L. Ron Hubbard began Scientology’s “Project Celebrity” in 1955, offering a list of 63 high-profile targets and a “small plaque” as a reward to anyone who successfully brought the likes of Bob Hope and Ernest Hemingway into the church. “There are many to whom America and the world listens...” Scientology’s blustery founder wrote in a newsletter announcing the plan. “It is obvious what would happen to Scientology if prime communicators benefitting from it would mention it now and then.” Sixty years later, was Project Celebrity a success?
New Yorker staff writer Lawrence Wright's long-awaited Scientology book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, will be released this Thursday, and the reviews are already coming in. Based in part on a 2011 profile of director and former Scientologist Paul Haggis, the book focuses primarily on the legacy of L. Ron Hubbard and his successor, David Miscavige. It contains over 200 interviews with both "current and former" Scientologists from all ranks within the organization.
Today's edition of The Independent offers a profile of Marty Rathbun, a member of the Church of Scientology for 27 years, now considered a "heretic." As a high-ranking official, Rathbun worked with high-profile Scientologists like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, and Greta Van Susteren. Since he left the Church, he has been hounded by damaging allegations and a weirdly persistent "documentary crew" known as the "SQUIRREL BUSTERS."
The one thing Scientology has always been missing, as far as dangerous cults go, is a good apocalyptic prophecy. It was always more about destroying enemies and controlling time, matter, and energy than heralding the end of days. But it turns out L. Ron Hubbard actually did predict the Earth's destruction.
Sure, Scientology may just be a front for slave-built motorcycles for celebrities, but it's got a positive side! For example, did you know that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was also a songwriter? Don't take our word for it! Watch actor/bon vivant Frank Stallone, clad in leather slacks, sing two of Hubbard's fantastic songs, live in concert. "Hey," you may find yourself asking, "is that onetime teen idol Leif Garrett?" You bet it is! Sample lyric: "You are not minds/Or chemicals/You don't even have a phone/You're in a trap/Of senseless minds/And baby it's time to be reborn." [via minge]
The cult of Scientology can't keep the pulp science fiction and quack psychology of founder L. Ron Hubbard in print merely through sheer force of will. Instead, it's with a state-of-the-art production facility in Commerce, Calif. featuring the latest printers from Hewlett-Packard. The plant is owned by the church through a company called Bridge Publications, whose unique experience in modern print production was enough to land Blake Silber, vice president of production at Bridge, a seat on a discussion panel for print-production professionals sponsored by Hewlett-Packard scheduled for September 10th. How does HP help Bridge churn out thousands of copies of Dianetics and related books in multiple languages to use as gateway texts for indoctrination?Through fast prototyping made possible by HP's Indigo line of industrial printers. Thanks in part to the Indigo 5000, Bridge can print, bind, and shrink-wrap 22,090 copies of Scientology: A New Slant on Life in as little as a week. And as acolytes move up "the bridge to total freedom," they are required to buy further materials for study that, because of the increasingly elite membership, necessitate small runs. Thankfully, print-on-demand technology is here! When some sucker ponies up the five-figure sum necessary to pass through the "Wall of Fire" in order to become a level three "operating thetan," Bridge can whip up a copy of the Xenu myth in no time flat. And since all of the print production is done in-house, it allows leader David Miscavige and his disciples to keep a tight lock on potential leaks of "secrets" written in the embarrassingly bad prose of Hubbard. At the upcoming discussion, among the topics panelists address will be staffing and employee retention. There aren't a lot of press operators familiar with such cutting-edge technology. Luckily for Bridge, members of the church's paramilitary Sea Org — the true believers who often work as peons — have all signed contracts to serve for eternity. They couldn't jump ship for a rival printer or publisher if they wanted to — that old-time religion matched with the latest in HP's technology combine for a serious business advantage. There's no surprise that Scientology is run like a business. Making a profit was the reason why Hubbard came up with the religion in the first place. But here's what's really disturbing: Could HP be helping Scientology proselytize? The church has a history of recruiting members in business settings. If Silber talked about more than just print-on-demand technologies at his seminar, is should raise eyebrows among HP's many non-Scientology customers.
Click to viewMost of what we know about Scientology's "supreme ruler" we learned from South Park: 75 million years ago, the evil alien brought humans to earth in a spaceship and killed them; the psychic trauma of the event has affected us ever since. The Church of Scientology, embarrassed by the story, has always tried to hide its existence. Until now. The Church has been playing a cat-and-mouse game with YouTubers, getting it removed in many cases; we have the audio of founder L. Ron Hubbard explaining it all, his creepy voice sounding like it's narrating the weirdest Power Point presentation of all time.
What would a week at Defamer HQ be without a Scientology scandal? To wit: What do you get when you cross closet case Will Smith and an old high school in Calabasas? Try the New Village Academy, which the star reportedly underwrote this week with an $890,000, three-year lease of the former Indian Hills High School and a curriculum comprising a little bit of everything — Montessori here, constructivism there, and a liberal dollop of something called "study technology" developed by none other than education pioneer "L.R. Hubbard."
At least according to some anti-Scientology forum, where a user uploaded nine scanned pages but provided no backstory. But Boing Boing picked it up so now it's Certified Internet True. Who cares, it's not like Scientology was viewed as the Holy Writ before. So Hubbard remixed someone's work! He sampled! Which is exactly why the Church is fine with all those Tom Cruise spoofs, right? A translated page of the stolen gibberish (or maybe it's deep metaphysics; I'm a dropout) after the jump.
Who knew L. Ron Hubbard was such a superhero? In this recently unearthed clip from Orientation: A Scientology Information Film, two robotically-pitched Scientology mouthpieces claim that LRH singlehandedly unmasked "the government's" system of "mind control" using nothing but his creative genius (saving millions of Earth Human lives along the way). That is, when he wasn't busy being "fully professional" in 29 other fields. The video also includes cultish quippets from "Actress" Anne Archer and "Actress" Kirstie Alley, the latter of whom calmly explains that "without scientology, I would be dead." But it's not just popular-in-the-`80s actresses giving Hubbard praise; hear from opera singers! Fashion designers! Exercise physiologists! And the most flamboyantly gay chef we've ever seen, or heard, in our collective lives.