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Janet Snakehole

Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief

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I read the book too a few years ago, and I definitely think one of the things it did really well was detail why and how the early stages of Scientology appeal to people. Yes, all of the Xenu and Thetan stuff is bonkers, but at the beginning, a lot of the principles aren't that different from things I've read in yoga magazines.

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I'm all over this tonight; feels like I've been waiting for it since those damned, inescapable Dianetics ads thirty years ago. My husband, a hypnotherapist, helps clients work through emotional traumas that manifest themselves physically. There are definitely mind/body connections, but Scientology has managed to warp these concepts into something so unbelievably fucked up. You don't need a cult to heal yourself, DAMN.

Edited by spaceghostess
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That big blue building with the 'SCIENTOLOGY' sign is real and not a movie set?? It looks like something straight out of 'Brazil' or 'Joe vs. the Volcano'.

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I cannot wait - I'm mildly obsessed with all things Scientology, primarily because their reps are always so truculent and evasive when confronted with any questions challenging their 'religion', the whole 'Suppressive Person' / detachment concept, the Sea Org 'trafficking', the heavy recruitment of Hollywood types, and, of course, Xenu.  Fascinating stuff.

Edited by lyric
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Very real! It's in Los Angeles. There's a good brunch place across the street, and if you eat there you can see all the Sea Org cadets in their uniforms doing menial work for their (allegedly) 6 cents a day.

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Ha!  For a split second watching the video (and before I scrolled further down) I totally thought David Miscavige was Jacob Pitts and was momentarily disappointed that my TV boyfriend Tim Gutterson was a Scientologist. 

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They also have the balls to actually call another building "The Celebrity Centre".

 

photo04_big.jpg

 

And this one, in Clearwater Florida, is generally known as "The Superpower Building", although I believe after enough people mocked it while they built it under that name they changed it to "The Flag Building".

 

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I don't get HBO, so I won't be able to see this, but maybe it's for the best. Scientology gives me the creeps, and I cannot believe that this cult has been able to not only attract celebrities but it is also able to classify itself as a religion.

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When my older son was a toddler, we visited D.C. and stayed in DuPont Circle. Our walking route often took us past this place.  Then we'd hang out near Ghandi to alleviate [my] wiggins.

Ha! I was in DC for a bit, and would always furtively walk by this place. I was always trying to peek in, and would have to psych myself up. There were never people outside of it, otherwise I would have walked away so quickly.

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Ha!  For a split second watching the video (and before I scrolled further down) I totally thought David Miscavige was Jacob Pitts and was momentarily disappointed that my TV boyfriend Tim Gutterson was a Scientologist. 

Perish the thought! I may never get over the fact that Jason Dohring really is one.

Ha! I was in DC for a bit, and would always furtively walk by this place. I was always trying to peek in, and would have to psych myself up. There were never people outside of it, otherwise I would have walked away so quickly.

Yeah, it was always quiet when we walked by, too. My son thought it was a museum (it is quite a lovely looking building), and wanted to go inside! I don't remember how I explained what it actually was.

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What does fascinate me is those who are able to get out. I have read that Leah Remini has been shunned by her one-time friend, Kirstie Alley, as an example. I think Lisa Marie Presley is also out of it, but her mother is not. And considering their close relationship, I do wonder if her mother would follow the rule of cutting herself off or whatever.

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What does fascinate me is those who are able to get out. I have read that Leah Remini has been shunned by her one-time friend, Kirstie Alley, as an example. I think Lisa Marie Presley is also out of it, but her mother is not. And considering their close relationship, I do wonder if her mother would follow the rule of cutting herself off or whatever.

There are different rules for celebrities, so likely not.

 

I first got involved in protesting them way back in the early days of Scientology vs the Internet, which is pretty fascinating all by itself.

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I was vacationing in LA once and all of a sudden, I see the building with the sign looming over the highway (or was it just a street? I don't remember). I remember thinking Whoa, there it is.

 

Now I really want to read the book. Sadly I don't get HBO, but hopefully it will show during a free weekend.

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Ha! I was in DC for a bit, and would always furtively walk by this place. I was always trying to peek in, and would have to psych myself up. There were never people outside of it, otherwise I would have walked away so quickly.

My mom and I were in New York City a few years ago and our hotel was next door or a couple doors down from a Church of Scientology. I had a friend at the time who was doing a program in Religious Studies, specifically studying like, negative manifestations of faith, and she was obsessed with Scientology, so I said I have to get in there and get her something. Mom and I went in just to grab some brochures and skip out, but a guy attached himself to us and started chattering away. And then we RAN.

