Work in Progress: Predictions for Scientology in 2014

This is a photo of a capitalist using rigorous analytical techniques to develop a highly likely future scenario for some investment-related event.

This is a photo of a capitalist using rigorous analytical techniques to develop a highly likely future scenario for an important investment-related event.

It’s getting close to the end of the year, a time that unleashes a flurry of “year in review” posts. But given our focus on research, which ultimately is about trying to predict some part of the future, it’s time to think about what might happen in the wacky world of Scientology in 2014.

In this post, I’m setting out a couple of key predictions for what I believe will happen to Scientology next year, and I’m asking for your help in coming up with a combined list of about ten things that we, collectively, believe will happen.  If we do this right, then I can publish an “official” predictions document that summarizes our thought process.  It’ll be fun to circle back a year hence to see how we did.

The Goal

Ultimately, we should be able to come up with about ten predictions for what will happen in the world of Scientology over the next year. Each prediction should be concrete enough that it’s easy to see if it came true a year from now. No fair couching a prediction in the vague generalities of an astrologer. As the Scientologists say when ridding themselves of body thetans hooked up to the e-meter on solo NOTs, “exact time, place, form and event.”

Predictions shouldn’t be too safe (i.e., predicting that David Miscavige will not be deposed by a cabal of disloyal underlings in 2014 is only fractionally more risky than predicting sunrise in the east every morning).  Predicting that the cult will gain no incremental new members via the Golden Age of Tech 2 release is approximately as safe.

At the same time, predictions shouldn’t be so over-the-top that they’re unlikely to happen.  Thus, I’m not predicting that a red-headed chain-smoking 26-year-old is going to walk into a Scientology facility and will be accepted as the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard.  

The ultimate "Deus ex machina" gimmick in Monty Python's Life of Brian.  Brian plummets from the tower, and seconds from certain death, he is rescued by an alien spaceship that just happens to be flying by.
The ultimate theatrical “Deus ex machina” gimmick takes place in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Brian plummets from the tower, and seconds from certain death, he is rescued by an alien spaceship that just happens to be flying by.

Finally, predictions should be reasonable extrapolations from credibly anticipated events. There’s no need to try to guess what will happen from an unpredictable event.  In other words, we don’t need to worry about any deus ex machina scenarios.  Anything that depends on David Miscavige having a heart attack at his desk is not useful.

Importantly, predictions should be all about what we think will happen. Part of the challenge of the exercise is being able to distinguish what is likely to happen from what we wish would happen. So while I think 2014 will show an even greater rate of decline for the cult versus the increasingly evident decline seen in 2013, it is important to note that the cult will almost certainly be in business in something recognizably close to its current form, even though that’s not the outcome I desire.

The completed set of predictions should touch on each of the major operational aspects of the cult, which should include: finances, management, Ideal Org strategy, member retention, staff retention, celebrities, etc.  

If we look back in 365 days and we got all ten predictions exactly right, we were probably being too safe in what we expected. Similarly, if we only got two right, we were probably living a little too much in hope and desire and not enough in logic and reason.

My Current Best Guess

1.  The event business collapse will be complete in 2014.

Sometimes, the key to making a useful prediction is a certain degree of self-reflection.  Not a strong suit of Scientology management, however.

Sometimes, the key to making a useful prediction is a certain degree of self-reflection. Not a strong suit of Scientology management, however.

As you may recall, there were several big annual events cancelled in 2013. In the spring, the “Maiden Voyage” event, a briefing for big donors and higher-level OT’s aboard the Freewinds, was initially rescheduled for LA, but then dropped entirely. Though it wasn’t widely commented on at the time, this was clearly a harbinger of things to come, with the October event announced and then cancelled when the tent imported from the UK became a particularly rich vein of humor material to mine.  And of course, the ineptitude around the cult’s handling of the big November events in Clearwater (GAT2 unveiling and the IAS event) made it abundantly clear that there’s big trouble in the events business, an important and generally well-run part of the business previously.

In particular, I believe we’ll see the following all of the key details:

  • All big events, if not cancelled, will be below 1,000 people total (excluding seat-fillers from the Sea Org or even extras from outside, as may have happened at the Super Power dedication).
  • It is possible that by the end of 2014, the only event actually held will be the IAS gala.  Gone will be the Birthday Event, the New Year’s Eve event, Maiden Voyage and all the rest.
  • Due to the actions of all those loathsome SP’s spying on these ultra-ecclesiastical events, particularly Mike Rinder & Mike Bennitt with their “Apostate Air Force,” David Miscavige will never again hold another open-air event, including either major events or Ideal Org dedications.
  • The cult will not be able to make up revenue shortfalls from lower donations at these events and we will begin to see signs of financial pressure manifesting throughout the organization.  I don’t yet have a clear picture of exactly how these financial pressures will show up, and I don’t believe the cult will start digging into reserves, but the total revenue for 2014 will be the lowest in at least 20 years.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this is the most significant development of 2013 and 2014. I think the events business is responsible for about 30% of cult revenue, or somewhere between $50 million and $75 million per year, and it’s the most profitable business around, generating about 80% gross margin.  If this business implodes suddenly, it’s going to push the cult close to operating losses for the first time in ages, and that, if it happens, is likely to unleash all sorts of craziness.

2.  The Ideal Org strategy will come to a grinding halt

Scientology's Ideal Org building in Gateshead, UK (in the Northeast, near the Scottish border).  The reality looks a little different from the photo they use for fundraising.  Thanks to Izhar at Idleorgs.com.

Scientology’s Ideal Org building in Gateshead, UK (in the Northeast, near the Scottish border). The reality looks a little different from the photo they use for fundraising. Thanks to Izhar at Idleorgs.com.

Clearly, the Ideal Org strategy visibly struggled in 2013 after working for a long time.  Working, of course, means that it was achieving its real goals of fleecing large chunks of money from large donors; it doesn’t appear to be about actually getting more people in the door, so I don’t count it a failure on that front because it was never really intended to succeed there.  I believe 2014 will reveal that the Ideal Org program is completely stalled.

And if the cult sells existing properties that it is unable to renovate, it will reveal a reality that is even worse: selling properties is a clear indication that the cult has started to operate in the red and is worried about starting to deplete reserves.

The original idea was fairly clever: get donors to contribute to buildings, with each campaign raising far more than the cost of the actual building. Miscavige pockets the difference and takes title to the building so the local donors have no real equity in what they just donated for (unlike churches in most Protestant denominations, for instance, where ownership of the building is retained locally).  The second phase of the scam is to exploit the local public’s “sunk cost bias,” getting them to dig even deeper into their pockets to fund renovations for the building that now sits empty and decaying.

  • Details will emerge of significant problems in keeping some of the key existing Ideal Org buildings open for business, making it harder than ever for Miscavige to try to show “straight up and vertical expansion.”
  • At most two Ideal Orgs will open in 2014, though the cult has published a target list of several dozen future locations that it claimed would open in 2012 and 2013, and it is woefully behind in the schedule.  The “under the radar” crowd will probably begin to notice the disparity between the promise and the results, while the Kool-Aid drinkers probably won’t.
  • The Valley Org (in the San Fernando Valley of LA) will be no closer to going Ideal than it is now, a major embarrassment given the richest concentration of Scientologists in the world living in its coverage area. We will begin to see evidence that this is a factor in the departure of several long-time LA Scientologists, and thus will conclude that it is going to help many “under the radar” LA public to decide to leave.
  • The cult will sell at least three buildings purchased for Ideal Orgs where it was unable to raise money for restorations.  Locations will probably be drawn from a list that includes New Haven, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia (DM’s hometown), Battle Creek, and a couple of UK locations.  If no new building campaigns for these locations are immediately announced, then we will be able to surmise for the first time that the cult is feeling pinched for cash and may actually be seeing losses from operations for the first time in decades, if ever. 
  • Several additional sites where renovations have not yet begun will be condemned or otherwise targeted by local governments seeking to rid their cities of the eyesores of decaying buildings.

3.  The retreat from the larger world will accelerate

I expect Scientology to move from shyness to a full-blown case of organizational agoraphobia in 2014.

I expect Scientology to move from shyness to a full-blown case of organizational agoraphobia in 2014.

We saw the beginning of what some might call “institutional agoraphobia” from the cult in 2013, as Miscavige moved the IAS event from Saint Hill to Clearwater.  There are two likely contributing factors driving this.

First, the European Scientology business is probably declining in the wake of institutional pressure such as that exerted by the German government and the effects of ridicule from the tabloid press, as the cult frequently endures in the UK.  There aren’t any particularly good numbers to show growth trends in Europe overall, so it’s hard to determine what’s actually happening here.  In this circumstance, poor business in Europe is driving the retreat from the continent.

Second, Miscavige’s obsession with security and with avoiding ridicule may have taken a body blow in 2012, when a tabloid reporter was easily able to gain access to the annual IAS event despite heavy security, and wrote a long feature story.  If European business was good, or even if it was merely flat, then moving the IAS event to increase security will probably cause the European business to decline at a faster rate, as European whales are probably less likely to want to journey to Flag for all their events.  In other words, in this scenario, Miscavige is preventably accelerating the decline of the European business to cater to his own fears.

Whatever the cause, the cult seems to implicitly acknowledge that the retreat from Europe is permanent, else they probably would not have paid to move the large semi-rigid tent used for IAS events at Saint Hill to Clearwater.  If the large event business in the UK were still intact, they would most likely have just gone ahead and purchased a second tent.  Otherwise, in a couple years, the cost of moving the tent back and forth across the Atlantic would quickly outweigh the cost of a second structure.

As if a major decline in the cult’s second biggest market wasn’t enough, smaller and more remote geographies appear to be breaking away from the cult. The defection en masse of the former mission in Haifa, Israel may be only the beginning.  In October, Miscavige declared 18 long-established Scientologists from South Africa, including some with decades of time in the cult and some who have donated millions of dollars for buildings and other campaigns.  This North Korea-style purge appears to have been about bringing management of the Johannesburg org under tighter control. However, it appears likely to backfire, given that the South Africans have been used to operating on a relatively long leash, and the increasingly important BackInComm blog suggests that a significant portion of the membership is rallying around those who have been declared, refusing to cooperate with the management team sent in from Flag.  The lesson here is that disconnection in small, remote locations is unlikely to have much sway since the relatively small numbers of public in smaller countries all know each other and can easily choose to stay together and defy the Mother Church.

In a thought-provoking article posted on ESMB about five years ago, J. Swift came up with an interesting scenario where Miscavige proactively fires the cult members with low donation potential and keeps only the high-end donors, moving to a “monastery Scientology,” where services are available only at Flag and one or two other global locations.  It’s an interesting scenario, but I don’t think the retreat from non-US locations is part of a proactive strategy; I think Miscavige is wholly reactive in how he deals with crises.

The cannibalization of business from orgs to Flag will only increase, affecting not only missions (which are on life support) but also Class V orgs (local Ideal Orgs) as well as advanced orgs (AOSH, AOLA, ASHO, etc). One side effect of the move to centralize higher-level services at Flag is the fact that many non-US public will find it very difficult or undesirable to travel to the US for services.  In particular, this is likely to affect areas that have previously been bright spots in the number of “bodies in shop,” like Eastern Europe, Russia, Taiwan and South America.  As a result, we can only conclude that centralization of services at Flag implicitly acknowledges that the cult is “done” outside North America.

  • The South African organization will “go indie.”  This doesn’t seem like a particularly bold prediction, given the visibility into the thought process of many of the prominent members of that community shown on their increasingly important “Back in Comm” blog.
  • We will get credible data showing that the staff at Saint Hill in the UK is down to only about 300 people, significantly below the level of even three or four years ago, and suggesting a near collapse of the higher level services business in Europe.  This collapse of the ability to serve high-end customers within Europe will further alienate public from the richer western European countries, reducing membership still further.
  • Russian Scientology will come under even greater pressure from an increasingly anti-Western Russian government.  During 2014, there will be increasing attention in the Russian press paid to this organization that, to the average Russian, has ties to the US intelligence community (an instance where Hubbard’s lies about his background in WWII military intelligence will actively hurt the cult).  This will likely lead to a damming of the flow of Russian Sea Org recruits, even though a high percentage of Russians want to emigrate to the West.
  • We will see Scientology abandon at least two countries due to lack of interest, including one in South America.  Ideal Org campaigns outside the US will get even less traction than domestic Ideal Org campaigns.

4.  “Under the radar” members are revealed to be the majority of US public

I believe we'll find out that most of the US membership is flying "under the radar," pretending to go along with the cult's directives while merely attempting to avoid disconnection's impact on their families, friends and businesses.

I believe we’ll find out that most of the US membership is flying “under the radar,” pretending to go along with the cult’s directives while merely attempting to avoid disconnection’s impact on their families, friends and businesses.

In the US, the percentage of “under the radar” members will be revealed to be significantly more than we had previously estimated.  Out of the perhaps 11,000 active “public” in the US, we will realize by the end of 2014 that substantially less than half are “true believers.” Most are just pretending to go along with the show to avoid disconnection.

I have spoken with a number of “under the radar” members who, as time goes on, are far less careful to hide their status from the cult.  Scientology seems to be more accepting of “under the radar” members than ever before, because it has basically no alternative other than to let them go and declare them. This acceptance of “under the radar” members may reflect optimism among top management that the recent Golden Age of Tech 2 release may be enough to cause people to come flooding back in the doors, but most under the radar public we’ve talked to are fairly skeptical of the changes in GAT2, and seem unlikely to get more involved.

5.  Disconnection loses its effectiveness

DisconnectionSpeaking of disconnection, I believe that 2014 will be the year where the membership shrinks enough that the threat of disconnection is much less important than before.

  • Defections of lower-ranks celebrities or rich whales will show that the power of disconnection to keep people in the cult is diminishing in its influence.  In other words, the ability of Leah Remini to boost her entire family out of the cult en masse will not be an isolated event.  Once there’s a track record of multiple people able to do this, disconnection will be done.
  • There are already informal “underground railroad” networks helping people to leave the cult and to get new jobs and to rebuild their lives. I predict that in 2014, these networks will become more formalized and better known to people still in the cult, making it much easier for staff at local orgs and at Pac Base and Flag to exit the cult.
  • Staff shortages will make it more difficult for the OSA to patrol the Internet, identifying disloyalty in Facebook posts and otherwise harassing those who speak up.  Similarly, social media will make it easy for the newly declared to get back in touch with those who had previously left, enabling them to get their new lives back on track much faster.

I believe this scenario to be true, but as a “never-in,” I don’t have the experience with the process of leaving the cult to be able to detail exactly how disconnection will diminish in its power.

6.  The legal losing streak will continue intact

The string of legal losses in 2012 and 2013 will continue, and I expect more suits with potentially serious economic consequences opening new battle fronts to be filed.

The string of legal losses in 2012 and 2013 will continue, and I expect more suits with potentially serious economic consequences opening new battle fronts to be filed.

Scientology will continue to lose every legal case it’s involved in.  And it seems likely that litigation will continue to build.  I expect that 2014 will bring more suits from rank-and-file public, perhaps to the exclusion of “flagship” suits like the Debbie Cook case or the Monique Rathbun case. While less fascinating to watch than the

  • Despite the possibility it may win individual battles (e.g., the “diversity jurisdiction” issue in the Garcia case), the cult will lose almost every case…
  • … but only after inflicting on itself the maximum possible damage. Given Miscavige’s penchant for micro-managing his attorneys, and given his inability to take the long view in working on his cases, DM will continue to be the cult’s biggest impediment to winning in the courtroom.  In particular, Miscavige seems to be unable to resist procedural maneuvers like moving for disqualification of opposing counsel that are normally only used in extraordinary circumstances; over time, as the cult’s reputation for this sort of theatrics becomes known, these tricks will work against them.
  • Look for a greater number of individual cases, particularly relating to refunds of monies on deposit, to be filed and to make significant progress through the courts.  I expect to see in late 2014 or early 2015, a wave of fraud suits similar to the Garcia case, where the cult is alleged to have made specific misrepresentation about the use of funds raised.
  • Particularly if the Garcias are able to establish that Scientology’s arbitration procedure is unconscionable, I expect to see a wave of refund lawsuits, many filed by networks of cooperating lawyers, much as coal industry black lung lawsuits were filed by an industry of lawyers working together.  I would expect to see a class action lawsuit filed in early 2015 for refunds of money on account.  If this is filed, I think it will be a watershed for the cult, because it puts a sizable chunk of reserves in play. Once the class action trial bar realizes just how much money has been paid on deposit, they’ll go nuts vying for a shot at suing the cult.

Where I need help

I can’t do a first-class list of predictions on my own.  I need your help to make this work.  I would appreciate your help on:

  • Looking for errors or omissions in the list above.  If I have forgotten to consider some factor in my analysis, please let me know.
  • If you think I have over-estimated or underestimated the importance of something that drives any of my scenarios, I would be grateful for a detailed discussion.
  • I need you to help fill this list out with scenarios or areas that I haven’t even considered.

Here are some particular areas where I am currently struggling, and I don’t have a clear answer.  Start here and add anything else you think is important.

What happens to Narconon?

On the one hand, there are record numbers of lawsuits outstanding against the bogus drug addiction treatment organization, and the cult will probably lose many of those.  Insurance fraud could well pop up at more Narconon operations than just at Narconon Georgia, as happened so spectacularly in 2013.  Another encouraging sign of the decline of Narconon is the increasing prominence of critical material at the top of Google searches.

However, it seems likely that the cult’s response to the increase in critical information will be to change the names of facilities and otherwise try to morph into something else, as we’ve already seen with Per Wickstrom’s operations in Michigan.  They may simply lie about the details of their programs so that they can’t be linked easily to Scientology by using the word “students” for patients, etc.  As a result, they’ll become a bit more difficult to attack, since there won’t be one single

What happens in Russia?

Russia is perhaps the biggest question mark in the attempt to measure overall Scientology membership.  The cult claims that there are over 20 missions and orgs throughout the country, but it’s entirely possible that these claims are bogus.  If true, it’s possible that there could be as many as 1,500 or 2,000 public in Russia, which makes the country able to supply many Sea Org recruits to work at Flag and other US locations.  Certainly to a bright kid trapped in a second-tier Russian city with poor job prospects, a ticket to the West, even for a job paying Sea Org wages could easily seem attractive.  And even though the per capita economic potential of each individual Russian cultie isn’t that high, a larger-than-expected number of cult members in Russia could affect the total number of members worldwide that we’re attempting to develop.

If there are any Russian speakers out there (DodoTheLaser, are you listening?) who could help monitor the Russian-language press for Scientology news, that would be very helpful.

Will staffing levels become an issue?

The cult seems to have survived for quite a while without any real ability to attract new members.  Obviously, that’s because of the cult’s well-established ability to keep hitting up existing members for donations.  So nearly twenty years after the massive “stat crash” in the early 1990s, when the stream of “fresh meat” dried up, the cult still limps along. (I believe revenue is down from the peak reached in that area, but there’s still enough money coming in for the cult to remain dangerous.)

It’s clear that a cult collapse scenario based mainly around the lack of new members probably won’t happen.  But relatively few comments in the two and a half years I’ve been following Scientology have attempted to grapple with the potential for the lack of staff to bring the cult down.

It’s long been known that many missions are struggling, open only a handful of hours per week at odd hours.  They’re struggling in part because of neglect from the top of the organization, but also from the competition from nearby Ideal Orgs cannibalizing members wherever possible.  It’s also quite apparent that some orgs are woefully understaffed.  A 40,000 foot office building would normally hold 150-250 employees depending on configuration.  But there are reports of visits to Ideal Orgs where only about a dozen staff are visible at any one time.

This leads me to believe that staff are dwindling, particularly in the outer orgs, though I believe the cult is also having trouble getting Sea Org staff as well, even with non-US recruitment efforts.

At what point does the staff shortage become a key defining issue in the decline of the cult?  If current members come into their local org during published business hours and there aren’t enough people to open the doors, that will certainly shake their reality on the “straight up and vertical” expansion theme.

Will the cult be able to explain the org stuff away by simply demanding that people come to Flag or AOLA or some other higher-level org for even the most basic services?

 

230 thoughts on “Work in Progress: Predictions for Scientology in 2014

  1. Anandamide

    Great post, cheered me up. CoS has been selling some of their properties lately; are there any notions on how large/valuable their real estate holdings might be? Or which part of the organization actually maintains those assets?

    Reply
    1. John P.

      The nominal value of the cult’s real estate holdings runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars. I haven’t done an exhaustive bottom-up look at this, partly because I don’t think a precise answer would help with forecasting the rate of decline, etc. I’d estimate the number at something like $500 to $700 million, which sounds like a lot until you remember that this was accumulated over nearly 50 years. Probably the most valuable piece is the recently opened “Super Power” building in Florida, which probably cost $75 million to $90 million.

      I observe that the cult is not a particularly effective real estate investor — the buildings they’ve bought then turned around and sold before renovations (the first Portland building, the La Mesa campus, the first three Ideal Org buildings in Budapest) have all been sold at a slight loss. And some of the facilities are very specialized in how the interiors have been built out. Many are located in odd areas without much foot traffic. So if the cult started to sell their buildings, with the exception of properties they’ve held for decades (“Big Blue” in Hollywood, etc), it’s unlikely that they will get what they paid for them. Not that this is a problem for Miscavige, since any sales are pure profit, but it is testament to the massive economic inefficiency that the lack of accountability of Scientology management to its customers engenders.

      I don’t recall the exact entity in the Scientology constellation that owns the real estate, but it is clearly held by entities under Miscavige’s total control, rather than by entities that have any independence. Compare this to most Protestant denominations, where each congregation owns their own building and has control over when to move to a different facility (and they keep the proceeds from the sale of an existing building).

      Hope that helps.

      Reply
      1. Anandamide

        Thank you for your response. That makes sense, I was curious how much of a buffer CoS has once the whales dry up and the public fades.

        Reply
      2. 448Beacon

        Another local data point: Boston’s slated Ideal Org location looks every bit as abandoned as Chicago’s. No signs of development, no ownership changes (just checked the registries), nothing since 2008.
        It appears to be owned by the Boston org, which hasn’t updated its Ideal Org website in two years.
        Given that the previous owner did nothing with it for years, and the general lack of development on that side of Mass Ave, I believe Scientology is going to have a hard time selling the property. Since they’ve finally sold my namesake, the Boston org will be homeless as soon as the condo developers get everything together. At that point, Miscavige will have to choose between abandoning the Boston org to die quietly and pumping money in to rescue a non-Ideal org with a handful of public. I suspect he’ll choose the former.

        Reply
        1. John P.

          I am still wrestling with which of the two scenarios you mentioned at the end that DM will select. Most rational corporations will eventually close a sales office that has underperformed for a long time. But DM is not governed in the short term by the need to make economic decisions in the same way that most companies do.

          I think DM makes decisions based on what will make him look good — he has to establish that he is the guy who’s driving “straight up and vertical” expansion. Retreating from Boston would tend to undermine that.

