hubbard was a criminal and a scammer before he became a religious figure.  Religion didn’t make the con artist, the con artist made the religion.  He even said that he went into religion because, “That’s where the money is.”

        1. Hubbard was a criminal and a scammer before he became a religious figure.

          Sounds like St. Paul.

          1. Well there ya go.  I don’t think it would be fair to say that religion caused him to be a conman.  More likely that such an institution attracts certain manipulative personalities due to the abundance of easy marks.

      4. In fairness, the Raelians are a pretty unusual cult.  They diverge from cultist SOP in a lot of regards – being shy of publicity, sexual puritanism, remaining clothed in public…

      5. Anyone who has ever been a survivor of WWASP teen treatment programs, The Straight Programs from the early 80’s or, like I was, a victim of Kids of Bergen County led by Virgil Miller Newton, knows this story is most believable.  As far as being “all knowing” – there are many of us who have known this type of abuse all too well. 

        1. I’m sorry to hear that, Angela. I’m not trying to imply that abuse isn’t widespread, just that it is not an ordinary thing that should be neglected as a dog-bites-man story. It is worth calling it out.

    1. Supposedly adult Neil Gaiman has escaped their normally all-encompassing grasp by not talking about them. The Voldemort option apparently works. 

  1. The fact that none of these people flipped out and attacked their oppressors shows how incredibly brainwashed you have to be to join this cult in the first place.  Someone abducts me and throws me into a makeshift prison and there’s going to be blood at some point.  But, then again, I value my freedom and silly things like that.

    1.  That’s cavalier. Be careful not to be too judgmental… the brainwashing happens gradually, and after people join cults, not before. Individuals in a state of emotional vulnerability who are presented with a welcome sense of belonging and focus can be easily susceptible. It’s only after being entrenched that the brainwashing really takes place, and once in that state, it really is difficult to regain the capacity for independent thinking.

      1. While I do agree with you that none of us are immune (including me)… let’s face it, some of us are more susceptible to brainwashing than others.

        And, this docile approach to servitude within a corporate setting is quite apropos.

        While I worked at Capitol One headquarters when it was formed in the 90’s, I witnessed firsthand the propaganda machines being unleashed upon unwitting employees.  They even set up fake “talk shows”, etc. to help condition them.  I sat and literally read books on propaganda in the same cafeteria as these “shows” commenced.  Some drank the proverbial kool-aid and others didn’t.

        Let’s hear it for the “others”.  It’s something to be proud of, in my opinion.

        We who are not as udders.

        1.  i imagine some people rise up…they are made an example…not necessarily killed that just makes a martyr. beaten, humiliated, broken and starved. all people can be broken, its all about managing the environment. if you act up the torture is increased, if you remain docile you just get the ambient level of torture. its not the same as being fed propaganda and resisting, thats easy. this is being physically trained like a dog. and its very effective.

        2. I too was thinking about corporate brain washing techniques as I read your initial post. To take it a step further, when many slam a cult, (no matter how warranted) they often forget they themselves are a (credit) card carrying member of the Cult of $$.

    2. It seems inexplicable at first, but makes sense when you consider that the cult is the totality of their society.  To a cultist, there is no place to escape to.  Leaving the cult would be like destroying their identity.

  2. So.. how does one go about making a religion again? I mean what makes one persons insane delusions more legitimate than another persons? 

    1. I think Hubbard had a few advantages.  Hubbard, like Rasputin, seems like he may have been naturally able to hypnotize people.  He studied the occult with Anton LaVey and I tend to think he really did learn a few things about manipulating people, including how religions have traditionally done so.  Finally, he seems to have had the brilliant flash of insight that our society was crying out for a “scientific” religion, so he introduced his religious practices as a form of clinical psychology or self-help techniques.  He already had a bunch of Dianetics workshops up and running across the country before he started pushing Scientology IIRC.

      The only reason Hubbard would have believed any of his own bullshit is because that’s how pathological liars operate.