 

We did get away with a 100-question quiz meant to gauge whether you would make a good Scientologist. It was full of questions like "Do you feel that you are a powerful person?"

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A few years ago, Nancy Cartwright, from The Simpsons, sent out a mass mailing of these Scientology belief books, and one ended up in my mailbox. I wish I could find it because it was so bizarre. It would start out very logical, very reasonable, then take a sharp left turn towards crazy town at the end. I went through it and underlined all the sentences that raised a red flag with me. Let's just say I didn't seek out further info.

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A few years ago, Nancy Cartwright, from The Simpsons, sent out a mass mailing of these Scientology belief books, and one ended up in my mailbox. I wish I could find it because it was so bizarre. It would start out very logical, very reasonable, then take a sharp left turn towards crazy town at the end. I went through it and underlined all the sentences that raised a red flag with me. Let's just say I didn't seek out further info.

Think about how off the chain it is that even the intro book scared you, when it's a given that they hide 95% of their beliefs from you until you reach higher "Operating Levels" (aka "pay them much more money"). 

 

Xenu is actually one of the LESS insane things compared to some of the crazier shit (and I'm not just talking about the pseudo-religious stories, or the declaration that some undisclosed upper levels actually grant you superpowers, but also the policies that allow them stuff like disconnection, suppressive person declarations, child/slave labor, etc.)

Edited by Kromm
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Think about how off the chain it is that even the intro book scared you, when it's a given that they hide 95% of their beliefs from you until you reach higher "Operating Levels" (aka "pay them much more money"). 

 

I know! The only one I can vaguely remember was about how lying to other people is bad and detrimental for relationships. I was all, yeah, alright, that's true, then it said something about then you'd find people putting ground up glass in your food, and then I was all ummm....???

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I know! The only one I can vaguely remember was about how lying to other people is bad and detrimental for relationships. I was all, yeah, alright, that's true, then it said something about then you'd find people putting ground up glass in your food, and then I was all ummm....???

 

The hell...?

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Of course.

It reminds me of the South Park episode with Stan being audited.

"Do you like being told what to do?"

"Do you sometimes whistle to yourself?"

Edited by Janet Snakehole
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Well, that was certainly unsettling.  I don't know that I heard anything new - seems like everything's been said in various media, but seeing it presented all together like that was one ugly little package.  Frankly, I think it makes Cruise & Travolta look like (even bigger) fools, and Miscavige is a wee little man - both literally and figuratively. 

 

I'm glad we weren't subjected to much of Tommy Davis' yammering - he is as smarmy as Miscavige is creepy.

Edited by lyric
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I was actually starting to feel sorry for Cruise-- he's pretty much living life as a marionette, it seems-- until they related what he did to Nazanin Boniadi. I was actually shaking with rage. So glad she got out!

 

Paul Haggis is now officially added to my personal pantheon of heroes. (Bonadi was already there :D) Seriously, everyone interviewed for this is incredibly brave.

 

But it is so satisfying to see this particular fortress under assault. When Haggis told about his letter getting 600+ shares in one day, I gave a little cheer. Yes, i get into my TV.

 

The Hollywood Scientology building looks a lot like the newish "Tower of Terror" ride in Disney California Adventure. Think it's a coincidence? ;)

Edited by bunnywithanaxe
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I have to concur, there was a lot there that I'd heard of prior, the Kidman story as well as the vetting for Tom Cruise's next gal pal, I think there was a story on that in Vanity Fair.  But to see the kool-aid all in one pitcher instead of in little dixie cups really has more of a wallop.  

 

Both Miscavige and Cruise creep me out big time.  That video of Cruise nattering on in his black turtleneck...I don't know what he was saying but it probably would have only made sense to Xenu.    

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I see a late night in my future; I read this book and another as fast as I could when they came out. This subject fascinates me and creeps me out.

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I also loved Travolta talking about 'a world without criminality; a world without war' while sitting there in head-to-toe camo.

Edited by lyric
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Where's Shelly? I am so disappointed no mention was made of David Miscavige's wife Shelly, who's been missing for eight years. The story goes that Leah Remini marched up to Miscavige at Cruise's Italian wedding, and asked where his wife was. She even filed a missing persons report in LA. It's long been rumored that Shelly is in The Hole. Why did the documentary shy away from that? Tommy Davis even disappeared for a while.

