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Scientology - Mass Exodus of Senior Staff and 'A' Listers
Posted by: SeekingTruth ()
Date: September 29, 2010 06:20AM

BBC reporter John Sweeney's last investigation into the Church of Scientology resulted in an explosive confrontation with church officials. This time, in a Panorama Special, one of those officials has turned whistleblower to help him reveal the dark secrets of the church, which boasts Hollywood A-listers Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its devotees.


Tue 28 Sep 201021:00BBC One (except Scotland)
Tue 28 Sep 201022:35BBC One (Scotland only)
Mon 4 Oct 201000:35BBC One (except Northern Ireland


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Panorama: Secrets of Scientology


Three years ago a clip of journalist John Sweeney losing his temper at a Scientologist became a YouTube sensation.

He'd set out to make a Panorama show about Scientology but instead it turned into a story about the extraordinary lengths the "church" would go to to stop him making the show.

Then it turned into a global news story about Sweeney looking (in his words) "like an exploding tomato". Three years later, he's back to poke at the cult again... with the help of one of the men who stood in his way last time.

Mike Rinder used to be official spokesman for the church and now explains to John that it was no accident he lost his rag - the church's heavies had been goading him to do just that.

As Rinder reveals more of the cult's tricks, he and Sweeney are followed by strangers in 4x4s. And this time there's no suggestion they're just being paranoid.


The Secrets of Scientology


BBC One, 9.00pm; Scotland,10.35pm

Ah, sweet vengeance. When John Sweeney set out to investigate the Church of Scientology for Panorama three years ago, one result was a remarkable on-camera meltdown by the reporter that became a hit on YouTube. Sweeney claimed that he was harassed by agents of the Church instructed to obstruct his enquiries. Now, a former spokesman for the Church and ex-head of its Office of Special Affairs, Mike Rinder, has defected from the organisation. Here he admits spying on Sweeney and discloses the details of the operation against him. Now Sweeney embarks on another investigation.


Tonight's Panorama special, The Secrets of Scientology, airs at 9pm on BBC1


It will include an interview with a former Scientology spokesman who confirms Sweeney's suspicions that he was followed by the church during the making of the 2007 programme.

Footage of Sweeney ranting at Tom Davis – "Now listen to me. You were not there at the beginning of the interview! You were not there! You did not hear or record all the interview!" – became a YouTube phenomenon and made headlines around the world when it aired in 2007.

Tonight's programme will also include allegations by former Scientology followers that the church sought to divide their families, a claim the church has denied.

"I apologised then and I apologise now, I was an idiot and I was wrong to lose it," said Sweeney of his infamous rant, which he has compared to an "exploding tomato".

"But questions do remain about the church and shortly after the last programme aired in 2007 I got word that one of the men assigned to handle me – Mike Rinder – had left," he told BBC Radio 4's Today.

"Back in 2007 I thought we were being spied on, followed around by sinister strangers. Tommy Davis denied it, saying I was being paranoid."

But Sweeney says the church "now admits private eyes were tasked to track and document us, an overt operation they say, not spying".

"You were being followed," Rinder tells him. "It would have come under my purview, no doubt whatsoever."


Read John Sweeney's blog on his clash with the Church of Scientology


John Sweeney revisits the Church of Scientology

In 2007, while investigating the Church of Scientology for Panorama, reporter John Sweeney had a dramatic on-camera confrontation with a church spokesman named Tommy Davis. The church was accusing the reporter of bias and it attempted to stop the documentary from being broadcast - a campaign backed by Scientology A-lister John Travolta. Sweeney has returned to investigate the church again.

I never meant to shout.

Strangers had been on my tail. Scientologist Tommy Davis and his colleague Mike Rinder - my handlers - had been on my case, day in and day out.

They had taken me to an exhibit called 'Psychiatry: Industry of Death' on Hollywood Boulevard, where a Scientologist told me psychiatrists set up the Holocaust. I feared I was being brain-washed.

And then I lost it - big time.

The Church of Scientology put out my impression of an exploding tomato onto the internet which millions had a laugh at courtesy of YouTube.

It was no way for me to behave. I apologised then and I apologise now.

Shortly after that programme, Scientology & Me, aired in 2007, I received a tip-off that Mike Rinder had left the church.

Three years on and my old adversary came to me to shed some light on what had been going on behind the scenes in the days leading up to my infamous meltdown and screaming session in Los Angeles.

Now an independent Scientologist, Mike is critical of the church and of its leader David Miscavige, who was actor Tom Cruise's best man at his wedding to Katie Holmes.

Mike, 55, wanted to meet and talk about his life in the church, which he was a part of from the age of six.


