Former executive speaks out against Scientology

by glenster 3 Replies latest social current

  • glenster
  • glenster
  • dmouse

    She will just be disfellowshipped and no scientologist will be allowed to talk to her again.

    Religions are exremely hard to injure - they are protected by their followers' extreme reluctance to admit they were duped.

  • glenster

    "Scientology Insider Emails Attack on Church Finances"
    by Janet Reitman

    On New Year's Day, the Church of Scientology, no stranger to scandal, was
    treated to yet another dose, this time from a former church official named
    Debbie Cook.

    In an email Cook sent to an astonishing 12,000 people—arguably the most
    dedicated core of the group—she accused Scientology's leadership of hoarding
    more than $1 billion in donations; spending lavishly on new churches; punishing
    former executives with draconian measures; and overselling Scientology books
    and services to members already stretched by high-pressure sales tactics.

    What was stunning about Cook's email wasn't what she said—in researching and
    writing my investigative history of the church, Inside Scientology, I heard all
    of these stories and more, and the blogosphere has been buzzing with these
    reports for more than a year. What was shocking was that Cook, of all people,
    said it. Allegations of mismanagement and reports of physical, emotional, and
    financial abuse have been the bread and butter of church critics. Cook, though,
    is not a "critic" of the church; to the contrary, she was a devoted
    Scientologist who, for years, has been one of Scientology's truest believers
    and standard bearers

    Cook spent much of her career heading Scientology's Flag Land Base, which is a
    cluster of organizations in Clearwater, Florida, that comprise what church
    members regard as their Mecca. Flag, as it's called, offers the most advanced
    Scientology courses on land and access to its elite counselors, known as
    auditors. (The very highest level of Scientology training is offered on
    Freewinds, the church's highly secure cruise ship that spends most of the years
    sailing the Caribbean.) Members who opt to seek counseling or other services at
    Flag pay far more than at any other organization, and it had been Cook's job to
    see that the operation ran smoothly. It was also Cook's job, as an elite member
    of the Sea Organization, Scientology's management body, to protect the church,
    something she did extremely well.

    Most memorably, Cook presided over Flag during the 1990s, when the church was
    rocked by allegations of criminal negligence in the 1995 death of Lisa
    McPherson, a member who suffered a nervous breakdown in Clearwater and later
    died while in the church's care. McPherson died of a pulmonary embolism, though
    a coroner originally cited prolonged dehydration and bedrest as the cause. Cook,
    who later admitted she'd been "kind of freaked out" by McPherson's death, was
    one of many senior church officials who spent years afterward trying to shield
    the church from scrutiny. So much was this the case that in 2000, when another
    member suffered similar emotional problems at Flag, the church, under Cook's
    leadership, told him to go home. The member, Greg Bashaw, a Chicago advertising
    executive, later wrote to Cook claiming that he had suffered a breakdown at
    Flag as a result of his counseling, and felt abandoned by the organization. Two
    months later, Bashaw committed suicide.

    These stories may seem peripheral, yet they speak to a far larger theme within
    Scientology, which demands that its members, and particularly its officials,
    protect the church at any cost. Cook was an exemplary soldier in this cause.
    This is why her email is shocking for Scientology-watchers, and threatening for
    the Church of Scientology itself.

    Scientology's response to Cook's allegations has been to write her off as yet
    one more “disgruntled defector” who was never the insider she claims, according
    to spokeswoman Karin Pouw. This, Scientology's standard response, is part of an
    overall policy to discredit critics, known as “dead agenting.” This same policy
    has been applied to reporters for decades. Coupled with an even harsher policy
    of harassment, known as Fair Game, it has dissuaded many from investigating the

    In the past few years, a tremendous amount of previously unknown information
    about Scientology has been made public, thanks to the bravery of former church
    officials who have posted their stories online, as well as to the doggedness of
    journalist colleagues like Tom Tobin and Joe Childs at the Tampa Bay Times, Tony
    Ortega at The Village Voice, and Lawrence Wright at The New Yorker. My
    investigations into the church began with a 2006 article that I wrote for
    Rolling Stone, and culminated with my book last year.

    Given how much is out there about Scientology, its most recent denigration of
    Cook, like its denigration of those who have come before her, rings hollow. And
    so does any defense of policies that have been exposed as bankrupt and in need
    of change.

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