      1. He studied the occult with Anton LaVey and I tend to think he really did learn a few things about manipulating people, including how religions have traditionally done so.

        Reading his stuff I kept getting the feeling that he wasn’t telling you everything he knew.  One obvious strange thing is that he never references any other authors or thinkers.  He presents it as a hermetically sealed philosophy.  He just writes stuff as though it spontaneously occurred to him.  The thing is his ideas are remarkably similar to things that other people have written.  Couple this with his crusade against psychiatry and one begins to wonder how much of his knowledge of manipulation he kept hidden from his followers.

  3. I’m all for free will and if you really want to believe some space overlord blew billions up in volcanos that didn’t exist at the time up and brainwashed their souls so they wouldn’t be reincarnated that’s your business.

    But this… Jesus Frak. This is Evil. OK maybe not Godwin levels of Evil but pretty damned close.

    1. Goebbels evil? At least thats the vibe I get.. Except that Hubbard had the oratory skills of a potato. 

      1. I’ve never seen an account of Hubbard by anyone who knew him personally that didn’t go out of its way to mention how preternaturally charming the man was.  Even Isaac Asimov, remembering him from the 50’s sci fi scene in NYC, had nothing but nice things to say about him.  Former scientologists who decry the man’s sadism, mood swings, substance abuse, hypocrisy, etc. don’t fail to mention that he was also an incredibly charming individual.

          1.  Put two people with borderline personality disorders together and while everyone else might like them they will quickly come to loggerheads over something an outside observer would think is trivial.

    1. And … the reasons that it’s tax free is due to a sealed private agreement between the Church and the IRS & the IRS will do probably anything to keep it sealed.  They were determined for YEARS to get the Church to pay taxes until one day David Miscavige and his right hand (at the time) Marty Rathbun had a short private conversation with the Commissioner Fred T Goldberg head of the IRS at the time.  While the actual agreements took around 2 years to hammer out, its speculated that the Church’s Intelligence Division (regarded by even the FBI to be one of the best) got some pretty damning evidence and that if the IRS didn’t back right off, the Church was going to let loose, destroying the lives of many very important people.There have been a few court cases which have tried to get that agreement unsealed, and Marty Rathbun who has since gone independent and is very vocal against the Church at his blog (Moving On Up A Little Higher ) is still keeping his mouth shut about what happened that day, even though he could make things very damaging to all parties, but I suspect its because it might get him killed. Despite this the Church still does a lot to try and shut his own independent services down. Its all very dirty…

  4. Can someone explain why, exactly, the government / cops / military haven’t stepped in? Is the church really that rich? This is about as blatantly illegal as you can get. The fact that it’s still going on pretty much caps the end to any illusions of the ideals our government supposedly lives by. I mean… seriously..?

    1. You don’t know the half of it.

      Operation Snow White was the Church of Scientology’s name for a conspiracy during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder L. Ron Hubbard. This project included a series of infiltrations and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology, carried out by Church members, in more than 30 countries; the single largest infiltration of the United States government in history with up to 5,000 covert agents.

      If that’s what they were up to in the 70s, imagine what’s going on now.

      1. Cool.  So if an Elliot Ness reincarnates, s/he could charge Scientology’s highest ranking members with espionage and treason. 

    2. The Church of Scientology receives tax exemption benefits that no other church receives on top of all of the standard exemptions. This occurred at the end of a long battle between the IRS and the Church, after a closed-door meeting between high-ranked Church officials and the then-head of the IRS. The details of the IRS and Scientology’s agreement have never been made public.

      At the time of this meeting, the IRS was attempting to nail the Church for a long list of tax violations, and the Church was tying up the IRS’s resources by filing hundreds of frivolous lawsuits against the IRS across many widespread jurisdictions — a judicial DDOS of sorts. All of this vanished and the IRS capitulated completely. The suspicion is that high-grade blackmail was dropped on the boss’s desk.