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I have to concur, there was a lot there that I'd heard of prior, the Kidman story as well as the vetting for Tom Cruise's next gal pal, I think there was a story on that in Vanity Fair.  But to see the kool-aid all in one pitcher instead of in little dixie cups really has more of a wallop.  

 

Nicely put.

Not to keep picking on Cruise, but hands up-- how many of you muttered to yourself "T.J. Mackie" whenever he was talking behind that garish podium?

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Also disappointed that there was no mention of Will Smith and his family's deep involvement in Scientology. Will is rumored to have given massive amounts of money to Sea Org. What a deeply disturbed organization. I couldn't help but walk away thinking: 

  • The power of the human mind to self-deceive is almost limitless
  • David Miscavige - absolute power corrupts absolutely
Edited by PetuniaP
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Where's Shelly? I am so disappointed no mention was made of David Miscavige's wife Shelly, who's been missing for eight years. The story goes that Leah Remini marched up to Miscavige at Cruise's Italian wedding, and asked where his wife was. She even filed a missing persons report in LA. It's long been rumored that Shelly is in The Hole. Why did the documentary shy away from that? Tommy Davis even disappeared for a while.

That stuff with Remini and the police report all happened after the book was written didn't it?

 

Certainly the whole situation got complicated when allegedly Michele Miscavige called the authorities to tell them she's fine.  Of course since the details of that were never released to the public, other than an LAPD Detective making a statement saying there was no merit to the accusation, that opens up some nice conspiracy theory territory for the LAPD being under Scientology's thumb.  OR the LAPD really did talk to her but probably on some orchestrated phone call.

 

Also disappointed that there was no mention of Will Smith and his family's deep involvement in Scientology. 

 

He's one of the ones where his involvement has been obscured rather than publicized by the Scientologists.  They took his money but I guess he must have had conditions that Revolta and Cruise didn't.

 

I do have to wonder if the babbling nonsense Jaden Smith regularly tweets has anything to do with Scientology.  It's so indecipherable, who knows?

Edited by Kromm
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I read the book and Inside Scientology, so none of this was news to me, but something about seeing it onscreen blew my mind anew. I have to wonder if the fact that it was on HBO, as opposed to just in books or articles, will give the info greater impact. Seeing the kinds of menial work Sea Org members were doing (for slave wages) juxtaposed with the gifts given to Crazy Cruise, made me so angry. I wonder if there is a chance that the blowback from this would be strong enough to force Cruise and Travolta to do some damage control.

it's all so scary and criminal and then so comical! That music video! The freaking navy uniforms! What a joke. A sinister, depraved, laughable joke.

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Okay, I've finished watching, and really got nothing new (since I've read so much on the topic), but it was nice to be able to get some faces and voices put to what I've read.

 

Scientology is fucking scary. I totally respect people having their own beliefs, even in crazy stuff, but yeah, this goes WAY too far. And they have figured out how to work the system, so I don't know if they'll get what's coming to them any time soon. My heart broke for the mother who took her SP son's side, only to lose her daughter and granddaughter. That is just SO wrong. As is much of what they've done. I do appreciate that most of the former Scientologists recognize what they have done, and the harm its caused. According to what I've read, many are still following the practices of Scientology, just not the CoS itself. And that's not something I have a problem with. They don't hurt other people by having the beliefs, they only hurt them by following the orders they were given as part of the CoS.

 

Where's Shelly? I am so disappointed no mention was made of David Miscavige's wife Shelly, who's been missing for eight years. The story goes that Leah Remini marched up to Miscavige at Cruise's Italian wedding, and asked where his wife was. She even filed a missing persons report in LA. It's long been rumored that Shelly is in The Hole. Why did the documentary shy away from that? Tommy Davis even disappeared for a while.

 

That stuff with Remini and the police report all happened after the book was written didn't it?

 

Certainly the whole situation got complicated when allegedly Michele Miscavige called the authorities to tell them she's fine.  Of course since the details of that were never released to the public, other than an LAPD Detective making a statement saying there was no merit to the accusation, that opens up some nice conspiracy theory territory for the LAPD being under Scientology's thumb.  OR the LAPD really did talk to her but probably on some orchestrated phone call.

 

I do believe @Kromm is correct; the book was out before Leah Remini's departure from Scientology. I remember hearing that Shelley had been 'found' and thinking, "Yeah, RIGHT." 

 

My sister-in-law once did the introductory CoS thing out in LA, and she still gets mail from them; it's really nuts stuff, all "What Did We Do?" and "Please Come Back".

 

I think I may need to shower before going to bed after watching that.