          On the other hand, this may be a time to find some reason to sell the new Boston building because there’s some suddenly-discovered problem with it, take the profits and return to Boston at some point in the future.

          It’s too close to call, but I’m leaning towards hanging in there even if the stats are embarrassing.

          Reply
      3. Jon Hendry

        They’d probably make a profit on the Chicago org, considering how the area south of the loop has developed. I lived nearby from 1997 to 2002, and I can barely recognize the area in Google Streetview, from all the huge new buildings.

        Reply
      4. aurora50

        May I just say, John P, that reading your blog is a constant reminder of the power of focus. You have stated your aim and you are not distracted.

        Thank you for your efforts and example!

        Reply
    2. VickiStubing

      I know it’s small potatoes, but I’m really really hopeful that they’ll sell the Battle Creek “org.” There has been some interest by locals, apparently, and it would be great to see that lovely building put to good use before it is allowed to fall apart. Besides, it would be a local failure and I would LOVE to be able to report a “for sale” sign on a $ci property!

      Reply
      1. John P.

        Do you have the location of the building that they’re trying to turn into the Battle Creek Ideal Org? The only one I found was the current location at 66 Michigan Ave., downtown. I haven’t taken the time to dig deeply for the history of that particular Ideal Org campaign.

        Reply
        1. VickiStubing

          It is the former Hart Hotel, on the corner of Van Buren and Washington Streets (31 North Washington). Here is a link to an article from way way back: http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20051010/LIFESTYLE08/510100311/She-s-put-her-heart-Hart-Hotel-project

          From what I can put together, “Maria Guy” is now married to Michael Delaware, local realtor (2010 Realtor of the Year!), author (even tho the only reviews of his books are by himself…), and chief local Sciloon. He is also the star of an Anonymous video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PIlCaFuGzU

          (I doubt he would have been honored in 2010 if the voters had been aware of the Anon video. Jerk.)

          I have some relatively recent photos of the building if you’re interested. Of course, it looks exactly the same as it did last year. And the year before. Every year it is on the list of Ideal Morgues to be opened but no big red bow thus far.

          Reply
  2. Gerard Plourde

    I think your analysis is on target. I do have questions about the Narconon issue – If the operations follow the Michigan model would that potentially decrease cash flow directly to the cult? Does Per Wickstrom take a cut?

    Reply
    1. John P.

      I recall looking at the most recent IRS Form 990s for Narconon Watsonville (“Vista Bay”) and for Arrowhead a year or so ago.

      I recall that there were some licensing fees paid to either NN International or directly to ABLE, the umbrella organization for all the front groups, amounting to about 10% of revenue.

      There were also recruitment fees of around another 10% of revenue paid to a bunch of independent contractors. These are the sleazebags that operate the web sites and 800 numbers who pretend to be neutral counselors, but who are basically serving as “FSM’s” for Narconon. Since all of them are Scientologists, and since the cult knows exactly how much these guys make, I am sure they’re heavily regged and end up giving most of it back to the cult as “voluntary ecclesiastical donations.”

      Finally, the salaries for the management team at Watsonville seemed to be quite high. As I recall, the listed officers got salaries equal to at least 15% of the total revenue of the organization, which seems a bit top-heavy for an organization that’s only doing a couple of million dollars per year. It seems likely that NN management is going to be pressured to donate much of the surplus back to Scientology directly. And since that’s a donation from a private party, it’s not visible to people trying to track just how much money Scientology makes from this operation.

      Thus, while the 990s show that not a lot of money is going to the cult, the hidden cash stream coming back to the cult is probably about like 40% of the gross Narconon program revenue. I would suspect that Wickstrom has a similar arrangement. He may be a favored FSM like Jeff Pomerantz or Michael Chan or Gavin Potter, where he actually gets to keep a reasonable chunk of the salary he draws from the organization.

      Reply
  3. Mark

    What about Taiwan, John? Apart from the usual vapid hype about Tiny Fists opening the new Kaohsiung org there recently, it’s generally regarded as one of the cult’s last strongholds (though that’s probably not saying much).

    If Japan is likely to remain an ignominious failure, maybe there are other Far Eastern territories ripe for exploitation? The trouble is their recruitment strategy has atrophied so much that there’d have to be a major switch away from the Ideal Morgue “build it and they will come” nonsense, before they’d have any hope of expanding anywhere.

    Any progress on that ‘Ron Series’ project you once mentioned?

    Reply
    1. John P.

      Mark, I was thinking about Taiwan, but I don’t have enough visibility into the area to have a clear conclusion about its importance or about its long-term viability.

      I have heard from several “indies” of various stripes that there’s a thriving independent crew in Taiwan, which one source said dwarfs the membership count of the official cult. I am not disagreeing with this assertion, since I don’t have a strong enough case to the contrary; I’m just surprised that this is so given that the cult doesn’t seem to have been in Taiwan long enough to have created an indie field in its wake.

      I’m also having trouble understanding why Taiwan would be such a strong point for either the cult or the indie movement, where it would easily be seen as the strongest country in Asia other than Australia. What cultural factors could be at work there? I would have expected the cult to do OK in Japan, given all the “new religions” (新興宗教) in the country — over 25,000 groups, at last count but, as you point out, they’re a non-starter there.

      I remain somewhat suspicious that the only reason for a Taiwan org is for Miscavige to continue to raise money as the “gateway to Greater China,” though the cult would almost certainly be persecuted immediately if it expanded to the PRC, just as the government suppresses Falun Gong. I also suspect that Taiwan is prime recruitment grounds for staffers to run orgs in Australia and perhaps in the US.

      So I’m open to being convinced on Taiwan, but I just don’t have enough data on what is going on there to determine a) how many members there are, and b) if there is such a big indie field, what the chances may be that the Taiwan org breaks with the cult and merges up with its indie brethren.

      Reply
      1. Mark

        Of all the daft claims Miscavige makes, Taiwan as a “gateway to Greater China” must surely be one of the most laughable. Even if it’s a slogan intended exclusively for internal Taiwanese consumption, it could only have a faint chance of working on a few (hypothetical) surviving former Kuomintang whales, who would all be well over 100 by now. Unluckily for DM, another psychopath called Mao Tse Tung got there first on mainland China, establishing his own rather more effective cult a long while ago… If indies outnumber clams in Taiwan, then the Kaohsiung &c hype is no more than standard $cibot hogwash, and merely a convenient source of biddable staffers and Sea Org, as you say.

        I’d hazard a guess the main cultural factor at work with such an overtly (and often inadvertantly/unconsciously) “all-American” group as the Co$, is whether any given country is historically pro or anti-US: in Japan, despite the surface Americanization, there’s still an insular resentment of the country that defeated them in WW2 not so far beneath the surface – while Taiwan has every reason to feel gratitude to the US for guaranteeing its very survival – hence the differing reactions? How such considerations might have played out elsewhere are largely academic now; there simply isn’t the time left for such a rapidly disintegrating cult to do much more in the Far East. In any case, as a creature of severely limited habits and mental horizons, DM likely just hasn’t got the imagination to look for new victims elsewhere in Asia.

        Reply
        1. John P.

          I don’t think the claim that Taiwan is the springboard to the PRC would hold much water with the locals. I would view such a claim as one to make to the naive Americans who don’t follow the politics between the PRC and the ROC, and who think that the economy of the PRC is primed for infinite growth.

          We in Global Capitalism HQ are invested for the short term in China but we are ready to pull out when there’s the first breath of the economic implosion that we suspect will befall them at some point in the next few years. The combination of air pollution, decreasing water quality, the risk of the Three Gorges Dam rupturing, bad bank loans, poorly built infrastructure, misallocation of capital to real estate, labor cost inflation, an aging population and a whole host of other challenges will make the wheels come off the bus in a way that will take a generation to fix.

          I like your perspective on the subtle anti-Americanism of Japan versus the gratitude of the Taiwanese. Of course, the Japanese are subtly anti-everyone else anyway; a more xenophobic society would be hard to find, with the possible exception of North Sentinel Island in the Andaman Island chain in the Indian Ocean.

          Regarding expansion into the rest of Asia, there are no good options, even if there were time to try to pull something off. Just go down the list. Japan: no chance. PRC: no chance. Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei: Muslim countries which are becoming increasingly fundamentalist. Most other countries: per capita GDP too low to support any reasonable number of Scientologists. Ideal Org Karachi? I think not.

          Reply
          1. John P.

            While South Korea is indeed the original turf of the Moonies, it’s also a “breeding ground” for “manipulative cults” like Buddhism and the Presbyterian Church. With the exception of the Moonies and one or two others, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of “new religions” in the ROK. I don’t think that would go well. Miscavige would certainly find a kindred spirit in Kim 3.0 of the DPRK, especially now that it comes out that Kim 3.0 makes big decisions like executing his uncle for treason while drunk off his ass. That sounds eerily like DM.

      2. Get Chutney Love

        What cultural factors could be at work there?

        Taiwan evolved into the first Chinese democracy, and this has taken place since 1949 when the Nationalists fled their from the mainland. A whole culture has sprung up there from out of almost nothing in a little more than 60 years, and so there’s a fertile landscape for the Scicons to make their move into.

        Reply
          1. Get Chutney Love

            You’re welcome, John P.

            As you may remember from some of my previous comments at the Bunker, my mothers’ side of the family was from China and migrated to America after WWII. My granduncle was a Maryknoll missionary in Taiwan until he retired, so I know a bit more about those two countries more than the average bear.

            I’m just glad that democracy has evolved there so that the legislators don’t get into physical arguments, as they used to do after the stranglehold that the Kuomintang had on political power was loosened by Chiang Ching-kuo in the mid-1980s.

  4. May_West

    Will the Freewinds still be used for OT VIII or will OT VIII be brought in to flag? Will the Freewinds be set free (sold or scrapped)?
    My basis for this question is the lack of recent flyers promoting all kinds of on board courses, etc., the discounting of accommodation rates seen on the last lingering promos, and the fact that the tub seems to be spending an inordinate amount of time docked in Aruba.
    I predict the tub gets disposed of – quietly and without sorrow.

    Reply
    1. pluvo

      You are right – the business with OT8 is minimal and everything what is getting delivered on the Ship can get easily delivered at the Flag.
      The “unprecedented expansion” is in full-scale retreat to Flag, which will become the “Ideal Bubble”.
      Even when getting rid of the Freewinds, they probably buy a modern luxury yacht for Miscavige and his IAS “to be fabian”.

      Miscavige could in sheer desperation release (the non-existing) OT9 & OT10 as another last hype and getting glorified as the great leader. Then he is going to his luxury hideout, asserting that he has to be out of the reach of the “SP’s” to further be able to benefit the the Church of Scientology and mankind.

      Reply
      1. Espiando

        He does have a way to pull out an OTIX and OTX that’s straight out of Hubbard’s playbook. He can go straight back to 1978 and The Year Of Lightning-Fast Tech and say something to the effect that Super Power and the “research” done on it has made the release of those two levels viable, just like Hubbard did with OTVIII.

        But the OT Levels are his last card that he can play. I don’t think it’ll happen in 2014. I’m going to do a prediction for 2015: OTVIII gets brought over to Flag as John said, and the SS Mesothelioma gets mothballed. At the same time, OTIX and OTX get released, Flag-only, done at the SP Building (where OTVIII will be delivered as well). That will be his final throw of the dice in terms of tech.

        Reply
        1. Lord Xenu, OT XV

          Yes. COB will release OTIX and OTX to try to reignite excitement for the public to continue up the Bridge – a last ditch effort.
          BTW, I’m sure COB has applied the tech of OTIX and OTX to himself in order to maximize his OT abilities, and look a the result. He’s only become MORE insane — just like LRH in his final years.

          Reply
      2. Lord Xenu, OT XV

        Yes of course. Think of how COB has put a spin on/straight up lied about pretty much everything in the past when the truth doesn’t suit their PR. They can easily sell the Freewinds and move it’s operations to the new SuperPower building. The move can be spun as a good thing — consolidation is good!

        Reply
    2. John P.

      I think you are right — the Freewinds is definitely spending less and less time at sea; it would be wonderful if we had some way to track when it’s on the move automatically so Andrew Robertson and other interested volunteers don’t have to spend their time on this.

      I agree that OTVIII is going to get pulled back to Flag at some point, and that the Freewinds is likely to rust at the dock while the cult tries to keep up the pretense that it’s still viable. There are, after all, a number of RPF prisoners still aboard.

      The only reason I didn’t include the saga of the Freewinds in my list of predictions is that I think the decline in business was already quite apparent, and I don’t think there will be anything to change significantly the rate of decline of that business in 2014. I believe the total gross margin contribution from the Freewinds (revenue less direct expenses like fuel, food, maintenance, crew salaries, etc) is not that important. I would suspect that at this point, the Freewinds is responsible for less than $5 million in gross margin contribution, so it’s down in the weeds financially speaking, like CCHR or Applied Scholastics.

      Reply
    3. aegerprimo

      The Freewinds, if not a delivery location for OT VIII anymore, may become a location for the RPF, or to stash Sea Org execs who know too many Co$ secrets. It’s difficult for people to escape from a ship at sea or outside the borders of the USA. Can American Citizens be subpoenaed for a deposition when they are outside the country?

      Reply
  5. TheHoleDoesNotExist

    Leah Remini will have a ghost writer whip up a book which will give the other celebs and whales a new motivation to leave. They will in turn set up a new “club” to join instead of the Flag/Freewinds OT clubs as a place to be seen. Without the whales private loans, there will be no customers. Without the whales approval and support, the wannabe’s will follow them to wherever they set up their new for the wealthy and fabulous club. Without the whales, their children/grandchildren will not be able to support themselves on staff and will also follow.

    David Miscavige has no real fan club. It’s the whales who have the followers.

    The Super Power event was THE event of all events in all of sci history and mandatory. Yet only Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley in the celeb tier level showed up, and the whale families (not individuals count, the families) numbered under 100 to 150 tops. Now whales can buy a “get out of events free” card, but not out of ethics. Even Leah Remini couldn’t get out of ethics.

    So I’d guestimate no more than 300 active families. The news about what is and isn’t on the Super Power, the herculean rules and prices involved with the GAT2 and the emeters and other books and materials, the complete bottom rung do overs on the bridge for the third time, the warehouse massive wave of declares that including whole whale families as well as long term veteran members is going to cause a new rush of exits, most of which will be quiet. The GAT2 and materials impact as well as do overs will finish off what is left of the few staff still standing.

    ASHO and AO being emptied out for renovations for months is evidence enough for me along with the list of completions that they are done. There will be a few of the remaining whales who will come back demanding service, but nothing sustainable.

    Have never seen any sign that Miscavige plans on financially giving back a dime to the orgs. There have been a few instances in the last year, but on a large scale he won’t. He might let their rents to him slide, but the taxes and utilities and operating expenses he won’t pay for. When a third of the orgs in the U.S. have to close their doors, that’s when I think he will announce he is off for whatever reason and will leave with the war chest.

    Narconon will fold and purif’s all set up in orgs Miscavige said he’s going to announce something about WISE so I expect he will try to convince his white collar crims that have lost their shirts in the business consulting and tech and web site scams to set up their own types of sauna like centers as a gateway to the orgs, but not as a drug rehab set up, just a clean your toxins theta wash drive thru type.

    All I can think of, John. By the way, Merry Christmas and hope you checked out the Xmas present under Tony’s tree from Dec 25 thread.

    Reply
    1. John P.

      Definitely a great job on the Christmas vocal. Your voice comes in somewhere between Bonnie Raitt and Melissa Etheridge, both of whom I admire. I have been swamped the last couple weeks so haven’t had much chance to keep up with things on Tony’s site. I gave the help the day off yesterday so I did all the cooking for a big time capitalist’s Christmas Feast where I was pleased to serve and carve the enormous side of roast beast… Below, I’ve enclosed a picture of my sumptuous Christmas feast. http://unorthodoxepicure.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/GrinchCarveTheRoastBeast.jpg

      I’m interested in your point that the whales are relatively divided into a small number of families rather than being a series of onesies or twosies who are relatively autonomous. Are you suggesting that the “300 families” number is only for larger donors or are you suggesting that is the count for all of the current membership? That seems a bit low for what I can come up with on current numbers. You may recall that you persuaded me that 40,000 members was too high about a year ago and I cut my numbers to 25,000 today. I don’t think I can get much below that number for total worldwide membership (including staff and Sea Org) today. If you think that’s too high, we might want to correspond privately about that.

      Are you suggesting that whales can simply send a check and not have to show up for events? If so, is that a new development? If true, I wonder if that means that total revenue from events will be dropping, which is the substance of my prediction #1. In other words, if people come to an event, they might get regged for, say, $20,000 and they might enjoy that process more because they got to be in the same room as Cruise, Travolta, Miscavige, etc. than if they simply sent in a check for $5,000 and didn’t get a gala event in return.

      I do agree that GAT 2 will be the cause of some number of departures. I would be interested in any texture you can give of how it incrementally will be worse than GAT 1 in shooing people out the door. Should this be one of the predictions? If so, how can we think about the number of people that will leave in 2014 over and above the trajectory of the last two years?

      I agree that DM is not inclined to give back to the orgs to keep them solvent, but I note that the Auckland org (who has to disclose their financials per NZ law) has a loan of about NZ$10 million on the books from Int Management for building purchases. When I read this last month, I was greatly surprised, because I thought all Idle Morgue purchases were cash on the barrel head with no support from Int. I only expect there are about 150-200 Scientologists in NZ, not enough to come up with the cash for the purchase of, and subsequently the complicated restoration, of a historical building in Auckland that needs a lot of work. Do you think it is possible that he may engage in some loans back to local orgs to get Ideal Orgs done if his credibility is at stake (I’m thinking Chicago, Detroit, Philly where there has been bad publicity for blight rather than smaller orgs like Battle Creek, New Haven, Budapest).

      Agree that the AO’s are being cannibalized, but it’s not clear how much business they were doing in the last couple years. As a result, I held off on making that a prediction on my list. Any sense of what percentage of services comes from missions vs orgs vs advanced orgs vs Flag?

      Reply
      1. TrevAnon

        A short while ago there was news about Dutch CO$ buying a new building. I read somewhere that there also a loan from the American CO$ was needed to buy it. Can’t find the reference though.

        Reply
    2. PoisonIvyHerself

      I asked my lit agent to put me up as her ghostwriter. No joke – I pitched myself as someone who wouldn’t have any learning curve about Sci practices and language! But she already had one. Someone who’ll be paid a pile, dammit! 😉

      Reply
  6. Robert Eckert

    David Miscavige will not appear at the New Year’s Eve event tomorrow. There will be very lame excuses given, which some of the members will pretend to believe almost until the “LRH Birthday” event, which may or may not even happen. He will, of course, never be deposed in the Rathbun case, which he will eventually be declared to have defaulted on. It will be a long time before his wherabouts are uncovered.

    Reply
        1. Espiando

          I won’t join in on your Duel Of Honor, Robert, but I’m on BFM’s side on this. He knows that GAT II is coming across like a lead balloon, and “only He” can hype it up to the crowd, since all of the “success story” flyers don’t seem to be working. In fact, I’ll be willing to lay good odds that a third of his speech will be on GAT II, with a good chunk on Super Power and a feel-good with the UK “religious recognition” (when it’s not anything close to being one).

          Reply
          1. Robert Eckert

            He was just trying to make one last scoop of however many dollars could be conned out of the remaining whales, before transferring as much money as possible out of the corporate accounts and disappearing. He knows there is more downside than upside to trying to continue.

          2. BareFacedMessiah

            Whatever will happen – it is exciting!

            “He knows there is more downside … ”
            DM is a psycho. He cannot perceive anything. He is pretty much deaf and blind. His knowledge is based on confusion.
            I want to see him running away. That would be gorgeous. It would be worth losing my honour. But I doubt …. as you know.

          3. aurora50

            I’ve been engaged in a ‘Supernatural’ marathon on Netflix…lots of food for thought, there.

            He, DM, surely reminds me of Lucifer…

            (but, I am only up to the beginning of Season 6…who is this Crowley and how will that character play out? and A Crowley + Hubbard/Parsons, et al…hmmm)

          4. Robert Eckert

            Freethinker on ESMB comments:

            “I noticed the band did the countdown. In the past, DM did it at the end of his speech.
            This has all the indications that he didn’t do the event unless several were held and this was a seperate one but it does seem off color and cheesy.

            There is something amiss, this is not your usual over-the-top New Years event with exploding stat graphs and DM exciting his flock into a frenzy so they will be easy marks for the reg’s.

            Something wrong here.”

          5. Robert Eckert

            Remarkably little info. I think JohnP’s emphasis on the events as money-makers is somewhat missing what else the events are: identity reinforcers. Ordinary churches have weekly meetings at which everyone is reminded they are Methodists or Catholics or whatever, but the “Sunday Services” in Scientology are shams. If people stop attending events and are seldom “on course”, whole months could go by for a “public” Scientologist without any reminder that that is who they are.

          6. John P.

            Actually, I agree completely that the events reinforce the identity of the members as being part of a successful, important group. That’s the “product” they’re “selling” at the events, which is a very different product than the auditing and course work that they sell at the orgs. Yes, I do see things through a lens more heavily colored by economics than most people, but the psychology of what they’re selling is quite clear. And the psychology of identity reinforcement is exactly why I think this year was a disaster for the events business.

            My point about the collapse of the event business is that if the events no longer effectively further the image of the cult as a place for successful people in control of their destiny, then it is difficult to restart. If they cancel any of the events or the events are a dud, the business doesn’t just automatically come back the way it might if you reschedule some other sort of event.

            It’s like a fast-growing high tech startup, where people have high morale because management spends lots of money on fun perks for the employees. Then one day, the company misses its numbers and there are rounds of expense controls put in place and all the perks, like logo jackets or briefcases go away. At that point, morale takes a major hit and you don’t just go back to feeling like it’s good times even if missing the numbers is a good thing. Growth is slower from there on out. Sure, the company can go on to be successful later on, but it takes a very long time to get over the emotional loss of all the little perks.

            That’s why I think the mess of the event business will be difficult to restart. If Miscavige does hold the Maiden Voyage event this year after cancelling it, I suspect attendance will be dramatically off from prior years’ levels, even if there is a ferocious regging campaign to get people to come (when, after all, is there not a ferocious regging campaign to sign people up for events).

            And they can’t replace “Int Events” with local events to remain revenue neutral. Remember, everyone thinks their own org is the one failing org in all of Scientology. So going to events at your small struggling org is not going to make you eager to open up the wallet over what you would do at the big gala events where the appearance of success is promoted.

          7. Once_Born

            “the mess of the event business will be difficult to restart”

            Perhaps the ‘bandwagon effect’ is relevant here.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandwagon_effect

            While the bandwagon is rolling (ie the events are regular and reliable) management can get away with a lot – many attendees will perceive Scientology to be successful (despite their own doubts) because they are surrounded by a mass of enthusiastic people.