      1.  But…

        The IRS is not a dictatorship. The US Government can (and presumably does) appoint new managers to run it from time to time. Why would a new manager react the same way about a blackmail attempt? Not reporting it to law enforcement would surely be a crime. Why would all successive IRS managers commit the same crime and retain tax free status for Scientology?

        1. You would think. They’re a slimy bunch, Scientologists. The IRS has kept its mouth shut about the Church’s secret deal ever since it happened.

  5. As much as I despise all types of control by anorher human being who places him/her-se;f above the other, I hate former ‘Scientology’-members who bitch on about the horors they had to go through in that system: They were all there volunterily and ANY reasonably balance human witha brain knows in 2012 they are big time scammers & brainwasher, only out for more control – over you – and more important (for them @boingboing-25d11f8e1a305f5eaf4caa32877882f3:disqus So least) YOUR MONEY!.
     So stop the whining and next time around get one of those pinhole camera’s and records all the abuse ‘n stuff, so you’ll have evidence to sue them ’till bankrupty.
    I know for 100% I will NEVER fall for such lauhable nonssense, even if I would go mad, common-sense is in my DNA.Good luck to the women anywys though.
    Koenski-beterweter greets you all from The Netherlands.

    1. Emotional abuse and more or less destroying a person’s sense of self worth before rebuilding them is a powerful, and standard, tool for these kinds of things. Doesn’t help that it goes hand in hand with disconnecting the cult members from any sort of support structure that might help them get away.

      Destroyed self-esteem and getting shown that You Have No Way Out is a powerful thing. Horrible, but Powerful since humans are wired to be social at least at some level so being a whipped dog in the pack is still better than being left alone and cold, especially how it’s painfully explained and beaten into you that You Are Worthless.

      Everyone can be broken. Everyone. It’s like physical torture only worse since by the time the people that are being targeted realize what’s going on it’s generally too late to simply bow out.

        1. Except boot camp is supposed to rebuild you stronger than you were. Scam-en-tology’s aim is to rebuild you with critical flaws and dependencies. 

    2. This may come as a shock to you, put there are billions of people in the world who don’t read BoingBoing, and have never seen the Operation Clambake site, and never hung out with old-time science fiction fans who told them stories about L Ron Hubbard saying that the real way to make money is to start your own religion. 

      Honest, it’s entirely possible to be a sane, functioning adult in the modern world without having read all the same websites you have. So maybe have a bit of goddamn sympathy for people who’ve been abducted and sent to a cult’s re-education camp. 

      1. My sympathy is for all these people who’ve never been “looked for”, or “missed” by their families. I read the entire article, there’s nothing mentioned about any of these individual being placed on a missing persons list. 

        My God, if I don’t see any activity from my neighbor after a week, I go knock on her door or call our landlord,  and I don’t even like her!

        1. Yup. Found a few corpses that way.

          Pro-tip: If your elderly neighbor hasn’t snagged his TV Guide within two hours of delivery, he’s incapacitated or dead.

      2. Supposedly, the Internet stuff IS having an effect, and recruiting is down. According to the “Inside Scientology” book, the new emphasis is on retaining children born into the cult rather than recruiting due to all the bad publicity. 

        Add to that the fact that higher-echelon Scientologists appear to be STRONGLY discouraged from marrying and/or having children, this might be a self-correcting problem within a generation or two. 

    3. Part of the insidious nature of the organization is that the people doing the manipulation are told that they are acting in the best interest of their victims.  Using control methods is not seen as unethical because Scientology believes that it knows what is best for individuals regardless of what the individual wants for themselves.  This whole theme of, “I’m going to help you by guiding you to the best decision whether you understand it or not” shows up again and again in Hubbard’s writings and it is Orwellian as fuck.  It’s moral solipsism.

      1.  It’s also classic abuse behavior. Wondering why Scientologists stay is a lot like wondering why abused spouses stay with their partners. They are broken down and are convinced that if they try to leave even worse things will happen to them. They may have joined willingly, just like abused spouses willingly signed the marriage license, not knowing what is coming and it starts gradually then escalates with every infraction.

