Sea Org

Scientology Inc: L. Ron Hubbard Never Appointed David Miscavige as his Successor (Mark Fisher)

In this podcast Mark Fisher — who was David Miscavige’s former assistant for many years at the Corporate Liaison Office and later RTC — discusses how L. Ron Hubbard never appointed  David Miscavige as his Successor. Instead, Mark describes how David Miscavige, who then worked as an employee of the privately-owned for-profit company Author Services Inc., used ASI to stage a palace coup to take over RTC, and thus the Church, after the death of L. Ron Hubbard.

Mark Fisher also discusses how he took personal possession of L. Ron Hubbard’s auditing folders and the OTVIII – OTX materials after Hubbard’s death, this at the direct order of David Miscavige.

 In my previous article Scientology claims L. Ron Hubbard chose David Miscavige to succeed him, proving he didn’t, David Miscavige used Scientology attorney Eric Lieberman to insist that he, David Miscavige, had rightfully inherited the mantle of L. Ron Hubbard. Lieberman insisted the Church has documents from L. Ron Hubbard supporting this claim. However, neither Lieberman nor the Church has ever publicly produced these alleged documents. It stands to reason that if such documents existed then David Miscavige would certainly have produced and publicly circulated these documents immediately upon the death of L. Ron Hubbard in January 1986. This never happened. Therefore, Lieberman’s claim must remain unsubstantiated until such a time as the purported documents are publicly posted online and made available for one and all to examine.

This matter also the question: Why, after 30 years at the top of Scientology, does David Miscavige suddenly feel the need to assert that he is the legitimate successor of L. Ron Hubbard? The answer may lie in the fact that many current and former Scientologists view Miscavige’s succession to power as having been the result of an illegitimate palace coup after L. Ron Hubbard died on January 26, 1966 without having appointed a successor.

 In the David Miscavige.Affadavit.17 Feb 1994 David Miscavige stated that L. Ron Hubbard went completely out of touch with any and all Church entities from May of 1984 until he passed away in January of 1986.

 This means that from May 1984 forward, Hubbard had absolutely no contact with David Miscavige or anyone else in the Church. And from 1982-1987 David Miscavige was COB Author Services Inc., a for-profit California corporation that was not a part of the Church of Scientology International. During this time period, however, David Miscavige arguably pierced the corporate veils between ASI, CST. RTC, and CSI at one crucial event when “Commander” David Miscavige showed up in the uniform of a Sea Org member to help conduct the Mission Holder Massacre of October 1982. As an employee of a privately-owned corporation, Miscavige had no authority to act within CST, RTC, or CSI. Nevertheless, Miscavige announced to the Mission Holders:

“Earlier this evening both Kingsley Wimbush and Dean Stokes were here. They have both now been declared and we are pursuing criminal charges against them. They have been delivering their own squirrel tech while calling it Scientology. Kingsley Wimbush’s ‘dinging process’ is complete squirrel. You won’t find it in any tech, yet he has been calling it Scientology. That’s a violation of trademark laws and he now faces some serious charges for this crime. This sort of activity is NOT going to go on any more.”

Question: By what right or authority did Commodore David Miscavige declare Kingsley Wimbush and Dean Stokes? As an ASI employee, Miscavige had absolutely no standing in CSI; he had no ecclesiastical or corporate authority to declare SP’s. And yet in the 1982 photo below we see David Miscavige declaring Mission Holder Dean Stokes of Dallas an SP:
DM.Dean.Stokes

Given David Miscavige’s lack of corporate and ecclesiastical standing in the Church, we must therefore assume David Miscavige declared Dean Stokes based upon Miscavige’s standing as a then Commander – and later Captain — in the Sea Org. However, this belies what CSI Legal Director Alan Cartwright stated in when he was deposed by Ray Jeffrey in Rathbun v. Miscavige:

Q. (By Mr. Jeffrey) Okay. Is David Miscavige captain of the Sea Organization?
A. No.

Q. What — does he have a rank within the Sea Organization?
A. He has a rank, just like I have a rank.

Q. And what is his rank?
A. From what I understand, he has a rank of captain.

Q. Okay. Is that an insulting term?
A. I don’t know about being insulting, it’s just an incorrect term.

Q. According to you?
A. Insulting?

Q. Yeah, that it’s — no, you said it’s incorrect. It’s incorrect according to you.
A. What I said to you was I don’t know him as Captain David Miscavige. I’ve never heard that being used.

Q. Have you ever seen him in his captain’s uniform?
A. I’ve seen him in his Sea Org uniform.

Q. And is it a captain’s uniform with captain’s rank?
A. You know, I’m not sure.

Q. Do you have a uniform?
A. Yes.

Q. And so, what you’re saying is that everyone within this group called the Sea Organization has a rank, but the ranks are meaningless?
A. Ranks — these — you have to understand what the Sea Org is. It’s a religious order, and these are — these are honorary positions that are given to someone because of longevity and what they’ve done for the religion. That’s all it is.

Q. Is there any chain of authority from rank to rank? Does a captain have authority in connection with an ensign?
A. No.

Q. There’s no authority that derives from that?

A. None whatsoever. Just to give you an example, I’m an ensign, Linda Hamel is a midshipman, I have a senior rank to her.

Q. And both of those ranks are beneath captain?

A. In the levels of ranks, yes.

Q. But, you are saying that the ranks are meaningless in terms of authority?
A. Totally.

According to CSI Legal Director Alan Cartwright,  Sea Org ranks are meaningless in Scientology. Hence, corporate ranks mean everything. So to repeat, how did David Miscavige, an employee of a for-profit privately owned corporation called Author Services Inc., have any corporate or ecclesiastical standing within CSI standing to declare Dean Stokes, Kingsley Wimbush, or anyone else an SP in 1982 at the Mission Holders Conference? The answer is that he didn’t.

David Miscavige’s claim that his Sea Org rank means nothing does not withstand scrutiny when we consider the actions of “Sea Org Commander David Miscavige” at the 1982 Mission Holders Conference. The for-profit ASI had no authority to declare anyone an SP. Miscavige could have only acted from his role and authority within the Sea Org when he declared people. This proves that the Sea Org actually runs the Church of Scientology; the “farrago of cavils” from Alan Cartwright notwithstanding.