            However, it a bandwagon ever stops it is very hard to get it rolling again (even a successful one).

            If the events business is collapsing, perhaps the best thing for Miscavige to do would be spend money on promoting events in advance and making them more attractive.

            What he has done is cancel, move (UK –> US!)and reschedule events. If we accept that events function to restore confidence, creating uncertainty about whether or not they will even take place is exactly the wrong thing to do.

          8. El Con Blubbard

            Great Blog! I think the Golden Age of Tech II will reinstate a policy forgotten and has gotten the Co$ and Captain Miscavige into a lot of trouble recently. Due to the lies in the depositions by Tommy Davis, Warren McShane and Allan Cartwright that COB does not micromange the Church and they never talk to him and the new release of Mike Rinder’s / Tommy Davis’s text messages on their blackberry’s to COB/Lou – TELEPHONE’S are hereby declared Suppressive. LRH states in a policy (removed by an SP) – “Telephones are psychotic because they have no memory”….all Staff, Sea Org and Public are hereby ordered to get rid of all landlines, cellphones and internet connections!! Everyone will be ordered to use their telepathic abilities to communicate!! If they don’t have it – they will be declared!! LOL

          9. Lady Squash

            My two cents on the event business. When I was IN, I enjoyed “The War is Won” event but for years I suffered through them.
            I worked on an event one year and was appalled by how much they cost. That money I thought should go to feeding the staff better and etc.
            And then one year, I did some fact checking on their claims and discovered they were not verifiable.
            I grew to hate events and being bombarded for hours with hype.
            I hated being called 9 million times to confirm me before an event.
            I hated making up excuses about why I couldn’t go and then arguing with the staff member who just wouldn’t take No for an answer.
            I hated having to be polite because I knew this staff member was just doing his/her job and I didn’t want to make him/her feel bad. Their life was already the pits.
            I could go on and on, but my point is that fewer events might be experienced as a good thing by Scientologists. Events really are a drag. I’m just saying.

          10. Once_Born

            Identity reinforcement is particularly important for members of groups whose world-view is extreme &/or in conflict with wider society – e.g. Scientology.

            Individual Scientologists really, really need regular reassurance among the like-minded.

  7. BareFacedMessiah

    Great post, John P. Capitalist !

    Many members are on the Basics. They are not smart, this is why they are still members. The Basics took away whatever their original goals were.
    Eg. someone, who wanted to become an Auditor now spends years on the Basics. Why should they suddenly say: “Hey, in fact I came here for something entirely different. I did not want to clear the world. I wanted to solve my personal issues, but somehow I ended up solving problems of others.”
    So these people do agree with BS already. They are buying every aspect of propaganda. They will be the last ones to wake up. And the more they get attacked, the more they will support the cult. A person can only change from inside.
    Any attempt from outside will only make a person more fanatic. They have to prove their environment/relatives that they were right.

    Therefore my prediction is the following:
    The GAT II will have its worst impact in a few months, but then all changes will be passé.
    Only a few new scandals will show up. The cult was adapting each time. No more Squirrel Busters, no more abortions, less harassment etc..

    It will be the “past” that destroys the cult. And false propaganda will contribute, but most members will try to survive until the very last minute. They won’t give up, even though they might see that they cannot win. Invalidate humans and you get fanatics trying to show that they were right. In fact external invalidation causes insanity.

    THE KEY WILL BE DM’s DEPOSITION. And this will probably stab the cult into its heart. Will the deposition recording/video leak? That is the key! Any prediction must consider this deposition and all possible results.
    It was the internet that brought down the cult, and it will be the TV media waking up the last Truman members.
    DM’s video deposition on Wiki-Leaks – can you imagine?

    Tom Cruise’s career could face a sudden end within 3 years.

    Btw. I predict a desirable change in “The Underground Bunker”. We are no soldiers, each of us has a different strategy. We are organised, but we are lacking rules to increase our strenght and lineup. By controlling ourselves regarding eg. the trolls we will undergo an important morphosis.

    I also see fanatics amongst us and I am concerned about these people.

    John P. Capitalist, you are a smart guy. I like the way you think and express your opinions. We need to get this rational thought pattern into the Bunker.

    The safest way to predict the future is to create it. So, make a prediction now….

    Reply
    1. PoisonIvyHerself

      “Tom Cruise’s career could face a sudden end within 3 years.”

      I’m a great admirer of you BFM, and your post above is full of really insightful stuff. But please, will people STOP going on and on about the end of TC’s career already? Please! Media Lush, God Bless Him, does a lot of good digging into gossip and he knows enough about entertainment to be dangerous. But he doesn’t understand the studio development process or international motion picture economics. (Not that I’m any great shakes on the second, but Mr Ivy and his colleagues are and we all read the trades and get insider emails from our agents on a regular basis.)

      Tom Cruise’s career is in no danger at the moment. Though his popularity in the US is at its lowest and still dropping quickly, his overseas box office is still through the roof, making him STILL (I know, hard to believe) one of the most powerful actors in Hollywood. The Development of MI5 goes on apace, but behind the scenes. Just because it’s not reported in the trades does not mean it’s not going on. Mr PI and I both have TV projects at the moment that haven’t been peeped at in the trades and are moving along at a snail’s pace but promisingly. Development of features – especially $200 m budget features – is glacial. The truth of the matter is – at least as of this writing – MI5 with Tom Cruise will make back its budget with overseas presales alone. Studio features always figure in overseas when greenlighting – in fact at the moment I believe most features make 80% of their money overseas. Overseas audiences remain loyal to stars for a long time after we Americans tire of them. Case in point – Steven Seagal, with whom Mr Ivy worked in the late 90’s. Mr. Segal’s behind the scenes antics make Tom Cruise look like a choirboy with 100% mental sanity. Mr Segal also gained about 100 pounds and can’t act his way out of a paper bag. He was very nearly a joke in the US market by then. Yet he still had major studio money behind him (including studio payola going to cover ups of nefarious activities). And guess what? All these years and straight to DVD flops (and reality shows) later, he STILL has some stature overseas!!

      Tom Cruise is #7 on the Forbes list & #14 on the Vice list for most powerful actors, and # 27 on the Vice list for most powerful celebs. Check out who he’s still above.

      His new movie w/the radiant Emily Blunt looks pretty awful…but a franchise like MI still has legs for him. And though he’s made an enemy of Spielberg and people really get creeped out about his Scientology connections, he has a lot of loyal colleagues in the business because of his professionalism and work ethic. Don’t count him out until his overseas numbers start to drop.

      Sorry, but I’m just tired of this “sky is falling for Tom Cruise” talk repeated over and over. Not that I wouldn’t like to see him pay retribution for the atrocities he’s been party to, but it’s just not borne out by the facts.

      Reply
      1. Heidi

        Unfortunately, I have to agree. I DO anticipate his career waning away, however, with Will Smith’s career careening more quickly into oblivion. Ugh, I made an accidental pun, sorry!

        Reply
  8. Espiando

    The key to the Ideal Org scenario may be coming in a couple of weeks in Chicago, when the case is heard about their dilatory activities in turning the building on South Clark into the Idle Morgue (six and a half years after purchase, not a thing done, the building turning into an unsafe location in a gentrifying area, etc.). There is no doubt that more fines will be added to the ones that they’ve already incurred. There are two big questions that will likely be answered:

    1) Will Int Landlord attempt to foist off the additional fines on the local public? There are hardly any public left in Chicago, and the last cetacean-level donation was for $100K about three or four years ago. Dave and Sindy Fagen would probably be able to better assess the capability of the Chicago public to absorb this kind of blow.

    2) Will the city remove the zoning that was granted in 2009 (we Anons protested at the meeting to discuss this, and one of our people spoke to the alderman and local business bigwigs)? Alterations of zoning have been a major weapon in the city government’s arsenal for decades, and if the cult has upset them through their Ideal Slum program, they won’t hesitate to use this weapon.

    If either of these happens, the cult has a way out of the Ideal Org strategy. They can get rid of the building (at a loss) with no replacement, and they would have a handy scapegoat in the city government to use as an excuse as to why Chicago doesn’t have an Ideal Org, just in case someone asks questions about that. They can then repeat this strategy in any municipality where things are going sadly wrong for them, with Philadelphia and Toronto at the top of those lists.

    My semi-bold prediction (which goes along with one of JPC’s): At least one Advanced Org will close, and that will be Copenhagen. All functions there will move back to Saint Hill, and the cult will heavily spin this with a push to study “at Ron’s Home”.

    Also, we will see a rapid disuse of the “GAT II can only be delivered in an Ideal Org” line in their begging mails, as GAT II becomes more discredited and the Ideal Org strategy goes into a slow death spiral. By May, this approach will no longer be used.

    Reply
      1. Espiando

        Obviously, I’m more familiar with what goes on in my backyard than in Philly, but the stakes are a lot higher in Chicago, and that case comes up first. The results of that case might just give them an exit strategy for their Idle Morgue construction failures that would satisfy the still-ins.

        Reply
      2. John P.

        That was exactly the thinking behind the fifth bullet point in the item about the failure of the Ideal Org strategy. Cities are running out of patience with these bozos, who bought a building, made glorious promises about how they were going to turn around the neighborhood and then … crickets.

        The question is whether he’ll actually sell the buildings or just eat the fines. It’ll be interesting to see what a tax foreclosure or a lien on the property to pay the fine gets them to do.

        Reply
        1. mirele

          My memory is that in the past Scn has skated close to the edge on tax foreclosure but never actually went over. But my understanding was that Scn did it because of the L Ron thing of never paying any bill when it’s due.

          Reply
    1. tetloj

      This goes with my thought that what is happening in Sth Africa will happen elsewhere in the world in 2014 and why not Denmark. Australia is already too far gone. So – Scientology will, with its attempts to control another country of Sceintologists with mass SP declares will eviscerate the cult in that country. Denmark sounds like a good start.

      Reply
  9. TerrilPark

    1]  I believe the November problems with events was that DM had big problems
    avoiding depositions.

      I believe events will settle down to normal with fewer attendances modified by my closing statements.

    2]   One could say the ideal org program has collapsed, Mike Rinder makes
    some relevant commentary here. There is a problem with such Orgs probably
    costing too much money to run, and needing support from Sea Org Reserves.
    This will probably lead to harsh actions and more disaffections and further
    dwindling parishioner numbers.

    3]  There will be a retreat from the larger world. This may be symptomatic of larger issues.

       The 2012 St Hill IAS event not only had reporters infiltrate but a press conference
    of anons indies FZers, also attendred by the same reporters and a TV crew, and also
    Anonymous still protesting, embarrassing for DM in that some years ago he declared
    them defeated.

       No doubt he thought that he had better control and security at Clear water and
    compliant police, but he didn’t factor in an ” Apostate Air Force”. :)

      More areas are likely to go Indie or greater numbers go indie or both. I’d
    pick the former Russian states and Russia as likely candidates as there is a a
    relatively strong “Ron’s Org ” presence and they have more or as many
    L’s auditors as CO$. Also if your figures are correct more parishioners also.

    4]  I think more and more “under the radar” members will no longer care about
    being UTR and will thus be in effect leaving CO$. There may even be a collapse of
    some sort for CO$. More later on that.

    5] I feel disconnection will lose more effectiveness and make CO$ a bigger laughing
    stock than it is. More on this later.

    6]  I think CO$ faces a lot of losing cases. In particular The Monique Rathbun case.
    DM getting deposed is grave news for him and CO$. I see his best option is to settle.
    Then this “Pope”  will be seen as guilty of extreme ridiculous harassment of a housewife.
    Thats if things go well. Not sure of how down the downside can be. I don’t think well
    with the law, don’t know how far discovery and deposition will  and can go. Looks
    like the IRS  will have to see its rules have been broken and discontinue the
    tax exemption and then the FBI will have no excuse not to further their investigations.
    Then not only those under the radar but even the cool aid
    drinkers will be seeing masses of bad publicity, reruns of Debby Cooks court room scenes,
    and so on. Coupled with disconnections less staff, less orgs able to pay rent and no
    doubt an even harsher regime for all, accelerating collapse, and some juicy mainstream
    TV and media on the facebook police etc.

       On staffing issues I was told by a recent staff member that almost all day staff at
    London Ideal Org had to be obtained from St.Hill.

        All these areas will combine to make any further expansion of CO$ impossible, massive
    contraction inevitable, as is already happening, and maybe some sort of collapse, maybe
    equivalent to the downfall of the Berlin wall.

    What that leaves on the ground I don’t know. 

    The website for our internet Org.
    http://www.freewebs.com/techoutsidethecofs/

    Reply
    1. DMSTCC

      What a great headline that could be:

      “Pope” of $cientology found guilty of extreme ridiculous harassment of a housewife.

      Reply
    2. Robert Eckert

      “1] I believe the November problems with events was that DM had big problems avoiding depositions.” That is a permanent problem from now on.

      Reply
  10. Dean Fox

    The Monique Rathbun case will be settled for an undisclosed sum and a gagging agreement seeing an end to Marty’s blog and a spiking of Marty’s fourth and potentially most explosive book. If I were them I’d want at least £500m, not $ BTW.

    The UK will have to choose between granting the church of scientology charity status in the UK or removing “spreading a religion” from its list of “charitable acts”; the around 2000 scientologists in the UK will no doubt celebrate being recognised as a religion in the UK anyway; that will perhaps be happening tonight. I really hope the UK sees sense and stops giving religion a free pass.

    Reply
  11. DMSTCC

    COB: “So what did the college boy have to blab about today?”

    LS : “THe wog lawyers say it’s some kind of prediction enturbulation.”

    COB: “And?” [glug, glug]

    LS: “They say we’ve got a few years left.”

    COB: Sweeeeeet!!!

    Explatives removed for readability

    Does the NOI still have some play in this?

    Reply
  12. WhereIsSHE

    Prediction of a delay in the Monique Rathbun case due to the jurisdiction (personal, over named defendant MIscavige) issue.

    Why? Because his lawyers MUST appeal a court ORDER to depose him when that same court has yet to determine whether or not it actually has JURISDICTION OVER HIM.

    How can you ORDER a person (or entity) to submit to your authority if you don’t have–or haven’t made a determination that you have– JURISDICTION over said person (or entity)???

    THAT is the FIRST argument I EXPECT TO SEE from Miscavige’s lawyers.

    They will surely follow up with others (about how he has no contacts with Texas, blahblahblahhhhhh, etc)

    But attacking the logical incongruity of ORDERING an out-of-state named party to APPEAR for a deposition is what I would expect any decent counsel to do.

    We’ll see how that plays out.

    An appeal on the jurisdiction issue could put the case in a state of limbo for quite a while though.

    And that is BOTHERSOME to someone like Miscavige who has a Motion to END IT ALL on the table (the anti-SLAPP Motion).

    WHAT WILL THEY DO???!!!!!

    Do they BELIEVE in their anti-SLAPP Motion enough to let the same judge who ORDERED MIscavige to appear for a deposition (even though he has yet to determine the serious, threshhold issue of whether or not he even HAS jurisdiction over Miscavige) to DECIDE the fate of their anti-SLAPP motion????

    WELL…. DO THEY? ….PUNK???? (typed in by best attempt to assimilate a young Dirty Harry).

    Galas.. Shmalas.

    The case is TEXAS is ..as Scion BECK would say-sing… “WHERE IT’S AT!”

    There’s a destination a little up the road
    From the habitations and the towns we know
    A place we saw the lights turn low
    The jig-saw jazz and the get-fresh flow

    Pulling out jives and jamboree handouts
    Two turntables and a microphone
    Bottles and cans just clap your hands
    Just clap your hands

    Where it’s at!
    I got two turntables and a microphone

    (EMINEM is somewhere LAUGHING HIS INGENIOUS ASS OFF at BECK, BTW.)

    WORD, y’all.

    Reply
  13. Galactic Patrol

    A couple of points I’d like to contribute:

    Legal suits

    In addition to what JP listed (all of which will happen), there will also be a suit or class-action suit filed for fraud regarding the current “GAT II Bridge” where they are de-attesting people and then making them pay over and over and over again for the same services they already received. This is clearly a violation of Scientology’s basic policies per Hubbard, i.e. “Deliver what you promise” and on that basis alone I would think a suit could be filed. I believe one is already in the works for this.

    Expansion into China

    I just wanted to put in a word regarding JP’s comments with Mark about PRC expansion. JP said “I don’t think the claim that Taiwan is the springboard to the PRC would hold much water with the locals. I would view such a claim as one to make to the naive Americans who don’t follow the politics between the PRC and the ROC, and who think that the economy of the PRC is primed for infinite growth.”

    I believe the “naive American” you are best describing there is none other than David Miscavige, who likes to talk a good talk in his speeches about being aware of international situations and developments but who I believe knows next to nothing about what really goes on in the world. And unfortunately, the same applies to every single Sea Org member I ever met. Their cultural and political awareness is guided solely by what they are told at OSA briefings and at events by Miscavige. So the only people who are actually dumb enough to believe that Kaoshung is truly going to open up China for Scientology expansion are the Scientologists themselves. And I believe that they are in for a rude awakening on this front in 2014 when they actually try to reach out in that direction and are appropriately “bitch slapped” back into place.

    SO and Class V Org Staffing

    Staffing will go from its current disastrous situation to truly nightmare proportions in 2014 as fewer and fewer new members come aboard and existing staff give up and leave when their contracts are up, or just give up and leave period.

    The Sea Org management personnel over these orgs will be busier than ever trying to just keep their existing executives and technical staff on post. When an ED, an Exec Council member or key technical delivery staff leave staff or threaten to leave staff, it becomes a major problem at continental management level, who is forced to take direct action to handle the staff member since the morale in the local org is so bad that no one there can deal with the leaving staff member’s valid reasons for wanting to go (disullusionment, no pay, no movement up The Bridge, etc).

    GAT II is not going to change this because it is not a workable program. Everyone has to first get through the Basics and then re-do every single Grade Chart step from scratch. That is not “faster than ever” movement up the Bridge. The staff more than anyone will see this monumental failure and give up.

    The dwindling numbers of Class V staff also mean dwindling numbers of Sea Org members, because Class V org staff and 2nd- or 3rd-generation Scientology kids are the only real recruit pools for the SO. The third major pool for SO recruits, foreign imports, will also be drying up as the number of Scientologists in those countries dwindles and possibly if visa restrictions are tightened up.

    The orgs are already woefully undermanned and public can visibly see that the Ideal Org are not what were promoted. They donated tens of thousands of dollars, some of them mortgaging their homes or taking out major loans, on the promises of SO members that their orgs would finally expand for real, as LRH says they will in policy. Those promises are already proven to be as empty as the public’s bank accounts.

    Ideal Orgs

    The reason the Ideal Org strategy has ground to a halt is because of the word of mouth throughout the Scientology communities about its failure to produce any tangible results. The public are gullible, but in the end, they are not stupid people and they can see this after 10 years of BS. I believe this is a primary source of disaffection amongst the “under-the-radars” and it will only grow exponentially in 2014.

    I predict, as JP guessed in a comment above, that Int Finance will indeed finance some of the longer-term stalled Ideal Org building renovations, on a “loan” basis to the orgs. Int Finance will be lucky if they ever see even 10% of their loans come back to them, given the dwindling spiral of Scientology expansion, but I think they will do this rather than continue to allow the bad PR about the stalled/stagnant Ideal Org buildings needing renovations. This will be a “cope solution” originated from Miscavige and forwarded through Int Finance for implementation. It will basically be as effective as plugging a leaking dam with your thumb.

    In each case, there will also be heavy ethics applied to the executives of the local orgs who did not “make it go right” to get their Ideal Org buildings financed and that will just further their desire to get the hell out of Dodge.

    Disconnection

    On disconnection, the biggest problem with this is overcoming the years of lies that OSA and HCO staff have been feeding to the Scientologists, as well as the true source of the problem: Hubbard’s toxic policies on PTS/SPs.

    There are rumors that more and more “under-the-radars” are ignoring these policies, but I don’t think 2014 will be the year that the veil of secrecy is lifted about how many UTRs there are.

    There are decades of strict enforcement to overcome as well as the pure mind control factor. Once someone in the Church decides to disconnect from a loved one, they practically consider the person is dead. Getting them to stop doing that and fight the Church on this before they make the catastrophic decision to disconnect is still a tremendous uphill battle.

    I believe it is in this arena that the true ultimate battle of Scientology will be fought, at least as long as Miscavige is still in power (see below). OSA and Snr HCO staff will fight this to the bitter end, because once disconnection has lost its teeth for real, the Church of Scientology will cease to exist.

    My Hope

    Finally, I have to classify this as “hope” rather than “prediction”, but all of these predictions would be moot if Miscavige would just up and fly the coop once and for all.

    This is not a prediction for 2014 because like all psychopaths, Miscavige’s behavior really can’t be accurately predicted when it comes to this. But I do believe it is inevitable that he will either (a) blow the scene entirely and attempt to run to a secret location with as much cash as he can get his hands on, or (b) he will go out in a very noisy and violent fashion, perhaps taking others with him.

    It is certainly not my hope that he goes out violently, but I do wish he would disappear from the scene somehow.

    Either way, once he is gone, Scientology will collapse for good because there truly is no one who is going to step up and take his place and be able to put back together what Humpty Dumpty broke. It will take some time for the corporate structure to crumble and all the individual churches to die off, but their demise is all but certain once he’s gone.

    Those are my contributions to the effort here.

    Reply
    1. aurora50

      Wowser. Between this and your post at Mike’s blog, you have been focused on the task!

      I ask, as a never-in: is there a Path of Redemption for DM?

      Reply
      1. Galactic Patrol

        Thanks. Obviously this stuff has been on my mind a lot lately.

        No, there is no path of redemption for DM. He is a psychopath. Like really, no joke. He doesn’t have redemption at the end of his road. There are very few people I would say that about. He is one of them.

        Reply
        1. OrangySky

          “There are very few people I would say that about. He is one of them.”

          Seconded. And given the probable state of his health right now, the karma is definitely catching up already.

          Reply
          1. OrangySky

            Check out J Swift’s posts on the Bunker, the ESMB “before and after” photos of COB from March 2013 and November 2013.

            It’s all speculation, but he does look like a ragged ass piece of shit.

            As for the “sick martyr” route – I don’t think Scientology has such a categorization. Remember, Ron’s heart attacks, breakdowns, et al were all kept secret from the rank and file. He was always described as being hale, hearty and blissfully engaged in doing research…until he “voluntarily dropped the body.”

            How could the cult continue to sell CO$ as the cure to all ailments and OT powers as predictive of perfect health if COB is revealed to have some sort of chronic illness?

            No. If he dies while still in charge of the church, it will be covered up. He will voluntarily drop his body to join LRH at target two…or he will simply disappear quietly (like his wife.)

