Introducing John P. Capitalist’s Blog

Two years ago, I “fell down the rabbit hole” of the crazy world of Scientology.  Most people in the world know Scientology only as the religion of Tom Cruise and John Travolta.  Some have heard rumors that the top-secret beliefs revealed to high-level adherents who have paid exorbitant prices involve galactic empires and alien spaceships straight from the mind of a 1930s pulp science-fiction writer.

Long-time watchers of this dangerous organization often repeat the slogan, “Scientology: it’s always worse than it looks.”  That’s because those who scratch a bit further under the surface than the average People Magazine reader learn that Scientology is driven by ravenous greed, driving its customers close to (and frequently into) financial ruin to raise money. Relatively fewer people know that Scientology is a dangerous cult that takes extraordinary measures to control members’ lives and to keep its staff working brutal hours under inhumane conditions for paltry sums, with an internal prison camp awaiting staff members who fall out of favor with the cult’s violent leader, David Miscavige.

And not many outside the network of thousands of people who sacrificed decades of their lives and their entire fortunes know just how evil this organization can be. Scientology has left a vast legacy of economic ruin, premature deaths and shattered families in its wake.  And that  is just the collateral damage; Scientology has also engaged in carefully orchestrated and well funded plots to destroy enemies and raise money, actions that no organization and most particularly not a self-described “religion” should ever be seen doing.

I have spent a significant chunk of my free time over the last two years researching Scientology and writing of my conclusions in various forms including anti-cult activist sites like WhyWeProtest and Ex-Scientologist Message Board.  By far, the bulk of my writing about Scientology, however, has been in comments on the site of Tony Ortega, a professional journalist who has focused on Scientology news coverage for nearly two decades.  You can find me writing there under the name of “John P.”

Why my own blog?  Why now?   The fundamental reason for me to start my own blog is that I’ve written a lot about Scientology in the last two years.  A couple weeks ago, when I started to hatch the idea of doing my own blog, I did a little Linux grep-fu and counted up the number of words I had written in comments over the last two years. The actual count came to 603,000 words, which stunned me because that’s basically four or five non-fiction books worth of prose. And that has all been in reaction to what Tony and others have published; a news blog format isn’t conducive to publishing original research generated on my own time frame.  I’ve been grateful for the positive feedback I have gotten from many who have read my work, and it’s time to take it to the next level, with the ability to set my own agenda and schedule for what I want to focus on.

Over the last several months, traffic on Tony Ortega’s site has exploded, and what used to be perhaps two hundred comments per day, most adding deeper perspective to the story, has now blossomed by an order of magnitude.  There are a lot of interesting people and great stories told in the comments on Tony’s site, and the community is remarkably free of the vitriol, trolling and other bad behavior so common on the Internet. I’ve actually formed a number of off-line friendships as a result of participating on Tony’s blog, which is itself remarkable.

But Tony’s success has caused some problems: with ten times as many comments, it is increasingly hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. I think one-line quips and praise of others who write something of value are great, because those are important in building a large community that can have a real impact in opposing the cult.  Back-and-forth dialog enables people to understand and respect each other, including those who have never met. But those “light and fluffy” comments also make it hard for many readers to keep up with the comments, particularly in trying to find and keep up with longer, well-researched opinions or raw data on life in the cult.  With an average of one or two new comments per minute, it’s tough for people who can’t keep up with Tony’s site during the day to follow important news and thinking about the cult.  Some readers have told me privately that they’re frustrated at how long it takes to catch up with the day’s reading when they get home from work.  Sometimes it takes an hour and a half versus ten minutes in the past.

Given how hard I work researching details of what I write, I began to be frustrated that my articles would zoom out of view on the roll of comments that steadily grows longer throughout the day.  Several weeks ago, I started to hatch a plan to start my own blog, to complement what existing sites do, and hopefully to contribute a new dimension in helping people to oppose this cult and what it stands for.  I know others interested in doing deeper work on critiquing and analyzing the cult have felt similar frustration over the large number of comments.  Fearing that your detailed work gets lost against the background of more casual commentary can be a remarkable disincentive to putting in the effort.

More perilously, there are many prominent ex Scientologists who used to be fixtures on Tony Ortega’s blog who are rarely seen there.  I can’t recall when I last saw a comment on “The Underground Bunker” from Denise Brennan, Kate Bornstein, Paulette Cooper, Mat Pesch, Amy Scobee, or so many other ex’s who have earned prominent standing in the community of ex’s.  I’d like to ensure that they have a platform to contribute more of their stories and experience, because they could be invaluable in helping our cause.

Last Friday, Tony announced that he’s got a new “day job,” starting today as Editor-in-Chief of a rapidly growing news site called The Raw Story.  The fact that I’m launching this blog today is, surprisingly enough, a coincidence.  I’ve been discussing starting my own blog with several other prominent members of the anti-Scientology activist community for a couple weeks, before I got wind of Tony’s new move.

