Scientology Archive

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According to the official website of the Church of Scientology the word ‘Scientology’ literally means “the study of truth.” It claims that “Scientology is the study and handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others and all of life. The religion comprises a body of knowledge extending from certain fundamental truths.”

At the same time it says that “In Scientology no one is asked to accept anything as belief or on faith. That which is true for you is what you have observed to be true.”

Critics have labeled Scientology as everything from a dangerous cult run by amateur psychologists to a scam exploiting money from its members, writes Herón Márquez.

“We don’t expect mainstream religions to lie, to exploit people, to engage in illegal activity,” said David Touretzky, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. “Scientology is not a true religion, because it does all of these things.”

Scientology research resources

Scientology Amsterdam buys building for ‘Ideal Org’

The struggling Amsterdam, Netherlands base of the Church of Scientology has bought a building which it hopes to transform into a so-called ‘Ideal Org.’

According to local newpaper Het Parool, the former office building was bought for 5 million Euro in cash — money the paper says was provided by the ‘mother organization.’

Scientology Amsterdam Ideal Org

Earlier this year Jenna Miscavige, the niece of Scientology’s controversial leader David Miscavige, said the cult’s head office in Los Angeles views the Amsterdam base as an ‘SFO’ — a small and failing org.

At the time she told Het Parool that while foreign Scientology missions are expected to pay ten percent of their profits to the mother church, the cult’s Amsterdam base does not do so because it is insolvent.

The paper says that Scientology acknowledges it received significant financial aid to be able to purchase the building.

Small wonder. At its current location, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 116-118, the church has faced rent arrears a number of times.

Nevertheless, in March this year the Scientology Kerk Amsterdam was reportedly negotiating the purchase of an office complex in Slotervaart, a suburb in Amsterdam’s New West borough.

At the time, Het Parool reported that the church, which did not have tax-exempt status, used Nabesa — a Scientology front group that did have tax-exempt status — to receive donations for its planned Ideal Org.

The purchase eventually fell through when the New West borough refused to adapt its zoning plan to allow use of the office buildings for religious purposes.

A Scientology spokesperson tells Dutch daily Trouw that this was not the reason to stop the purchase, but rather that the building at Wibautstraat was considered ‘more ideal.’

Office building currently rented by Scientology Amsterdam

Office building currently rented by Scientology Amsterdam


Meanwhile the reports in Het Parool drew the attention of the Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingsdienst), which last September closed the loophole by removing Naesa’s tax-exempt status.

Ironically, one month later an appeal court in Amsterdam granted the Scientology organization tax-exempt status. The Tax and Customs Administration has subsequently asked the Court of Cassation for a ruling in the case.

Not that it really matters. The Scientology cult is thought to have no more than 500 members in all of the Netherlands. It’s current glass-fronted building nearly always looks so empty that it gives new meaning to the phrase, ‘the lights are on, but nobody is home.’

Ideal Org

Since 2003 the Scientology, which refers to itself as a ‘religion’ and a ‘church’, has embarked on a program to purchase and renovate landmark buildings at key locations in cities throughout the world in order to transform them into what Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard envisioned as “Ideal Organizations.”

In a controversial ‘sponsored post’ at TheAtlantic.com in January this year David Miscavige said, “This new breed of Church is ideal in location, design, quality of religious services and social betterment programs.”

Since 2003 over 30 such buildings have opened, with at least 60 more being planned.

The lavish buildings, richly decorated luxurious ‘palaces’ are meant to convey a sense of success and respectability — ideals that, given the amount of negative press Scientology manages to attract — seem rather elusive.

In fact, even the way Scientology goes about raising the cash for these expensive pieces of real estate causes critics to wonder whether Scientology is self-destructing.

The future home of Amsterdam’s Ideal Org is located at Wibautstraat 112-128 — a street most Amsterdammers would rather forget exists, though plans have long been floated to turn the ugly street into a prestigious boulevard.

Scientology cult entities, leader sued over harassment

The wife of a former senior executive of the Church of Scientology has filed a lawsuit against the cult’s controlling entities, cult leader David Miscavige, and two men believed to be working on behalf of the ‘church.’

In her lawsuit Monique Rathbun, wife of Mark “Marty” Rathbun, describes “three years of ruthlessly aggressive misconduct” by the church and its employees, alleging they have waged a campaign of surveillance, dirty tricks, intimidation and harassment.

Mark Rathbun left the Church of Scientology in 2004, and has been an outspoken critic since 2009, when he featured — along with former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder — in The Truth Rundown, a series of investigative reports on the Church of Scientology.1

Profile from The Truth Rundown

Profile from The Truth Rundown

In that report, high-ranking defectors tell of violence in Scientology’s top ranks.

Rathbun, who married Monique in 2010, now is an independent Scientologist or, in the church’s terms, a ‘squirrel’.2

Spies Sue The Cult

In September, 2012, two goons involved in the harassment of the Rathbuns sued the Church of Scientology for payments they said they had not received.

Two months later the lawsuit was dropped, likely because a settlement was reached out of court — following a pattern in other lawsuits between the cult and its critics.3

Restraining Order

Following Rathbun’s lawsuit, a Texas judge has issued a Temporary Restraining Order.

The Tampa Bay Times says

District Judge Bruce Boyer signed the restraining order Friday, legally preventing Miscavige and the other defendants from surveilling Monique Rathbun, threatening her, following her or contacting people she knows.

A hearing is scheduled for September. The suit also seeks damages of more than $1 million.

The paper also quotes the reaction of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw, who as usual makes about as much sense as L. Ron Hubbard did.

Read the Complaint
Read the Temporary Restraining Order

Notes:

  1. Published in the St. Petersburg Times, now the Tampa Bay Times
  2. In a 1990 series of reports on the cult, The Los Angeles Times explained:

    The Church of Scientology hates “squirrels.”

    That is the scornful word L. Ron Hubbard used to describe non-church members who offer his teachings, sometimes at cut-rate prices. Most are ex-Scientologists who say they believe in Hubbard’s gospel but left the church because its hierarchy was too oppressive.

    “We call them squirrels,” Hubbard once wrote, “because they are so nutty.”

    Hubbard contended that only church members are qualified to administer his self-improvement-type courses. Outsiders, he said, inevitably misapply the teachings, wreaking spiritual harm on their subjects.

    But those who have launched “independent” Scientology-style centers say Hubbard concocted this as an excuse to eliminate competition so he could charge exorbitant prices for his courses.

    As far back as 1965, Hubbard demonstrated his disdain for breakaway groups, ordering his followers to “tear up” the meetings of one such organization and “harass these persons in any possible way.”

    The intolerance still exists.

    Indeed, the Church of Scientology is known for its lengthy, ongoing history of hate- and harassment activitiesunethical behavior based on the policies of the cult’s nutty founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

  3. See also: Scientology’s Master Spies