 Likewise, David Miscavige’s claim to be the legitimate successor to L. Ron Hubbard does not withstand scrutiny when we consider the complete absence of any  succession document, or documents, written by L. Ron Hubbard. Rather, based upon the available evidence, we must conclude that David Miscavige came to power in a palace coup he staged to take over RTC after the death of L. Ron Hubbard.

Scientlology Money Project Chart # 11

so.11

Chart copyright 2015 Jeffrey Augustine. Please attribute when reposting.


The structure of Scientology Inc. is rife with self-serving conflicts of interest by David Miscavige and his enablers both in OSA and private practice.

Scientologists must confront this fact: Their “Church” has gone criminal and is in an out exchange condition. This is a rip off per Mr. Hubbard:

“First consider a group which takes in money but does not deliver anything in exchange. This is called rip-off. It is the ‘exchange’ condition of robbers, tax men, governments and other criminal elements.” – L. Ron Hubbard, HCO PL 10 Sep 82 – Exchange, Org Income and Staff Pay.

Scientologists are encouraged to do their own Doubt Formula to find out what is true for them. The data found here on the Scientology Money Project is from publicly-available IRS records, court records, and other public documents. I found virtually everything on this blog by using Google. Knowledge is power.

2016 will bring increasing challenges to Scientology Inc. as ever-increasing exposure is brought to bear on this criminal organization masquerading as a religion. Particular scrutiny will be on Kingpin David Miscavige and his enablers.

How Scientology changes its story to fit what it’s trying to get away with

MV2Captain_David_Miscavige

David Miscavige, captain of a legal fiction

(Note: This article first appeared on Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker and is republished here for archival reasons.)

Former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder recently reported that church lawyer Gary Soter had sent a threat letter to former Scientology executive Dan Koon.

The church had learned that Koon helped Ron Miscavige Sr., the father of Scientology leader David Miscavige, write his memoir, which is due to come out in 2016. In his letter, Soter informed Koon that by merely helping Ron write his book, he was in violation of nondisclosure agreements and bonds he had signed as a Scientology officer. Those documents Koon had signed carried heavy penalties for violating their terms, Soter claimed.

On March 12, 1980 you agreed to pay $5,000,000 in liquidated damages for “breach of security of the CMO INT or any units working under CMO INT. This would include anything heard with regards to work…”

Sea Org members make about $40 per week — when they’re paid at all — but Scientology expects its indentured servants to pay a $5,000,000 penalty for breaking the Sea Org’s rules. What really stood out, however, was something else Soter included in his letter. Can you spot it?

On May 12, 2000 you signed a “Declaration of Religious Commitment and Membership in the Sea Organization. Paragraph 8 of that Agreement states: “I agree to maintain the confidentiality of all communications…all documents, all files, all mailing lists and all other material not commonly offered to the public for sale or use…which may come into my knowledge or possession in the course of my services as a member of the Sea Organization…”

You might remember that we’ve pointed out before how David Miscavige’s attorney, Lamont Jefferson, has said in official court documents that the Sea Org has no legal standing and has no members. Here’s what Jefferson wrote in a filing in Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit against Miscavige…

Plaintiff asserts that Mr. Miscavige exercised control because he leads the Sea Organization, a religious order within Scientology. But the ‘Sea Org’ is not a corporate entity; it has no physical or legal existence. It is not incorporated or established pursuant to legal formalities. It has no constitution, charter or bylaws, and no formal or informal ecclesiastical, corporate, or other management structure. It has no directors, officers, managing agents, or other executives; no employees, staff members, or volunteers; no income; no disbursements, no bank accounts or other assets; no liabilities; no stationery; no office, home, address, or telephone number. It does not create or maintain any financial, personnel, or other records. It can neither give nor receive orders because it has no one to either give or receive them or to carry them out. It cannot sue or be sued.

What Jefferson told a Texas court aligns with what the Church told the IRS to get its tax exempt status in 1993:

Although there is no such “organization” as the Sea Organization, the term Sea Org has a colloquial usage which implies that there is. There are general recruitment posters and literature for “The Sea Org” which implies that people will be employed by the Sea Org when in reality they will join, making the billion year commitment, at some church that is staffed by Sea Org members and become employees of that church corporation.

So, while Scientology tells courts and governments that its Sea Org has no legal reality and no members, it tells Sea Org members like Dan Koon something very different.

But then again, Scientology isn’t even consistent in what it says in the courtroom. Here’s what another Scientology attorney, Bert Deixler, said in a court briefing in Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit against the church…

“It is exclusively from the Sea Org that the senior leadership of Scientology is drawn.”

The Sea Org has no members. But Deixler told a California court that the senior leadership of Scientology is drawn “exclusively” from the Sea Org – a group that Mr. Jefferson told a Texas court can have no directors, officers, managing agents, executives, employees, staff members, or volunteers.

So, let’s review the scorecard…

— In order to keep David Miscavige out of a deposition in a Texas lawsuit, Scientology claims that the Sea Org does not exist and has no members. Sea Org members derive authority only from their posts in the Church of Scientology hierarchy.

— In order to threaten Dan Koon, Gary Soter asserts that the Sea Org and its contracts exist, that they are legally binding; and that they can serve as the basis of a lawsuit to collect $5,000,000 in liquidated damages.

— In order to claim First Amendment protection for its abusive treatment of employees, Bert Deixler said in Laura DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit that all of Scientology’s senior executives are drawn from its monastic order the Sea Org.

Deixler was unsparing on this point in defending the Sea Org’s policies, which include outrageous treatment of children, as Laura DeCrescenzo was. Deixler cited Higgins v. Maher (1989), a case which states that anyone who enters into employment as religious clergy forfeits the protection of the civil authorities:

The courts of this State have recognized that the ministerial exception bars judicial interference with discipline or administration by churches of their clergy…”In our society, jealous as it is of separation of church and state, one who enters the clergy forfeits the protection of the civil authorities in terms of job rights.”