          2. Galactic Patrol

            I guess what I meant by “sick martyr” is that I would hate for Miscavige’s misdeeds to never see the light of day or be acknowledged by those still in. I have always imagined a doomsday scenario where he is exposed for the sociopath that he is for all the world to see. If he gets sick and just disappears and dies, that would suck because there is nothing, repeat nothing, in a religious movement that gains traction more than a revered deceased leader. His memory would live on forever as “He Who Saved Scientology.” Ugh.

            Him disappearing in this fashion is an option I never considered. That would be quite an interesting turn of affairs. Because then someone would have to confront the cold hard fact of taking over running the Church. Who would do that? We have all conjectured on this and the answer I’ve seen more often than not is that there is no one left to take over.

            But if they did, wouldn’t it be interesting if they were a bit more honest and “discovered” that Miscavige had led the ship onto the rocks and tried to steer it back to a more sane and rational place? God, what a salvage operation that would be! The PR clean-up alone would take years, not to mention cleaning house, making good to all the dissatisfied customers and then trying to woo them back while bringing in new ones.

            I don’t see it as an even possible future. Much more likely, if someone were to take over, they would carry on with Miscavige’s new brand of Scientology and continue leading it right over the edge of the cliff. As John P has pointed out many times, the problems with the Church are systemic and go way beyond just Miscavige’s personality. The entire business model and methods of operation of the Church ensure its demise within our lifetimes. At its very roots, it’s own policies make it a criminal operation. It’s just a matter of time.

          3. OrangySky

            I wonder, if someone did take over for DM, if he would be SCAPEGOATED by the cult as responsible for its slide? I mean, you can’t blame LRH, right? It might be some new leader’s bright idea to say, “No no no! Now it’s REAL Scientology again!” Who knows, they might win back some Indies, if they kill disconnection and Fair Game.

          4. Galactic Patrol

            There are so many possibilities there. Who knows with these guys? It would all depend on so many factors that aren’t even in play right now.

          5. aegerprimo

            It seems DM has destroyed anyone who might be able to take over… they are either in the hole, on the RPF or left/blown Scientology.

          6. Anonymous

            Scapegoating ones predecessor after a management change is so ingrained in Scientology that it’s almost as if policy demanded one do so.

            Once a number of sequential bad PR flaps causes the public atrocity meter to rock slam, new management comes in and blames EVERYTHING on the old boss(es). It is the Scientology way.

            Nothing can ever be institutionally broken or the fault of the “tech.” It’s always the former “whomever” and now that “they” are gone, everything will be OK. This will happen to Miscavige too.

          7. Once_Born

            There is nothing in the constitution or tradition of Scientology to insure a peaceful transfer of power, so any change of leadership is likely to be bloody.

            Once power has been initially consolidated, the first priority of the new dictator or regime is to restore stability.

            The usual practice is to present yourself as the latest in a line of exceptional leaders who are, “bringing the cause into the 21st Century, while respecting our great traditions”.

            Initially, you insure that the outgoing regime (whom you stabbed in the back) is canonised because their sanctity will reflects upon the new one (i.e. you).

            It is only later, when your position is completely secure, that it is expedient to gradually reveal the ‘truth’ about your predecessor – and even then, you only reveal those parts of the truth that serve your purposes, at times when a distraction is needed (“it can now be revealed that we preserved the cause, in the time of its greatest peril”).

            You can use these revelations can protect yourself from challenges from other factions – when a rival is expelled, it can be presented as another stirring example of how you have protected the organisation from internal corruption.

            If Miscavige was used as a scapegoat, the would likely likely happen only after years of careful consolidation of power, when it could be used to increase the devotion of the remaining members to the new leader(s).

            To do so immediately after taking power would be suicidal, creating doubt at a crucial time of transition.

          8. aegerprimo

            In Scientology, if you are ill, you are PTS. It would not be acceptable for the ecclesiastical leader to be a PTS.

    2. mirele

      Any lawsuit on GATII for “de-attesting” is a non-starter. This is not like being a licensed RN and then having one’s license taken away by an arbitrary and capricious change to the regulations. No, this is a religious decision and courts will stay away from that like vampires stay away from garlic. No court is going to get in the middle of trying to decide a religious argument–that is First
      Amendment Law 101–Things Courts Drop Kick With A Vengeance.

      I’m not saying there’s no legal cause of action, but it’s going to take a bit of thought to come up with something.

      Reply
        1. John P.

          An interesting thought, one that did not occur to me. Please say more.

          Are there any particular jurisdictions that you have knowledge of where the legal system would tend to make such a thing possible? I can’t think of any off the top of my head but my knowledge of law at the intersection of fraud and religion outside the US is nonexistent (my actual knowledge of law outside the US is focused mainly on intellectual property protection).

          So I would welcome a more detailed scenario that thinks this one through in a little bit more detail.

          Reply
          1. Galactic Patrol

            I have heard rumblings that such a suit is being considered in South Africa but I don’t know how seriously it is being looked into. I am not familiar enough with the nuances of English and Dutch law to know whether it would be a viable suit there, but it’s definitely worth looking into by people in those regions. Scientology is not officially recognized as a religion in that country. In December 2007, South Africa granted a certificate to the Church recognizing it as a “Public Benefit Organisation.” So I don’t think they have the same kind of religious protection there that they do here. And I certainly know of at least 18 people in SA who would love nothing more than to see RCS burn in that region.

            Outside of the US, I think such a fraud suit would have a far greater chance of working in a country where Scientology is not recognized as a religion. This would bypass the entire religious cloaking problem altogether.

            There are many European countries where this battle could be fought to win. Denmark, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Germany, France and the Czech Republic don’t recognize Scientology as a religion. GAT II has rolled out in those countries just as it has in the US and abroad and it’s just as much a fraud there as it is here.

            Although Scientology is still relatively young in Russia, the Russian courts certainly are not friendly towards Scientology and if someone wanted to step up there, I think they’d have a friendly ear in the judiciary.

            Per Wikipedia, even in Canada, Scientology has had some religious acceptance but has yet to receive official recognition as a religion.

            And of course, there’s always Israel. Who loves a good fight more than Israelis?

          2. koki

            it could happen in ex Yugoslavia’s states…
            but for more LOL- there is no one interested in that…they are dieing there…

    3. 448Beacon

      As far as staff recruitment, it might be less of an issue if Scientology follows the “collapse” pattern J. Swift predicts and becomes a especially totalitarian and expensive New Age resort centered on Clearwater. They can adopt the method used by the Camelot Castle Hotel: find desperate foreign workers, import them, separate them from any means of escape, and *then* start pressuring them to become Scientologists.

      I do think that the long-term trend of driving away staff, crippling org management, and poaching their customers for Flag has resulted in many nonviable local orgs. I expect to see at least one org quietly close over the next year. Any remaining orgs with competent staff and enough remaining public that they’re still delivering services are likely to either go indie or be utterly broken by a Sea Org mission and become nonviable orgs. I don’t know enough about HAPI and its “Fearless Leader” to make specific predictions, but they stand out in Sunday Funnies as an org with some group identity and independent thought. I’ll keep an eye out for a wave of SP declares over there.

      Reply
      1. Galactic Patrol

        This scenario could play out, but not so quickly as to happen in the next year. I doubt any orgs currently open will be closing their doors this year. There are still too many SO members and too much money in the coffers to allow any orgs to close. We will be measuring Scientology’s collapse this year by its lack of expansion and profit and perhaps by the number of “under-the-radars” who stand up and say they are done in a public forum (even if they do it anonymously).

        Reply
  14. DodoTheLaser

    I am listening, John P.
    I will see what I can do.

    For now, here is something special from Russian OT Committee (whales):
    http://www.komitetot.ru/the-news/123-klub500rus.html

    My translation:

    “500 Russian OTVII Club” in Moscow!

    LRH quote: “Getting people on and through the OT levels is accordingly to the current research – is the only tiny chance in this universe.”

    Dear friends, you are invited to attend the meeting of “500 Russian OT 7” Club,
    which is about the Freewinds’ program “Leadership and Competence”, that will
    take place on 08/28/2013 in the Chapel of the Ideal Org of Moscow at 7:30pm.

    Expect unprecedented THETA boost and legendary speakers!
    (Translator’s note: this is a reference to 3 people featured and named in the “Star Wars” EPISODE TONE 40 poster)

    TATIANA LESKOVA, TATIANA ALEKSEEVA, DMITRY FEDOROV

    – All 3 are currently auditing on OT 7
    – IAS Gold Meritorious (translation: $1,000,000)
    – Planetary Disseminators With Honor
    – Ron’s Ambassadors in Moscow (they delivered Ron’s Series to over 830
    Opinion Leaders of Moscow)
    – Super Power Cornerstone Members
    – CCHR Diamond Knights of Double Toughness
    – Friends of Criminon of Crystal Level
    – Creators of Prosperity in “The Way To Happiness”

    They will speak about:

    – why people who reached unbelievable heights are going to the Freewinds
    and mop the deck?
    – what wins people on OT 6 get from running in 104 C (40 F) heat?
    – why would people who can make and donate millions of dollars would work in
    the ship bilges?
    – what was the hardest thing that even the “tallest” OT’s had to confront?
    – how life of the super powerful thetans changed after this program?
    – why do they think that everyone should go through this program?

    Join us and bring your teams with you. This unique narrative will not be repeated and can not be missed.

    Much ARC, Konstantin Vyzankin
    Flag Services Consultant

    Reply
  15. koki

    me thinks Lawsuits will change lots of things,and it will be changing as the lawsuits are going…
    there will be much more twist/turns this year ,then ever…..
    around October ,it will be full blown…

    Reply
  16. Winston Bell

    Personally I don’t think the celebs will be able to hold it together entirely. Given the relative (i.e. not exactly painless) success of the Leah Remini defection, other celebs have taken notice and may begin plotting theirs in 2014. The planning she put into retaining her family proves it possible, the support received by the mainstream was overwhelming, and the pain and utter ruin of historic disconnections has been watered down to the point where an SP declare is as mundane as getting a parking ticket. Further, her career may actually benefit (a la Jason Beghe).

    None of this is lost on the others.

    I predict a high level defection in 2014 among the B-listers (Ribisi, Juliette Lewis, Beck, Elisabeth Moss, Erica Christiansen, etc) which will further fracture the cracked veneer of Holywood sciloons.

    Reply
    1. Espiando

      It would have to be a very public defection by someone who might think he or she has little to lose, and would benefit greatly from the publicity. Out of that list, Juliette Lewis shines out like a beacon. She’s by far the most likely to do it.

      Reply
      1. Semper Phi

        And if she can bring her actor father, Geoffrey Lewis, out with her, that would be even more damaging to the cult. He is very familiar to Scilons, since he features prominently in various technical training and introductory “public” films.

        Reply
  17. Anonymous

    John,

    Thanks for your excellent analysis and initial predictions.

    Some comments, not all of them thought through to completion:

    1) Because the core group of remaining, active Scientologists is composed of fanatics, it is hard to predict what they will do as a group without putting on the tin foil hat of fanaticism that they share. One thing that seems apparent: Although it constantly presents a “we are saving the planet” veneer to motivate adherents, ultimately the full unvarnished Scientology mind-set creates a selfish culture where each atomized individual will do what he / she thinks is best for their own “eternal survival.” The reliance on “eternal survival” as the key motivational drive underpinning Dianetics and Scientology allows Scientologist to tolerate (and perpetrate) acts that otherwise would cause them revulsion. Harnessing this survival instinct is how first Hubbard and later Miscavige have been able to redirect the fanatical focus of adherents every few years into some new money-making scheme under the false pretense of securing their “eternity” or related themes. Being under the ether of the delusion that Scientology is essential to ones “eternity” is one of the key links in the self-imposed chains that still-ins use to attach themselves to whatever idiocy is currently underway inside the church. This bizarre, atomized-yet-shared, fanaticism should not be underestimated.

    2) I believe the international events business, even though diminished, will continue to be important to Scientology. It is practically the only social activity inside the church as no real sense of community exists in any other venue. Casual peer-to-peer communication is more heavily restricted inside Scientology than virtually any other similar organization. The international events provide some relief to this problem as seeing and interacting with a large number of other adherents gives one a sense of validation that makes all the other sacrifices somehow justified. Ironically, the isolation one feels as a Scientologist with regards to be able to communicate is relived in only one other place – an auditing session where, in
    theory at least, one can blather about almost any topic. This denial of peer-to-peer communication is a financially manipulative practice that the church mines very effectively. In most cases (not all) parishioners HAVE TO PAY MONEY TO TALK about Scientology, either at events (where they are heavily regged) or in “session” where they talk about their case with an auditor. Deeper into the delusion, one pays money to be “case supervised” while one talks (telepathically) to their own BT’s. Either way, Scientologists HAVE TO PAY MONEY for the simple act of
    communicating. International events feed the social need to communicate and
    provide an extraordinary perverse incentive that inclines Scientologists
    towards attendance, regardless of the predictable outcome of wallet lightening.

    3) I’ve mentioned before that I expect Miscavige to attempt a significant advertising campaign to drive new people into the orgs. He has new buildings, new materials and new courses. He has alienated (accidentally or on purpose) the broad majority of old timers. The only thing he has left is to arrogantly attempt to recruit new people who have not yet experienced the stink of Scientology.

    I believe he thinks he can do it with massive promotion on TV, radio and in print. I expect a fairly significant new-public advertising effort. I further expect that primary outcome of that effort will be to increase the general public awareness of Scientology’s long history of atrocities and I except that advertising campaign to fail. The massively negative footprint of Scientology on the public internet will create a reverse tsunami of negative attention on the church from any ad dollars
    spent.

    4) I expect either TC or JT to publicly exit Scientology in 2014. One or the other will do so to protect what is left of their careers and reputations. Whichever one of them leaves will attempt a huge MEA CULTA (sic) and proclaim they “didn’t know” about all the savagery that their (now former) religion had been perpetrating for the last 6 decades. When the announcement comes, it will have a devastating effect on still-ins, who will now feel justified in airing their own concerns, which will spark an
    acceleration of the already high defection rate of staff and public.

    5) There will be a BLACK SWAN event for Scientology in 2014. I realize this is a sort of a cop-out because it is a non-specific prediction that can always be made to appear correct in hindsight. So be it. The nature of Black Swan events is that they are calamitous but cannot be accurately predicted. Here are a few possible events that might be the 2014 Scientology Black Swan event(s):

    a) Leadership is indicted for events that have already occurred but are not yet fully publicized

    b) Leadership cracks under the pressure of the obvious failure of the church and performs some new act(s) of violence / abuse that cannot be dismissed or denied, leading to arrest(s)

    c) Miscavige will leave the church, either on his own or under duress

    d) Following an extremely negative outcome in one or more of the current lawsuits against the church, either the U.S Congress / DOJ or a group of AG’s from several states open a for-real investigation into Scientology and it’s leadership

    e) A formerly high profile Scientology executive thought to be either in “The Hole” or otherwise disappeared will be revealed to have passed away some time ago, leading to a full scale investigation that cannot be squashed with the usual tactics of denials and fair game. A shore-story attempt will be made to blame the deceased person posthumously for many of the atrocities that have occurred in the last decade inside Scientology. This will backfire calamitously.

    f) A truly catastrophic public revelation will occur about an event that has already happened and that cannot be dismissed or denied, leading to mass defections of staff and public on a scale that cannot be staunched with declares, disconnection or fair game

    6) Scientology will continue its descent into irrelevance at an accelerating rate through the new year and will exit 2014 with less than one half of its currently active public and staff still openly participating in church activities. The church and its senior leadership will continue to be global laughing stocks.

    Happy New Year!

    Reply
    1. May_West

      I think an oh-so-slow Black Swanesque event began to take shape in 2013, but will not culminate for another year or three or five. This year’s action will start with RICO charges, (resulting from current investigations by insurance and credit card companies) initially against NarCONon Int., that will slowly branch out to encompass many of their alphabet soup corporations. This, in turn, will eventually lose them their IRS status. Current civil suits are doing much of the investigative groundwork which will make the charges viable and very attractive to law enforcement.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Agree that the civil suits already have and will continue to expose evidence that eventually could become of interest to a variety of law enforcement agencies. The determination of facts in some of these civil cases could prove extremely damaging to church entities and possibly to select individuals.

        Reply
    2. woodrose

      I hope you’re right about the advertising campaign, that they spend bunches of money on it and it fails completely. Surely all modern people will check Scientology out on the Internet before they start giving them bundles of money.

      Happy New Year to you!

      Reply
  18. Mighty Korgo of Teegeeack

    I am going to answer this with a big cop out and the exact sort of generality which we have been asked to not use.

    Scientology will limp on and its demise will come not with a bang but a whimper, over the space of many years if not decades. We will not see Miscavige flee with the gold bullion to an unknown Southern destination. We will not see the Ideal Orgs sold off to pay for class action suites. We will not see even 10% of active cult members say, “Jeez… What happened there? How could I have been so foolish?” Tom Cruise will not call that press conference denouncing the cult and neither will Travolta. Kirstie won’t shut her damn mouth.

    I do predict that the current events that are making a mess of Scientology will get worse in some situations and better in others. I predict that butterfly effects which none of the critics are aware of will come to the forefront and become a major battle for the cult which they can prolong but only lose. (I know it sounds like I studied at the feet of Sylvia.)

    More media outlets will produce feature articles and cover stories. More long time, formerly respected Scientologists will come forth with ugly, ugly stories that will be broadcast in the main press.

    Fewer people will be sucked in. More people will leave. The money tap will decrease. Internecine battles will increase.

    Here’s one sure to be wrong. Mark, Mike, Tommy or maybe some other former exec will be backed with big money to story their own cult on the template of EST with no space opera, no big lies and no religion. It will be a self improvement cult designed to clear people of their bank accounts but be impervious to legal action.

    One critic will be sued out of his pants, even though his entire estate consists of scarcely more than that pair of pants.

    Reply
  19. Spackle Motion

    Excellent post, JP. I had to give this 24 hours to mull over before I thought of any evidence-based predictions. I’ll get to a deeper dive of your analysis in a few.

    Using known trajectory and patterns over the last five years, some general predictions are not difficult to develop which makes your list above unique because you used specifics. I may not be able to detail this as you did, but here’s my try. I’m using the theory that past behavior is a solid predictive indicator of future behavior.

    Knowns:

    1. The media mostly (side-eye to ABC) reacquired the taste for Scientology stories that mostly touch upon the cult’s ugly underbelly. We have yet to see a comprehensive analysis except in book form.

    2. Peaceful political turnover and attrition is the theoretical backbone of most “free” societies. Known Scientology political tools face upcoming re-election(s) and/or non-Scientology related political crisis. Association with Scientology is now a political liability and those that keep a blind eye to this association will see their assets greatly eroded by this liability.

    3. The cult is losing paying membership by leaps and bounds however the quiet exes (or those maintaining anonymity) are still under the cult’s fear-inducing thumb. According to the “Big List” of exes that speak out, 2013 had approximately 110 new names added.

    4. Books that are critical of Scientology have commercial value. Although there aren’t any reliable sources with the full sales numbers, using novelrank.com illustrates the commercial draw to this topic. Inside Scientology had a high rank of 95 (on Amazon) in 2012. Jenna Miscavige’s book had a high rank of 948 (on Amazon) in 2013. Lawrence Wright’s book had a high rank of 5 (on Amazon) also in 2013.

    5. The cult consistently delivers sudden (and often shocking) media-ready stories about celebrities and about high profile bitter defrocked apostates, which further garner public ridicule. 2012 and 2013 saw many of these bombshells. This will continue, and there are increasing instances of this information getting into the hands of someone with balls to dig further. The jump in new commenters at Tony’s blog during high volume media moments of OMG-WTF gain new Watching hobbyists.

    6. Scientology’s DNA creates footbullets. Adding up any of the elements below may result in a high probability of the cult losing one or more whale(s):

    a. Increasing financial pressure on whales to ‘donate’ instead of buying services
    b. The culture of encouraged abuse not only on staff and Sea Org but on Scientology’s public
    c. The cult employs unrepentant mistreatment of good standing adherents, which started with LRH and continues unabashedly and unchecked today
    d. Human beings typically have a breaking point when abused, and that breaking point may result in actions aimed at the abuser’s expense or may be at the victim’s expense.
    e. The catalyst for a victim’s breaking point is a variable. It may happen after a large crisis or after a series of small events.
    f. A result of any or all of A through E = loss of mid to large future financial revenue

    Of course, one could use any of the A through E points above as multipliers and have varying degrees of impact.

    Unknowns:

    1. The extent of abuse suffered as others left and spoke out. We know that the cult knee-jerk reacts with each escape story and attempts to tighten the reigns on those left behind. We have yet to really get a first hand accounting (from a credible source) of recent human rights abuses (recent = 2012+).

    2. Which high profile Scientologist and/or celebrity will speak out next. Public shaming may keep them quiet or we may see the Remini effect again.

    3. Although the lawsuits against the cult will continue, historically this method of delivering 10,000 paper cuts has not been effective. There is hope that one day, one suit will deliver such a destructive bee sting that the cult will asphyxiate but not likely. The law is painfully slow to catch up with criminal empires of this magnitude and has a permanency that takes decades to undo. It is unknown if any current or future legal actions will have an impact our outcome that we all desire.

    4. Shocking revelations have been a constant over the last 5 years, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what those revelations will be and what they will bring along with it.

    I’ll stay away from any financial discussions as you wonderfully outline it above. So with all of this said, here are my predictions:

    Predictions

    1. 2014 will see another prominent and/or celebrity defection although it may not be one that we encourage, like Remini. This person(s) may be shamed into ejection a la Slatkin style due to their own misdeeds creating a flap for the cult and may speak out in the media to save face. There aren’t many celebrities left in the cult that command wide media presence and Travolta may be the only one to garner public support. Rumors aside, it is not likely to be Travolta. I suspect that we will see someone on the level of Cardone and his sleazy wife go down for fraud then become vocal about how the cult made them do it.

    Scientology encourages and fosters fraud and crime. It is unlikely that we will see another defection with balls like Remini. I predict that the next high profile defection will not be the active choice of the defector. The breaking point of this person(s) victim(s) will result in this person unable to leave quietly and not face legal action.

    2. We will have at least another 100 exes begin to speak out and then added to the Big List. Most will be long time lurkers that now believe it is safe to speak out. There will most likely be 1-2 stories that are picked up by the media and explored in a biting manner.

    3. Mocking Scientology will become more prominent and higher profile in a new medium. It may be a play, movie, satire, etc, but making fun of Scientology pays and the media may provide plenty of free promotion. If it is a movie, the veil will be lifted and direct references to Scientology will be used.

    4. There will be 2-3 more books on the subject released. We do know that Ortega has one completed but considering the financial success of Wright and Reitman’s books we are likely to see at least one more high profile book on the topic.