    4. Imagine if you were born and raised in the cult, and all of your friends and family and everyone you ever knew belonged to it.

      Now, your choice is to cope with what’s going on, or run away from your whole life. It is not as easy as emptying your desk and walking away from a shitty job when you quit.

  6. I haven’t read the article, but am confused as to whether these folks agreed to the confinement as a condition of staying within the church (and thus free to leave at anytime if they quit) or if this was simply kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.

    1. I think that they’re afraid if they try to leave they’ll go to hell, or Xenu’s Electric Mountain Prison Adventure Park.  What about the guards and snipers?  Will they physically stop one from leaving or just try to convince them that they’ll never be able to speak with their family again?

      1.  They’ve already been cut off from their family by the time they are thrown into the hole.  And this place does have bars on the windows, armed guards who are drilled into obedience, big spikes on the fences, motion detectors and surveillance cameras.  They also have the local officials in their pocket, although a few individuals have had assistance from the local police in escaping. 

        Although initially joining the group is voluntary (and usually done for altruistic reasons while the true nature of the group is hidden) by the time you end up imprisoned it’s too late and very difficult to get out.  If you simply said you wanted to leave you would be isolated and shoveling human excrement for the next year. 

    2.  Why do Catholics stay with their faith after tens of thousands of sexual abuse charges filed against priests the world over? Religious folks are never the most logical.

      1. Because the existence of child-abusing priests has no bearing on the existence and/or truth of God?

        1. You don’t think any real God would put that to a stop?
          If  my representatives on Earth tainted my good name with their actions, I’d sure stuff a lightning bolt or two up their ass. I guess that makes me more moral than god. But that’s a pretty low bar to aim for anyway.

          1.  Hey Brother… It’s all about “free will” (when the behavior of their god-myth confounds them). When “free-will” creates child victims… That’s one they can’t answer. Which is why their belief is nonsense.

        2.  I see your point.  It’s more likely that an institution is healthy and delivering a true and correct message when they’re raping children up the ass.

    3. I agree, there seems to be a lot missing, but I think that’s a part of the “brainwashing”. I’m more shocked about how there seems to be a level of satisfaction, like the quality of slop, what a disturbing thing to expound on. 

        1. I doubt he wrote much of Battlefield Earth. Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke all respected Hubbard as a writer. Not in their league but definitely not the worst you could name.

    1. You’d think a racist, sexist sci-fi writer could be more inventive than this hogwash.

      Maybe this would be a good time to says thanks for the fact that Robert Heinlein didn’t start a religion.

      1. One may say a lot of things about Robert Heinlein, but you cannot truthfully say he was racist or sexist.  You’re entitled to hate the guy if you want, but maybe find out who he really was first.

        (During WWII, when Heinlein discovered the University of Delaware was refusing all female applicants to the School of Engineering, he used his Navy position to chew out the President of the University for depriving the nation of vitally needed engineers during wartime.  He was actually way ahead of his era in a lot of respects.  If he turned into a right wing crank in the Seventies — and I’ll agree he did — it doesn’t retroactively change his past.)

        Anyway, loads of people think he DID start a couple of religions, though he didn’t like them either.

        1. Since he spent some time at the place where I used to work, I can say truthfully that he was a vile, sexist pig.

          1. So you never saw him socially? Didn’t know him personally? You just felt he was those things without actually knowing him? Ok.

          2. I listened to a stream of complaints from women co-workers who dealt with him personally about what a pig he was. Sorry to spoil your fantasy with a dose of reality.

          3.  Anyone who’s read Heinlein’s books with a shred of awareness could see he was a raging sexist. I have a high tolerance level for sexism in novels I’m reading before I’ll throw a book at the wall in disgust (because I enjoy a lot of early 20th century stuff from the time when women getting the vote was still a serious debate) and his still stood out.

      2. Heinlein may have done so.  Perhaps even intentionally.

        His Church of All Worlds was in all the papers, but they never called it that, and he’d completely disowned it, so the end result was never associated with him.  LRH’s religion-igniting book was Dianetics, RAH’s was Stranger in a Strange Land (so goes the rumor of the late night bar
        bet between them.)