As I wrote in a previous column, this “ministerial exception” is why Sea Org workers do not have to be paid minimum wage or overtime; why they can be locked up and brutalized in the Rehabilitation Project Force; and why they receive no pension after decades of service. Scientology has been able to subject its workforce to endless hours, sleep deprivation, unhealthful food and psychological terrorizing, and American courts have been reluctant to do anything about it.

The Church sees Sea Org members as “coins” that can be traded among Orgs and then kicked to the curb when they weaken from age or infirmity. The Sea Org euphemism for this cruelty is called “Fitness Boarding.” Old and sick Sea Org members are fitness boarded, given $500, and then shown the door.

Is what I am describing inaccurate? Is my language too strong? Not according to the words of Bert Deixler and the Church of Scientology in their filings opposing Laura DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit:

Even if an ecclesiastical decision appears harsh, humiliating, unfair, or irrational from a secular viewpoint, civil courts have no role to play…

The Church of Scientology’s justification for its humiliating and sadistic treatment of Sea Org workers is the First Amendment. However, when Captain David Miscavige of the Sea Org is at risk of being deposed, the Sea Org does not exist.

The Church of Scientology should not be able to have it both ways: A legally nonexistent entity cannot have First Amendment protections.

The late Earle Cooley, an attorney for the Church of Scientology, once caught someone the Church was suing in a contradiction during a deposition. Cooley calmly asked, “So which story are you sticking with?”

Thus, we turn Mr. Cooley’s question to David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology: Does the Sea Org exist or does it not exist?

Which story are you sticking with, Mr. Miscavige?

The Nine Key Principles of Scientology

time-coverScientology is a standalone and transportable system of policy and operations that can be set up anywhere. At is core, Scientology s a dishonest franchise system, a transnational business scam hiding behind its religious facade.

Scientology operates in what it calls sectors: * Scientology operates as a series of legally separate churches in an “ecclesiastical hierarchy”
* Scientology operates drug treatment centers
* Scientology operates bogus human rights groups, literacy campaigns, and other “social betterment groups.
* Scientology operates a series of franchised business consulting companies
* Scientology can be a (fill in the blank)

The Nine Key Principles of Scientology:

1. Once Scientology policy and operations are learned, any Scientologist can work in any Scientology sector or Scientology corporation anywhere. The Org Board, for example, is used in all Scientology sectors.

2. All Scientology corporations must be legally separate from all other Scientology corporations. This is to minimize legal risk. If one legally separate Scientology corporation is sued and bankrupted, no other Scientology corporation will be affected.

3. All legally separate Scientology corporations use a series of unconscionable and bad faith contracts that strip clients of all of their legal rights in favor of the Scientology corporations.

4. Scientology plays for keeps when it comes to money. Scientology will say, do, or promise virtually anything to separate people from their money. For this reason, refunds are anathema to the Scientology scam.

5. The Sea Org is the invisible hand that manages and operates all Scientology sectors and corporations. The Sea Org provides a unity of command across all sectors and all legally separate Scientology corporations.

6. Scientology must consistently lie about point 5 above by arguing that the Sea Org does not legally exist and has no corporate form, no address, and can have no members.

7. The ever-present threat of Church punishments, sec checks, comm evs, RPF, SP declares, disconnection, and fair game serves to keep all Scientologists — Sea Org or public — in all sectors obedient to the Church. Fear of punishment and loss pervades the minds and hearts of all Scientologists. Scientology plays for keeps and considers anyone who departs and speaks out to be a traitor upon whom severe revenge must be inflicted. The same applies to non-Scientologists who speak out against Scientology.

8. All of Scientology is based upon the writings and policies of L. Ron Hubbard. To use this so-called technology requires that licensing fees be paid weekly to uplines. Thus, all legally separate Scientology corporations must send the bulk of their earnings uplines each week into the corporate account of whatever sector to which they belong. In turn, these sectors must send the bulk of their earnings uplines in the form of licensing fees the Church of Scientology Int’l. CSI In turn sends money to RTC and RTC to CST.

9. All legally separate Scientology corporations in all sectors consistently use deceptive and misleading advertising to lie about the results they promise. The contracts, however, tell the truth: Scientology promises nothing. See: Why no one should ever believe anything said by Scientology Sea Org or staff members: http://tonyortega.org/2015/08/09/why-no-one-should-ever-believe-anything-said-by-scientology-sea-org-or-staff-members/

Leah Remini and the Church of Scientology

TroublemakerThe Church of Scientology has gone on another of its rabid mad dog attacks. This time, the Church’s target is Leah Remini and ABC News.

In a series of letters, the Church has bitterly complained to ABC executives about the network’s coverage of actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini and her new book Troublemaker.

On its website, the Church reprinted nine letters it sent to ABC concerning Leah Remini and what it perceives to be ABC’s unfair treatment of Scientology. One problem with the Church of Scientology’s letters is that they are awash in vague generalities and unverifiable claims about the Church’s alleged expansion and its “social betterment” activities. None of its claims are proven by actual data.

Worse, and to the Church’s own damnation, Scientology uses these letters to make extremely vile personal attacks on Leah Remini. This is hardly surprising as the Church of Scientology has a history of making perverted and obscene attacks on women. For example, in the 1970’s Church of Scientology members scrawled Paulette Cooper’s name and private phone number with lurid messages on the walls of men’s public restrooms in New York. This filthy program of revenge against Cooper resulted in strange men calling her at all hours of the night and day seeking sex.

The Church humiliated Debbie Cook when she was still in the Church by making her stand in a trash can for eight hours with a sign around her neck that read “I am a Lesbo.” Water was repeatedly thrown on Cook during this ordeal. She was screamed at to publicly confess that she was a lesbian. Cook is not a lesbian and has been married for decades. Nevertheless, Church leader David Miscavige and his OSA hate machine have always been obsessed with making sleazy sexual slurs and attacks against people within and without the Church. When Cook described her humiliation in a public court hearing, David Miscavige quickly wrote a big check to settle with her in order to escape any further exposure of his depraved behavior.

The Church of Scientology is now viciously attacking Leah Remini in an attempt to demonize her. Leah’s “crime” was the same as that of the heroic Paulette Cooper: Leah dared to write a brave book exposing the Church of Scientology.