    5. Scientology will see a great erosion of their political “FOS” (Friends of Scientology…it’s an inside joke aimed at Baca). The LA Times is doing a great job in ensuring that Baca is not re-elected in June, and there are two Clearwater city council spots up for grabs in 2014,

    Further, 2014 will be a monumental year for Republicans due to additional fallout against Obama, the DNC, and other Democrats that supported the ACA. I have first hand experience with the topic, and I believe things will get worse for Obama and the Democrats after January 1, 2014. This will create an overall atmosphere where many politicians are avoiding any negative associations at all costs (due to 2014 midterm elections). Any inroads made by Yingling’s crew in the past decades in DC are completely decimated in 2014.

    Finally, any small time cult political stooge (think Jeff Stone) left will continue to be publicly shamed by the critic community and not able to overcome their Google footprint. Even Rick Santorum had to answer to his own footprint in a public manner, opening the eyes of thousands to Dan Savage’s new definition of Santorum. These small time morons will most likely fail at any upcoming elections. Los Angeles and Clearwater will also have low level public servants held publicly accountable (in some fashion) in 2014.

    That’s it for me. My wish list is much different than this, but those items are not likely to come to fruition in the next 12 months. Overall, I predict that 2014 will continue down the yellow brick road in exposing the midget behind the curtain as 2012 and 2013 achieved in increasingly eye-popping fashion.

    Reply
  20. Midwest Mom

    1. Decaying Idle Morgue buildings will be saved from foreclosure and bank possession by last second financial rescue from Scientology whales. They will remain stagnant and empty.

    2. Sci celebrities and pseudo celebrities will be increasing their efforts of pimping for the cult with their recruitment efforts of younger and popular celebrities. They will continue to love bomb entertainment reporters and will open up to popular magazines about their “happy” lives and “how they found the strength to get through the rough times in their lives” thanks to you know what. An “under the radar” Sci celeb will be exposed for being a kool-aid drinker, despite denials from the celeb’s PR team.

    3. Will Smith will continue attempt to portray himself as a “student of world religions” and will try to choose projects which will give the appearance that he is a Christian, but it will be only for appearances since he will continue to follow Scientology and Hubbard’s woo. He wants desperately to regain the public’s affection and will lie about his faith “for the greater good”.

    4. More people will step out of anonymity to reveal themselves and their stories of disconnection, financial ruin, fair game, abuse, etc.perpetrated by the C o S and more press exposure will be focused on the cult and upon David Miscavige. This will result in more lawsuits and more attention to Scientology’s front groups, as well. as more attention worldwide to the forced enlistment of children in the Sea Org. .

    5. Tony Ortega’s book will be the talk of the news media and he will be featured as a guest on major television new programs around the world as well as magazines. He will go on a successful book signing tour and will be traveling for his busy and very popular speaking tour. There will be much interest in putting his experiences of writing about Scientology into a screenplay and eventually a movie. George Clooney and Russell Crowe will express interest in playing Mr.Ortega, however Ortega may lean toward Esai Morales or Michael Pena.

    6. David Miscavige will suffer a health scare, which will be kept from the flock. This will only increase his paranoia and distrust and he will be focused upon bringing down his enemies and plotting revenge to those who rate high on his SP list, He will continue to have his minions disparage, harass and follow Marty and Mosey as well as Mike Rinder and his family and Tony Ortega and he will increase Fair Gaming of critics, which will result in more of those critics to choose to speak out about it publicly and for the press to take notice. He will continue to use orangy spray tan and makeup and the meme “Orange is the new Miscavige” will infuriate him.

    Reply
  21. Ms. B. Haven

    I will throw my 2 cents in here, and maybe that is all my opinions are worth, but that’s all I’ve got so here goes…

    1. Collapsing Event Business
    I think that you are mostly right with this one. I don’t think that there will be a complete collapse, but more of a pull back and consolidation. These events appear to be over the top and very expensive to deliver. With shrinking attendance, it will be harder and harder to keep up the illusion of grandeur. One event per year will have to suffice in the future.

    2. Ideal Orgs
    I think the key here is the utter failure to get the Valley Ideal Org opened. This is truly pathetic, just as pathetic as their efforts to fundraise have been. Tony O. has covered this extensively and the tone of the begging almost makes one feel sorry for the poor bastards in charge of this debacle. Quinn Tauffer in particular just makes me feel sad. Well, at least until I read on about the other efforts being made in this arena. This failure to materialize can be witnessed by the largest concentration of scientologists on the planet. They have been pleading for years how all Orgs must be Ideal in order to deliver the GAT II materials. Well, there are 3 Ideal Orgs in So. Cal. and any boom has failed to materialize if those reporting on critic’s sites are to be believed. What this does is eliminates scientology’s ability to ‘divide and conquer’. It is easy for them to print up some bogus brochure and send it to some poor schmuck in the Midwest who then may think that there really is a boom occurring. However, if you live in So. Cal. it is obvious that your Org is not booming and it is easy enough to visit another Ideal Org to see how things are going there. Kool-aid drinkers would not do this. This is only for those folks who are starting to waiver a bit after having been regged within an inch of their lives. Once the reality is witnessed first hand, it’s hello internet and the next thing you know The Underground Bunker commenters are welcoming a newly departed lurker.

    3. Retreat
    What I think is missing here is the effect GAT II will have on FSMs (Field Staff Members) and FAs (Field Auditors). To the best of my knowledge, FAs can no longer audit because their certificates aren’t current. This is just the next step in the evolution of cannibalizing the ‘field’ or ‘pubic’. This has happened many times in the past going way back to the early Dianetic days when Hubbard’s organizations were falling apart and he was making a power grab. This time though, I think it will really do in the field. There has always been a distrust and simmering hatred of FAs by Missions, Orgs and especially the Sea Org. This is now coming to a head albeit in the background and under the radar. The reason I think this will be the final go-round is because the previous times this has happened, there was a much more terrorized and subdued “indie” or “freezone” movement. “Indies” move about freely these days and much more openly. All they need to do now is break their ties with the church and be welcomed with open arms into just about any “indie” group out there or just hang up their own shingle. That won’t cost them a dime.

    FSMs are a little different. I think that there are a few successful FSMs still around. They make some decent money, but I think that there is also that same simmering hatred towards FSMs as FAs experience only to a lesser degree because they are at least bringing money into the Org. There is this “you’re either with us or agin’ us” attitude towards those who are not on staff. This will only become more intense and it will manifest by FSMs being regged out of their commissions and things start to tighten up. Regs regging the regs. Karma.

    4. Under the Radar
    I think your analysis on this one is good. However, I always question the numbers of members. I haven’t got a clue as to what the real numbers are and I don’t think that anyone does. I certainly don’t believe that the church welcomed 4.4 million per years last year as they claim, but 11,000 in US seems low to me. Of course, what IS the definition of a scientologist anyway? The reason I question numbers is because I just got a brochure from the ol’ rust-bucket Freewinds where they were claiming 36 new OTVIII completions. (There was no time frame given) With that number of OTVIII completions it should be possible for someone good with numbers (most definitely not me) to work that backwards to a rough figure of membership. I know for a fact that only a small percentage of scientologists even make it to the lower OT levels let alone OTVIII which can take a significant amount of time and money.

    5. Disconnection
    I disagree with your analyses on this one John. Disconnection may indeed lose some of it’s effectiveness in limited cases, but the church will NEVER give an inch on this one. They can’t. “Ethics Tech” which includes the policy of disconnection is the ONLY thing that keeps these bastards around. If it weren’t for “Ethics Tech” scientology would have gone the way of any other faddish New Age group or movement. With any group there are always a few loyal devotees who feel that they have received some benefit no matter how badly they have been screwed over. So be it. We live in mostly free countries. With “Ethics Tech” in full bloom, there is disconnection, declarations, fair game, bogus lawsuits, harassment, OSA, libel, threats, shady PI tails, smear campaigns, Squirrel Busters, Operation (fill in the blank), RPF, silly conditions formulas, etc. etc. etc. Without these things, most folks would take a course or two, get a little auditing or whatever and as soon as they thought that they have had enough or didn’t get what they wanted, they would move on with their lives and that would be that. With “Ethics Tech” a person is kept around much longer and bilked out of much more than they would have been without those friendly visits with the Ethics Officer or MAA. To paraphrase Hubbard, “ethics only exists to get tech in (reg more money) and the SO is here to get “Ethics” in on this dirt clod of a planet.”

    6. Legal
    I think all existing lawsuits are going to be stretched out and delayed for as long as possible. This is their time honored tactic, hoping to wear out their opponents because they usually have such shaky legal ground to stand on.

    I agree that if the Garcia’s are able to prevail, there will be an avalanche of lawsuits coming down on the church big time. Their bogus arbitration mechanism has staved off many a suit in the past, but if that gets put to bed, the trickle from the hole in the dike will quickly turn into an unstoppable torrent.

    I don’t have much to say about Narconon, Russia or Staffing levels. To survive, Narconon is going to have to shed the name and join the ranks of other ABLE shadowy front groups. Being tied to scientology is most definitely a liability these days, Russia; I think the politics there will keep any western group at bay. This will be especially true for scientology since Hubbard was known to be so anti-commie (read anti-Russian). Of course, scientology may get some milage out of the Russians government with their mutual homophobia. As for Staff, it is going to be harder and harder to be on staff and put food on the table without government assistance (which most staff members get now). The SO will scoop some of these poor saps up with the promise of being well taken care of (outright lies). Being a staff member is looking more and more bleak, especially in these difficult times.

    My Modest Predictions for 2014.

    1. None of the major lawsuits moving thru the courts today will reach a conclusion in 2014. When Monique Rathbun’s suit does settle, she will have a dump truck full of Benjamin Franklins dropped off at her house. This will happen before DM is deposed. He will never be deposed. The strategy is delay, delay, delay, settle and gag. There will be the usual gag orders this time too, but it won’t matter because Marty isn’t bringing the suit, she is. Talk on, talk on…

    2. The release of OT IX & OT X will be announced. Why? With the slow moving failure of GAT II and Super Power, the whales will need to be fed, and the only thing left is more OT levels. It’s all that they have besides some lame-assed Status level that doesn’t mean shit. The OT levels don’t mean shit either, but at least for now they think they do.

    My Fantasy Prediction for 2014.

    It will be revealed that Shelly Miscavaige has been busy all of these years living in an undisclosed location overseeing the upbringing of a VERY precocious redheaded youngster who has a penchant for rodeo, writing, and rolling his own fags. When presented to the public, Lil’ Ron (dressed on one of those Cracker Jack sailor suits) will announce he is taking over and releasing the results of his ‘missing years’ research. DM will be showered with honors for being such an outstanding SO member, promoted to Loyal Officer (finally) and disappear forever from public view. Lil’ Ron (with Shelly at his side) will be left to his own devices to carry on the world’s greatest con and try to replenish the now empty accounts that DM has ‘retired’ with. There will be a record 2 hour standing ovation with many a hip-hip-horray. Kool-aid and cookies will be served to all those hanging around for their next “reg cycle”. Bunkerettes and Bunkeroos, will dine on the finest ceak while celebrating the end of the biggest scam in the history of the world.

    PS
    I really like this blog you set up John. Keep up the outstanding work, it is MUCH appreciated. Happy New Year to everyone, SPs, critics, commenters, lurkers, fence sitters, indies, freezoners, exes, scientologists, staff, SO, OSA, RPFers, RPF’s RPFers, poor buggers in the Hole, and DM hisself. Enjoy at least one day of happiness and then we’ll get back at it. Let the truth prevail.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9D6TkKZW7Q

    Reply
    1. Missionary Kid

      Thanks Ms. Behavin. You’ve added a lot of insight. I think that your analysis of the legal battles and your other points are pretty much right on.

      I do disagree on your second point about the release of OT IX AND X. My reasoning is that DM has never been good at any fallback positions. That move is a fallback position, and there are too many high ranking $cientologists who would know he faked them and would not go along with it, or who would passive-aggressively leak the fakery.

      Exception: If Shelly was revealed to be the person who was working on these levels, and that she had been sequestered and quarantined because of the physical danger she was in because she was handling those materials that are so powerful they might infect anyone not ready for them a virus like Ebola.

      Reply
      1. Ms. B. Haven

        You have a very interesting point regarding a fallback position MK. I agree that from what I have observed, DM has never been very good at any fallback position. I will explain where I am coming from further as your point has ‘activated the little gray cells’ a bit and has inspired me to look deeper. Regarding the release of OT IX & X, that prediction is going out on a limb for sure, but I’m sticking with it.

        I don’t think that a fallback position is relevant here. My perception from the 2nd hand info I get is that Super Power and GAT II are turning out to be anti-climatic flops. In a way, both of these were fallback positions to begin with. Think about it. How long has Super Power been in the works? GAT II has been in the pipeline for a while too, but it was not as prominent because there were no endless fundraising activities associated with it like SP had. In many ways both SP and GAT II were ‘forced hands’. Forced in my opinion because of pressure created on the fringes of the internet and as a way to deflect from the legal nightmare descending on COS, RTC and DM. The Garcia suit in particular I believe forced SP to be released when they could have gotten a lot more mileage ($$$) out of it. Much more milage.

        If the reports coming in are to be believed and SP and GAT II are the dismal failures they appear to be after such a long build-up, the whales and minions are going to HAVE to be fed something, if for no other reason than to divert their attention to something positive. The ONLY thing they have left, their only carrot is OT IX & X. If I remember rightly, these have been promised in the past if certain requirements were met. COS has made similar promises in the past such as an Org getting the Universe Corp if they went St. Hill size. The Universe Corp was a Sea Org unit that would deliver the OT levels to Org staff as part of the regular auditing and training they are promised as part of the perks for being on staff. In reality any perks are pretty much nonexistent. I am aware of at least one Universe Corp delivering some auditing, but it was short term and the whole ‘grow your Org to St. Hill size’ game has gone the way of so many other broken promises. After it failed, from what I can tell, it was replaced, after a while, with the Ideal Org program. By all accounts that is continuing to go no where fast. That pretty much leaves only OT IX & X as fodder for the fools. I’m not saying that these levels will actually be released in 2014. but they announcement of their pending release will take place. It will be the next big thing they hype. This can be worked for years to milk more money from the marks. Remember, in scientology you don’t really have to deliver on any promise. In fact they never do. What counts is how much money you can make promising things that can never be delivered.

        Your speculation about Shelly being the ‘guardian’ of these super secret materials causes even more little gray cells to twitch in me brain. To make another prediction, I think this is the year that COS is going to have to do something to put the whole “Where’s Shelly?” thing to rest. Your guess is a good one. There are so many ways that the bastards could work this to their advantage. The “Where’s Shelly?” thing was going hot and heavy all summer, especially with Leah Remini bailing out so publicly, but it seemed to die down considerably with SP & GAT II on the horizon. Now it will be time to rev that one up again and Tony O. has hinted about a major magazine article coming out in the near future that will cover the Shelly thing. COS is going to have to cover their asses some how and your guess about the OT IX & X materials is just as valid as any. If it pans out, It will have both positive and negative effects for COS. On the positive side, the true believers, the Kool-aid drinkers will breath a sigh of relief, “our Shelly is back after working so hard and selflessly to preserve LRH’s brilliant work”. On the negative side of the equation, the lurkers, fence sitters, those under the radar, those who dare to read stuff on the internet will be leaving in droves. The bullshit will be all too obvious, especially to those high ranking execs who know what is going on and have suffered from the iron fist of DM. It won’t be a huge upper tier defection, but it will be a significant one. Get ready for some great breaking news at the Underground Bunker. I didn’t think 2011 could be topped, but 2012 kicked its ass. I didn’t think 2012 could be topped, but 2013 kicked its ass. 2014 is going to have to work hard, but I have high hopes of a tsunami of entheta sweeping away the darkness and blight of the biggest con ever foisted on humanity.

        Reply
        1. Missionary Kid

          Thanks, that’s a well thought out reply. What its going to do is force me to make my prediction for 2014. I’m trying to untangle my syntax and make it short and sweet. Edit: this is not my prediction, but a reply.

          I maintain that with the massive fails of both the reveal of Gat II and the “Flag” building reveals that the spell has been broken of claims of anything being straight up and vertical, or even upwards for Co$. The faithful have been mesmerized with promises all of their time in $cientology that things would get better. What they were promised was not what was delivered. They were promised a Corvette, and delivered the cheapest Kia.

          The constant regging over the years has had to have had a cumulative negative effect on anyone who was told to appear. They would know that it would be another opportunity for more of the distasteful practice to be worked on them. The goal of opening the building had been achieved, but again, they were asked to pay even more to use it.

          The interruption of the speech by obvious entheta would again jar the faithful. Where’s the anti-helicopter tech, with all those OTVII & OTVIII are present?

          If everything has to be redone for Gat II, as well as (if true) the failure of a number of the new digital super-bake oven E-meters, apparently due to corrosion caused by improper storage, that has to again shatter the faith of, or at least anger the whales and others who had the financial means to buy them. Financially, they are the important people.

          There is one other factor in play: the scions who were held over at Flag for the events will now be returning to orgs and missions with fewer people in attendance. People who have been there for the last several months have probably made the mental accommodations that have rationalized the lack of attendance. For the returnees, it will jar them, speeding up their defection.

          My opinion is that even if OT eleventy (I like that word) is revealed and opened up, for classes, it’s too little and too late. The spell has been broken. The “cognition” of the 7s and 8s will be that they’ve been waiting too long for nothing, IMO.

          Reply
    2. Ms. B. Haven

      I would like to supplement my comments on point 3 above with the following that I saw posted on February 24th.
      http://possiblyhelpfuladvice.com/?p=16520

      I believe that this move will really bolster the indie/freezone field. And, that’s just fine with me. Sometimes baby steps are called for when extracting one’s self from the muck and mire of a long con.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncFCdCjBqcE

      It’s still early in 2014 and things are moving along nicely in the prediction department.

      Reply
  22. scamofscientology

    My main prediction is that we will a see a shift away from the Ideal Org strategy in 2014, but I don’t think it will come to the grinding halt in John’s second prediction.

    I think the purchase of the last building in Amsterdam is very telling. It was partly paid with money from Int (perhaps 10-20% of the purchase sum) and, remarkably, the building hasn’t been transferred to an entity which is controlled by Miscavige.

    I think 2014 and 2015 will see a series of central payouts (perhaps totalling $40 milion) to finish about 20 Ideal Orgs which are struggling to finish their donation drive. They will lead to a flurry of openings in 2015 and 2016 after which Miscaviage will allow the remaining donation drives to flaunder. The payouts from Int to these orgs will be masked as loans, of course, but I doubt much will ever be repayed.

    I also don’t quite agree with John’s first prediction. I do agree that the event business is in serious trouble, but I don’t think that this correlates with a sudden decline in income. About 90% of Ideal Org and IAS donations comes from just 15% of Scientologists. These are people who are very deeply brainwashed and I don’t think the event business is very important for this group; I believe that the cult will find ways to wring every single penny and more from these poor deluded people with or without the events.

    A collapse of the event business will be desastrous in the long run however. as I believe that most Scientologists in this group made the mental transition to hard core believer in the hype surrounding these events. This means it will become much more difficult to make new hard core believers going forward.

    I do think we will see a sudden collapse in income however, but I think it will be from financial exhaustion. I think that every hard core donor will reach the absolute end of what they can give at roughly the same moment, ie. within the time span of a year. As a result, the income stream will take a nosedive. However, like a bridge that collapses under its strain, this will occur at a seemingly random moment which is difficult to predict. Perhaps it already happened, but it could also be a few more years into the future.
    And as a last prediction, I think 2014 will see a serious investigation into human rights abuses in at least one country.

    Reply
    1. John P.

      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate the perspective on the Ideal Org campaign. So it sounds like there may be some benefit in loaning money to the orgs to get them done — if he gets all the Ideal Orgs “done” he can move on to some other sort of scam, perhaps a big ad campaign to get people in the door as “Anonymous” suggests elsewhere in the comments to this post.

      I am still trying to get my head around the Event business. I agree that most of the money comes from a small percentage of their customer base. While some of these are die-hard members, others are donating just to protect themselves, but aren’t paying out a significant portion of their incomes. So it’s not 100% of the whales that are Kool-Aid drinkers.

      I believe that the major events are important because they are a lot more fun to go to than the smaller local events. That’s because, while there is definitely regging at the big events, the tone is a lot less nasty than at the local events where the hand held out is insistent and ruthless. From Scientology’s viewpoint, if you hold one gala blowout a year where people will give $50,000 that’s a way better deal than holding two local blowouts per months where the average donation from a whale is $5,000 but people find it easy to say no because they can always invent something else on their schedules. In other words, moving to local events only results in a smaller total take because it’s easier to decline a bunch of annoying local events than it is to decline one fun event once a year.

      Reply
      1. scamofscientology

        My impression is that whales are (mostly) fleeced in a much more structured way. In this French documentary about Alain Stoffen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovfqYgfxcMo) they show pages from his PC (?) files that show how they carefully planned their extortion scheme against him. You’ll see similar docs in the Money Machine series of the Tamba Bay Times and the Belgian proscecution is using similar documents as well to prove extortion. I am sure the events play some role in these extensive plans, but they are by their nature too chaotic to realibly execute pre-planned moves against a large number of targets.

        So although I’m sure that loosing the event business will make a dent, I’d wager they’ll recoup 50-80% of that turnover by putting more effort in these personalized and carefully targeted extortion schemes.

        And I think that with more people being desillusioned, the importance of these schemes is only going to increase in comparisson to the relatively straightfoward ‘feel good’ donations of the events. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if in the past few years, the turnover from the event business already took a nosedive. IMO, that would also explain why Miscavige is letting go of them relatively easily.

        Reply
  23. Once_Born

    My prediction: in 2014 it becomes obvious (and is strenuously denied) that Miscavige is seriously ill.

    Scientology has no constitutional procedure to peacefully transfer power. The power struggles that will ensue when the throne is up for grabs will be disastrous for the organisation.

    Some of the strangest and most secretive manoeuvring in political history will take place (and maybe already is). The coup d’etat, when it takes place, will be completely unexpected.

    Who will rule the new regime be like? Two possibilities:

    1) Another ‘absolute monarch’ ascends to the throne. Scientology membership is significantly reduced by the purges that will accompany this person’s consolidation of power, and the reserves are seriously depleted.
    2) Rule by committee. The results for Scientology will be worse than option (1) because there will likely be more infighting and disorganisation.

    Neither possibility will be good for Scientology. If Miscavige style oppressive rule is re-established, it will take years to recover from the transition. If the new ruler(s) attempt to create a more liberal ‘reformed’ Scientology, the organisation will fragment into many sects who will consume their remaining energy fighting each other (as Mikhail Gorbachev learned to his cost, you can’t give people a little freedom – not if you want to remain in power).

    I don’t think this is too much of a stretch, assuming that the initial assumption Miscavige is seriously ill) is correct.