What others do well:  One of the great reasons for the success of anti-Scientology activists since the landmark global protest by Anonymous in 2008 is the emergence of successful forums to bind the community together.   The prominent sites each serve different needs:

  • Tony Ortega is the premier journalist covering breaking Scientology news; he also does a great job mining his network of sources to get a look at marketing documents and published writings of L. Ron Hubbard.
  • Forums like ESMB and WhyWeProtest are a great place for people to express themselves, and to take the discussion in any direction that appeals to them.  Each of these forums has a unique style and a unique culture.
  • Prominent ex-Scientologists like Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder give their own perspective on life and their evolution since they left the cult.

It would be foolish for me to try to compete with them at what they each do so well.  I need to do something of value that they can’t easily accomplish within their existing “turf.”

What I can contribute:  It’s clear to me that I can leverage my career experience to build a site to deliver something that’s missing in any of the current popular anti-Scientology sites. Given my experience in analyzing companies, corporate strategy and economic data in my day job at a hedge fund that I refer to as “Global Capitalism HQ,” I want to bring the analytical skills and judgment I use in picking stocks to the process of thinking about what is going on today in Scientology and where it might lead in the future.

Insightful analysis is the basis for informed and effective action.  If we as a community of anti-Scientology activists can think through what the consequences (both intended and unintended) of the cult’s actions might be, we can precisely tailor our planned actions, which significantly increases the chances that our work will have an impact.  We can have increased confidence that the risks we take of harassment by the cult will be worth it because our actions might become more effective.

And equally importantly, if we are able to articulate the basis for our beliefs convincingly and logically, we will be able to convince many disparate groups all opposed to Scientology to align themselves more than in the past.  This has been difficult because some who have never been in the cult proclaim loudly that it’s all nonsense, which steps on the feeling of “independent Scientologists” who believe that the Scientology “tech” is a remarkably effective self-help toolkit and that only the current Scientology management is a problem.

Well-written analysis can help bridge these two opposed points of view and help people find a common ground that will allow them to work together even if they continue to harbor major areas of disagreement.  Thoughtfully articulated logical discussion can bind people together where passions and faith can tear them apart.

Building a community of like-minded folks:  This is my site, and at least for the short term future, I’ll be writing most of the content. But I can’t do it all alone, even if I wanted to.  I want to build a community of like minded anti-Scientology activists from across the spectrum who want to do their own research and digging to help increase the effectiveness of anti-cult activities.  The cult is increasingly vulnerable, and well-aimed action can help blunt the damage it does in the world more rapidly than at any time in the past.  If you like writing (and reading) insightful analysis or digging up obscure source documents and connecting the dots to help expose and oppose Scientology, I want this to be an important destination for you.  I am familiar with what sociologists call “on-line production communities” such as those that build open source software, and I think I have enough wisdom to encourage people who want to help and then GTFO the way.  

We are about deepening understanding of what the cult of Scientology is doing now, and about making increasingly accurate predictions of what it will do in the future to try to reverse its flagging fortunes.  I’ll come up with a more reasoned “mission statement” at some point in the future.  

I am not making a bid to become a leader in the anti-Scientology movement. To the extent that a leader is needed, there are many people who have already done much to deserve some form of leadership role in the increasing groundswell of outrage. I’m not that leader. I want to provide research so that people can make up their minds on what they want to do, and then get out and do it with confidence.

How it works:    I’m going to start out with a couple of deliverables and expand as reader preferences dictate.  I’ll link comments in other forums to this blog in general and to specific posts here where warranted.  I’ll continue to comment on Tony’s blog where I have something to say, since that’s a key way to attract new readers here.  If those of you active on ESMB, OCMB, WWP and other forums would like to help, please link back to this site from your posts in those sites.  Key deliverables:

  • First, as a service to Tony’s many readers, I plan to put out a nightly recap of the day’s Scientology-related news, coming out at 10:00 or 11:00 pm Eastern time.  I’ll summarize Tony’s article(s) from the day, add some of my own thoughts where relevant, and summarize and/or repost the most interesting in-depth comments.
  • Second, I’ll do longer analytical pieces answering key questions often posed by people with significant interest in the cult.  Perhaps the most common question, given the inept management of Scientology, is when the whole enterprise collapses into a heap of smoldering rubble.  I will publish a carefully researched scenario that looks at the estimated financial picture, the likely short-term effects of recent news and what we understand of the cult’s business strategy. From there, I’ll predict what is likely to happen over the next year or two.  Such a scenario is a living document that needs to be updated periodically in the face of breaking news and new data.  A lively community of people helping to come to a consensus on scenarios like that will be invaluable in guiding the movement in focusing its efforts.
  • Third, I’ll attempt to give readers a sense of the analytical techniques used in the world of Wall Street, so people can participate fully in developing high-quality analysis of the cult and its weak spots.  In other words, I’ll do my best to train people in what works and what doesn’t work in doing this kind of writing.  It’s far different than being a news reporter, and it demands a lot more intellectual rigor than just expressing a “seat of the pants” opinion in a comment forum.  I can’t guarantee that you’ll get a job at Global Capitalism HQ if you read the articles I’m planning on analytical technique, in part because it’s a miserable job, but I can work hard to help you learn something that might help you in your current job.

Over time, we can add as much formal structure as necessary to turn this into a platform for anyone who wants to do high-quality research about the cult. That could include section editors, qualified people who write about their expertise (Scientology ethics, the corporate structure, lawyering and legal affairs, etc).  I’m open to a lot of ways to make it easy and fun for people to put their real world expertise to work.