What I found to be particularly hypocritical about the Church’s attacks on Leah Remini was its characterization of her as a “no case gain.” This is one of the worst things a Scientologist can be called. This aspersion by the Church begs the question: If Leah spent 30 years in Scientology only to be a “no case gain” then what does this say about Scientology’s oft-repeated claim that “the Tech works.” Apparently, the Tech is not that good if a person can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for auditing and donate millions to the IAS only to be a no case gain.

Scientology can’t have it both ways: If the Tech works and Flag can crack any case, then Leah should have gotten case gain in thirty years. Otherwise, the Tech does not not work and David Miscavige and the Church of Scientology are lying about the efficacy of the Tech.

Moreover, if Leah Remini is a “no case gain” then the Church of Scientology should give her back every penny she ever donated to the Church just to prove its point that it does not need her or her money. But instead of having integrity and the decency to return her money, the Church has kept Leah’s millions of dollars in IAS donations and is now attacking her on a personal level. This vindictive, greedy, and petty behavior by Church leader David Miscavige is so very typical of Scientology. This behavior also goes to proving the argument that Scientology is a sleazy dirtbag cult that rips people off and gives nothing in return

As L. Ron Hubbard wrote:

“First consider a group which takes in money but does not deliver anything in exchange. This is called rip-off. It is the ‘exchange’ condition of robbers, tax men, governments and other criminal elements.” – L. Ron Hubbard, HCO PL 10 Sep 82 – Exchange, Org Income and Staff Pay.

On a related note, we recently completed an article here at the Scientology Money Project for Scientologists who are seeking repayments of monies on account with the Church.


Despite its letter writing and unwarranted personal attacks on Leah Remini, the  Church of Scientology strategically fails to address the actual and glaring reasons for the mounting criticism and odium it incurs daily within Western Culture:

  • Disconnection
  • Breaking Up families by Disconnection
  • Fair game, stalking, and spying on former members and critics
  • The daily and weekly financial rape of its parishioners by nonstop fundraising
  • The brutality of the RPF
  • The lies and brutality of David Miscavige; how was this man allowed to become an unchallenged Dictator in a Church that told the IRS it had a system of internal checks and balances? Did the Church lie to the IRS in its bid for tax exemption? It certainly appears that way.
  • The Church’s refusal to make public all of the details of its secret agreement with the IRS
  • The system of vicious contracts it uses to strip its members of their civil and legal rights
  • The continual lies its spouts in its PR releases; why does the Church lie even when it does not need to lie?

If the Church of Scientology is truly committed to setting the record straight with ABC and Western Culture altogether, it needs address the real issues. The Church further needs to publish real numbers. Specifically, the Church needs to publish these actual numbers:

  1. Current and active IAS membership numbers
  2. Number of current Scientologists active on OT VII
  3. Number of active Scientologists by country
  4. Number of Sea Org members and their average weekly stipend for 2005-2015.
  5. Liquid cash balances in all accounts: CSI, IAS, CSRT, etc.
  6. 2014 Balance sheets for CSI, Flag, AOLA, and all other major Orgs.
  7. Actual numbers of new public members who have joined the Church in 2010-2014.
  8. Membership loss and retention numbers since 2005.
  9. Verifiable evidence to support its claims that Scientology has grown more in the past ten years than in the previous 50 years. What does this claim even mean? Is Scientology referring to real estate or members? The meaningful growth would be members and not buildings. I say this because any group with money can buy buildings. Scientology’s growing real estate portfolio does not mean that Scientology is growing; it simply means the Church has assets to purchase financially nonperforming real estate sufficient to satisfy the IRS requirement to spend money in the public benefit, in this case the purchase of buildings to use as Orgs.
  10. Monies spent by the Church and the IAS on lawyers since 2005.
  11. Refunds and repayments given since 2005.
  12. Number of WDAH every year since 2005.
  13. Number of auditors made since 2005.
  14. Number of people declared SP’s since 2005.
  15. Number of Sea Org members blown or routed out since 2005 versus the number of new Sea Org members since 2005.

These numbers need to be audited and validated by an independent third party hired by the Church. Having published Scientology’s 990-T’s, I am interested in the real data. I would like to see and inspect the numbers.

In my view, absent actual evidence the Church of Scientology is essentially publishing meaningless propaganda and self-indicting vitriol that serves to prove the viciousness of the Church of Scientology. The Church is doing this to itself; it sewed the wind and is now reaping the whirlwind.

Until Scientology publishes its real numbers and honestly addresses the intrinsic and systemic problems its own internal polices continually create, the Church will continue on its present trajectory of self-destruction. I have always written that Scientology is inherently self-destructive. From my perspective what is certain is this: The Church of Scientology is being broken upon the wheel of history and is doing everything it can to hasten its own destruction.

Leah Remini on ABC 20/20


TroublemakerLeah Remini’s new book Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology  is  available here.

“The outspoken actress, talk show host, and reality television star offers up a no-holds-barred memoir, including an eye-opening insider account of her tumultuous and heart-wrenching thirty-year-plus association with the Church of Scientology.”

“Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.”

“That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former King of Queens star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.”


Aaron Smith-Levin on Freeloader Bills, the State of Clear, and the Clear Cognition

In a fascinating and wide raging interview with Jeffrey Augustine, former Sea Org member Aaron Smith-Levin discusses the topics of Scientology’s controversial Freeloader bills, the Clear Cognition, and other topics.

