Scientology Daily Digest: Saturday, November 16, 2013

Important Programming Note

Stay tuned for a major scoop tomorrow.  This weekend, Supermodel #1 and I hosted a guest who was in town from her idyllic rural home in the frozen northern part of the US (no, she’s not from Canada, but close enough). This guest, a much-loved commenter on Tony Ortega’s blog who hasn’t been seen in a while, was in town for a girl’s weekend out while the males in her family were busy on opening day of deer season.  I had to spend some time in the office in the morning, so our guest accompanied Supermodel #1 to the pre-Black Friday sales at Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin.

Later, while Supermodel #1 was fixing tea, the super-secret Analysis Hotline in the penthouse apartment rang.  Since I started the blog just over 10 days ago, I’ve been deluged with calls and e-mails, even though the phone number isn’t yet public.  The voice at the other end claimed to be very, very close to the festivities taking place in Clearwater and offered a unique perspective on David Miscavige and on the content of the events.  Since Supermodel #1 was busy making hospitality happen, our guest decided to conduct the interview, and had a transcript prepared for me when I got home.  After a careful review of this source’s bona fides, I realized that we might have a unique look at the Most. Important. Events. Ever.  Stay tuned sometime around mid-day tomorrow (US Eastern time).

In the meantime, here’s the Daily Digest. I’ve mixed in a couple comments and stories from yesterday that remain relevant, even though they’re 24 hours off the crest of the wave of breaking news.

The Big Picture

Obviously, today is all about the Super Power opening event. We’re starting to get some data points trickling in from various sources, including some photos leaking out to Facebook.  Mike Rinder’s blog put up the first confirmed look at GAT 2, confirming no surprise at all — it seems to be a retread of prior “tech,” bringing back a bunch of stuff that Miscavige previously cancelled almost 20 years ago. The forum sites have other interesting details.  The problem with this, of course, is that if gung-ho auditors realize the sleight-of-hand Miscavige has engaged in, they’ll realize that he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing and are at risk to bolt.  I would suspect some number of long-time loyal cult members who have been frustrated with their progress “up the Bridge” and who have believed promises that GAT 2 would fix everything, are going to wake up on this one. Defections are likely to increase.

Surprisingly, there are a number of pictures that are making their way to Facebook, perhaps from culties who are there attempting to impress their friends who remain stuck back home, or from leakers trying to expose the craziness to the outside world.

As you continue to read coverage about the events, it would be helpful to try and look at anything substantive that turns up regarding whether the new facility actually has anything new and different for new member recruitment, as implied by Tobin & Childs in their Tampa Bay Times article of Thursday night.  Any evidence we can find for what’s on the first floor, particularly if there are any changes from the architectural drawings Tony published at the Voice in early 2012, would be extremely helpful in helping us determine whether this is just reporting what the cult claims, or whether it is deeper insight into a signifcant change in strategy — the cult clearly has not been interested in new member recruitment in many, many years.  Bring any data points you find to light in the comments section here!

Tony Ortega’s Blog

The regular Saturday series with “A Piece of Blue Sky” author Jon Atack continues, this time with the startling assertion that Mary Sue Hubbard may have doubted the validity of “the tech,” refusing to pursue an endless series of auditing sessions in the 1970s to enable her to “go exterior.”  Atack says she was overheard on at least one occasion calling Hubbard a fraud and a charlatan.

Tony also featured numerous pictures from the event, including some posted on the Internet by a Scientologist in good standing who apparently couldn’t resist the urge to share all the theta.

My take:  One of the pictures was a pool party at the Fort Harrison, appearing remarkably under-attended. It would be useful to get a sense of what this event was and whether the photo was taken early or late in the event to try and figure out if the event was really as dead as this one picture with no context might make it appear.