This is a serious endeavor, but I don’t want to extinguish all hope of fun.  I’m sure there will be more than a few references to oiliness tables, Steely Dan lyrics, that remote rural enclave in upstate New York called “Canada” and plenty of other humor.  But if we can maximize the signal-to-noise ratio and unleash the armchair analysts, the long-time ex’s and others, we as a community can have an even bigger impact on the cult than we do today.

I look forward to starting a fun intellectual adventure with those of you who read this and those who join the conversation in the future!  Your passion and knowledge and ideas are what will make this all work, so please click on “Add a Comment” and give me your best, starting right now…

82 thoughts on “Introducing John P. Capitalist’s Blog

  1. Spackle Motion

    Bravo, my friend, on this new endeavor. This blog wouldn’t be complete without the LRH three cheers to celebrate the next 603,000 words.

    May I suggest this champagne for the christening?

  2. SuperModel#1

    Congratulations, darling, on your new site, and your pledge to offer thoughtful and disciplined commentary for the purpose of thwarting our arch enemy!

    1. ThetaBara

      All this plus SuperModel#1!
      I’m really excited about this idea. It’s really needed and the timing and positioning are perfect. Not that I’d expect anything less from JP.
      I will stay on target/topic, and point here. I love to connect information and people and this place sounds like it will be an amazing resource.

  3. PoisonIvyHerself

    Congrats JohnP! Very excited for your new endeavor. You have become an important voice in the analysis of this issue and Poison Ivy returns to add her 2 cents if you ever need the entertainment industry perspective. So break a bottle of champagne on your computer’s bow and set sail…but skip the fake Navy uniform, will ya? 😉

  4. media_lush

    I almost feel that I have to change my avatar if I want to post here……it’ll be interesting to see how this develops; anyway, all the best;

    1. John P.

      That’s an excellent choice for a live version of “Aja.” This one’s most probably from the 2003 tour (possibly the 2000 tour), with Ted Baker on piano.

      Of course, in homage to my day job, one could also groove on “The Royal Scam.” This version off the 2009 tour doesn’t have great video, but it’s got Larry Carlton doing the guitar solos note-for-note off the album; he never toured with them when the album was released in 1976, so this year was the first time he had ever played this classic album live. I was privileged to be in the first few rows at the Beacon in NYC a couple weeks before this was taken, at the first show where Larry played this and all the other songs of the album. It was one of the two best Dan shows I’ve been to (my all time favorite: the second Roseland Ballroom show on the 2003 tour, which was Becker’s favorite Steely Dan show of all time as well). Check it out:

        1. John P.

          Naturally, I got this DVD long ago. It is really interesting to see the mind of a couple ruthless perfectionists at work, especially in creating a masterpiece like Aja. It’s particularly incredible the story of Steve Gadd’s drum work on the title track. Virtually no two four-bar segments of the drum part are the same, and he figured out what they wanted and nailed it on the second track, which is some kind of record for Steely Dan, who used to take in dozens of takes of everything and in a couple cases literally wore out the tape.

  5. Noni Mause

    Great. Terrific. I really want to be able to get straight to the meaty stuff in a discussion and love reading information dense pieces on scientology. I will look forward to your analyses and to the contributions of others.

    1. John P.

      Investment advice is rarely worth as much as you pay for it. With that in mind, yes, I’ll throw a few zingers out there. I’m much better at answering questions to tell you how to think about the market than I am at popping up and saying “Buy Google today.”

      Professional traders have a lot more tolerance for risk and a lot better ability to trade their way out of a jam than individuals do. If you have a day job and aren’t following the market all the time, you are going to be at a major disadvantage versus a guy like me who has access to facilities to trade out of two million shares of Google almost instantly. That “liquidity” allows me to beat lots of other traders (including other professionals) in a market that’s moving rapidly up or down.

      So the way I make investment decisions is not always good for individuals who might take a day or two to make a decision that a pro would make in a few seconds and have already acted on before you even know there is something you should do.

  6. FromPolandWithLove

    I’m very happy, because Your writing is great, both content and style. The more I read You the better my English is:)
    Good luck with Your blog, and remember that You have loyal reader far, far away in Poland.
    Ps. I promise I won’t write here content free posts:)

  7. Narapoid

    I will consider closely before I post here. Your announcement post is already 3 or 4 pages deep on The Bunker.

    An article on the shape and appearance of Miscavige’s ouster and input on the post-Nero cherch would be a great place to start.

    1. John P.

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve put that on the list of potential future articles, and I think that would be a great topic to cover. Nero, indeed.

  8. ThetaTomato

    I am looking forward to your new blog John P. Your comments are one of the first things I look for in Tony’s blog after I read his new post(s) each day. You are a gifted writer and analyst with a passion for the subject matter that is palpable. This cult has destroyed the relationship with my oldest son, therefore I cannot go even a day without looking for updates on its epic, slow motion collapse. I look forward to seeing the many different groups unite in hopes that it may help hasten the demise of the insidious cult of scientology.