    Reply
    1. OrangySky

      If Miscavige is seriously ill, do you think for a minute he’ll be giving up his “ATM passwords”, so to speak, to the church money that he’s no doubt hidden for himself?
      Whoever wins the power struggle will have a hell of a time getting at all that money. That alone – the depletion of the bottomless coffers for lawsuits and harassment etc – could cause some serious damage. If they can’t pay lawyers unlimited amounts of money, where would they be? If they have to stop bribing and “safe pointing” local and national law enforcement and government, do you think for a minute those organizations are going to go out of their way to protect them from their crimes anymore?

      A bottomless war chest has been – since the days of LRH – a crucial element of the cult’s survival. If COB doesn’t give up his “passwords” before he drops the body, this could be a serious, serious problem from which they may never recover.

      Reply
      1. Once_Born

        Without doubt, the only thing that is sustaining the CofS is its huge reserves of cash money. If this were to be lost, or put out of reach for a significant period it would probably kill the CofS as we know it.

        If a very clever man like Steve Jobs can deny a life-threatening illness until it is too late for treatment, the likes of Miscavige can certainly deny his mortality until his last breath.

        Money hidden by Miscavige will certainly be difficult to recover. What’s more, there are likely to be several competing factions staking a claim to it.

        Even the money that is know about may be fought over by multiple factions (and opportunistic thieves) who will transfer money between the various (already confusing) legal entities until nobody even knows where it is.

        Finally, if Miscavige’s apparent physical decline continues, the vultures will have plenty of time to and organise. If there are multiple factions, the longer they have to organise, the more chaos the battle for power will create.

        If will be veryinteresting to see whether Miscavige’s apparent withdrawal from public life continues.

        Reply
    2. Drat

      Were DM to pass away, which is only probable if he has cancer, his wife would inherit. I don’t know US law that well, but assume his books would need to be opened latest then. However, that is speculating on force majeure.

      Reply
      1. Once_Born

        I doubt that the CofS would be considered to be community property, in any jurisdiction. COB is (officially, at least) Chairman of the Board that runs Scientology, not the sole owner of the organisation.

        Only Miscavige’s personal property would pass to his wife. There will be problems:

        >Distinguishing his personal property from that of the CofS (he certainly does not seem to be able to do this)
        > Ensuring his wife is not manipulated into giving it all away (assuming that the courts can even findher)

        But that’s another matter.

        The struggle for power would take place within the organisation.

        Reply
        1. Drat

          I’m sorry, I didn’t mean inherit the organisation, just any property held in his name (which may or may not exist). As I said, I’m not familiar with US estate law, so do not know to what degree this would require her presence, signature, statements etc.

          Of course there would be a struggle, but I would be surprised if Linda Hamel didn’t make a bid. With OSA in her hand, she has enough blackmail and clout to black PR anybody else.

          Edit: I do think it is DM and loyalty to LRH holding this ship together. Without DM it would fall apart very quickly.

          Reply
          1. Once_Born

            If the CofS went to court to decide what was (and was not) Miscavige joint property, arguments would probably go on for ever.

            Even they probably don’t know, because Miscavige seems to habitually treat all ‘church’ property as if it belongs to him.

            It would be better for the CofS to make informal arrangements with Shelly – something along the lines of, “You can live in this mansion and receive a generous income for the rest of your life, if you just sign here… and here… Thank you.”

            Even then, there is a lot that could go wrong. This is why it is so vital for organisations (and governments, for that matter) to have an effective procedure built into their culture and constitution that will insure an orderly transfer of power.

            Safe prediction. When it happens, succession will be a terrible mess

          2. Drat

            Of course it would be better if they swept it under the rug :) But that would take someone with an ounce of sense left.

            Here’s to an opening of the books in 2014, and to David Miscavige’s good health.

          3. Once_Born

            “Here’s to an opening of the books in 2014, and to David Miscavige’s good health”.

            Agreed – after all, hardly anybody is working more effectively to bring Scientology down. Cheers!

        2. John P.

          Since the COS and related entities are non-profits, there are no shares to own as part of an estate. He thus couldn’t pass an interest in the profit stream of Scientology to Shelly. That is notwithstanding all the stuff about inurement.

          I similarly suspect that Miscavige doesn’t own any property in his name, at least not officially. He lives in apartments in cult-owned apartment complexes rather than having houses of his own. They apparently charter jets rather than owning one. So he only “owns” incidentals like clothes, etc.

          My suspicion is that DM’s estate when he dies will be quite small, since any money he may have stolen and kept in offshore accounts will disappear when he dies, since nobody else has access.

          Reply
          1. Once_Born

            That make sense – financially, his death would make him an ‘instant Ozymandias’.

            His only legacy would be his management of the ‘church’. Almost makes you pity him. Almost.

          2. Robert Eckert

            What happens to offshore accounts that sit for decades because the owner died and none of the heirs knew about them?

          3. John P.

            Most likely, the bankers keep charging account maintenance fees for centuries until the balance is all gone. There is undoubtedly a lot of Nazi loot in various financial havens that, 70 years after the war ended, is slowly doing exactly that.

          4. Robert Eckert

            Ah, I was assuming that accounts (if sufficiently large) actually accrued a modest interest rather than losing their balances.

          5. John P.

            Offshore investors prize liquidity and secrecy, more than they prize returns. The one-year T-Bill is currently yielding 0.13%, banks would discount back from there in the interest they’d pay for highly liquid deposits because if you put $1 billion in the bank today, you could just take it and move it somewhere else tomorrow; the offshore bank you chose couldn’t loan against that predictably. If you give up liquidity, you get higher interest: instead of a 1-year T-Bill at 0.13%, you can put $250k into Chase and buy a 5-year CD yielding 0.60%, which is about 5x the rate of the T-bill.

            And the privacy is worth something as well; the bank needs to be compensated for the risk that they’ll have to litigate to keep your identity protected.

            I don’t know what account fees for offshore accounts are but I would bet it’s currently 2% of deposits (half for the liquidity and half for privacy and other services), which will basically eat up all the money in about 35 years if it’s not touched.

          6. Anonymous

            Marty posted awhile back that Miscavige used to brag that “he did not need to own anything to control its use” which of course amounted to the same thing. I don’t have the energy to dig up the link, but I do remember it with some clarity.

            Anyone who has worked at a senior enough level in any organization (like those of you at Global Capitalism) know that this is a truism. So wee Davey gets one mark in the credit column for this understanding.

            It does make handling of succession a bit of a bother, but Hubbard didn’t seem to mind and I doubt wee Davey will either.

            There will not be a transfer of wealth upon wee Davey’s departure, regardless of circumstances. The money he needs post Scientology (assuming Davey has a post-Scientology existence) was stashed long ago.

    3. Ms. B. Haven

      I haven’t seen or heard any reliable evidence that DM is seriously ill or even ill. That said, there will come a time when he is gone. Even the Great Thetan, Hubbard, could only hang on to the meat stick body for so long. I don’t think DM is going anywhere in 2014, but IF he did I don’t think that there is a possibility of ‘rule by committee’. I think there would have to be some semblance of the scientology ‘admin tech’ org board in place. Despite their thoroughly obfuscated corporate structure, there is only room for one at the top.
      Who would that be? It would have to be someone that presented a ‘kinder gentler’ image. Shelly? No. My guess would be Diana Hubbard-(whatever her last name is now). This would present an opportunity for the cult to ‘get back to its roots’ so to speak. No one out there has more name recognition or lengthy association with the cult. She could also be seen as something of a martyr and generate a great deal of sympathy (even though this is very down tone in scientology). This could be played many way to great benefit. It wouldn’t take away from the fact the scientology is a complete sham and Hubbard was the greatest con man in history, but imagine how well this would go over from a PR point of view. The fact is, the critic community NEEDS a real asshole like DM to push against to have their voices heard. Things would get a lot quieter if there were a ‘nice’ person in charge. This would never happen, scientology just doesn’t work that way.

      Accompanying all of this would be a general amnesty. Amnesties used to happen every so often in the past, they are way over due for one. They would have some temporary benefit from this scenario, but ultimately they would dissolve into many ineffective splinter groups and eventually just fade away. This happens every time a ‘strong man’ is ousted and there is a power vacuum. This would be a long and slow process, but that’s better than what is going on right now.

      Reply
      1. Once_Born

        As you say, Miscavige is not immortal, and there is no evidence of his preparing a proper procedure for the transfer of power, so the problem of orderly succession is going to arise sooner or later.

        I predicted Miscavige developing a serious illness not because I think it is a good bet, but because (if it proved to be true) it would change everything.

        Your ‘Diana Hubbard takes over’ proposal is an interesting scenario. Such a person could function as a figurehead leader, keeping the rank and file happy, while the real power is situated elsewhere.

        I suppose I like the idea of an unexpected succession battle because it shakes everything up.

        The problem with predicting the behaviour of an organisation like the CofS is that, due to its secretive nature and non-rational thinking, predictions tend to be based on ‘if this goes on’ arguments, and sometimes too conservative

        For example, for many years science fiction writers produced stories about far futures where the world was still divided into to recognisable Western and Soviet blocs. They worked these futures out in great detail – but it never occured, even to very imaginative people, that the Soviet Union might, one day, just collapse overnight.

        Reply
      2. John P.

        The idea of a Diana Hubbard figurehead is a very interesting one. However, I think the organization is set up in a very Machiavellian way. Weekly stats that are supposed to go up every week (plus other craziness in the organization) creates tension and opportunities for only the most ruthless and power-hungry to survive.

        While I know little of what Diana Hubbard is doing at Int Base, I am sure it’s pretty menial — Miscavige certainly wouldn’t want the founder’s daughter to be in a position to tell him when he contravene’s Hubbard’s infallible wishes. I suspect her job is pretty trivial.

        The management “bench” is incredibly weak. Those in the Hole would not be able to rise up and take power even if they escaped because those not in the Hole have been brainwashed into believing that the Hole inmates are the source of all the problems in the cult. And those not in the Hole are the most dedicated Kool-Aid drinkers in the game. They’re never going to mount a challenge to Miscavige while he’s still on the throne. They may try if Miscavige dies in office or is arrested, which ought to be pretty fun to watch. Kind of like the succession procedure in a “secret club” with a bunch of eight year olds in a treehouse.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          Diana was neutered years ago. She is a virtual non-entity in the current church. The Hubbard family name holds no resonance inside Scientology any longer. A significant number of folks in the Sea Org were not even born when Diana last mattered.

          Reply
          1. Once_Born

            It doesn’t have to be Diana – it can be any person who would function as a reasonably charismatic figurehead (and potential scapegoat) while the real power is hidden behind the throne.

            An unemployed actor would do just as well, for the purpose.

  24. koki

    I forgot to add that …
    2 actors are out…they just do not want trouble.
    me loves Documentary’s…
    Earls are in it,and it is not about Scio.

    Reply
          1. koki

            Espi, that type of writing attitude use on someone who is new and dont know what to do….
            like I said – there it is…
            if you ask politely ,maybe I will give you a link… maybe.
            (and now go smoke your cig on balcony…)
            edt : me loves Documentary’s…
            Earls are in it,and it is not about Scio.

          2. Espiando

            You do realize that a documentary with earls in it, not about Scientology, might not have been broadcast everywhere in the world, especially in the US, and therefore we don’t have the context to figure out your cryptic clues. There are also those of us who know and care little about the celebutards that inhabit Scientology.

            The only thing I can figure out is that you’re making a semi-veiled reference to Jason Segel, but beyond that, no clue.

          1. koki

            should be – if/when it happens, now getting trolled ….
            by who ?
            do you have dox ?
            first – you guess,
            second – you give statement as in verb,like you are doxing that particular happening…. or you just trying to be young again with that Internet lingo ?

  25. Couch_Incident

    On the LEGAL side, look for directors and officers of SCN entities to be added as individual defendants in lawsuits. They are a logical second tier target to either show that they breached their fiduciary duties or that they really didn’t have any of their nominal powers.

    Reply
  26. Graham

    For 2014 I’ll be interested to see how the relationship develops between Co$ and the City of Clearwater, given that Co$ seems to be retreating to Fortress Clearwater. There’s been speculation that Slappy’s looking to buy property there to create a home for himself in addition to all the other facilities already owned or planned.

    IIRC the mayor seems to have some fantasy that there could be similarities between Co$ in Clearwater and LDS in Salt Lake city. A naive analogy, but it seems to be leading him towards accommodating the “Cherch” and woefully underestimating its corrosive nastiness. Past lessons don’t seem to have been learned.

    It should be interesting to observe how that relationship develops, though to judge from how the city is handling the “tent condom” violations all they are doing currently is rolling over and letting Co$ walk all over them. Is it likely that the city fathers won’t see the light until it’s too late and the city’s owned by the “Cherch”?

    Reply
    1. Drat

      Politicians are like flags in the wind. Should the court cases blow up in national and international media, and the Lisa McPherson case in particular bring Clearwater back into their sites, I think the mayor and city council will drop the church like a hot potatoe and act “betrayed”. Only if it looks like the church won’t survive the hurricane, though.

      Reply
  27. OrangySky

    John P, Happy New Year! I was curious if you’d seen this post on Mike Rinder’s blog, where he does some number crunching about Scientology’s “expansion.” http://www.mikerindersblog.org/the-big-scientology-lie/
    He challenges any daring journalist to look into the real story. These numbers might help you or other number-crunching types out there, to answer some of your questions, above.

    The big wild card for me, in Scientology 2014, is David Miscavige. Someone posted on the Bunker that they weren’t even certain COB had ever returned from Taiwan. Given that he’s been compelled (so far) to give a deposition in the Mosey case, could he be on the run? No intel as yet from New Year’s Eve in Clearwater but I’m betting the farm that he didn’t show. If I’m right, then won’t that be a first time, EVER? If COB didn’t even show to his own New Year’s Eve shindig, then I’ll wager your “Collapse of the Events Business” is dead on. Because there really only IS COB now as the face of Scientology – and if whales don’t feel they can have an audience with The Man Himself (and his celebrity pals) at least a couple times a year, their egos will chafe. They’re not going to pay big bucks for travel, lodging – not to mention, the MEGA bucks they’ll have to pony up for regging – if they’re getting some second tier OTVIII to speak to them about straight up and vertical.

    If The Man stops showing up, the events business is toast. Buh-bye.

    Reply
    1. Galactic Patrol

      I’m not challenging your premise that if Miscavige stops showing up for events, the game is up. But, the New Years Event in years’ past has had a tendency to have other people speaking at it, usually the guys running WISE, ABLE and those public front group sectors. If MIscavige is “otherwise occupied” and is not at the New Year’s Event, it is NOT an indication that he is on the run or hiding out. If he no shows to the March 13th event, or if there is no March 13th event (which is LRH’s Birthday) then you know things are in really big trouble.

      Reply
      1. Espiando

        A lack of March 13th event may be the sign of one other thing. Ever since the build-up to GAT II, all of the LRH quotes that have been used in flyers and such (at least the ones we’ve seen) have been rather perfunctory and occasionally so out-of-context we had to wonder if they’d even bothered trying to look for something appropriate. Now we’ve got the big ol’ Shermanspeak quote from the flyer that Tony posted yesterday, holding the pride of place where some LRH quote would have been.

        This has jacked up speculation as to DM finally positioning himself as Source. With the cupboard officially bare of LRH “lost tech” after Super Power, this might be seen as an inevitable development. In fact, it’s long overdue. Believe it or not, this won’t cause alienation with the still-ins. If they swallowed GAT II, they’ll swallow DM As Source; there might be some complaints if LRH’s birthday was reduced to a mention in local newsletters and the Birthday Game cancelled in favor of different games that are more lucrative for IAS, but those complaints will be few and weak. We’re not going to see a Debbie Cook e-mail regarding this.

        (In fact, you could see the partial movement away from LRH as a positive development for the cult. If they just came out and said, “Standard Tech is what we say it is, and if you don’t like it, tough,” it might minimize the pain of a paradigm shift. They could be like Apple during the switch to OSX and Intel Inside rather than Microsoft during the Windows 8 rollout. The Indies will, of course, have more ammo regarding “off-Source”, but the still-ins won’t care, because the definition of “Source” will be changed.)

        If moving LRH off his pedestal as Source leaves a bad taste, DM has the easy option of introducing OTIX and OTX. If he needs more of a carrot, he always has the option of saying that he will honor the pre-payments that were made on this when OTVIII was introduced and the 8-9-10 package was available.

        I wish that Karen could have put out the full list of the people at AOLA who were declared earlier this month. We know that the majority of the South Africa 18 were very heavy KSW types and Ron True Believers. I’d like to see if that pattern was continued at AOLA. It would provide more evidence to the assertion that LRH is being usurped as Source.

        Reply
        1. Galactic Patrol

          Well, Espianado, believe it or not this use of Miscavige’s quotes over LRH’s has been a gradual evolution over years. I first noted it after the Wake-Up Call issue of 9/11, when Miscavige’s urgent plea to all Scientologists to “get busy” was being quoted for the first time on promo pieces and flyers for recruitment. Perhaps this was being done before that time, but I don’t recall any.

          Some of these quotes were attributed to him and some were just left blank. Then they started using selected lines he had said at his “end of event speeches,” mainly for either IAS promo or recruitment pieces. Again, I noted it at the time as unusual. Now it appears to be so commonplace that they are using his quotes almost as much as LRH’s.

          However, I don’t think 2014 is going to be the year that Miscavige flips over in Scientology’s eyes as “Source”. He is doing a very successful coup as LRH’s Most Trusted KSW Deputy and I don’t think he will change this positioning. Because don’t forget, LRH’s name is on all the books and is the signatory on all the issues.

          The fact is, Miscavige doesn’t have to re-position himself as Source. He IS Source right now behind the scenes and has acquired the power to re-write anything LRH ever said (or even edit Hubbard’s lectures) and claim that the changes were “what LRH intended” and they all buy it. This is the thing about Scientologists that truly boggles me. They literally are spitting on LRH’s KSW #1 issue while shouting from the rooftops that things have never been more “on-Source”. I really have no words to describe how stupifyingly stunning that is to me.

          By the way, something that most people probably don’t know is that Miscavige has a pin and card that are a special award within the SO that literally says that when he is speaking, it is the same as if LRH is speaking. If you ever see COB in his SO dress uniform, there is only one red campaign ribbon he wears with this uniform and it is that special pin. This award is only spoken of in revered awe, but it is the final “authority” for him if anyone questions what he is doing or saying (not that anyone does).

          According to the issue that describes this award, LRH personally had to award it, but I don’t know if Miscavige actually was given this thing or just made it up after the Broeker take-over or what. I was told that the only other person who has this award is Norman Starkey, but it’s not doing him much good since he’s languishing in The Hole right now.

          Reply
  28. Snippy_X

    I doubt Miscavige has some life threatening illness people are talking about. The photos of him have been heavily shooped to make him look 25. He is in his 50’s, he smokes, drinks and gets too much sun. Add some stress to that mix. Anyone in their 40’s or 50’s who’s had a bout with the flu knows it will make you look like death warmed over for a few weeks afterwards and you can drop 10 pounds easily. My guess is he didn’t get his flu shot this year and had to cancel a few events because of it. As a general rule, the mean ones live the longest.

    Reply
  29. John P.

    Just took a quick top-to-bottom look at the comments you’ve posted so far. I’m really thankful for all the thought and for the detailed analysis that everyone has posted.

    It appears the biggest omission on my list is the impact of the GAT2 launch. I wrestled with this a bit and was unable to figure out anything really useful to say about it. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that this is a disaster. But just stating the obvious isn’t much of a useful prediction. I would love to get some thoughts about what might happen as an unanticipated side effect of the GAT2 meltdown that I just can’t seem to see right now.

    Analytically, I would liken the sort of prediction we need to make about GAT2 to the sort of prediction one can make about whether the Cubs will win the World Series. Given the 105 year drought, it’s pretty pointless to predict another year of misery. The useful analytical insight might have something to do with just how many games this season it will be before even the most die-hard fans throw in the towel.

    Similarly, with GAT2, what non-obvious marker might emerge in 2014 that will show us just how bad things are going? I don’t have a clear idea here, so I’m throwing this question open for your help.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Dana Knight

      John, the best way to describe the extremely toxic effect of GAT2, is to illustrate it, by using an analogy.

      In the 1990’s I was working for a company that liked to “downsize”. That meant that every employee had to “re-interview” for his job – and only those that got “job offers” retained their positions. The rest got a pathetic severance package.

      After the second downsizing, the employees that managed to survive NEVER FORGOT. With many of them (especially the best employees) openly saying that if there was ever another downsizing, they wouldn’t bother to reapply.

      Lesson: there is only so much indignation that you can put people through.

      The GAT2 rollout has resulted in a similar level of indignation for members. It has invalidated everyone on either side of the bridge, training or auditing. The last 20 years of their life, is down the toilet. And to make it worse, they have to start over at square one. That will be very time consuming and expensive. The majority of their members are Baby Boomers, who are starting to look at their retirement funds and realizing that their ” best money earning years” are well behind them.

      I see a majority of their members as slowly starting to wake up. They’ll realize that COS has become a little too rich for their blood.

      Watch their members start to relocate to other locations away from Los Angeles and Clearwater.

      Their OT committees will start to atrophy. They will justify this as “let the other 8 million members carry the torch now, I’ve done my part!”.

      Reply
    2. Galactic Patrol

      It’s too early to tell based on the limited data points we have to operate with. We need to know what kind of response there has been from actual cult members to the GAT II release more than what people like us (never ins and ex’s) think about it. We can tell it’s a bunch of crap. But what are those inside actually seeing and doing with their money and time? How many people are going on courses compared to how many were there six months ago? A year ago? Is anyone buying the new meters? Is anyone making any noise or grumbling about GAT II? What about the staff?

      If anyone has any actual observational or first-hand data on this, or can get it, that is what is really needed to answer this question about the long-term effects of GAT II. If you have this, please share.

      Reply
    3. Anonymous

      GAT II is a flop. There is no rush of people going to the Orgs to sign-up for the “new” training nor are public descending on FLAG to do Super Power. FLAG and the outer Orgs are as dead now as they were before the event releases of November / December 2013. If there was a surge in demand, we’d have already heard about it and seen outrageous exaggerations in the promo. What has been sent in promo so far is embarrassing, to say the least. It’s the same old tired folks getting back up on the hamster wheel yet again. Even the limited hyperbole to-date sounds tired and unreal.

      It has been my view for some time that David Miscavige is extraordinarily unaware of the longer term ramifications of his abusive behavior. Like any bully temporarily empowered by an asymmetrical advantage in size, weaponry, friends in the right places or hierarchical authority, he forgets that his advantage only exists within a certain sphere of influence. Outside that sphere the asymmetrical advantage does not exist, but people who were formerly abused by it DO exist in abundance and they have long memories.

      Miscavige probably now has more ex-Scientologists rooting for his downfall that he has remaining sycophants propping him up. To your earlier point, it is a safe guess that half or more of folks who currently think of themselves as Scientologists (in the U.S.) are under the radar, not participating or donatingin any appreciable manner. A fairly significant percentage of those under-the-radar folks are lurking on the web and beginning to realize they are in a cult, regardless of who is leading it. That realization cannot be undone, nor can one participate again in Scientology in any meaningful way without that realization being outed, because of the way the e-meter is used as a lie detector. Only a very few will try to go back…the effort to get through ethics after reading about the true history of Scientology on the web just isn’t worth the hassle anymore.