He began by telling me about the moment when he decided to get out: "I knew as I was walking out - that was the last time I would ever talk to my wife, my children, the rest of my family. I couldn't take it anymore. When I left I felt I had been freed."

Mike was subjected to what the church calls disconnection. His wife, daughter, son, brother and mother have cut him out of their lives.

Mike was one of a number of people we met who effectively grew up in the church and have since left.

Those who speak out say they can be deemed by the church to be enemies and subjected to disconnection - when all ties to family and friends are severed.

The church acknowledges some Scientologists choose to sever communications with family members who leave. The church says it is a fundamental human right to cease communication with someone. It adds disconnection is used against expelled members and those who attack the church.

The Panorama team were followed while filming in America

During our investigation in 2007, black SUVs with tinted windows appeared to be following our team as we carried out interviews. A mystery man who we suspected was from the church also appeared to be keeping tabs on us at breakfast in our LA hotel each morning.

At the time, I put my suspicions of being under surveillance to Tommy Davis. He responded: "I don't know what you're talking about. It seems to me you're getting a bit paranoid."

Mike Rinder has since given me a different answer.

"Was I being paranoid?" I asked him when we met again.

"No, you were being followed. No doubt whatsoever," he told me.

Mike said he should know as it was he and Tommy Davis who were doing some of the covert surveillance.

Mike said he and Tommy were reporting back on our movements to David Miscavige's office every few minutes or so.

Through its UK lawyers, the firm Carter-Ruck, the church deny spying on us and reject Mike Rinder's version of events dating back to 2007.

Celebrity members

The public face of the church is as a force for good, perhaps most familiar to the public for its offers of free stress tests at its shopfront centres in major cities.

Its star members include Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and Juliette Lewis.

When I interviewed Alley in 2007 and put the question to her that many believe Scientology to be a sinister brain-washing cult, she replied: "Would you ever sit with a Jew and tell them that their religion is a cult?"

When I asked the same question of Juliette Lewis, star of the film Natural Born Killers, she replied: "Some people say women are really stupid and shouldn't have the vote."

Panorama Archive: Scientology and Me

The church said it is a religion and is recognised as such in America for tax purposes. It denies emphatically that it is a cult and has maintained that I am biased.

Many ex-Scientologists disagree with the celebrities who defend the church.

Amy Scobee, now in her mid-40s, is a former member who said she believes it is "a dangerous cult". She was a member from the age of 14, much of her time in the church was spent as part of what is known as the Sea Org - the highly-disciplined wing that effectively runs the church's day to day operations.

Private details

When Ms Scobee left and began to criticise David Miscavige and the church, intimate details of her sex life before she was married leaked to the St Petersburg Times in Florida newspaper.

The church admits sending the newspaper material about Ms Scobee's sex life, but said it was acceptable because the information was contained in an affidavit signed by her. They say it was not confidential.

Ms Scobee said she had disclosed those details but she believed they would remain confidential.

During our time in America for the latest Panorama, we were once again followed by people filming us, this time more openly than before. When we approached the people with cameras to ask them who they were with and what they were doing, they refused to answer our questions.

That is why I was somewhat grateful to Scientology's UK lawyers at Carter-Ruck when they sent the BBC photographs of me hugging Amy Scobee at the end of a long and at times harrowing series of interviews about her experiences.

The photographs were meant to demonstrate to my bosses at the BBC, once again, that I must be biased against the church as I was overly familiar with its critics.

This was, oddly enough, welcome proof that the people who had been following and filming us in the States were indeed working for the Church of Scientology. As Mike Rinder had said, I was not being paranoid - I was being followed.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/2010 06:24AM by SeekingTruth.

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Re: Scientology - Mass Exodus of Senior Staff and 'A' Listers
Posted by: SeekingTruth ()
Date: September 29, 2010 06:56AM

Also see:


Amy Scobee tells the eye-opening account of her 27 years inside the Church from innocence at age 14 to her nightmarish experiences in the highest management body at Scientology's secret International Headquarters.


Amy Scobee was a staff member for the Church of Scientology for 27 years. She escalated up the ranks to the top of church management by the time she was twenty, where she remained for two decades. For much of that time, she served as a member of the Watchdog Committee, the highest management body in Scientology, which supervises every sector that makes up the church today. In this book, Amy relates her experiences from her discovery of Scientology as a 14-year-old to her episodes in building the Celebrity Center network for the likes of Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley.

Amy’s account of what she both experienced and witnessed first hand that lead to her departure in 2005 and subsequent decision to speak out against what she now classifies as a “dangerous cult” is both fascinating and chilling.