Another picture featured a scene in the lobby of the Fort Harrison, where two of the columns were festooned with banners reading “New Universe” and “Big Push.”  I’m a big fan of non-sequitur marketing, and these two banners are great examples of the genre.  It goes to show that fancy artwork doesn’t rescue bad copy, and even good copy can’t rescue an incoherent marketing strategy.  Non-sequitur words on the walls were put to great use in the legendary Talking Heads concert film, “Stop Making Sense.”  In this video, check out the effects starting at around 31:15, during the song “Making Flippy Floppy.”

Selected comments:

  • Marc Headley outlines a less-exensive alternative that Scientologists can use to get all of the same value as “Super Power” at a fraction of the price.
  • RMycroft posts a picture of the Toronto Org during the event, with the building enshrouded in Stygian gloom.  Apparently, all that theta emanating from Clearwater stops cold at the 49th Parallel and doesn’t penetrate far into Canada and people are not putting down their dinner plates heaping with back bacon, donning their toques and spontaneously flocking to downtown Toronto to get free personality tests.
  • Once_Born found a record of a nifty, simple experiment that would demolish the notion of out-of-body experiences being accurate descriptions of the actual environment, if only the sample size were large enough.  But this certainly points the way.
  • Once_Born also suggests that bringing back the “Board Technical Bulletins” that Miscavige outlawed in 1996 may be a way for Miscavige to make stuff up when he needs to evolve the product strategy in the future.  These BTB’s were written by staff either based on something Hubbard said or something they found in his archives that pointed to the possibility of what they were trying to do.  It was a fairly low-level way to have a committee evolve the product to keep things current, though it clearly was purged when Miscavige came to power.
  • MonkeyKnickers says well in her unique style what many have long wondered: how did Hubbard manage to score with the ladies, with his physical and mental attributes?

Mike Rinder’s Blog

  • The first post in the series gives details, heavy on the cult-speak, about what is at the heart of GAT 2.  Apparently, the key to this is un-cancelling some stuff that he cancelled almost 20 years ago.   It will be interesting to see stories developing of long-time auditors who aren’t fooled by this move and who blow as a result of these changes.
  • Mike’s second post features lots of Facebook comments by loyal culties who are long on enthusiasm and short on details.
  • The third post, which appeared just before press time for tonight’s Daily Digest, goes into mocking detail on a lot of the new courses, and how Miscavige will profit, probably at the expense of the orgs and missions.  Mike even obtained a picture of the new (old, warehoused for a decade or more) e-meter, which has a candy apple red housing and a new, higher price: $5,000 apiece, minimum order of two.  Interestingly, he says that the new e-meter puts the readings  on a memory stick, so it could be possible that this is a new device, not the ancient one that has been moldering in a warehouse for a decade, since memory sticks weren’t all that common back in the day, and (IIRC) the original meters interfaced with PC’s via an RS-232 serial port rather than the now-ubiquitous USB.

Forum Sites (WWP, ESMB, OCMB)

Thanks again to eagle-eyed reader Aeger Primo, who once again helped out immensely by staying on top of the avalanche of comments on these sites.

As expected, much of the day’s discussion centers around “joking and degrading” of the new building and the new “tech.”

  • WWP talks about the Super Power opening.
  • Black Rob is at it again! This ongoing thread of screenshots of Scientologists’ Facebook posts lists numerous entries all related to the Gat 2 release. The thread also includes recent shoops and real photos of Flag’s weekend events.
  • OCMB notes that there is actually a real card-carrying capitalist in the cult: Robert Duggan is now officially a billionaire after his company’s shares have soared in the last year.  I am sure Miscavige is lavishing even more attention on him than usual at the event.  It would be interesting to see if Duggan shows up at the IAS event in a couple weeks; it might be very interesting if he does not.
  • OCMB has another great thread of squirrel-related shoops.
  • aurora50

    “Non-sequitur words on the walls were put to great use in the legendary Talking Heads concert film, “Stop Making Sense.” In this video, check out the effects starting at around 31:15, during the song “Making Flippy Floppy.””

    …and then the wine came out my nose! onto the keyboard…dang!