Companion documents for this interview:

Aaron and his wife’s Freeloader Bill totaling $129,344.27 itemized on an Excel spreadsheet. Note: You must download this document on Scribd to view it as an Excel spreadsheet: https://www.scribd.com/doc/283151307/Freeloader-Debt-Itemized-Church-of-Scientology

Petition to reduce Freeloader Debt by removing Non-Bridge courses: https://www.scribd.com/doc/283150340/Freeloader-Debt-Petition-Church-of-Scientology

Why no one should ever join Scientology’s ‘Sea Org’

(Authored by Jeffrey Augustine, this essay was originally published by Tony Ortega at the Underground Bunker and is reprinted here for archival purposes)


Why no one should ever join Scientology’s ‘Sea Org’

SeaOrgAdFrequent contributor Jeffrey Augustine told us he was surprised to see how some of the language in Scientology’s latest court filing — in the Laura DeCrescenzo lawsuit — dovetailed in such interesting ways with the recent explorations he’s been making into the church’s legal underpinnings. We told him to let that take him where it would, and here’s the result…

Last week we discussed the reason why no one should ever believe anything said by Scientology Sea Org or staff members. And as we saw in Thursday’s column by Tony Ortega, the Church is fighting back in Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit by arguing that the brutality it visits upon its staff is fully protected religious activity.

The Church’s legal filing in this case provides a frightening and instructive argument for our proposition that no one should ever join the Church of Scientology’s Sea Org. In the DeCrescenzo filing, the Church has made it perfectly clear that it is more than willing to weaponize the First Amendment in order to protect its shameless, self-serving, and bare-knuckled treatment of Sea Org members. When push comes to shove, the Church’s message is crystal clear: Sea Org have no legal protections from Scientology’s inherent brutality:
MinisterialEx
Church attorney Bert Deixler cited Higgins v. Maher (1989), a case which states that anyone who enters into employment as a religious clergy forfeits the protection of the civil authorities in terms of job rights:
MinisterialEx2
This “ministerial exception” is why Sea Org workers do not have to be paid minimum wage or overtime; why they can be locked up and brutalized in the RPF; and why they receive no pension after decades of service. Scientology has been able to brutalize its workforce with endless hours, sleep deprivation, unhealthful food and psychological terrorizing and American courts have been reluctant to do anything about it. The Church has a culture of contempt and brutality in which it sees Sea Org members as “coins” that can be traded among Orgs and then kicked to the curb when they weaken by reason of age or infirmity. The Sea Org euphemism for this cruelty is called “Fitness Boarding.” Old and sick Sea Org members are fitness boarded, given $500, and then shown the door. Is what I am describing inaccurate? Is my language too strong? Not according to the language invoked by Bert Deixler and the Church of Scientology in their DeCrescenzo filing:
MinisterialEx3
Scientology’s justification for its brutal, humiliating, and sadistic treatment of Sea Org workers is the First Amendment. Examples include:

— Decades of coerced abortions to keep young couples free to work endless hours

— L. Ron Hubbard throwing children into the chain locker of the Apollo.

— David Miscavige’s unfettered ability to physically assault Sea Org members with impunity.

— The Sea Org’s morally inexcusable use of child labor.

— The demand on Sea Org members for 16-20 hour workdays, seven days per week.

— Sleep deprivation.

— Humiliating and degrading interrogations known as “sec checks.”

— The brutality of the prison programs, the RPF and the RPF’s RPF.

— Censoring mail and communications with family members.

— The Church’s policy of attempting to kidnap and retrieve Sea Org members who have escaped.

— The routine use of “Too Gruesome” punishments demanded by L. Ron Hubbard. See: HCO Policy Letter of 5 January 1968, “Overfilled In-Basket, Bad News.” L. Ron Hubbard: “MAKE THE PENALTIES FOR NONCOMPLIANCE AND FALSE REPORTS TOO GRUESOME TO BE FACED AND ENFORCE THEM.”

As we have been discussing in our series of articles here at the Bunker, the intrinsic design of the Church of Scientology is to strip every Scientologist of their civil and legal rights, particularly of their right to sue the church for any injury no matter how grievous. This is accomplished by having all Scientology sign waivers in which they agree to irrevocably abandon and surrender their legal rights. Sea Org members also sign the contract language contained in the Church’s Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement, and General Release:
MinisterialEx4

The disjoint between Scientology’s PR image of the Sea Org and the reality of its court filings is jarring:
MinisterialEx5
How can the Sea Org create a “Sane Planet” when it itself is a fundamentally dystopian entity that does not even legally exist? To this point, as I noted in the comments section yesterday, Bert Deixler dropped an unexpected admission into the DeCrescenzo filing:
MinisterialEx5

Deixler’s statement cannot be reconciled with the statement made by David Miscavige’s attorney Lamont Jefferson. In a statement he made defending the church in Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit, Jefferson emphasized that the Sea Org cannot have directors, officers, managing agents, executives, employees, staff members, or volunteers. Therefore, no Scientology senior leadership can be drawn from the Sea Org as the Sea Org has no members to draw from.

Given the contradictions between the statements of Church attorneys Deixler and Jefferson, one can see potential cracks appearing in the Church of Scientology’s First Amendment armor. The Church has now stated in a legal filing that Church leadership is drawn from the Sea Org. Conversely, the Church told the IRS there is no such organization as the Sea Organization:
MinisterialEx6
In the DeCrescenzo case, then, the Church of Scientology is arguing that the courts may not interfere in the activities of the legally non-existent Sea Org no matter how “harsh, humiliating, unfair, or irrational” these activities might be.

The Church of Scientology knows that the Sea Org is an exploited workforce upon which all manner of inhumanity may be visited thanks to the First Amendment. And yet to hide its barbarous exploitation if the Sea Org from the world, the Church makes Sea Org members sign a non-disparagement agreement, an exclusive broken here at the Bunker. The legal language in that document says it all:

Accordingly, I PROMISE AND SWEAR NEVER TO SAY OR ENCOURAGE OR INDUCE OTHERS TO SAY OR WRITE ANYTHING NEGATIVE OR DISPARAGING ABOUT L. RON HUBBARD (“LRH”), THE CHURCH, CSI, RTC OR ANY OTHER CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OR THEIR STAFF, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS OR TRUSTEES, IN WHATEVER CAPACITY, OR ABOUT THE RELIGIOUS PRACTICES, MATERIALS, TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES OF THE SCIENTOLOGY RELIGION. I UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT THIS NON-DISPARAGEMENT COVENANT APPLIES NOT JUST WHILE I AM SERVING ON THE CHURCH’S STAFF BUT ALSO IN PERPETUITY, SHOULD I EVER LEAVE STAFF.