Amy Scobee now lives with her husband, Mark “Mat” Pesch in Washington State. She continues to expose Scientology’s human rights violations in the hopes of bringing the abuse to an end.



“At home alone, a 14 year old girl takes a phone call from Scientology. This starts a quarter of a century journey of manipulation, betrayal and sexual, physical and mental abuse. This journey leads to the highest management echelon and one woman’s courage to break free. It’s a real page turner.”
— Mark P.

“Amy Scobee has written a book unlike any other expose of Scientology. She actually was at the top of International Management for 20 years, and oversaw the recruitment of Hollywood stars into the Church of Scientology. She witnessed the abuse of top managers by their senior, David Miscavige. She writes convincingly of the human rights violations she endured while on the Rehabilitation Project Force, a thinly disguised slave labor camp. Her book is enjoyable to insiders and laymen alike, with a glossary of terms provided, and plentiful footnotes. This is an important contribution to understanding the controversy surrounding the Church of Scientology. The glaring spotlight eventually points to Abuse at the Top.”
— Michael H.

“I had no idea what was actually going on inside Scientology. Their management is completely corrupt. I don’t think any celebrity would endorse this “religion” if they read this book. Amy was very brave to tell her story. Now I hope authorities will take action to stop the abuse as far too many families are being torn apart and people are being hurt.”
— Deborah F.


Also see:


Recently, reports surfaced claiming that David Miscavige played Tom Cruise's confession tapes -- which are meant to be private -- to fellow church members for a laugh over drinks. Does that seem like something he'd do, or have you known this to be true?

Yes -- David Miscavige talked about people's private confidential information. I witnessed this myself. I included some specifics of this in my book regarding another celebrity. He also did it to staff -- snickering about things that came up in their confessionals and TELLING the specifics to whoever was at the meeting with him at the time. He did that to me. And he did that to many, many others. Including calling all-base staff briefings and reporting embarrassing details about supposed transgressions in order to intimidate people. One of my friends told me how Miscavige and he were standing outside when staff were walking between buildings -- like for lunch break or something -- and he pointed to random people giving "tid-bits" on each one as they passed, to "prove" how much "in the know" he is. It's a complete violation of the priest-penitent privilege and a total invasion of privacy.

Do you think more and more celebrities will lean towards Scientology as time goes on, or has it hit its high point star-wise?

No. Scientology celebrities are already beginning to turn away and have publicly resigned their membership. Award-winning writer/director Paul Haggis, actor Jason Beghe and actor Larry Anderson are a few recent examples. I think more celebrities will walk away as they discover the truth and cease turning a blind eye to the blatant human rights violations so many people are exposing inside Scientology.

What are some of the worst things [about Scientology]?

-- Family disconnection and their manipulation, blackmail and control through the threat of being cut off from family, which has devastating effects, and being denied your "only road to salvation as a spiritual being."

-- The Rehabilitation Project Force, which I cover in detail in my book. This is a slave labor camp within the Sea Organization where people who have supposedly messed up get sent for sometimes years and years. They are separated from family, segregated from the rest of the group, made to run everywhere, put on hard manual physical work and paid 1/4 the regular staff pay -- about $12 per WEEK. I've known several people on that program for over a decade for minor offenses. It's inhumane and that "program" should be shut down.

-- The way Scientology goes after critics. It's their policy to utterly annihilate the credibility of anyone speaking out against the "church." They have done brutal things in the past along these lines and are still pulling these stunts currently. I've been followed by private investigators – sometimes several at a time, my family's house watched, they've tried to get my in-laws (never even in Scientology) to kick me out of the family, which they refused and dismissed as a completely insane and evil proposal. They put out publications with vicious false and defamatory information about me to hopefully make the readers think I was incapable of accurately reporting on my observations with regards to their illegal activities.

-- Another key thing is INFORMATION CONTROL. This is a form of mind control. If one controls what you can and can not see or hear, one is unable to make a rational decision about that matter. Scientology specializes in information control -- one is banned from upper levels of "spiritual enlightenment' if it is discovered that you read anything negative about Scientology or talked to someone about it. People are put in for routine confessionals to find out if you "committed this sin." So you are careful to avoid any contact with the media when it comes to Scientology or to read about any exposure about what is going on at the highest echelons. If the general public knew, they would stop supporting Scientology. They would walk away. They'd have the INFORMATION to be able to make that decision. Instead, all they hear is what the head of Scientology (Miscavige) reports at their frequent PR events -- how the expansion is better than ever and popularity of Scientology is at an all-time high, etc. They applaud, thinking it's all wonderful and donate a lot of money for the cause to "keep the expansion going." It's very sad. I want people to have the truth. When I informed a family member of mine, who had been a dedicated Scientologist for about 30 years, what was really going on at the top of his church, he chose to walk away and he has officially resigned. That's the logical thing to do. He still believes the technology itself is beneficial, but will no longer support that organization – in fact he has also now requested all of his money back.