        Heinlein’s cult supposedly used “Stranger” as their bible,  adopting grokking, rejection of contemporary morals, share-water rituals, domestic nudity, group marriage, orgies, and killing of a long list of enemies (who had Wrongness in them! requiring Discorporation!) Before it finally fizzled out, the members were apparently hassling Heinlein for years, and until he had a special fence built, the local sheriff was throwing them off Heinlein’s land where they constantly were trying to pitch tents.

  7. It becomes difficult to feel sorry for people who do this to themselves voluntarily.  They were not physically restrained.  Any of them could have simply left.  If they were restrained, they could have called the police.

    I’ve read a number of these “I was tortured by Scientology” books and, in every instance, all you keep wondering, page after page, paragraph after paragraph, is the simple basic question “Why would you do that to yourself?”

    It’s like you go to the Dr. and complain, Dr. it hurts when I keep hitting myself in the head.  What should I do?  Answer, of course, stop hitting yourself.

    You can mumble about brainwashing and such, but all of these people who end up writing these ‘I was tortured by Scientology’ books, ultimately, just one day, got the balls to just walk away.  It’s truly that simple.

    Sympathy for people who refuse to help themselves, while they are causing their own pain, is somewhat limited.


    1. Sympathy for people who refuse to help themselves, while they are causing their own pain, is somewhat limited.

      Yeah, you never need to worry about how people have been victimized if you can figure out why that’s their problem. And walking away is never so hard, at least when you don’t have to do it yourself.

    2. They really have a hard time leaving. If you read the excellent “Inside Scientology”, escaping is not a matter of just walking out. It’s a matter of evading security just like breaking out of prison. There’s a definite physical component to their incarceration, and the ‘they can walk out at any time’ claims are more or less Scientology lies. 

      You can kind of assume ANYTHING Scientology spokespeople say are lies. 

    3. If you want to feel superior, why stop there?  There are plenty of alcoholics, drug abusers, prostitutes, homeless people, and people in abusive domestic relationships, overweight people, undereducated people […] out there.  Simply tell them to “stop it.”

  8. I find it interesting that the Village Voice is taking such a deliberate run at this.  I’m not sure what their journalistic reputation is these days, but it seems like they are the biggest news organization taking the most concerted look at this whole issue.   (Their “Open Letter to Tom Cruise” is oddly engaging, if a bit overly flip; hence my perception/reputation question.)

    I believe in the past, this sort of thing has had some blowback for journos.  So I will be interested to see if this actually pushes the conversation along significantly.

  9. When I went to U.S. community college a couple years ago, I was curious about where people these days get their news. Navigating through the ocean of choices we have these days, hiring better sources and firing ones you no longer have time fer. But when I asked that question people seemed to not consume news, and one girl said her cult leaders specifically recommended avoiding news sources because it interferes with the kids’ fundraising. Moonies, she was, though she apparently didn’t know it. And the Larouche people were recruiting on campus that day, and I knew a little bit about the Love Israel family, a Pacific Northwest commune from the 1970’s… So I tried to write a little subversively helpful checkpoints list for the cc newspaper, “Cult or Religion?” sortofthing. Apparently it’s impossible to create a scientifically acceptable form of that list, though people have tried. I talked with professors from various disciplines, read the old Skeptic ish about cults. The poli sci dean had an interesting take on charismatic authority: that it “focuses almost exclusively on achieving the creation of the new identity and the institutions appropriate for that identity.” Really made me think about identity.

    1. The Bonewits scale for rating destructive cults seems to be the best checkpoints list around. It benefits from Isaac Bonewits not being a Christian himself, so its not as Christian-biased as other scales. 

      1.  Interesting. I hadn’t come across that before. I know of Isaac from Arn’ Riaocht Fein. Oddly, I once had a dream about being trapped on the set of “Big Brother” with him and a bunch of other Druids, and none of us knew how we got there.