    1. John P.

      Thank you for sharing about your oldest son. I’m a never-in who finds the actions of the cult appalling in an abstract, arm’s length kind of way. That’s bad enough. Losing a family member to the cult is suffering beyond my ability to imagine. I don’t presume that my writing on the cult makes a difference, but it is because of stories like this that I hold out some modest hope that it might.

      I don’t know if I will be able to help get various types of anti-Scientology activists together, but it’s worth a try. What inspired me to think that may be possible is a number of interactions I’ve had with “indies” who have initially been very hostile when I’ve made a comment about how auditing is ineffective. They point to the “wins” they’ve gotten in auditing.

      It took me a long time to realize that the reason for this major difference in views is easily explained. They see “anecdotal” evidence — what happened for them in one or two sessions that really made a difference. They forget dozens, or potentially hundreds, of auditing sessions that were a complete waste of time (this is a universal human bias, to remember only the unusual results when you do a repetitive task a thousand times). And they have no ability to measure accurately how effective auditing is across a large population.

      When I say “auditing doesn’t work,” that’s shorthand for my belief (it is only a belief, since no clinical trials have been done, but I have an extremely high confidence level that I’m right) that auditing is less effective than most clinically validated psychotherapy models. I am thinking in terms of the statistical bet in a general case.

      Where people get tied in knots is the notion that if I’m right then they must be wrong — in other words, that their “wins” didn’t really happen. But that’s not at all what I said — it’s as unlikely that auditing will produce value for people 0.00% of the time as it is that “Scientology works 100% of the time when applied standardly,” as the cult says.

      So when I’ve had long conversations in Tony’s blog with indies who defend auditing, and when I get them to understand that we’re really talking about two different things, they’ve been able to understand my point of view (I already understood theirs, perhaps better than they did). Using rigorous analysis can help them to understand where I’m saying something that is not a personal attack on them.

      If I can write up issues like that and attract readers from the world of Indies, then it might help to get them more closely aligned with others who don’t share their viewpoint about “the tech.”

      1. Zana

        I think that communicating your true feelings with another person who is actively LISTENING… is healing. That’s what happened for me in Auditing… and I was there for specific reasons that were addressed in the beginning that released a lot of emotional pressure and helped me see things differently.

        Also, I felt valued and listened to. I guess I could have bought that with a regular therapist… but I thought the e-meter would catch some things that were so deeply buried all the therapy I had done before hadn’t been able to touch those upsets. I would pass out and go to sleep before I would look at the trauma I grew up in. So… with that respect… my Auditor kept me awake when I would “shut down” in session. And he would know that there was still more to go and I could push through it until I felt bright and clear again. You can’t do that in a 50 minute hour. And my previous experiences with regular therapists were such that I could pass out or wander around and totally not see the trauma that was buried so deeply with big instructions, “DON’T LOOK HERE! DANGER! SHUT DOWN” that I would pay them for 50 minutes and leave without having any “ahahs” at all. Regular therapy felt like just regurgitating my old stories and, quite frankly, I was tired of my old story.

        Co$ never felt church-like to me. Just self-help. IMHO the whole church angle is part of the scam. And the whole go-up-the-Bridge crap is just that… crap. That does not lead to Enlightenment. Hah. Was LRH Enlightened when he died? Was he at peace? Did he surrender to Loving? My understanding is that God is Love. Co$ is NOT a religion. It’s self-help. God is something else.

        I have been with Enlightened Masters. I have gone to church where the Pastor is gifted in “Slaying with the Holy Spirit.” I know what it feels like to be overtaken by God and Love. That does not exist in Scientology.

        Thanks for your efforts on this blog. I look forward to it.

        1. John P.

          I think you are exactly right about auditing. Sympathy and compassion, often communicated non-verbally, are marvelously healing. The knock on traditional therapy is that it requires a good relationship with the therapist, as you observe. The flip side is that if you have a good relationship with a therapist, amazing things can happen.

          I suspect, by the way, that auditing has become less effective over the years as DM has tried to “improve” the “tech.” I would guess that auditors in the past could deviate from the script a lot and wouldn’t get in trouble, but now with audio/video recording in the orgs, that’s no longer possible. So the human element has been squeezed out.

          If there are people with extensive experience in auditing who could offer color on the above assumption, I’d love to hear about it.

          1. Zana

            You’re right. I had a FABULOUS auditor. I was audited in the orgs once and hated it. Felt cold and uncared for. Just official. And the chairs were uncomfortable. No rapport with the auditor. You’re right.

            It seems as though DM is expecting people to take their heart and intuition out of it. Intuition and empathy is part of why it works. If I’m just sitting looking at some cold auditor who is looking at me like a piece of meat that happens to be wiggling… then… ??…. how can I allow my fragile Being out? We need to be loved and coaxed out. But DM bullies. It’s in the energy field of the person auditing.

          2. Natasha Boris

            As someone who had observed, received and delivered auditing of Dianetics and on the e-meter for 35 years, I can tell you it is VERY different now than what it used to be. As for the efficacy and validity as a therapy, I freely admit I have no experience with anything else to compare it to. For myself it was hit and miss. Sometimes, if I had an auditor who I really liked and seemed to care, I did feel better. Others frustrated me and I felt worse.