In addition to anything else a court may require me to do for violating this Non-Disparagement Covenant, that I shall pay the Church $25,000 as liquidated damages (and not as a penalty) for each individual violation of this Non-Disparagement Covenant and/or for each individual instance of causing, participating in, cooperating with or encouraging the publication or broadcast of information that results in a violation of this Non-Disparagement Covenant. I understand that it is difficult to ascertain the exact extent of damage and harm a violation would cause the Church, but I acknowledge that $25,000 is fair and reasonable.

What stands out in the Church of Scientology’s legal filings and contracts of adhesion is that no one should ever join the Sea Org, for to do so is to forfeit all rights and protections to enter a nightmarish and surreal shadowland devoted to serving the cruel whims and caprice of both L. Ron Hubbard and David Miscavige. Indeed, one is reminded of the dreadful words contained in Canto III of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy:

“THROUGH me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain…
All hope abandon, ye who enter here

— Jeffrey Augustine
——————–

If the Sea Org doesn’t legally exist, how does it run Scientology?

(Authored by Jeffrey Augustine, this essay was originally published by Tony Ortega at the Underground Bunker and is reprinted here for archival purposes)

Last week, Underground Bunker contributor Jeffrey Augustine began explaining to us the essential structure of the fiction known as “the Church of Scientology.” This week, he dives even deeper, examining how the Sea Org really runs things even though it doesn’t exist, legally. Confused? That’s exactly the point. Scientology’s byzantine internal structure was intended to make it difficult to follow lines of responsibility as a defense against lawsuits or government investigations. But sense can be made of things, and we’re fortunate that Jeffrey has this stuff down cold…


Nothing in the Church of Scientology is as it seems. As we covered last week, there is no single entity known as the “Church of Scientology.” Rather, as the Church told the IRS in 1992, the term “Church of Scientology” is one of convenience:

 The Church of Scientology describes itself as consisting of an “ecclesiastical hierarchy of churches” in which all of its churches are legally separate religious corporations. So who exactly manages and operates this transnational, multibillion dollar ecclesiastical hierarchy of Scientology churches on a daily basis? We focus this week on the Church of Scientology’s Sea Organization – the Sea Org — and its central role in Scientology. While the Church of Scientology likes to call the Sea Org its clergy, we will see that the Sea Org is not what it seems to be.

The Church of Scientology, tax exemption, and Founder L. Ron Hubbard’s ongoing pattern of financial misconduct, megalomania, spying on his enemies, and Scientology’s internal culture of brutality are intrinsic to the creation of the Sea Org. From Scientology’s founding in 1952 until 1967, the movement was managed and operated by staff members and volunteers. These people received very little in the way of pay, worked long hours, and often had to “moonlight” by working a second job to make ends meet. After Hubbard purchased Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, Sussex, England in 1959, he took up residence there with his family and quickly expanded it to be the global center of Scientology’s growing international operations and the destination of massive cash flow.

The Hubbard Communications Office Worldwide was established at Saint Hill in 1959. This operation was proof of Scientology’s growth and burgeoning financial power. Telexes were sent and received around the clock from Saint Hill to an expanding global network of Scientology orgs, operatives, lawyers, and private investigators. In this period, it became apparent to Hubbard that he needed an inner circle of Scientology careerists, people who would devote their lives to Scientology and to him and have no other purposes. An inner circle of permanent and trusted Scientology careerists was needed to give the movement stability and provide standardization of Scientology’s technology and management policy amid international growth. Scientology careerists were also needed to manage and supervise the growing cadre of non-Scientology lawyers and private investigators needed to counter the rising tide of criticism from the media, lawsuits from former members, and investigations from governments in those countries where Scientology operated.

The IRS revoked the Church of Scientology’s tax exemption in 1967 after finding the Church of Scientology of California (CSC) – the original Mother Church – existed for the private financial benefit (inurement) of Founder L. Ron Hubbard. The IRS objected to Hubbard ordering the church pay him lavish royalties on the sale of his books, tapes, and auditing services. The IRS further took exception to Hubbard and his family living aboard a church-financed private yacht that sailed the Mediterranean at Hubbard’s will and pleasure, this while Ron and Mary Sue Hubbard were waited upon hand and foot by church staff.

Hubbard could have cleaned up his finances and those of the church in a way that would have allowed the church to file a new application for tax exemption. However, Hubbard chose not to clean things up financially or morally. Rather, in 1966 Hubbard created the Sea Project and purchased a small flotilla of ships. In 1967 L. Ron Hubbard morphed the Sea Project into the Sea Org and appointed himself Commodore of the Sea Org. Hubbard took to international waters to avoid lawsuits, the service of summons, and the scrutiny of the taxing authorities in those countries where Scientology operated. Hubbard used the Sea Org and a global system of land and sea based telexes to run his empire.

Sea Org members signed billion-year contracts to serve Scientology and devote themselves to L. Ron Hubbard. Sea Org members had no other purpose than to serve where needed. No case on post was allowed. The Sea Org embodied the unquestioning fanaticism and the wanton disregard for “wog laws and customs” Hubbard required.

To fortify his Scientology empire, Commodore Hubbard additionally created the Guardian’s Office on March 1, 1966 and appointed his wife Mary Sue as the First Guardian. In her role as Guardian, Mary Sue was in charge of the Guardian’s Office and second in command of Scientology, subordinate only to Executive Director L. Ron Hubbard. In November of 1968, Hubbard issued the following policy letter: “The Intelligence Section has been formed and placed in Division 7, Dept 21, Office of the Guardian. It is under the direction of the Guardian WW [worldwide].” The GO became the in-house intelligence bureau of Scientology. As such, the GO was tasked by Hubbard with investigating and silencing Scientology’s enemies. Failing to silence them, the GO was tasked with destroying them per Hubbard’s imperious diktat of Fair Game.

The Snow White Program (1973-1977) was a Guardian’s Office intelligence operation that became the largest infiltration of the US federal government in its history. The Church was the subject of a massive multi-location FBI raid on July 8, 1977. Mary Sue Hubbard went to prison along with ten others in the Guardian’s Office. The years long fallout from the Snow White Program allowed Sea Org member David Miscavige and his clique to destroy the Guardian’s Office, drive Mary Sue Hubbard into exile, and push L. Ron Hubbard further into hiding and isolation.