      2. Maybe the checklists are measuring different bad patterns, different behaviors outsiders would consider violations, such as acquiring wealth from the congregants, or sexual access, or short-term control of your clique, or long-term domination of e.g. the world.

  10. People always ask: ” how do they get away with this?”

    – Hubbard has traceable connections to US Naval Psych Intelligence

    – Scientology was/ is unafraid to ” do battle” with agencies such as the IRS and FBI ( google Operation Snow White)

    – Hubbard had Occult ties to Jack Parsons, an early player in the military- industrial development of rocketry and alchemy.

    My theory is that Scientology is an offshoot or full blown MK Uktra style experiment in secular religion. Financially backed by you and me with taxpayer money. The Xenu stuff is there so people will laugh and dismiss it and not seek for the deeper hidden truths.

      1. It’s pretty basic – Person A practices occult things with Person B for a minute, even if it’s just doing so at the same lunch table. Person B can always say “Oh I know Person A – they did pagan stuff with me back in the day” and thus: bond, tie, relations…. Nothing “stupid-natural” about it. 

        1. Oy! We just got Lilith pushed back through the gate. Don’t encourage the amateurs.

          1. antinous, can you expand?  it seems like you are dissing lilith – who was a badass and would have had none of lrh or parson’s effed up bs, just like she wouldn’t take any of adam’s women are subservient nonsense.  

            we could do with a lot more lilith in the world these days – open that gate back up!

    1. One simpler explanation is that people get too scared to file charges.  Those that try to sue get outlawyered and financially outgunned and end up not being able to afford to fight back.

      Or it could all be a Giant Government Conspiracy.

      1.  That’s a compelling idea.  Perhaps it’s known among the personal injury lawyers that trying to file a civil suit against the Scientologists is a Bad Idea, so even if you wanted to sue it’s exceedingly difficult (?)

  11. So much as uttering the name Hubbard alongside names of actual sci-fi greats like Heinlein, Clarke and Asimov is a mortal sin.

    Not to mention, Hubbard had been quoted by numerous sources as having told them he was gonna quit being a writer and invent a cult or religion because that’s where the real money was.  And big surprise…that’s what Scientology is.  In fact, one of their sockpuppets should be along shortly to “correct” us about the “facts” of Scientology since they google themselves constantly.One could almost ignore Scientology if it wasn’t for the ginormous douches they have as public representatives such as Tommy “Boy” Davis followed by a list of the douchiest/worst actors of all time with Tom Cruise heading up the list.

    1. So much as uttering the name Hubbard alongside names of actual sci-fi greats like Heinlein, Clarke and Asimov is a mortal sin.

      Have you not read Friday? Heinlein defended Scientology (and by implication, Hubbard). Clarke wrote about Hubbard in (I think) a view from serendip. Hubbard was one of that group but he did disappear around the 1960s.

  12. Pretty damn similar to a lot of the Christian “boot camps” you read about assholes sending their children to, often located outside the U.S.

    If anything I guess this validates Scientology as compatible with a “mainstream” religion.

  13. I would just like to point out it seems that pretty much any religion with a central church seems to do terrible things, the only one that comes to mind that hasn’t to my knowledge is Buddhism, I’m not sure what that says.

  14. Oh give me that old skool religion…toture, genocide, slavery and rape in the name of our Lord.

    To be brutally honest I couldn’t care less about what cultist do to each other.

    1. Whether something strikes you as odd, like the Tom Cruise video, or whether you hear a story like this about the Hole, the interest isn’t in it isn’t because it’s just like all other religions.

      It is the things that makes Scientology unique that are fascinating. The internal prison camps, the espionage-like attacks on the journalist like Paulette Cooper, who wrote the first book about them.

      Also, unlike Mormonism even, Scientology is uniquely well-documented. Every aspect of Hubbard’s life, from the falsification of his war record, to the step-by-step growth of Scientology from a best seller to a self-help cult, to a “religion” are very well documented, including people who were there in the beginning.