            In delivering auditing back in the 70’s, especially in the missions, the environments were much more relaxed and friendly and I think perhaps that played a large part in the effectiveness of people achieving “wins”. I know I frequently truly felt like I had helped someone after delivering a good “session” and felt awful if the person didn’t feel like they had gotten something good out of it.

            That was a key component to the early auditors though, caring about your “PC” that I haven’t seen or experienced in anything but a rote way in the last ten years. I believe Marty Rathbun did a post on his blog awhile back about Act One. That, for me, is the biggest thing that has changed, it’s lack in training being done now.

          3. John P.

            Natasha, thanks for your perspective. If it’s OK with you, I’d like to interview you at some point for some potential future article that has to do with auditing.

            As I have said elsewhere, I want to be able to help never-ins like me to understand auditing and I want to help those who have done a lot of it understand why there’s so much skepticism and even open hostility about auditing in the never-in community. Though the two groups may never agree completely, I think it will help if I can give each an understanding of the others’ viewpoint.

          4. Murray Pearlman

            John P. I am looking forward to your blog. Both myself and wife were in for over 40 yrs. My wife is CL 8 OT 8 and audited under LRH, I went up pretty high myself. I can tell you that auditing can be therapeutic. The auditing done now with Miscavige changes is terrible and the main reason is how they call Floating Needles. Almost any old time Scientologist will tell you they now overrun most every process (keep going past a win). Which is extremely detrimental and creates a Zombie affect which Miscavige loves. I believe auditing helps mainly by validating a persons own realization so when an auditor does not say your needle is floating when you have a win it takes away that validation. By the way we do not consider ourselves Scientologists, Independent or otherwise. I now believe LRH was a psychopath and used all his ethics tech to “Cultify” its members. I have written in the past on Martys’ blog when he first started about what ethics is really all about. If you ever wants some data on the “tech” let me know.

          5. John P.

            Murray, thanks for dropping in and for giving me the background. As I said before, I’m interested in exploring auditing in some detail over time, so having people who have decades of perspective is very valuable.

          6. Candy Swanson

            You’ve got it right, John. I audited under LRH on the ship, for Yvonne at CC, in the field as a Class VII (for a total of 7 years) and when the cameras were being installed in the LA Org auditing rooms in 1973, I left and continued auditing for the past 40 years on my own. A CC C/S said publically, she “could send me into a session with a C/S “throw rocks at the preclear” and he’d go to the examiner saying it was the best session he’d ever had.”
            I did go to university for 8 years and got my Masters in Social Work in 2002…concluded it was more to do with ‘being there’ than the tek.

          7. John P.

            Candy, thanks for dropping by. It’s great to see folks from back in the day here.

            Your perspective from the early days of Scientology is very valuable. I would love to be able to make use of your knowledge of the early history of Scientology and of your perspective on where the indie movement might want to go next.

            I’m scrambling a bit more than I expected with all the little details that are popping up that I have to deal with (I never once thought about my Facebook and Twitter strategy in doing my plan for this blog, for instance). So it may take me time to harness what people like you might be able to contribute. Feel free to send me an e-mail any time if you have any ideas.

  9. aquaclara

    Cpngratulations on the arrival of your new baby, John P. There is no shortage of news to comment upon, so I know this will be a big win for us, as much as for you. Your baby merits a name all its own, too, methinks.

    If you want topic suggestions, I find the idle orgs and the cult buildings quite fascinating. Each one on their own has a story – an acquisition strategy – a heyday – a building – an investment plan – a membership strategy – a mission strategy that has probably gone away but was a feeder at some point. In some cases, even citations from the respective city.

    What’s the value of this stuff today vs when it was purchased? The facts are all out there in different places. The photos tell a story, but there is more inside the facts. This isn’t something that can be bitten off in one bite, but perhaps an org at a time.

    1. John P.

      That’s a very fruitful research area, something I think we could do on this site extremely well as we get under way. And it’s important because it would answer the question of “what happens if they lose a sizable chunk of the reserves due to refund lawsuits?” It would be very useful to have an understanding of how much they might realize if they dumped individual properties or tried to dump the whole portfolio.

      My thought is that we could set up a “Wiki” attached to this site, using the same software as Wikipedia uses (I’ve done this before). Private Wiki’s are great places to stash little bits of random data that might be helpful. A page for each Idle Morgue would allow us to collect that information, including dumps of public record data, real estate listings, cult fundraising flyers like the one yesterday that claimed they were almost done with renovations for the San Diego org, etc.

      Notice I said “something we could do.” Not “something I could do.” I really look forward to the feedback from everyone on what we can analyze and how we can do it as a community — it’ll be fun to learn how to do all the digging. It’s a lot of work, but one of the greatest satisfactions in life is seeing your predictions about the future come true. That’s the rush that has made my work on Wall Street satisfying — predicting two months beforehand what Microsoft’s financial results are going to be and getting it right while the competition was massively wrong.

      1. Zana

        This is really exciting. Very very interesting.

        Seeing all these things so clearly and analyzing them with finances in mind will show where the weak spot is to drive in the sword. Like in a bull fight. This feels kind of like taking all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle and laying them out around us… then evaluating how they all fit together.