As “Action Chief” David Miscavige’s job was to get things done for the Commodore; Miscavige’s ability to operate on an unimpeded basis both inside and outside of the Sea Org showed that “Scientology command channels” had no meaning or relevance to Miscavige; he was a law unto himself in the Church and reported only to Hubbard. Moreover, as the GO had been morphed into the Office of Special Affairs (OSA) and merged into the Sea Org, Miscavige now controlled Scientology’s nefarious intelligence apparatus.

In the early 1980’s, Scientology’s attorneys created the CST-RTC-CSI franchise system that exists today. After the Commodore died in seclusion on January 24, 1986, Sea Org Captain David Miscavige emerged in a very public way as Chairman of the Board, Religious Technology Center. At the time of Hubbard’s death, the vast majority of public Scientologists had never heard of David Miscavige or RTC. If anything, Sea Org member David Miscavige was notorious for his role in the infamous Mission Holder Massacre of 1982.

In his Last Will and Testament, Hubbard left the bulk of his personal fortune and his vast and financially lucrative intellectual properties – books, tapes, trademarks, copyrights, service marks, signature, etc. – to the Church of Scientology. However, Hubbard stipulated in his Will that his intellectual property could only be owned by tax exempt Scientology churches.

Thus, David Miscavige’s main focus was to a) use whatever means were necessary to secure and consolidate his power as the new and unchallenged Scientology Dictator, and b) gain tax exemption for CST-RTC-CSI and all other Scientology churches. Assisting Miscavige were some of the best tax lawyers in the US; his dedicated clique of loyal Sea Org members; an army of private investigators; and an unlimited budget.

November 1992, Washington DC: Secret and intense negotiations between Church of Scientology officials and IRS officials bogged down over many issues. The IRS wanted far more precise answers from the church concerning the question of inurement and what exactly the Sea Org is. The IRS asked Question 3-a:

 Source: Church of Scientology, Nov. 23, 1992: Third Set of Responses to the IRS — page 19 ¶ 1ff

The Church of Scientology replied:

op. cit. page 19 ¶ 3-4

The Church of Scientology thus characterized the Sea Org as:
— A religious commitment, specifically a commitment of one billion years.
— A religious order.
— A religious order having no corporate form, no property, no assets, and no personnel who administer the Sea Org.

Quite possibly fearing that the IRS would go past a word it did not understand and thus suffer from a deadly “misunderstood word” – a phenomena Hubbard warned of as being the root cause of failing to understand his invented Scientology terminology or anything else — the Church of Scientology became typically pedantic in elaborating upon its use of the word “organization”:

op. cit. page 19 ¶ 6

This clarification offered the IRS even more information about the Sea Org:
— The Sea Org does not have an org board.
— The Sea Org does not have a command channels chart.
— The Sea Org has no secular existence and is neither incorporated nor unincorporated.

Poised precariously on the edge of a nightmarish abyss one billion dollars deep, the church next, and very uncharacteristically so, told the IRS the actual truth about the Sea Org. And keep in mind that the church expected a secret agreement with the IRS. It never expected that Scientologists or the general public would ever read the following words:

In 1992, therefore, the Church secretly admitted to the IRS “there is no such ‘organization’ as the Sea Organization.”

Sea Org members are, in legal terms, nothing more than Scientology staff members who have elected to become Scientology careerists for various reasons. Rather than signing a 2.5- or 5-year contract like regular staff members, Sea Org members sign a symbolic billion year pledge. In practical terms these days, however, Sea Org members sign five-year staff contracts at five year intervals. In exchange for their labor, Sea Org members receive a meager weekly stipend and subsistence-level room and board. For legal reasons, the Church classifies both the Sea Org and Staff as religious orders. The legal net effect of this classification is that workers in religious orders are exempt from minimum wage, overtime pay, and other worker protections.

The obvious question: Why does the Church of Scientology pretend that the Sea Org exists when there is no such organization as the Sea Organization?

While David Miscavige and his lawyers were secretly telling the IRS in 1992 that there is no such “organization” as the Sea Organization, the US Claims Court ruled in that same year in Church of Spiritual Technology v. The United States:

“…After carefully examining the record and attempting to understand the nominal corporate structure of Scientology it is apparent to the court that it is something of a deceptis visus. Real control is exercised less formally, but more tangibly, through an unincorporated association, the Sea Organization, more commonly referred to as the Sea Org. This group, in the nature of a fraternity or clan, began with Scientologists who pledged themselves eternally to Scientology and who accompanied LRH in his sea-going spiritual research in the Mediterranean. In 1967, LRH and other Scientology staff moved onto a yacht, the Apollo, ‘to pursue [LRH’s] research of the upper levels of spiritual awareness.’ LRH and his Apollo staff performed Scientology services, managed the Scientology organization, and conducted spiritual research. If LRH could have been compared to Achilles, members of the Sea Org would have been his Myrmidons.

“The Sea Org appellation survives in Scientology as a distinction afforded to those Scientologists who have dedicated themselves to serving Scientology for the next billion years. It is described by CST as a way to distinguish Scientologists worthy of great deference and respect. Sea Org members are initiates into the highest levels of Scientology, and bear concomitant responsibilities.

“CST staff and officers are required to be members of the Sea Org, which gives CST the distinction of being a Sea Org Church. CSI, RTC, the Flag Service Org (which employs over 900 Sea Org members), the Saint Hill Churches, in short, all high ranking organizations are Sea Org Churches. Being a ‘Sea Org Church’ means that the church’s function is important enough to Scientology to warrant the attention of a significant number of Sea Org members.

“Sea Org rank nominally carries with it no ecclesiastical authority in the sense that Sea Org members still take orders from the ecclesiastical leaders of whichever Scientology organization they join. Upon closer analysis, however, this appears to be a distinction without a difference because in a Sea Org church the ecclesiastical authority necessarily resides in a Sea Org member.”