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Very compelling documentary, but except for the woman who explained her departure with her sick baby, I wish they had detailed the other's escape from the cult.

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Nope, guess I am going to have to be the spoiler here. For a documentary called "going clear" I am not at all clear on much of Scientology other than, it is bad. A "matrix of thought other than your own" yeh that clears it up for me. What is so glaringly obvious to me when I am watching anything on Scientology is that it is a Hollywood advancement club. But no one ever takes a look at that. Paul Haggis? Please after his bad movie gets the Oscar he suddenly has a moral moment over gays in the church? Uh huh. He just didn't need the church anymore. It isn't like there are outbreaks of this "cult" in Nebraska or Africa -- so clearly it isn't about "thought" that anyone can fall into. Sure there are some fools that have nothing to do with Hollywood in it, but they probably want to be surrounded with Hollywood / celebs.

I suspect that L. Ron Hubbard just merely provided the platform that after his death was turned into a Hollywood advancement club. Mostly what I learned from this documentary is that it has nothing to do with me and in a world where Radical Islam is trying to kill me daily ... got bigger fish to fry.

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I've read a lot about Scientology in recent years, so some of the information in the documentary I already knew. They gave more background on Hubbard and between that and him actually speaking in video clips, I'm convinced he was mentally ill and his condition declined throughout his life. I was also very interested in two parts toward the end. The first was when the former members talked about reading the handwritten pages from Hubbard that describe the exploding aliens from a planet just like 1950's America. I was glad to see that even in their brainwashed state that they thought that stuff was a big old WTF. The other point was the very end when the former members were asked how they feel about their time in Scientology. It was good that they felt embarrassed at the very least. The man who had been one of the high level hatchet men really showed remorse. Good.

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The Squirrel Busters?! The gaudy pageantry? The "uniforms?" That music video? What the hell is this place? A bad 1970s sitcom?!

That being said, their tax-exempt status needs to be snatched away. I can't believe these criminals are getting away with it.

Much of the information covered in the doc I already knew (and the South Park episode that covered Scientology was a much better primer) but those brainwashed ex-wives who appeared on Anderson Cooper I never saw. People sure are idiots.

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How did I not know about this?? Thanks, PTV, for the heads up. I guess I know what I am doing tonight.

I don't think "Going Clear" was the book I read, I think I read the one Janet Snakehole mentioned ("Inside Scientology"), but this is fascinating. I am not expecting new revelations, per se, but think this poster nailed it on the head:

I have to concur, there was a lot there that I'd heard of prior, the Kidman story as well as the vetting for Tom Cruise's next gal pal, I think there was a story on that in Vanity Fair.  But to see the kool-aid all in one pitcher instead of in little dixie cups really has more of a wallop.  

[...]

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I also loved Travolta talking about 'a world without criminality; a world without war' while sitting there in head-to-toe camo.

I laughed there too. Also, if that is what Scientologists want, why the psuedo Navy uniforms?

I kind of wish they had gone into Battlefield Earth.

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Welp, that freaked me out just about as much as I thought it would. (Then again, Amway people give me the willies, so I guess it doesn't take much?)

 

Kinda loved the Cruise footage. His crazy eyes are nothing new, but the more video exposure of his fuckwittery, the better. If he were simply a blackmailed dupe like Travolta, that would be one thing; his best-buddies relationship with that malignant dwarf, Miscavige, however, is the worst. That Vanity Fair piece about their "friendship" and what it's wrought made me want to put them in a trash can together and roll it down a very steep hill.

 

 

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Yes, I am surprised they left out Shelly Miscavige. 

Will Smith has never publicly been a Scientologist. He just issued a statement saying he is "spritual" and interested in all faiths. J.Lo is also into Scientology just not publicly. I think if you are celebrity then Scientology is just a big self-help religion with Hollywood contacts. It's the no-names that are being abused and brainwashed. 

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I laughed there too. Also, if that is what Scientologists want, why the psuedo Navy uniforms?

 

Miscavige's podium dress uniform was fucking creepy. It reminded me of the uniforms the evil dictators wore in those Twilight Zone episodes about unnamed totalitarian regimes.

For more about the power of creepy uniforms and groupspeak, I encourage you to check out the documentary "Lesson Plan."