  10. 1subgenius

    I want no part of any blog that would have someone like me.
    Other than that I have no comment. And you can quote me on that.
    This ain’t no hotel I’m writin’ you from.

    Yours sincerely, doin’ 5 to 8.
    Stampin’ out my time makin’ Tennessee plates.

  11. i-Betty

    Many congratulations on the new blog, John. I know it’s going to be a good one because I’ve read with great interest your very insightful comments at The Bunker for months now. Yours are always ‘go to’ comments for me and I really look forward to you having a platform to expand your critical thinking.

  12. Dog Saluter

    Ahhh… the Voice of Reason takes command!

    John, I certainly echo the sentiments of the other
    commenters. I’d like to add that I consider it an honor and a privilege to be
    included here. It is a joy to read the writings of an intellectual giant,
    especially one so articulate and accessible. (I choose my words carefully and
    am not prone to hyperbole. You’re the real deal.)

    The need you are filling here is huge. Thank you and we
    salute you for taking this step. I know you will continue to make important
    contributions to the demise of this scam.

  13. Free Minds, Free Hearts

    Oh yay John P ! I am so glad you have started this blog and I truly look forward to your analyses and other contributions. Scientology is a dangerous organization which preys on the vulnerable with hypnotic techniques, behavioral control, and mental and physical punishment. I am a never-in, with family in Sea Org for decades (who I wish would be able to escape), and I am addicted to Tony’s blog.

  14. MereCatWatcher

    Yes this is great. I might even learn something — after losing 60% of my IRA twice and then investing in a house at the top of the market. I was watching a YouTube video of Steve Hassan where he talks about the innumerable fronts the Moonies have. So a way of keeping track of all the fronts and corporations that multiply and change names as fast as Scientology can do it could be interesting. I think about all the clients I worked with using earthlink without knowing it’ origins. So here is a question: Is it valuable to simply boycott businesses and organizations just because they are connected to the cult or should more go into the analysis? I imagine there are some unsuspecting Scientologists with honest businesses that they work hard at, or are they likely to be contaminated by Wise and just funnel funds to the church? I know that I have no desire to go to a Tom Cruise movie, not that I ever did, but I did like John Travolta in many of his movies except, of course, Battlefield Earth — I can’t get past the images. I have a hard time boycotting Hollywood types just because they are Scientologists, yet that’s what I want to do.

  15. Illinoisian

    Congratulations and bravo! Your posts are always full of info, give a larger perspective and are enjoyable/fun as well.

  16. Lurkness

    Nothing profound to add substantively tonight, but wishing you the best. This is needed and I will be a daily visitor. Kudos and looking forward to the blog, your insights and those of an informed following.

    1. John P.

      I’m looking forward to seeing what contribution a world-class infoholic like you will be able to make. I have great Google-fu and a few other things, but a real academic research librarian ought to be able to dredge up stuff I can’t even dream of properly.

      I am hoping that we can all work together to build something that adds to the other already excellent sources of information about the cult.

      1. Candy Swanson

        Love the working together idea, John, and have always enjoyed your intelligent and interesting contributions at the Bunker.
        Looking forward to your endeavor especially as I’ve been anticipating agonizing actual withdrawals of my early morning bunker routine.

  17. DMSTCC

    It will be interesting to see if any of your analysis/articles change any of CoB’s strategies. I’m sure he’ll be one of your most zealous readers.

    BTW – I often find myself playing a few games of Solitaire to exercise my neural connections before reading your longer posts.

    1. John P.

      It’s an interesting “Heisenberg” problem to contemplate whether publishing predictions of Miscavige’s strategy will cause him to try to alter that strategy.

      In military matters, Napoleon is famously quoted as saying, “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” But in military matters, particularly on the battlefields of the day, it was a lot easier for commanders to adapt to the discovery of a mistake in a field-level tactical issue than it is for modern corporations, particularly those that strangle themselves in bureaucracy the way that the cult does, to back out of a screw-up they’re about to make.

      The Microsoft Windows 8.0 user interface strategy comes to mind; it’s pretty clear that a large faction inside Microsoft told management the user interface changes would be a disaster, but management was so enamored of their new “bright shiny object” that they didn’t listen. Even their competitors were telling them what a stupid idea it was.

      My bet is that Miscavige doesn’t have enough impulse control to change what he’s doing if he reads some “entheta” that convincingly shows he’s wrong; he’s so hung up on being the smartest guy in the room. I don’t think he’s any more likely to take my recommendations than if I were a really, really expensive “wog” management consultant brought in to fix their product strategy problems.

      I would be intrigued to find out that DM has any idea that I exist, but I won’t presume that to be the case. After all, he’s spending a lot more on fancy wog lawyers in the Mosey Rathbun case than he is on management consultants, and he obviously freely ignores their best advice in order to do things his way.

      1. Couch_Incident

        I was thinking along the same lines as DMSTCC about whether your insights might become “Helpful Hints for Davey.”

        I’m sure that Scn is painfully aware of you and your analyses. Even if DM doesn’t come here, I bet his outside advisors will. Hopefully he’s too sure of himself and/or the Tech to alter course.

  18. Jimmy Threetimes

    Congratulations on this, John P. You are a true capitalist, indeed. Not only have you sold me on this blog, you have also convinced me that I need it.

