Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Joe Childs, Thomas C. Tobin, David Miscavige and musical chairs to the sounds of Bohemian Rhapsody

An excellent special report has been published under the header The Truth Rundown in the St Petersburg Times on the subject of scientology and its current head David Miscavgie.

It's exceedingly ripe fruit, featuring interviews with high level defectors. Some of the anecdotes about scientological practices are as fascinating as the way Masonic rituals once titillated world.

Prove your devotion, Miscavige told them, by winning at musical chairs. Everyone else — losers, all of you — will be banished to Scientology outposts around the world. If families are split up, too bad.

To the music of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody they played through the night, parading around a conference room in their Navy-style uniforms, grown men and women wrestling over chairs.

The next evening, early in 2004, Miscavige gathered the group and out of nowhere slapped a manager named Tom De Vocht, threw him to the ground and delivered more blows. De Vocht took the beating and the humiliation in silence — the way other executives always took the leader's attacks.

There's much more on the lemming-like culture and on the death of Lisa McPherson, held in isolation for 17 days at Clearwater's Fort Harrison Hotel, and about the use of physical violence, all naturally denied by the management. And of course the church has a handy collection of "ethics files", which they've deployed against the rebels.

Oh heck, cherry picking one more story won't hurt:

Miscavige had the staffers line up at the diving board in their uniforms, and one by one, jump into the pool. Before each person went in, Norman Starkey, once the captain of the Apollo, called on them to be better spiritual beings. He recited a traditional Sea Org saying:

We commit your sins and errors to the deep and trust you will rise a better thetan.

Miscavige ordered the group to go to an office in their wet clothes and stay put until they figured out where they had failed.

Tom De Vocht says he can't recall what angered Miscavige that chilly night early in 2005. But he well remembers the doubts that crept into his head as he sat wet and shivering.

What am I doing here?

I could go on cherry picking, but that's not fair to the writers, Joe Childs and Thomas C. Tobin. Head over there and click on an ad or two to thank them for the read.

What's interesting is the way management uses the trick of the Catholic church - confessions - to maintain control, along with all the other control devices built in to the cult's religious practices (not least hypnosis based techniques).

Apparently Miscavige never did carry out his threat to send his underlings to remote parts of the world. But making people play musical chairs to Bohemian Rhapsody surely counts as cruel and unusual punishment, worthy of an episode of 24:

Is this the real life -
Is this just fantasy -
Caught in a landslide -
No escape from reality -
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see -
I'm just a poor boy, I need no sympathy -
Because I'm easy come, easy go,
A little high, little low,
Anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me,
To me ...


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