      For years, Scientology successfully kept its cult of systematic brainwashing, punishment and money extraction secret, but then came the Internet.

      Again, this is history in the making–what open access to information can do to a fraud disguised as a religion, like Scientology, no matter how powerful or influential its adherents. It’s also an intersection of Hollywood celebrity power, and religion, which is something unique. Most people LOVE movies, and so you can see the influence of a worldwide star like Cruise on this fraud being as successful as it has been, if you read the history, like in Reitman’s book INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY, or free online Russell Miller’s book BAREFACED MESSIAH.

       L. Ron Hubbard, also, was a fascinating character — a liar and teller of tall tales. How could a person who was so well-documented as being a con man and liar, be this successful in starting a new “religion.”

      What happens to Scientology is a harbinger for the fate of many other religions too. Since people do start wars over religion, it isn’t inconsequential. A leader of a cult like Scientology must be carefully watched because as his cult goes down the tubes, will he go nuts?

      1. This is a Cult, and a dangerous one at that.

        To the basic question of ‘what is a cult?’, maybe the best answer is simply, a group in which there are many of these indicators:

        Extreme Promises – Unconditional, eternal love; financial security; complete certainty about life; answers to all questions; superhuman abilities; radical personality change; profound and constant peace of mind; perfect health; eternal life–all are promises commonly made by cults.

        Restricted Freedoms – Because these groups want control, they need to limit their members’ basic freedoms. This includes restricting physical mobility; forbidding doubts or questions; removing the right to choose whom to spend time with, and when; prohibiting the exploration of other ways of thinking and living.

        Assumptions Of Power – Often restrictions of freedom can also become active abuses of power. The group leader, or others designated to have power, may require members to perform tasks, acquire money, perform rituals, and to provide sexual services. And rather than use outright authority, cult leaders will present these demands or requirements as “opportunities” offered to those in special favor.

        A Central Leader – Virtually all cults are headed by a single person (sometimes a couple or triad) who either claims special knowledge and status or who claims special access to it (contact with superhuman intelligence). A particular indicator of a cult is being told that this person knows what is best for you, regardless of your opinion or that of others you trust. To defy him or her is dangerous and can result in anything from disapproval to ostracism to physical punishment. Although a cult may claim to follow an absent leader (dead spiritual master, a non-corporeal intelligence, a being from another planet or physical plane), there will always be a present leader who benefits from the groups’ existence.

        Deception and Totalitarian Views are other components of cults. We may notice that what is told to “recruits” and “outsiders” is different than what is professed within the group. This sort of lie can be as basic as soliciting money for the group under false pretenses. Also, “black or white” or “we and they” thinking is common. “They” are bad, or ignorant, or deceived, or unevolved, or dangerous. “We” are good, enlightened, special recipients, evolved, or under siege. However, in some groups, pervasive ambiguity can be used as camouflage from the cult’s actual beliefs and intents.

        1. A Central Leader – Virtually all cults are headed by a single person (sometimes a couple or triad) who either claims special knowledge and status or who claims special access to it (contact with superhuman intelligence).

          Not really true. The leader can be a philosophy like Marxism or Reaganism. In the day-to-day running of a cult, rank-and-file members do far more to enforce the rules and mindset than the leadership does.

  15. These stories are real, and common practice among Cults.

    The Co$ has long had a controversial history on the Internet, and has initiated campaigns to manipulate material and remove information critical of the organization from the web.
    Co$ editing on Wikipedia refers to a series of incidents that led in 2009 to Co$-owned networks being  banned from making edits to  Wikipedia articles relating to $cientology.

  16. I was on Gilman Springs Rd. once; there are a series of geologic faults there and when I was in grad school we took a trip out there to check one out when it had been trenched. One of the professors said he thought he heard there was some weird religious commune further down the road (you could see it off in the distance from where we were). Didn’t realize it was the SeaOrg headquarters, and obviously we didn’t know people were imprisoned and being tortured there! 

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