    For those checking in here, remember to help John out by clicking the gold star on the upper right corner of the Disqus space.

  19. El_Jeffe

    I’ve got this site marked in my Favorites John P! I always look forward to your precise analysis of Scientology madness and possible outcomes from a group that does not have the foresight to see the consequences of their actions other than having the excuse of “Doing the Greatest Good for the Greatest Number!”

  20. Elisabeth Knottingham

    Thank you so much for doing this! I’m a long time daily lurker on The Bunker and at the VV before that, as well as many of the other blogs and message boards, but feel like I had little to offer in the sea of wonderful noise they represent. I’m a “never in”, but have spent the last 3 years or so becoming obsessed with this incredible little pocket universe of Scientology watching.

    I came to Scientology watching as someone with deep roots in modern NeoPaganism and lots of knowledge about modern religious practices of all types. I saw a speech by Miscavige crowing about their “exponential growth” while I was recovering from a serious illness. I thought “Well, that’s odd, because I don’t know more than one or two Scientologists. I wonder where they all are” and had to investigate. Soon there I was down the rabbit hole with all of you. So much so that those I share my life know volumes about the cult just because I won’t stop talking about all its craziness.

    I’m excited to see more of your opinions/projections. I sometimes scroll through the comment section on those busiest days looking for your comments in particular. As a small business owner in the world of commodities, I particularly value your insights from a business perspective. As a card carrying scientist I adore your logical, numbers based approach. I’m excited to see what we can do with some sort of Wiki or even just a collection of fact based articles. The collapse of the cult will create tons of data that really deserves to be recorded so it can be kept straight for posterity if nothing else.

    I have experience writing and editing for science and many other sorts of non-fiction (often as a ghost writer). I’m often paid to do research or assist others in turning research into written documents for a wide variety of audiences. I’d be happy to assist you in this endeavor if you think I can help please just let me know.

    1. John P.

      Thanks for the story of how you got enmeshed in this crazy world. I loved the phrase “the sea of wonderful noise they represent.”

      The wiki is just an idea at this point. There are other people who have tried to do Scientology-related wiki’s. The software is easy enough to install — I’ve done it before on other sites. The real effort is building a community to keep the site updated with new content.

      It’s the usual chicken-or-egg community problem that everybody always faces: people will come to the wiki when it is continuously growing with ever more useful information, and contributors will contribute to the site when it has enough readers that they see their work being valued by lots of people.

      We’ve got time to sort that one out…

  21. EnthralledObserver

    Congrats on the beginnings of your own blog. I look forward to popping in and getting the summaries should I not have time to gaze over the various blogs at leisure myself. Thanks for making the effort! :)

  22. ClearOT

    Read your mission statement and very pleased to see your newly created blog. As someone that was in for many years, I may have something to contribute here and there. The decompression continues and life gets better. If nothing else, looking forward to learning and reading your often fascinating posts! Re-posted to my FB page! Congratulations!

  23. Science Doc

    Thank you for doing this John P. I’m a long time lurker but never a poster on Underground Bunker et al. As a physical scientist I like to approach problems quantitatively, and you certainly show a lot of insight and interest in following the money.

    I would like to suggest another objective that I think would be very valuable, but if done correctly would be very labor intensive — hence a crowd sourcing approach. Some of the central lies in this game have always been about the numbers of adherents by the syndicate, and web speculation invariable gets down to numbers of SO, public etc.

    Imagine a cloud based “registry” of known SO, staff, publics that was editable by a few dozen trusted experts, each with a specific domain – Gold, Flag, LA orgs, Australia, Africa, etc. The idea would be to create a searchable database of actual adherents which would include their known (sometimes self-publicized) characteristics (clear, humanitarian, Pasadena Org, etc., each with dates). Even with most of the information being self-published it would be a good idea to severely restrict access to the data base, but once it was sufficiently mature the operators could use it to make more authoritative statements about the numbers of this or that. Whenever a former member agrees to be interviewed, they could provide a “KR” on who was recently still in and what their status was most recently.

    My sense is that a lot of this exists informally in that some former members keep track of who still goes their old Org. But if all this could be summarized in a protected and authoritative database then it could be used to counter exaggerated claims of large and growing membership.

    1. John P.

      Doc, thanks for deciding to de-lurk on my blog. I’m honored that I could motivate you to break radio silence.

      I agree that a census would be the most precise way to measure the cult membership. The idea of a serious, actively maintained cult database is interesting. For one thing, it could conceivably lead to a social graph to help understand just how severe the consequences of disconnection might be. It might be possible to help a given member understand how many family members and former friends are out. People may be staying in because they overestimate the cost of disconnection when they leave.

      But there are a number of concerns. There may be some privacy law concerns with trying to collect a census of people who don’t have prior knowledge that their data is being collected, particularly in Europe. But perhaps the major issue to understand is the incremental payoff for a highly precise solution versus the payoff for a less precise but still reasonably accurate estimate based on easier-to-process data.

      If the only purpose of a census is a more accurate estimate of cult membership, I’d say that’s probably not worth it. But looking at a clever downstream use like trying to map out the people who might be expected to blow (like cell phone companies and others do with a “customer churn model”) could be very interesting, but it would be very, very hard.