As mentioned in our previous essay, the Church of Scientology is composed of legally separate religious corporations. Ostensibly, each corporation is independent and responsible for its own affairs. This is stated in contracts Scientologists sign to receive services from these legally separate churches:

 

 

The deceptis visus cited by the US Claims Court in 1992 thus becomes apparent: In order to achieve a unity of command over the legally separate and independent Scientology religious corporations and their employees, the Sea Org exists as the secret governing body of the Church of Scientology. Therefore, whoever commands the Sea Org commands the Church of Scientology. This person, at present, is Captain David Miscavige.

The Sea Org is like the Mafia: It exists and it operates and controls the Church of Scientology, However, Scientology and its lawyers have made it virtually impossible to prove that Sea Org members derive any power whatsoever from their ceremonial ranks in a symbolic and legally nonexistent religious order. Again, to reiterate what we discussed in our last essay, David Miscavige’s attorney Wallace Jefferson declared in 2014 in Rathbun v. Miscavige et. al.:

Plaintiff asserts that Mr. Miscavige exercised control because he leads the Sea Organization, a religious order within Scientology. But the “Sea Org” is not a corporate entity; it has no physical or legal existence. It is not incorporated or established pursuant to legal formalities. It has no constitution, charter or bylaws, and no formal or informal ecclesiastical, corporate, or other management structure. It has no directors, officers, managing agents, or other executives; no employees, staff members, or volunteers; no income; no disbursements, no bank accounts or other assets; no liabilities; no stationery; no office, home, address, or telephone number. It does not create or maintain any financial, personnel, or other records. It can neither give nor receive orders because it has no one to either give or receive them or to carry them out. It cannot sue or be sued. The evidence Mrs. Rathbun has submitted fails to establish a prima facie basis for an alter ego finding, because none of it involves the defendants’ purported contacts relating to this suit, nor does any of it speak to the organizations’ current practices.

— Per David Miscavige and his attorneys, there is no such organization as the Sea Organization.
— Per David Miscavige’s attorney Wallace Jefferson, the Sea Org cannot have any members or volunteers.
— There can be no “religious commitment” to the Sea Org because the Sea Org does not exist to be committed to.
— The Sea Org cannot have volunteers as the Sea Org does not exist to volunteer for.
— The Sea Org has no address and does not exist anywhere. Neither you or I nor anyone else can mail a letter to the Sea Org.
— Sea Org members sign a “religious commitment” that is craftily worded so as to say nothing about the Sea Org being an actual organization:

The real details of the Sea Org are found in the staff contract Sea Org members sign:

The Sea Org controls the Church of Scientology and yet there is no such organization as the Sea Organization. If this seems contradictory and confusing it is because it was designed to be so. The only way any of this legal tissue of lies begins to make any possible sense is when considered in terms of L. Ron Hubbard’s words about the design and construction of the Church of Scientology:

“If anybody tried to attack a Scientology organization and pick it up and move it out of the perimeter or go over the hills with it today — this happened to us once — why, they would find themselves involved in the most confounded weird mass of legal — well, it is just like quicksand. Quicksand. It’s an interesting trick. Every time they shoot at you on the right side of a horse, you’re on the left side of the horse; and then they prove conclusively you’re on the left side of the horse, you prove conclusively that you’re on the right side of the horse. They go mad after a while. This is what the basic legal structure is.”

Marty Rathbun’s affidavit in Miscavige vs. Miscavige et. al. is very instructive in this regard. See the Underground Bunker’s in depth coverage: THE MARTY RATHBUN AFFIDAVIT: Scientology Leader David Miscavige Lied To Texas Court

— Jeffrey Augustine


 

Thank you, Jeff! Back in 2002, former Scientology spokesman Robert Vaughn Young, while he was battling cancer, put together an affidavit that comes to many of the same conclusions about how David Miscavige wields control of the church through his captain position in the Sea Org. That affidavit was to be submitted in a May 2002 court hearing in Lawrence Wollersheim’s long attempt to collect money he’d won in a judgment from Scientology. The morning Vaughn Young’s affidavit was to be heard in open court, the church showed up with a check for nearly $9 million to keep the hearing from happening and end the Wollersheim saga — many years after it had vowed never to pay “one thin dime to Wollersheim.” We wrote up that dramatic story for the Village Voice in 2008.

Disconnection by Allen Barton at the Beverly Hills Playhouse

DisconnectionThe play Disconnection by Allen Barton has been held over at the Beverly Hills Playhouse until March 29. If you’re in Los Angeles and haven’t already seen Disconnection, I highly recommend the play.

I have seen the play twice and, in my opinion, no one has ever captured the emotional devastation and intrinsic violence of Scientology in the way Allen Barton and company have done. Barton brings the Scientology experience into a very sharp existential focus. He is able to do so because he lived the experience.

A former member of the Church of Scientology, the play is based upon Barton’s relationship with acclaimed pianist and fellow Scientologist Mario Feninger.

Disconnection offers great insight into the power the Church of Scientology holds over the everyday lives of its members. This power ranges from the very petty to the extremely vindictive. The net effect is that the Church of Scientology consistently destroys the lives of its members. Barton uses his characters to show very concrete reasons why so many people have left the Church of Scientology and spoken out.

Allen_Barton_new_200x267_pic

Allen Barton

L. Ron Hubbard makes an appearance in the form of a character named Oldman. Played brilliantly by Robert L. Hughes, Oldman delivers a monologue that is truly a marvel. Hughes’ Hubbard is complex, vulnerable, self-serving, and disturbing. Barton humanizes Hubbard in an extraordinarily nuanced way that could only happen in live theater.

The play includes the Chairman. Played by Everette Wallin, the Chairman is the embodiment of David Miscavige as the strutting, sadistic, vainglorious narcissist. Wallin infuses the Chairman with power and magnetism while also showing just how completely lost his character is in the brutal ivory tower of Scientology at the very top.

The ferocious irony embedded into the fabric of the entire play is that everyone in the Church of Scientology, from founder L. Ron Hubbard down, ultimately becomes a victim of disconnection from both self and other.

Disconnection conveys the pervasive and painful psychological captivity of the Scientology experience. As I have written elsewhere, the “end phenomenon” of Scientology is this: Nothing left of a person.