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Didn't know much about Scientology, heard about some of the crazy mythology stories, didn't think any of Scientology's stories were any crazier than virgin births, partings of seas, plural marriages or resurrections.  But I do love a documentary about gullible people and this doc didn't disappoint.  I was seriously surprised at the depths of gullibility to which these poor halfwits subjected themselves.  Scraping rust off a boat?  The hole?  This could only happen in California!    I don't know how I could take anything seriously from the Scientology refugees.  A woman leaves her infant daughter while she's being reprogrammed?  Paul Haggis donates $250K to a church that harasses his gay daughters?  He never read anything contrary to Scientology?  His daughters' should seriously reconsider their father's day gift, he's not doing a great job.

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Nope, guess I am going to have to be the spoiler here. For a documentary called "going clear" I am not at all clear on much of Scientology other than, it is bad. A "matrix of thought other than your own" yeh that clears it up for me. What is so glaringly obvious to me when I am watching anything on Scientology is that it is a Hollywood advancement club. But no one ever takes a look at that. Paul Haggis? Please after his bad movie gets the Oscar he suddenly has a moral moment over gays in the church? Uh huh. He just didn't need the church anymore. It isn't like there are outbreaks of this "cult" in Nebraska or Africa -- so clearly it isn't about "thought" that anyone can fall into. Sure there are some fools that have nothing to do with Hollywood in it, but they probably want to be surrounded with Hollywood / celebs.

I suspect that L. Ron Hubbard just merely provided the platform that after his death was turned into a Hollywood advancement club. Mostly what I learned from this documentary is that it has nothing to do with me and in a world where Radical Islam is trying to kill me daily ... got bigger fish to fry.

I'm sorry, but your analysis is extremely inaccurate.

 

The "Hollywood" stuff is only the smallest part of Scientology and characterizing the whole of Scientology as "just Hollywood stuff" sets a very dangerous precedent of dismissing the consequences of their greatest sins.

 

The Hollywood stuff is high profile and what catches everyone's attention.  The biggest source of humor, of scandal with an easy hook into it the regular folk can understand, and feeds a lot of money into Scientology.  But you've added this totally dismissive layer to it in your analysis that concludes that nobody else is really being affected other than some tiny number.  Which as a RESULT of years of banging on Scientology might now be true (countless people have left), but it wasn't that long ago they did indeed have huge numbers of members, worldwide, and at the very least a core of tens of thousands of Sea Org people (so, FAR more than any other cult) who lived under some pretty adverse/screwed up conditions.

 

Is it a "bigger threat" than radical Islam?  Of course not.  Few if anyone has ever claimed such silliness.  But that doesn't mean it's something that should be totally dismissed.  At the very least, even if you didn't care about the human rights aspects, they're the largest Tax Dodge for a business (or one might even call them a criminal entity) in US History.  That alone is worth investigating for all of the money it's taken out of the economy.

This could only happen in California!    I don't know how I could take anything seriously from the Scientology refugees.  

Actually a good amount of this stuff surrounding Scientology happened in Florida, and some in DC too.

 

As for the Scientology refugees, it DOES have to be noted that only the most overly dramatic stories rose to the top, so to speak.  A lot more mundane, but still unpleasant, stories exist that didn't get books written about them or publicity.  Flashy stuff is bound to sound a bit more eye rolly, right?

J.Lo is also into Scientology just not publicly. I think if you are celebrity then Scientology is just a big self-help religion with Hollywood contacts. It's the no-names that are being abused and brainwashed. 

To be fair to J. Lo, I think it's generally known that she just edged around it because she was close buds with Leah Remini, but in fact was supposedly one of the key reasons Remini got out. Remini herself was VERY clear that J. Lo remains one of her best friends, and with disconnection, that wouldn't be the case if J. Lo had ever had any serious involvement.

 

If we want to talk about celebs who gave money to Scientology on the down-low, we can't forget Jerry Seinfeld, can we?  But like with J. Lo I think it may have been far more because of other people he knew who were active members and he himself never went anywhere with it beyond tossing some bucks in their direction.

 

Ack, here we go speaking about the celeb aspects again.  But there's no denying they're attention catching, even if the tip of the iceberg with Scientology.  And the money aspects (and lack of taxation) of their involvement, and how on the back-end it led to Scientology to be able to maintain "missions" across most of the globe, and weird prison camps in the desert, and wacky harmful stuff like their anti-psychology efforts and Narconon (their anti-drug center that "treated" drug addiction by deliberately leaving Doctors out of the equation).  So the celeb stuff is "important" in how it funded other bad stuff.

Edited by Kromm
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Flashy stuff is bound to sound a bit more eye rolly, right?

 

Point taken.

they're the largest Tax Dodge for a business (or one might even call them a criminal entity) in US History.

 

Totally agree, but I'm for taxation of ALL churches.

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