Even More Bad News For Scientology

In an update on a story we covered last week, things seems to be going from allegedly bad to allegedly worse for scientology. The St Petersburg Times – who have really taken the group to task in recent months, publishing expose after expose on the inner workings of the sect – have unveiled their latest piece of investigative reporting on the cult. The article lifts the lid on the attempts made by members to leave the group, and the extreme measures undertaken to persuade defectors back into the scientological fold.

Just to recap, recent revelations by the paper have exposed alleged abuse by leader David Miscavige, scientologies role in the death of member Lisa Mcpherson and the alleged cover-up of incriminating documents about her contraversial treatment. And now this latest report follows the attempts made by former members to leave the organisation, and the methods employed by scientology to coax them back to base. The article claims:

“Ex-staffers describe being pursued by their church and detained, cut off from family and friends and subjected to months of interrogation, humiliation and manual labor. One said he was locked in a room and guarded around the clock. Some who did leave said the church spied on them for years. Others said that, as a condition for leaving, the church cowed them into signing embellished affidavits that could be used to discredit them if they ever spoke out.”

The report in the St Petersburg Times is really quite comprehensive, so it’s worth checking out what they claim to have uncovered for yourself. One particularly interesting story regards Sinar Parman and Jackie Wolff – a husband and wife who became disillusioned with life in their Scientology camp, where they lived, worked and rested. Parman was a chef for the organisation; Wolff was in recruitment.

Apparently, Parman and Wolff each thought about leaving the church but couldn’t tell the other. The report states that such thoughts were taboo, and spouses were to file a “Knowledge Report” if their partner violated the code. If a spouse didn’t file a report and it came out during a confessional, he or she got in trouble, too.

I don’t know about you, but if that’s true at all it’s really quite disturbingly Orwellian. It reminds me of the scene where Winston’s colleagues children spy on him and report their own father to the thought police.

Deciding to leave, the couple disappeared one day – rather than take the group’s official exiting strategy of ‘routing out’, which took months, the couple decided to flee and covered their tracks. Days later, they got a knock on their door – Scientology had tracked them down. The paper reports that the group used what sounds like pretty nasty tactics to persuade the couple back to the base camp to route-out properly – a procedure they were eventually convinced to end, and stay withing Scientology. This was in 1990. After multiple attempts to leave the group, each one allegedly thwarted in similar manner, Parman finally left Scientology 11 years later in 1990. His wife, who he’d since split with, left the group in 2004. As part of the alleged routing-out process, both signed papers that required them to remain silent about their time with the cult, and to state that they were to blame for all that happened – not Scientology.

“I know that what I have done violated Church policy and caused harm,” the declaration allegedly stated. “I do not blame anyone else but myself.”

According to the Times, scientology spokesman Tommy Davis “categorically denied” Miscavige knew about or was involved in the pursuit of runaways or spying on former members. He accused the former staff members of being liars, taking their own misdeeds and blaming them on Miscavige and the religion they have forsaken. He also claimed they are simply trying to undermine Miscavige’s leadership even as he presides over unprecedented church growth. He added that the former staff are the real villains, who Miscavige dismissed for “suborning perjury, obstruction of justice and wasting millions of dollars of parishioner funds.”

This report in the Times wraps up a stunning October for Scientology, who as we discussed last week have been criticised by oscar-winning director and former Scientologist Paul Haggis and convicted of fraud by a French court, while prominent spokesman Tommy Davis has been making a fool of himself storming out of interviews with Martin Bashir and making wild accusations of felony by the Anonymous group. As more and more former Scientologists come forward, and more and more reports about the group are featured in newspapers across the world, it’ll be interesting to see what November has in store for the.

  1. #1 by AexMagd on November 12, 2009 - 14:54

    The thing that annoys me the most about this (and to be honest, it’s far from annoying, but still…) is that reports like this have been coming out of the Church for decades. Miscavige is well-known to have beaten staff members, the Church as a whole is well known both to Disconnect and then stalk ex-members. It’s all on record, and in personal testimony of some of the most high-ranking people leaving Scientology.

    Now suddenly the media has started to pick this up, but I don’t think it’ll be any more than a passing fad. Despite their long history of illegal activity (Snow White, Freakout etc) and even of personal abuse, forced abortions and possibly murder (R2-45) the media refuses to see them as dangerous, and instead just some fruity little cult. They are seriously damaging people, and they aren’t a joke. Although Tommy Davis is, what an arse.

  2. #2 by Phewie on November 13, 2009 - 10:10

    Thanks for the post, very intersting indeed.


  3. #3 by Jane Bixler on May 15, 2013 - 00:49

    I was on staff for 18 years. I observed things that i knew were wrong but kept excusing them and the staff involved.
    After reading Debbie Cook’s email I began my own search on the Net. I was so aghast and horrified at what I discovered…I had a nervous breakdown. It has taken me a year to come through it, but never once during the last year did I regret leaving the CofS. I am so greatful to be free of the cult of Scientology.

    Jane Bixler

(will not be published)