      The atmosphere in all Orgs is so heavily oriented towards harsh discipline and non-stop regging that the public already avoid them. It is impossible to go near an Org without being descended upon by half a dozen greedy reges from all sorts of venues demanding money. It’s pathetic and off-putting beyond belief. No public “owes” Scientology anything, despite the Miscavige attempts to enslave them, just as he has enslaved staff members. Scientology has been making false claims about its “tech” for decades and is using increasingly nasty internal discipline to crush anyone who notices. There is ZERO attention to customer satisfaction and HEAVY ethics for anyone who refuses to toe the line completely. Sec checks and other ethics actions may temporarily enforce compliance, but they do not engender long term loyalty.

      GAT II is another kick in the teeth to public Scientologists. It is particularly galling to long-term Scientologists as they are the very people who have sacrificed so much financially to buy / refurbish the Ideal Orgs, as well as fund the IAS, Super Power, Library Campaigns, Basics rollout, etc. They are the very ones who have been dropped down “The Bridge” by GAT II and are being forced to re-do practically everything they’ve ever done, just to get back to square one on the grade chart. I expect mass disinterest, most of which will be expressed by gradual disappearance of the few folks still taking services in the Orgs. Advancing age, dulled enthusiasm and a growing awareness of management failure, combined with a general “WTF is going on” condition is creeping into even the most hard-core, long term adherents. GAT II will cause many more public to drop under the radar, with existing Class V and Mission Staff deciding to not re-sign when their contracts expire. Sea Org folks cannot possibly help noticing the diminishing public demand. The whales, who in many cases are competent, accomplished people in the non-Scientology world will begin to question (even if privately) Miscavige and the wisdom of his management. They may eventually revolt as a group, although I do not think this is a high probability event.

      I think Miscavige is going to do one of two things;

      1) Try a massive advertising campaign to bring in net new people for GAT II
      services who have not been through the many cycles of abusive re-selling of repackaged dreck. Miscavige may actually think that new public will be enthralled with “fancy” Scientology.

      2) Declare that he has “completed his job” and depart somehow
      (retirement, medical leave, etc.,) fading from the scene before the complete
      failure of global Scientology is so overwhelmingly obviously that he is held personally responsible

      Scientology will exit 2014 in a greatly different and greatly diminished form.

      Reply
      1. John P.

        GAT II is a flop.

        Yes, indeed. But just like we knew on opening day this year that the Cubs were destined not to win the World Series for the 105th year in a row, that was kind of obvious to those of us outside the bubble. The trick is to figure out when this turd of a product launch begins to damage the organization. Microsoft continues to drive immense profits after two of its three most recent operating system releases (Vista and Windows 8) turned out to be disastrous. It’s only with the advent of tablets like the iPad that people are feeling like they can mostly give up on a Windows computer.

        It’s a little tricky to figure out when the numbers collapse because if the other prediction was right about the majority of US public being “under the radar” and most of the rest of them being young, relatively impoverished Kool-Aid drinkers, then even if GAT2 was a roaring success, it wouldn’t spike the numbers in the short term all that much. So if success can’t boost the numbers that much, I’d argue that failure, similarly, can’t crater the numbers all that much either. That’s why I’m still having trouble figuring out what the 2014 impact of GAT2 is likely to be.

        I agree with substantially all of what you said about GAT2 in the rest of your post is valid, yet my gut check is still telling me that I don’t want to go out and say that GAT2 is the catalyst for the major collapse of the cult in 2014, just because the numbers were already bad enough that it would be hard for them to deteriorate much faster. Remember, the cult is already out on the tail of an exponential decay curve; since so much decay has already happened, it is hard for the organic rate of decay to accelerate much.

        It has been my view for some time that David Miscavige is extraordinarily unaware of the longer term ramifications of his abusive behavior.

        The parallels between Miscavige and Kim 3.0 in North Korea consistently amaze, amuse and disturb me. He is not only removed from the real world (witness the craziness of his depositions, the Nightline interview, etc.), but he’s also divorced from the day-to-day reality of the business he runs. He has no clue about what his employees are thinking, much less what his customers are thinking. That means he doesn’t really get to see the consequences of his bad decisions, and that, in turn, means he’s likely to make even more stupid decisions in the future. When you couple that with his intellectual shallowness, which makes him utterly unable to imagine unintended consequences for his brilliant ideas, you’ve got one of the most inept CEOs in America.

        By comparison, most CEO’s I have talked to in all the years at Global Capitalism HQ, especially at big companies that have been through down times, are paranoid about being isolated in a bubble, only able to see carefully filtered information that’s been scrubbed endlessly by their underlings. That’s why they crave time with customers who will speak frankly about what the company is doing wrong, or spend time with investors, or find some way to get away from their entourages and talk to rank and file employees.

        Only a very few will try to go back…the effort to get through ethics after reading about the true history of Scientology on the web just isn’t worth the hassle anymore.

        Very perceptive. That clearly suggests that the under-the-radar crowd will never be able to get closer to the “church” if they wanted to — in other words, fear of sec checks are reducing the market potential for GAT2 even if the product itself weren’t a complete piece of crap.

        No public “owes” Scientology anything, despite the Miscavige attempts to enslave them, just as he has enslaved staff members.

        As we in Global Capitalism HQ would express it in economic terms, “high switching cost is not the same as infinite switching cost.” In other words, disconnection is a high intangible switching cost that deters people who are “buying” the Scientology religion from going out and “buying” another religion, even if the new religion is much cheaper.

        But eventually, particularly if the switching cost is indirect (i.e., the cost of rewriting your business applications to move from Windows to Linux) or if it is intangible (lose all your friends if you defect from the cult), there is still a point where the switching cost is not enough to keep you from changing to a new “supplier.” And the problem for a company who has a product with a high secondary switching cost is that decisions to switch are often made emotionally rather than quantitatively.

        Sec checks and other ethics actions may temporarily enforce compliance, but they do not engender long term loyalty.

        Well said.

        Advancing age, dulled enthusiasm and a growing awareness of management failure, combined with a general “WTF is going on” condition is creeping into even the most hard-core, long term adherents.

        Exactly right. When they heroically move the ball ten yards but the goal posts inevitably get moved twelve yards further away, eventually people quit the game. At least a hamster on a wheel never gets any farther away from the food pellet dispenser.

        … with existing Class V and Mission Staff deciding to not re-sign when their contracts expire.

        Thanks for pointing out the distinction — regular org staff have to live in the real world, pay real rent bills and otherwise see what’s going on, so they’re more likely to blow.

        The whales, who in many cases are competent, accomplished people in the non-Scientology world will begin to question (even if privately) Miscavige and the wisdom of his management. They may eventually revolt as a group, although I do not think this is a high probability event.

        This is already happening — I have talked to more than one whale who agrees that Miscavige is a disaster. The only reason that more of the whales don’t get together to overthrow Miscavige is that they’re afraid of sec checking, so they are careful to avoid saying anything to each other about what an idiot the guy is. They’re not going to rat each other out. I think disaffection among the whales is fairly high (except for twits like Nancy Cartwright) but they’re afraid to make a move just in case other whales they trust end up ratting them out to the cult. At some point this could change; perhaps 2014 is the year but that’s a bit of a Black Swan prediction until we get more data points via defections of “name brand” large donors.

        1) Try a massive advertising campaign to bring in net new people for GAT II services who have not been through the many cycles of abusive re-selling of repackaged dreck. Miscavige may actually think that new public will be enthralled with “fancy” Scientology.

        You’ve articulated this thesis quite convincingly on several occasions, but I still have a gut level belief that this won’t happen. If we look back to the early 2012 “American Idol” ad series, any cult member who’s plugged into any social media technology (FB, Twitter, etc.) saw the giant collective “WTF?” followed by derisive laughter followed by a raft of articles rehashing what a bizarre cult Scientology is. Going forward, those same articles will capture much more of the sinister side of the cult, rather than the wacky space alien stuff. So while it’s possible that they might unleash ads, I think the blowback from society as a whole would make them regret having done so.

        The only circumstance where I see this happening is if Miscavige declares the “Ideal Org” strategy a success (!) and says that this is the next step. That may be a point you’ve raised in a previous posting; sorry if I’m appropriating your thesis. I do, however, think that’s unlikely… I think the next scam is likely to be something he’s more familiar with and that he thinks has less risk: I think raising money for the two proposed event centers, in Hollywood and Clearwater, are more likely because DM thinks it’s just more of the same (though, of course, he doesn’t realize that he poisoned the well for future real estate scams by running the Super Power scam for far too long).

        2) Declare that he has “completed his job” and depart somehow (retirement, medical leave, etc.,)

        This is obviously a Black Swan event and thus impossible to predict. I still think that DM believes he’s winning as long as the gross cash balance goes up every year. I’ve posted elsewhere on multiple occasions that this is the one number I think he manages to because it hides the failures most effectively. I think he’s so addicted to the power in his position that he’ll continue for some time after gross cash declines precipitously. Perhaps he’ll only bolt after the settlement of the (predicted) wave of suits for repayment of deposits decimates the reserve, figuring that at that point he can’t stop the operating losses so he’ll take the remaining cash and bolt to his hidey-hole.

        … the complete failure of global Scientology is so overwhelmingly obviously that he is held personally responsible.

        Miscavige’s entire life is based on avoiding accountability and responsibility for his decisions. He lives in a fantasy land where there is infinite demand for his product (something learned from Hubbard’s own arrogance and insanity) and where the only people who could possibly be responsible are the beleaguered staff if that infinite money doesn’t roll in the door.

        Scientology will exit 2014 in a greatly different and greatly diminished form.

        Yes. But the trick is trying to predict accurately the path from here to there.

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          “…the trick is trying to predict accurately the path from here to there.”

          This is true, except we’re not investing in Scientology. The biggest “gain” comes from leaving. The savings from not having to re-buy / redo everything are easily in the low six figures on a per-person basis.

          My estimate is that there are probably only 2 – 4 solvent Orgs in the United States. FLAG is one, CCI is probably among the others. Most other orgs are already at negative cash flow and being propped up somehow by direct donations or from some sort of off-books reserve fund (possibly tapping into the building / rehab funds that are allegedly being used to finance real estate activities.)

          I think of GAT II not as a financial failure (although it will be) but more of a fatal blow to the morale of the Class V and Mission staff. As they realize its a prolongation of the scam and depart, the whole network crumbles. That the Org’s are also not solvent is probably incidental to their inability to retain willing, near-free labor.

          Miscavige could then send in Sea Org “missions” to run the Orgs, but Sea Org staff have been abused for so long that when they come in contact with regular Class V public they simply do not know how to interact in an acceptable manner. Yelling, threats and intimidation engender a big FU from public….that crap only works among the hard core.

          I think the accelerated collapse of Scientology will come from a loss of enthusiasm among the faithful…not from financial reality.

          Reply
        2. media_lush

          I know this might be simplifying it a bit but if I was a whale or a well to do member I’m pretty sure I would own the latest good quality piece of tech…. if I was then expected to buy not one, but two of the very latest knobs on e-meters for $10k… you know, 50,000 time more accurate etc etc and the only way they would work is by using this (see attached pic) I think I might start becoming suspicious….. especially as they all need to sent back because the innards have rusted and similar.

          Reply
        3. Anonymous

          John,

          One other comment: Because lying about stats or otherwise falsifying results is such an ingrained practice in Scientology from the top to the bottom of the organization it is almost impossible to do any sort of reliable tracking of the same items over time for comparative purposes. It results in one set of false indicators being compared to a later set of false indicators.

          That said, I agree we need to come up with some index of relative units that can be quantified over time from a flow of information that is published on a somewhat regular basis. Let me think through what some sources of that kind of information might be and post them later this week.

          Reply
    4. Drat

      I’d like to chime in and add that, as we already know, GAT 2 is just repackaged, tweaked material. Why buy Windows 8.1 when Windows 7 works just fine? Only this is worse, because you’ll find yourself back on course doing essentially the same stuff. When you’ve listened and clapped to hype for 20-30 years, you get used to it and begin to realise, as the world and any non-Scn friends you may have left, move on and are doing a lot better than you.

      Time will tell, but I’d say give it 6-8 months. By then the claims will have borne out true or false. Either way, no matter how miraculous GAT 2 might be, it still costs a ton. There aren’t many left who have that kind of money to burn.

      Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Agree with virtually all of your points. The lack of hype in new promo about the early “success” of GAT II is very telling.

        Reply
      2. ze moo

        Your comparison of GAT 2 to a software update is spot on. Win7 is relatively fast and it has few bugs. Win 8.1 is much slower and if you don’t use touch screen stuff all the time, not a useful upgrade at all. Not even hard boiled clams will start the bridge 3 times.

        You can tell when a software company needs/wants income. You get a ‘new version’ with fairly useless additions. I’ve seen it so many times with formerly useful products. Microsoft is fairly good at the update/upgrade stick. Every other upgrade is worth it. Not so with the clampire. Every upgrade only generates more income from less customers.

        Reply
    5. Ms. B. Haven

      I think you are exactly right with the GAT II stuff. There will most definitely be a negative impact, but being able to quantify that impact is going to be damn near impossible to quantify.

      I think the major impacts are going to be with Field Auditors (FA) and to a lesser degree Field Staff Members (FSM) as I pointed out in another post. Very few of these FAs are going to be willing to do the training side of the Bridge yet again just to retain their certificates so that can do their field practice and try to keep some food in the pantry. One thing that I didn’t think about in relation to GAT II is the Outer Org Trainees (OOT) that were sequestered at Flag for months in 2013 while doing their GAT II training so that they could go back to their Org to deliver the goods. That will have a very negative impact on Orgs and Missions. There can’t help but be a festering doubt occurring with these folks. When they get back and see that THEIR Ideal Org and regular ol’ Org or Mission is going no where despite all the hype and bullshit they were fed, something has to give. It might take a while, but something has to give. Cognitive dissonance will at least start to set in. When this happens, the rot and cancer from within will accellerate. That acceleration will be difficult to measure because it will be largely unseen.

      Reply
      1. Drat

        On the OOTs, that depends. We have seen reports from Ideal Orgs around the world about the state of staff. More reports will surface as more under the radar share what their local scene is like. We will see more staff blowing outright or leaving when their contract expires in the next 2 1/2 to 5 years.

        Reply
      2. Semper Phi

        Re: OOTs — They must know that their orgs are going nowhere, but as Scilons always do, they seem to buy the perennial hope that the next action is the one that will turn it all around. From what I saw in my FB feed around the GAT II release, they all went home joyful and with fires in their bellies, seemingly convinced that now they have the right tools to finally turn things around and change the world for real. Of course, most of them had gone home with me after the last big release in 2010, when the new Div 6 materials were going to flood new public into the orgs and onto the Bridge. It’s so hard to believe that even though most of my OOT FB friends who were at Flag for GAT II are 2nd gen, they won’t start feeling cognitive dissonance and — even if they don’t quit Scn yet — decide not to re-up when their contracts expire. Since they are the highly trained “tech terminals” that are indispensable to their orgs, that will be a devastating blow to whatever legitimacy the orgs have left. No tech staff, no delivery of services, no org.

        Reply
  30. Science Doc

    I’ve been way off the grid for a week and just now catching up on the blogs. My reaction to this is good solid conservative analysis. The comments have run toward a little more speculation, COB health,etc. Along those lines a big wild card is when the Feds feel that some line has been crossed in an area that does not come close to religious freedom. Moving money illegally or massive credit card fraud.

    Reply
    1. John P.

      I’d like to join in the wishes for a happy new year for everyone. 2013 has been a challenging year for me on multiple fronts and I am hoping to see the payoff for all the ground work I’ve laid for some new joys and delights in life over the next few years.

      I’m grateful for all of you who have so quickly jumped in to contribute your wisdom, your perspective, and your humor to this blog. I look forward to being able to do a more consistent job getting the Daily Digest out starting later this week — the year end has been far more exhausting both physically and mentally for me than usual so I have literally been too tired when I get home to work on the blog for the last two weeks.

      I’d like to thank those of you who have contributed behind the scenes. I’m still hoping to get back and work with those of you who have web skills to improve some things in the layout of the blog.

      I’m delighted that so many still-in tipsters have stepped forward to contribute material behind the scenes rather than surfacing in the comments. The surprisingly rich outpouring of support from still-ins was the genesis of my prediction that most of the still-ins will turn out to be “under the radar,” plenty skeptical of the cult and even of “the tech.” Sure, there are some pretty rabid Kool-Aid drinkers out there, but I’m consistently surprised at how many people are just trying to protect their family, friendships or their business.

      And I’d like to say a special thanks to Aeger Primo who has been keeping an eye on the forum sites for me. That’s a lot of work and for someone with major reading ADHD like me, it would be an endless series of trips down fascinating rabbit holes, helping me spend hours with no visible result. She’s hung in there to contribute even with her own busy life.

      Reply
      1. Semper Phi

        One note about the “pretty rabid Kool-Aid drinkers”: My OOT FB friends probably meet that description, since they really seem to be a bunch of True Believers. However, I find it extremely interesting that after one of my OOT friends recently disclosed on FB that she has left Scn, none of our 23 mutual friends has un-friended her. Now, she didn’t go out with guns blazing and getting all suppressive, but to anyone who knows the code, she was clearly proclaiming her exit. She even followed that up with some fairly clear, though low-key critical comments. Even one friend who contacted me last year to warn me about an SP on my friend list has not un-friended her. Either they are totally not paying attention, or this group of True Believers is tolerating someone who has proclaimed her departure publicly. It seems that they will tolerate departure, so long as it’s not loud and enturbulating. Time was they would have cut her off after her first coded statement that Scn was not all that. Somehow that feels significant to me.

        Reply
        1. ze moo

          It is significant Semper Phi. One of the hallmarks of CO$ was the intense discipline that was used to keep out ‘entheta’. Much of the local ‘chirches’ job was to keep the minions in line and coughing up the money. Any public display of discontent used to get the ‘bitter defrocked apostate’ treatment. Seems like a lack of manpower and a lack of will to keep the sheeple in line. Elleraich would not be pleased.

          Reply
        2. Galactic Patrol

          This is very interesting Semper Phi. I need more information on what you are talking about here. Is there some way we can be in private communication so you can fill me in on the details?

          Reply
      2. aegerprimo

        John, I see what you did there… flattery works on me. Thank you for the special shout out. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to help you with this blog!

        Reply
  31. Drat

    I’d like to read the comments and add my 2 cents to the analysis, but now I’ve got to get ready for the New Year’s party, so I’ll do so tomorrow or the day after.

    Happy New Year everyone. It’s going to be good.

    Reply
  32. Donut

    Excellent analysis, none of which I would argue with. I would not be surprised however if there is a major initiative to get more “bodies in the shop” at grass roots level as low levels of recruitment continue to have an embarrassing effect on stats and staffing levels.

    Reply
    1. John P.

      Thanks for the thought. My question is: do you think anything has changed in the way they talk about the product to enable them to overcome the negative brand image that they have? Among people who have heard of Scientology, I would expect their brand image to rank below that of Congress, of herpes and of hepatitis C, though Scientology may be more favorably thought of than enemas.

      In other words, do you see an initiative that is basically just more of the same ineffective techniques, like “body routers” standing there wasting their time on college campuses or do you think they can actually overcome their bad perceptions with some new message and some new approach?

      One argument against a “grass roots” approach is the fact that Miscavige thinks the staff are incompetent and aren’t able to “disseminate” Scientology. That’s why the few recruits that wander into an Ideal Org are plopped down in front of video screens and shown an intro film, and the staff seem uninterested in answering any follow-up questions. So are you suggesting that will change?

      Just trying to figure out the details in your comment. Thanks!

      Reply
      1. Espiando

        They can’t do anything like improving their methods of recruitment. L. Ron’s pronouncements about body routing still hold sway. When talking about the positioning of Ideal Orgs, how many Indies have complained that the Ideal Orgs aren’t in the right place for foot traffic? It’s no use telling them that foot traffic is irrelevant in 2014; they’re still stuck in that mindset, and if the Indies are that way, certainly the still-ins are. The same thing applies to the Org bookstores. Ron said “books make booms”, so that still applies today, regardless of the fact that most of their desired raw meat think in terms of books as “.mobi, .epub, or .pdf” rather than dead trees and ink. Ron’s failure to anticipate the advance of technology is killing them in so many ways, it’s almost laughable.

        The Div 6 recruitment films and flat screens may have been sold to the still-ins as a way to ensure implementation of Standard Tech, but we all know what it really was: Scientology’s sole effort to acknowledge and compensate for plummeting staff levels. This isn’t going to change unless, somehow, they build up their staffs to the point where face-to-face recruiting becomes viable again. Even if that happened, they won’t do it, because Command Intention says that the Div 6 screens are there to stay.

        No amount of brainstorming is going to allow them to change their brand image. It’s far too poisoned. They can’t solve their problems with Scientology anymore. Ron never anticipated a day when no one would want “Ron’s brand of Scientology”; his ego didn’t allow him to. Since he didn’t, the organization, stuck with their KSW mindset, can’t do so.

        Their only chance is to do something which really carries no risk with the membership that’s left: admit that Hubbard’s thinking no longer meshes with the times and tell everyone they’re going to do things their way. If people want to practice Ron’s Scientology in the KSW way, let them go. They need to recognize that their biggest drawback today is L. Ron Hubbard.

        Reply
        1. Espiando

          Correct. At least with an enema, you know you’ll reach Clear. And you never have to redo them from the beginning.

          Reply
      2. Galactic Patrol

        I agree with the others here John. Short of running some MAJOR PR campaign out on the front lines and completely rebranding Scientology as something completely removed from a cult, there is no hope in the “wog” sector that they are going to get any kind of significant flow of new people in. History shows that Miscavige has no interest in investing in such a thing, nor does he have the follow-through to actually see such a long-term PR campaign actually run.

        Since being out, I have noted time and again the reaction to the word “Scientology” by people around me. I don’t even bring it up myself. It just comes up from time to time, like on the radio or in conversation. And quite literally every single time it does, it is equated to poison, mind control and stupidity. Not one positive reaction. Always negative.

        Miscavige might tell the still-ins that he is going to come up with some big new PR campaign and might show them inspirational commercials or ads or whatever, but he has no intention of following through (as demonstrated many times throughout the last 20 years on this exact subject).

        This is a point of real frustration for those still in, and can be used as a “sort spot” to help show them how ineffective and off-the-rails the cult management has become.

        Reply
  33. Eclipse-girl

    Anonymous has suggested an advertising campaign will be used to try and get a new generation into the doors.

    Co$ ran one ad last year during the Superbowl.

    Jeff Hawkins was the person behind the media blitz of the 1980s.