    It is all your fault!

  • B.B. Broeker

    It sounds like the memory stick port is in the “reads recorder,” which is a peripheral. So the meters could well be the dust-laden, long-warehoused models, with just the peripheral having been produced in the past half-decade.

  • aurora50

    also, too, Cracked published kind of an astonishing story:

    • aegerprimo

      Love that article! Funny and true at the same time.

  • bAnon

    Regarding Once_Born post about COB getting to ‘make stuff up’ – it should also be noted that COB never speaks from personal experience. COB never talks about his own ‘gains’ or ‘wins’. Yet, he is the Ecclesiastical Leader of the ‘fastest growing religion’.

    I’m a ‘never in’ proud anon, and also not a catholic, but I gotta say that Pope Francis is showing the world what an Ecclesiastical Leader really is.

    • John P.

      Yes, from a marketing standpoint, “eating your own dog food” is an important statement of faith in your product. Would you buy from a software company that doesn’t use their own software to run their business?

      And you’re exactly right, Miscavige isn’t really a Scientologist. He clearly considers himself above that, a great example of “do as I say, don’t do as I do.” I was talking once to OTVIIIisGrrr8, who put it better: “Not only is Miscavige not a Scientologist, he has tons of contempt for those who are.” More like a crooked televangelist (which may be a redundant phrase) who seems to delight in scamming his flock (a la Benny Hinn).

      • Anonymous

        Similar comments were also made by several folks who were close to Hubbard. He too had contempt for run of the mill Scientologists and he also did not adhere to the demands of the “tech” and “admin policy.”

        This monarchical behavior is of course not uncommon in large organizations of all kinds.

        It however particularly odious when the organization is one that claims to have, and is busily selling to others, “solutions” to every imaginable problem.

  • Anonymous

    John P.,

    Thanks for the rundown on what’s been going on across the blogosphere and in Florida.

    The following comment was originally posted at The Bunker but I thought I would add it here (in slightly altered form) as it is pertinent to your blog also.

    “New and Improved” is as old as Scientology itself, going back to DMSMH which was initially popular, then abandoned by Hubbard after he lost ownership and control of the subject / name in the early 50’s, then revived when he got it back, etc., ad infinitum.

    The truly remarkable thing about Scientology is NOT the immutable nature of “the tech,” which changed continuously even when Hubbard was still around and in fact was being altered right up until his death.

    The remarkable thing about Scientology has been the organization’s ability to harness the “certainty” of it’s adherents in the BELIEF in the immutable, timeless truth of “the tech” even while constantly changing “the tech” right before their very eyes.

    Added to that remarkable ability to harness the “certainty” of adherents is the fact that the organization has also been able to charge those same adherents large sums of money for “new tech” which is then ALSO marketed as immutable and timeless, regardless of whether it is in fact original, or merely the fifteenth revision of something published decades earlier.

    Something that never worked as promised, is re-issued in a new form, at a new price, and will most likely also fail to perform as promised, leading to yet a new revision…forever.

    It has been and still is an incredible, decades-long operation of deception and illusion.

  • Spackle Motion

    When I see the acronym “G A T” I only see this in my brain:

    • John P.

      Oooop! Ack!

      Ack! Ptwph!

  • Cece

    I just love you John and thx for being there. You are dissolving the lies.
    There is understanding and dissolving the lies.
    Thank you for all your lost sleep and you life. Thank you for helping us/me
    Love you bunches and same to super model #1. Thx to her too 🙂

  • Sidney18511

    Your doing a heck of a job JP, a heck of a job!!
    Using your analytical mind you are filling a much needed niche.

    After opening the SP monstrosity I have always thought that the COB’S next move would be to flood the market around their existing orgs (at least in the US) with a massive advertising campaign using TV, billboards, radio, open houses, etc.

    What are your thoughts?

  • aegerprimo

    This FB screenshot is my FAVORITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (it shows the insanity)