      Your idea suggests a number of possibilities that could increase the accuracy of membership estimates using different methods. It might be possible to do something close to a census by taking some public data that already exists, most notably the list of Scientology course completions, and having people who know some of the people involved tag the names as “known to be still in the cult,” “known to have left the cult,” “known to have declared themselves an Independent Scientologist,” or “dead.” When there is enough known about some percentage of the course completion list, then it would be possible to get a better estimate of the departure rate for longtime cult members. If we think 25,000 members worldwide makes sense, then even 500 to 1,000 names modeled with this approach would be helpful.

      I have a few scribbled notes about a future article on back-of-the-envelope models, which we do a lot at Global Capitalism HQ. It turns out that some of these models, which we cobble together in a couple of minutes in response to a question from a portfolio manager or Chief Investment Officer can end up being surprisingly accurate when the actual data gets published. There are a couple of tricks we use in my business to increase the accuracy of SWAG answers; we’re not at all telepathic.

      So even sanity tests for a relatively small number of data points in a bottom-up model for the cult could increase the accuracy. One such would be a project to count noses going into and out of org buildings at various locations around the world at a uniform time during the week. I seem to recall old-timers saying that Tuesday nights are the most popular nights of the week for going into the Org and doing courses. If that’s true, then a video camera in a parked car across the street from an org from 4-10 pm yielding the actual number of customers in and out of the org would be extremely illuminating. In particular, with enough data points, it would be interesting to try to correlate foot traffic against metropolitan area population. That would probably reduce the error bars on a back-of-the-envelope model by 80% at least.

      Given your expertise, I would be grateful if you’d stay engaged and active around here.

      1. Science Doc

        Thank you. We physical scientists use back of the envelope calculations all of the time. Your points are all well taken. Maybe a hybrid model in which overall census data is approximate but some of the domains, e.g., specific orgs, are fully and deeply studied, would lead to robust outcomes with a fraction of the investment. It’s a safe bet that they move SO and some others around. So, if two orgs in LA like Pasadena and Inglewood are thoroughly quantified would might assume that similar orgs across town have similar metrics. Following these in detail over time would be useful.

        Getting hard numbers on Gold and Flag and a few others would allow a count of some large fraction of total SO. The OT1 story on Tony’s blog talked about counting people at muster in Hemet. If they regularly muster and do it outside maybe a long lens from the Gulfstream would be telling.

        1. chukicita

          I am so happy to see scientists noticing the difference between the disparity of information provided by Scn, Inc. and information from more neutral sources. Back in the 90s I wanted to do a social impact assessment of Scn upon the community of Clearwater for a college project. Noticing this disparity out loud resulted in not-even-veiled threats from a Scientology FSM who had graciously offered me a tour of Flag.

          May I humbly submit in the interest of not reinventing the wheel that some of at least the groundwork for a project like you suggest has already been done.

          For instance, Kristi Wachter’s database compiled the names of every Scientologist and their level of study listed in completion lists published in their internal magazines for a good long period of time. Ray Hill created an unbelievably comprehensive website at that contains huge amounts of cross-indexed information about Scientology people, entities, properties, etc. On that site, many people (including me) researched and contributed information, and likely still do (I’ve been lax in my crimefighting for a few years now).

          Oh, and thanks and props and respect to Mr. Capitalist for creating a place for thinking and discourse to happen.

          1. John P.

            Thanks. The Kristi Wachter database was the one I was thinking of to sample for people who have blown or died in the past 10-15 years to model the defection rate across cult membership overall.

  24. McLovin_1982

    All I can say JP is awesome… just awesome. Having a concise summary of these blogs and the relevant commentary of the community is absolutely priceless!! Then add on your wonderful insight, and you have a true winner!!

  25. NeverIn

    Congrats on the new place, JP! As a night owl, I will certainly appreciate the recaps as much as your analysis. I hope I’ll have something useful to contribute now and then, but otherwise I’ll be lurking.

  26. Kitz

    Congrats JP!! I’m very glad to see another chisel working away at the foundations of the cos. Here’s hoping that you are allowed to borrow Mjolnir once in a while to really take some chunks out. 😉

  27. Elen

    Thank you John P! You are on my daily reading list. I do so enjoy your writing & your insights. Best of luck.

    PS – I honestly do not know how you find the time!! That is also impressive.

  28. OTVIIIisGrrr8!

    We in RTC have this criminally dangerous blog under intense surveillance as it contemplates an analysis of David Miscavige, money, and the Church of Scientology. This cannot possibly be a good thing.

    The fact is that we in RTC have hired some of the finest financial specialists in the world to manage our assets. Granted, Mr. Miscavige does not listen to these experts and so sometimes we feel imperiled. This is particularly true when Mr. Miscavige remove his toupee and stage makeup.

    Whereupon he leaves the Base and heads over to the local Indian casino to play the $100 slot machines.

    We worry because this leads to the baccarat table and other games wherein the stakes are much higher. Invariably Ferdinand in Mustique is called to “release funds” and we in RTC have no idea what happens thereafter nor do we wish to know.

  29. Pingback: John P. Capitalist and His Blog Declared a Suppressive Group! | OTVIIIisGrrr8!

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