    Is there anyone who is competent to run such a campaign. Jeff used TV and Print media. Advertising has changed since the 1980s. Would David pay a professional advertising company to create a campaign?

    Reply
    1. ze moo

      The faithful minions and mOrgs need some hope to counteract the lack of bodies in the shop . There will be an ad campaign, but can anything salvage the brand? How much is Miscavige willing to spend on what he knows is a hopeless effort? His ‘leadership’ is at stake, so I think I’ll spend a lot in a wasted effort.

      Reply
      1. Eclipse-girl

        The ad campaign is bound to fail.

        It will be another “gat II” or “sp building” or “portland org” launch.

        Reply
  34. Science Doc

    Scientology must be the most toxic brand in America at this point. Most people know that LRH = scientology, and dianetics is not much of a reach to scientology. There isn’t much you could do to fix this. Might as well make feel good commercials about the wonders of thalidomide or the amazing breakthrough of ringworm.

    A true heir to a messianic figure might be able to reformulate and rebrand, but COB has the disadvantage of being a scientologist with no real education and little more than routine cruelty and villainy as distinguishing features. He can’t get anywhere useful from here.

    Reply
    1. Espiando

      Actually, thalidomide has been regaining its rep over the past decade as an effective treatment for various chronic debilitating disorders. So, therefore, Scientology has a worse reputation than thalidomide. You don’t recover from that sort of situation.

      Reply
  35. Science Doc

    I’ve been off the grid for over a week and after trying to wade through the thousands of comments on Tony’s blog all I can say is some serious mostly off topic stuff happened with a catfish, some sock puppets and other internet dramatical techniques. If John P has time maybe a Cliff Notes summary would be useful as I suspect future comments will continue to reference this saga.

    Reply
    1. Robert Eckert

      We are hoping future comments will not refer to the saga: the “Captain Howdy rule” is that anyone still wishing to process what happened with Monkeyknickers and the supposed twins, or the KJP eruption, or the Marco banning, or related sock-puppet exposures, should take it back to the December 26 thread and not pollute subsequent discussions. The Bunker comment threads, while still huge, are more manageable with some of the big disruptors gone.

      Reply
  36. JonHenke

    I’m late, but some thoughts…

    Ideal Orgs — First, I agree that the ideal orgs strategy is winding up. The question, I guess, is whether Miscavige just cuts it off quickly or tries to save some face by getting a few more Ideal Orgs across the finish line over the next couple years. Given that I think the Ideal Org strategy was not just a fundraising strategy, but also a means of dealing with their tax exemption obligations (they had to be able to show that they were spending the donated money on something, and real estate assets that can hold value are better than charitable expenses), I think they will have to continue the Ideal Org projects for at least a little while. And I would imagine Miscavige will have trouble calling off a project he’s invested so much of his reputation in with church PR and the whales.

    Defections — I also agree about defections increasing. That was why Remini’s defection was so critical. She showed that somebody can leave, criticize not just the Church but Miscavige himself, and escape unscathed. That will encourage a lot more people to unwind their ties to Scientology. My only prediction here is that the celebrity exits will be much lower profile. In part because there are very few high level celebs left and in part because not many other celebs have the stature, career success, personality and family support that Remini had.

    Narconon — This is a major vulnerability for them….possibly. I have to think they’ve already scoured all records and destroyed potential evidence indicating connections, but I doubt they have been comprehensive, too. As much collaboration as there has always been between the CofS (or its entities) and Narconon officials, there has to be a long and trackable record. If that is established, then victims and insurance companies could have a payday more substantial than simply putting a single center out of business. The complication may be the coordination of the knowledge of Scientology/Narconon watchers with the motivation of victims and insurance companies over the timeline of a court proceeding.

    Events — This is one I question. You write that “the events business is responsible for about 30% of cult revenue, or somewhere between $50 million and $75 million per year, and it’s the most profitable business around, generating about 80% gross margin.”

    Where do you get those number? My rough sense has been that the CofS does year round regging and the big donors get better seats at the events, and they get some money from people for room and board…..but they will do the regging regardless of the events. The ticket prices themselves won’t generate much revenue. So if the events are more of a reward than a transaction, I’m not sure we can really assume that the events generate the fees themselves, or that they are quite so profitable.

    That said, it’s hard to justify the big donations without something to show for it. And if Miscavige loses both the events AND the appearance of Ideal Org progress, then even Karen Pouw will be left with nothing to brag about. That will be…a problem.

    Numbers — My main problem with making predictions about Scientology is that we just have so little access to real numbers. We can look at some real numbers — some of their non-profits file 990s — but the CofS was entirely built on moving money around through different groups, so we really still don’t have a full picture. A non-profits decline may represent a real CofS decline, or it may just represent the CofS shifting money in a different direction. We can speculate about membership, active members, fundraising, sales, and a lot of other things, but we really don’t have firm numbers that we can be sure are a representative sample.

    We can say for sure that 1) Scientology membership is declining and 2) fundraising is declining, but we don’t really know 3) what their revenue is because they have so many side operations that can funnel money to them through various means. How much non-CofS work does Bridge Publications do? That’s an awfully large facility for the small amount of CofS literature that is needed these days. And we don’t know 4) where the money is going. Does it reside in the US, off-shore? Is it held by CofS orgs (IAS, RTC, ICS, etc) or some other CofS org that they seem to create all the time? Or is it slowly being laundered through financial transactions with Miscavige (and Davis?) peeling pieces to make their golden parachutes? We just lack the hard numbers needed for a lot of analysis.

    My own analysis — Ultimately, I have trouble believing that he can’t see beyond his net cash bottom line. We are so convinced that he is an evil idiot that we forget that he somehow managed to climb that greasy pole and stay atop it. He may not be intelligent, but he’s got a certain cleverness for acquisition and survival.

    I think Miscavige has a plan that we don’t understand. It’s not necessarily a *good* plan — hell, maybe this is just his way of slow rolling the organization into oblivion, so there will be nobody left who could stop him from embezzling, laundering and escaping. Miscavige’s great advantage for a very long time has been the absence of a really dedicated enemy. Scientology has generally had to invent them, because nobody really gives a shit about them. That has changed, to some extent, with the increasing reasons for investigations and court cases, but laying low is Miscavige’s best hope to avoid catastrophic collapse.

    I don’t know that it will happen very soon, but I predict Miscavige either suffers the fate of Jim Bakker and some of his PTL cohorts — investigated and convicted for fraud, tax evasion and a few other things — or he bails out when he sees he can’t avoid it. There are just too many loose strings at this point to tie things back up.

    Reply
    1. ze moo

      Well said, Jon, especially the ‘nobody really gives a shit about them’. $camatology has always been a mystery sandwich tied up in an onion overcoat.

      The current financial structure should be of interest to the IRS and law enforcement. What is the hidden money doing? Is it funneling drugs to N America or buying the Taliban ammo in Pakistan? Was it ever in compliance with the 93 IRS agreement? Inquiring minds want to know.

      Can the Idle mOrg program withstand any shaking? The locals are probably not happy with paying rent to littlest führer. Hell, some of them can barely keep the electricity on and the telephones working. What happens when some local mOrg stops paying corporate rent? Will a Sea Argghhh raiding party show up and kick everybody out, like in South Africa? All it takes is one well off local to fund the lawyers.

      The clampire is tottering like a drunk at last call, but will he fall over?

      Reply
    1. Espiando

      In terms of predictions, the text messages won’t mean a thing. The question at hand is whether or not DM needs to be deposed in the Rathbun case. All indications so far from Judge Waldrip is that he does. This provides a reinforcement for that ruling. So not a thing’s going to change.

      Reply
  37. Sunny Sands

    Just an observation about the amount of money it takes to keep the staff and sea org afloat. If there are 3,000 staff and sea org worldwide, and they each make $50 per week, that is gross $150,000. Add in employer’s FICA tax, rounded to 8% that’s $12,000. Add in rice and beans, property taxes on their berthing, a few supplies like toilet paper and cleansers, round it up to $200,000 per week. This does not include the cost of keeping the Flag busses running. That is a substantial sum even to keep them in poverty conditions. That would eat up their reserves pretty quickly if they don’t get in the revenue.

    Reply
      1. Get Chutney Love

        Yes, the religious exemption is usually used for priests, monks, nuns, and the like, and people can exempt themselves from paying into it, like the Amish, but outside the Amish it’s pretty rare to do so, AFAIK.

        If an employee is to be exempted, they must be doing religious work for a religious organization. An archbishops’ secretary, to take a random example, wouldn’t be exempt from FICA unless she was a nun herself. OTOH, if one was a musician employed to provide music for services, that could be seen as a religious work of some sort, and thus could be exempted from paying FICA.

        Reply
    1. Galactic Patrol

      Good point Sunny Sands, but the numbers are actually greater than what you estimated on both ends of the equation.

      There are actually about 4-5,000 Sea Org members worldwide per last reliable estimates, so let’s say 4,000. At $50 per SO member (which already includes FICA btw), it’s $200,000 per week just for the weekly SO staff allowance across the planet.

      The weekly expenses that would have to be covered to stay open at all are also greater than you estimate. Costs for food, vehicles, maintenance, property upkeep and other routine expenses on the SO bases total at least another $200,000 per week world-wide. Contrary to popular belief, rice and beans is not the usual SO staple food. When I was in (which was up until fairly recently), rice and beans was a limited-time punishment and actually added to the food expenses because there was never any time that the entire base was on rice and beans (so the galley crew had to order food for and prepare two separate meals three times a day plus handle executive snacks and meals, event catering and food, etc).

      I can’t imagine how it could ever come down to the point of zero income to all of the SO orgs, requiring SO reserves to subsidize their entire existence for months on end. But let’s say this did happen for some reason. In one year, they would burn through $20,800,000.

      Given that the Church reportedly has hundreds of millions in reserves, it would take years for them to burn through those to cover these operating expenses.

      They won’t be running through their reserves anytime soon in this fashion.

      Reply
      1. Sunny Sands

        It looks like it takes about $21 million per year to keep the sea org running, thanks for your analysis. I believe staff members in the orgs also make $50 per week, but are not housed.

        There are special tax rules enabling ministers to opt-out of FICA, if they so desire. Normally, FICA rules require the employer pay an equal FICA share of 7.65% (includes Medicare tax) on behalf of the employee. I don’t know if Co$ does this.

        AFAIK, non-religious tax-exempt organizations have to abide by the FICA rules.

        Reply
        1. Galactic Patrol

          You got it. The Class V staff pay is never subsidized by SO Reserves or the Sea Org. They are on a proportionate pay plan based on their local org’s weekly income. If the income is poor or there are too many bills, then they don’t get paid anything. There is no obligation on the part of the org to pay the Class V staff anything. They are contracted as volunteers with no expectation of income.

          Reply
      2. Drat

        Your calculation is based on the assumption that SO pay is paid out on a regular basis, which, in fact, it is not.

        Reply
        1. Galactic Patrol

          You’re right, but the original premise of this thread was a proposition about how long SO Reserves could sustain the cult in the worst-case-scenario of no income at all. Assuming that they did pay their crew regularly, the calculation I did holds true. The fact that they sometimes don’t pay their crew or don’t pay them a regular amount is irrelevant to the premise and also impossible to predict or calculate, since it’s a totally random irregularity. And if they don’t pay their crew the regular weekly allowance, then that just further supports by conclusion that SO Reserves are not in any danger of running out anytime soon.

          Reply
          1. Drat

            My understanding is no pay is more the norm than a random occurrence. Perhaps things have improved?

          2. Galactic Patrol

            I can only accurately report my own experiences when I was in, as I have no real data on conditions over the past couple of years in regards to SO pay. I was in for a very long time and most of the time we did get a weekly allowance. There were plenty of times that we got 3/4 pay or 1/2 pay, but it would be inaccurate to say it was the norm.

          3. Drat

            Then it has improved. When my mum was in we often lived from state benefits or would have had no money at all.

          4. Galactic Patrol

            My experiences are also confined only to the United States. I can’t speak for other areas.

  38. aegerprimo

    A news article in the Daily Mail Reporter worth checking out (Jan. 6 2014) –
    Revealed: Scientology leader’s f-word rant at employees in 2007 who he forced to sabotage journalist’s investigative documentary on the organization –
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2534997/Revealed-Scientology-leaders-f-word-rant-employees-2007-forced-sabotage-journalists-investigative-documentary-organization.html#ixzz2pgBuozhz

    THIS article is an excellent example of what the relentless reporting that Tony O does at the Underground Bunker – http://tonyortega.org/
    The Daily Mail cannot match Tony’s quality and especially his speed, but a wide-reaching online media source putting out this kind of article – this is UNPRECIDENTED in Scientology history!

    In other words;

    My prediction for 2014 – Scientology will have bad press, and more bad press. Those who were casually laughing at the cult before will now seriously take notice of Co$ cruelty and abuses. The Scientology bad image and bad name will be beyond repair. Loyal members will not be able to ignore wide ranging articles all over the net and on other media resources about the abuses the Co$ continues to commit against its followers (loyal Scientologists, both public and Sea Org).More well-known, long-time, and wealthy Scientologists will publicly leave.

    IMO, attorneys like Ray Jeffrey will be keeping tabs of such defections (as future clients, or witnesses in current cases, or….) It is not as life threatening to take on the Co$ in court as it used to be, and not career-damaging for attorneys to provide representation.

    Reply
    1. HartleyPatterson

      The Mail Online doesn’t do any investigative journalism of its own on Scientology – this was a repost of a Radar article – but in recent years it has certainly generated a stream of hostile copy aimed at American readers. Someone senior at the Mail doesn’t like the cult! Murdoch’s New Corp also has a green light from him to not hold back on anti-Scientology material.

      Reply
  39. Lady Squash

    Great List. I’ll chime in with my two cents about the Disconnection issue. You said you were a “never-in” and didn’t know quite how Disconnection works, I thought I’d fill in some details.
    Leaving the Church quietly is no big deal and does not usually result in a Declare or a Disconnection order. The Church will make an effort to get you back on-lines with phone calls and/or visits to your home. As long as you are polite and hold your ground, eventually they stop bothering you.
    However, CRITICIZING THE CHURCH PUBLICLY, is a CRIME and this crime has to be dealt with. Several scenarios are possible. One is an automatic DECLARE. Once you are declared the Church then contacts anyone they know who might be close to this person and calls them into Ethics. The purpose of the “interview” is to a) inform the friend of Declare notice b) and to get their “agreement” to disconnect c) to threaten the Scientologist with themselves being Declared.
    This is intimidating if one is a true believer and believes that the Church holds your eternity in their hands. The Church the power to deny you your Bridge. And if your Bridge means everything to you, then the choice is obvious. However it is a Sophie’s Choice and based on lies. The Church does not hold your eternity in their hands. But until one realizes that, it is very intimidating. Early on, I decided if I ever had to chose between the Church and my daughter, who was antagonistic, I would choose my daughter.
    I was never forced to make that choice because I silently faded away before it became and issue.
    But knowing that I would be declared if I opened my mouth about the things I know, keeps me quiet. I don’t care about being declared for its own sake (I could care less what the Church thinks about me), but I have a family member still in and he would have to Disconnect from me. And right now that relationship is important to me. So I keep quiet.

    Reply
    1. Ms. B. Haven

      I agree with your comments about the disconnection issue, but I have to disagree with this assessment:
      “The Church will make an effort to get you back on-lines with phone calls and/or visits to your home. As long as you are polite and hold your ground, eventually they stop bothering you.”

      These bastards never leave you alone. Why? Your name is never removed from Central Files. If I recall correctly, it is a Crime for someone to remove someone’s name from Central Files.

      I finally walked away from scientology quietly in the late 80’s. I proceeded to just get on with my life and try to recover my sanity on my own. I didn’t have to worry much about disconnection because I had no family and few real friends who were still ‘in’. I started getting calls and tons of mail a couple of years ago. Creepy. This was after at least 8 or 10 moves without leaving a forwarding address. Creepy. They never leave you alone. I started looking around online when this stalking started up, just to see what the current situation was with the ‘church’. Just about everything I found online confirmed what I strongly suspected was wrong when I was ‘in’ (that was pre-internet for me and most others too). I started lurking at the Village Voice’s Running Scared column because that seemed to be the best source of current, accurate and relevant information. That’s how I ended up at this site.

      I would have been happy not to have been bothered by these fools, and if they would have just respected my wishes to be removed from their mail/phone lists they would have one less vocal critic stirring things up. As it is right now, I am making an active effort to inform as many scientologists as I can (who I was previously acquainted with) to have a look for themselves, to see what is going on. Having been ‘in’, and knowing the mindset of those who are ‘in’, I don’t expect a tremendous amount of success, but that won’t keep me from plodding on. If just a few of them start thinking for themselves that’s good enough for me. They were all good people who deserve much better. That change will have to come from within and I know they are all (mostly) capable of making the leap to real freedom outside the gloomy confines of the ‘church’. Besides, I like planting seeds.

      Reply
      1. Lady Squash

        Dear Ms. B. Haven, I apologize. You are quite right, the mail and phone calls continue. The mail is annoying–such a waste of time and energy to chuck it all in the recycle bin. I never bothered to try and get my name off their lists because I knew what a hassle it would be. But some day…
        As for the phone calls, I have caller ID and don’t pick up unless I know the caller, still it is annoying. The random times I have accidentally picked up I tell them that I am a Christian now and no longer interested. They can’t get off the phone fast enough.
        If pressed I’ll tell them about the OT8 that I cared for who was entirely bonkers. That gets them off the phone pretty quickly too.
        My point was just that not everyone who leaves gets Declared or has to Disconnect. I still have 3 friends on the inside and we talk quite a bit and I’ve brought them around.
        And I am sure to get Declared when I do speak out, which I intend to do shortly.

        Reply
  40. Drat

    I was going to throw in my two cents, but after having read all the comments I don’t feel I have much to add. I’ll say a few things anyway.

    There is a very faint possibility that a general amnesty will be issued to reduce the hassle of coming back for GAT2. Most likely this option will not be exercised, as it would create a Streisand effect for any as not yet aware of blogs.

    Valley Org: I don’t see this as a failure, but instead as resistance and “civil defiance” if you will. It, and the lack of success in other Ideal Org projects, demonstrates blatant unwillingness in the field more than simple failure.

    Ideal Orgs: I think there is actually a policy that permits orgs to borrow from the Int building fund to buy an org, so seeing more of these new breed of IO’s would not be a huge surprise. It could be spun to mean “Scientology is in such huge demand that they needed the building right now!” and believers would buy it.

    It is likely that more and more day/foundation orgs will be merged. That means orgs will be shutting down, but the number of buildings will remain.

    I predict an unprecendented amount of current information on the state of orgs around the world will be published and will accelerate the rate of disillusionment.

    I think there won’t be the one factor that will bring down the cult and its myriad front groups. It will more likely be accumulated legal disasters and the PR fallout as the public find themselves increasingly unable to hide from it. Whales may dive down deep once the extent of the crimes (RTC, CSI, IAS, NN, CCHR etc.) dawns on them and association becomes both socially untenable and morally reprehensible. I believe this will come about in 2014 due to evidence surfacing in discovery in lawsuits, at least 3 new tell all books and increasing mainstream media coverage as the gloves come off.

    The pressure is being brought to bear on the cult with regard to disconnection: The SA blog, Lori Hodgson’s case, Leah Remini’s book, Mike’s blog etc. will all stoke the fire in 2014. Nonetheless, if disconnection is “dropped” then as window dressing only. It will stay in practice as it always has.

    Collapse:
    OED, def 3. fail suddenly and completely
    I’m not sure we wil actually see this come to pass. I think the point we are looking for is the moment when the cult is visibly proven to be defanged, not when it is gone completely. Thereafter people might come and go with impunity. It may find itself in competition with indie groups in some areas.
    Do not underestimate the true believers. They have sacrificed much and can keep this machine running another 20-30 years, even if greatly diminished. My local org staff is apparently comprised entirely of 1st and 2nd generation members, many of them family. Some are around 20-25 years old and idealistic. I suspect that many Class V orgs are propped up financially by the staff themselves, who do not truly expect to earn a living there. Then again (I’m going to contradict myself now), staff at Ideal Orgs with no family ties are probably more likely to not renew their contracts, which does result in relatively sudden implosion (witness Berlin and Johannesburg).

    I do not forsee any AO closing. Sydney might close for “renovations”. I also do not foresee the Freewinds being discontinued, as it was expensively refurbished in 2007 (I’m not talking value here, just that together with the Basics said refurbishment was made the subject of 4 !!! consecutive Maiden Voyage events over the period of one month so would be hard to gloss over).

    I think the fear that David Miscavige has nothing left to offer OTVIII’s can take a back seat for now. To do SP, they have to do their Purif and SRD. Once ready, there are ten rundowns and C/S’s are probably not required to program them all at once. This means they might do them interspersed with other actions, all of which require them to come to Flag.

    I have tried to bring up India, but so far nobody has really taken me up on it. I think India is an area that might have a miniscule membership, but I read a Times of India article claiming 5-7k members. If 20 whales are among them, it adds up.

    The road out of the cult is a long and individual one. This remains a war of attrition.

    Reply
    1. Eclipse-girl

      Drat, I too worry about India. I read an article or tow that were years old about the presence of scientology in India. I have no idea about Indian whales, but there are clearly some very wealthy Indian citizens.

      One think working against that right now, is the current diplomatic flap about the low level diplomat who only paid her maid about $3.00 / hr, how she was treated when she was arrested, and if the US will allow her to become a part of the UN giving her diplomatic immunity.

      This soap opera has angered many Indians and India is now experiencing a rise in anti – americanism. Scientology could be hurt by that.

      I do not think this diplomatic issue will remain unresolved for a long time, but every day that it does, it may hurt scientology.

      Reply
      1. Drat

        I can see Scientology weaseling out of that one by quoting the conditions of exchange. All we can do is hope and keep writing. We are at a turning point (in fact I think we’re already passed it, but it will only really become visible this year).

        Reply
    1. John P.

      Very clever. But the only people who think I’m a terrorist are the corps of Global Capitalism HQ summer interns, but that appears to be because I expect them to actually work and to use their brains.

      Reply
      1. Science Doc

        I probably won’t see the movie and I stopped reading Tom Clancy a long time ago, but I thought the three inconsistent labels for this character might suggest how different people view him. If you appear on the cover of Freedom magazine one day you won’t be labeled a patriot.

        Reply
  41. Drat

    Going out on a very slender limb, relying on claims made by whoever is behind the scn.celebrity blog that David Miscavige is indeed #2 and they can document it, a third possiblity may come to pass: DM will be sacrificed when media attention is at its highest, turned over to the courts after a “coup” in the church, where he will predictably go mad.

    This isn’t tongue in cheek.

    Reply
  42. Elar Aitch

    Nearly half way through the year – a good time to look at your predictions which are on the money so far. I hope the second half of the year sees more traction on: “Disconnection loses its effectiveness”.

    Reply

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