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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"Is Scientology Self-Destructing?"

Posted by on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 1:55 PM

BuzzFeed's Alex Klein investigates the alleged real estate scam that's creating serious ill will between church members and church leaders. Two paragraphs of local interest:

When Bert Schippers forked over hundreds of thousands of dollars to help build an Ideal Org in downtown Seattle, he thought he was helping save the world. "I thought I was in the best religion on the planet," he says. But as he gave more and more from 2001 to 2008, the new cathedral's doors remained locked shut: to people, but not to money. Schippers, who had joined the church in 1986 and spent more than a million dollars on donations and courses, started asking questions about what, exactly, he was paying for; church leaders barred him, his wife, and his friends from setting foot inside.

"We gave that money because we wanted our local church to have its own building," says Schippers, who runs a circuit-board company with his wife. "But when I found out the church had changed the original teachings of L. Ron Hubbard to make so much money... I felt absolute, complete, total betrayal." Nonprofits often tell you that a donation can change your life, as well as its recipient's. For Schippers, losing so much for so little was a disturbing wake-up call. "It was around then I realized, I was in a fucking cult." He pauses, can't quite find the words. "It's…a mindfuck. Just a total mindfuck."

Read the whole thing here.

Thanks to Slog tipper Mark.


Comments (24) RSS

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@23: Most religions these days don't directly murder their believers, run labor/reeducation camps, and literally enslave their other workers on a diet of rice and beans.
Posted by we should've smothered the rest centuries back... on January 17, 2013 at 7:24 AM · Report this
watchout5 23
You gave money to a religion and they did things you're not happy with? Welcome to ever religion in the history of humanity.
Posted by watchout5 on January 17, 2013 at 3:11 AM · Report this
Anne18 22
Did you read Paul Haggis's (director of Crash - not the good one) Scientology account in the New Yorker a while back? Coupled with an in depth history? It is amazing. Brutal. Detailed.
Posted by Anne18 on January 16, 2013 at 10:17 PM · Report this
Scientology, for all its evil, at least provides us with an entertaining sped-up version of the evolution of a religion: from egomaniacal prophet to franchising to consolidation to schism to reformation.

I have to love the whole Free Zone, convinced that the current generation of CoS leaders are straying from the true gospel but that Hubbard was legit, or that perhaps he was a conman but that his techniques still have value as mental placebos.
Posted by dirge on January 16, 2013 at 9:28 PM · Report this
sirkowski 20
Remember when Scientology wasn't a scam?
Posted by sirkowski on January 16, 2013 at 6:49 PM · Report this
Then again, Seventh Day Adventists still exist, despite the world not ending on October 22, 1844.
Posted by madcap on January 16, 2013 at 6:23 PM · Report this
The real mindfuck here is that it took him so long to realize he was in a cult.
Posted by madcap on January 16, 2013 at 6:19 PM · Report this
@ #15: Why thanks, that helps!
Posted by Bert S on January 16, 2013 at 5:55 PM · Report this
@ #15: Wow, thanks that helps!
Posted by Bert S on January 16, 2013 at 5:51 PM · Report this
Simone 15
Bert, you're an idiot.
Posted by Simone on January 16, 2013 at 5:32 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 14

From what I can tell, the methods of Scientology have been adopted by many major organizations and the students have far outdistances themselves from the source.

Also, anyone note the "this street sponsored by Scientology" sign on 4th avenue across from the island Starbucks at Westlake?
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on January 16, 2013 at 4:41 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 13
@ David Schmader,

And here I thought my obsession with brilliant-but-cancelled teevee series from the 80s and 90s was weird.

Dear network suits--remake Otherworld asap!
Posted by Original Andrew on January 16, 2013 at 3:54 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 12
On the Information Discovery channel, 271 on Seattle Comcast, the first episode of 'Dangerous Persuasions' featuring Scientology airs at 10pm tonight (Wednesday).
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on January 16, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this
Scientology works.
Hubbard left us some good ideas.
Just don't give them your money.
All the teachings and methods are freely available online.
Posted by eric_l on January 16, 2013 at 3:23 PM · Report this
@3: that's the British lack of respect for a question on religion on the census. I put Jedi on the 2001 edition. Censuses are supposed to help the authorities decide where new roads/housing are needed, not pry into beliefs. So the Jedi thing is a protest.
Posted by originalcinner on January 16, 2013 at 3:18 PM · Report this
David Schmader 9
6: I just Googled "Jonestown bloat" and it appears you are correct. (Jungle heat was involved.)

Also, Jonestown Bloat is a good band name.
Posted by David Schmader on January 16, 2013 at 3:14 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 8
@7 has a great idea.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 16, 2013 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Wait, before Scientology self-destructs, could we get them to fight Mars Hill?
Posted by beef rallard on January 16, 2013 at 3:01 PM · Report this
I love how this guy is saying the church leadership "changed" the original teachings of Mr. Hubbard. The very same Hubbard who is on record stating "if you want to make a lot of money start your own religion."

This cult has been nothing but a way to con people out of money since it was a poorly-written, hackneyed twinkle in that Con Artist Hubbard's eye. I'm sorry this guy fell for it, but come the fuck on. It is doing EXACTLY what it was created to do.
Posted by AedanCRoberts on January 16, 2013 at 2:52 PM · Report this
I thought the bloat was because all the pictures were taken after the bodies had been decaying in the jungle heat for a week or so?
Posted by tiktok on January 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM · Report this
David Schmader 4
Fnarf, for a good stretch of 2011, documentaries about Jonestown were Jake's and my go-to viewing. At the end of every one, I'd have to remind myself of the bloating component of fatal poisoning (and that People's Temple members weren't just chubby folks who bought too-small clothes).
Posted by David Schmader on January 16, 2013 at 2:30 PM · Report this
Fnarf 3
"The 2011 British census showed a total of 2,418 Scientologists across England and Wales; about 73 times as many Brits identified themselves as "Jedi.""
Posted by Fnarf on January 16, 2013 at 2:16 PM · Report this
Fnarf 2
I've just been reading about Jim Jones and the People's Temple (apropos to the Harvey Milk discussion yesterday) and the parallels are frightening. Except that Jones collected mostly poor black people, while Miscavige is in serious money. If small businessmen like this are in for a million, imagine how much Tom Cruise has put in. But I'm starting to wonder if the denouement is going to be similar. Scientology may not be as visibly gun-happy as the People's Temple was, but they're armed to the hilt.
Posted by Fnarf on January 16, 2013 at 2:13 PM · Report this
Being gullible is expensive.
Posted by tiktok on January 16, 2013 at 2:10 PM · Report this

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