Something dangerous about Scientology is that they truly believe that they are the "only salvation" for mankind. They therefore consider they can do all sorts of things -- even if it breaks the law -- because it's "the greatest good" and forwards their overall mission to ensure everyone's future eternity. Crush a critic into silence, lie on national television, beat a staff member who is not behaving as you'd like, blackmail people using family disconnection and other threats to keep them in line, use personal information obtained on people to smear their name, keep people on the RPF for years, force staff to work around the clock for almost no pay, hide evidence that could be damning if it were discovered -- on and on. They are fanatics about being the ONLY salvation and the end justifies the means.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/2010 07:07AM by SeekingTruth.

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Re: Scientology - Mass Exodus of Senior Staff and 'A' Listers
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: September 29, 2010 07:03PM

The John Sweeney Panorama report on Scientology is available to view on BBC iplayer for the next month:


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Re: Scientology - Mass Exodus of Senior Staff and 'A' Listers
Posted by: SeekingTruth ()
Date: September 29, 2010 07:25PM

Also it is available at


Create an account, login, then go directly to the below link.


Use uTorrent 1.8.3 ONLY for downloading.

It has already acquired these statistics:

Snatched 759 time(s)
517 seeder(s), 28 leecher(s) = 545 peer(s) total

Judging by these no. of peers it has swept the world and CO$ can't stop it.
I suspect that it'll go up on YouTube very quickly too. Heh,heh, ...

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/2010 07:55PM by SeekingTruth.

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Re: Scientology - Mass Exodus of Senior Staff and 'A' Listers
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: September 30, 2010 03:48AM

There was a good quip by the actor Jason Beghe in the doc. He has left Scientology after many years and many 100 thousands $ spent. When he was asked his opinion if Scientology was a religion or a racket he said that perhaps those two were not mutually exclusive.

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Re: Scientology - Mass Exodus of Senior Staff and 'A' Listers
Posted by: AbundantLifeNow ()
Date: February 10, 2011 06:03AM

Thanks to those who are exposing more about the ways and deceets of cults that seek to take advantage of people. By using a forum like this hopefully people can be reached and if people are looking for information they'll see all the people who have the same concerns they do.

This is very useful and valuable. If just a handful of people are turned away, then the forums done a good thing.

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Re: Scientology - Mass Exodus of Senior Staff and 'A' Listers
Posted by: Sparky ()
Date: July 06, 2012 01:31AM

With all the hub-bub of Tom and Katie's pending divorce, it is important to remember what the fruit-loops at Scientology believe:

a reminder ala "South Park"...


...and, of course, my favorite explanation of Scientology:


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/06/2012 01:38AM by Sparky.

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Re: Scientology - Mass Exodus of Senior Staff and 'A' Listers
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 06, 2012 02:00AM

Wish the best for Suri.

Wish a good outcome for everyone in this mess.

It takes a long time to establish adult autonomy and learn to enjoy it after one has spent a lot of time not only as an inmate of a demanding ideology, but as a living advertisment and standard bearer for that same ideology.

Its especially difficult if one has risen to a very high rank by confiding intimate and embarassing secrets about one's inner life to the archons of the ideology.

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Re: Scientology - Mass Exodus of Senior Staff and 'A' Listers
Posted by: SeekingTruth ()
Date: July 06, 2012 06:21AM

Exposure by New Yorker - lengthy but interesting:

THE APOSTATE - Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology.
by Lawrence Wright

FEBRUARY 14, 2011

Asked how high he got in Scientology’s levels of study, Haggis said, “All the way to the top.”

On August 19, 2009, Tommy Davis, the chief spokesperson for the Church of Scientology International, received a letter from the film director and screenwriter Paul Haggis. “For ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego,” Haggis wrote. Before the 2008 elections, a staff member at Scientology’s San Diego church had signed its name to an online petition supporting Proposition 8, which asserted that the State of California should sanction marriage only “between a man and a woman.” The proposition passed. As Haggis saw it, the San Diego church’s “public sponsorship of Proposition 8, which succeeded in taking away the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens of California—rights that were granted them by the Supreme Court of our state—is a stain on the integrity of our organization and a stain on us personally. Our public association with that hate-filled legislation shames us.” Haggis wrote, “Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.” He concluded, “I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology.


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Re: Scientology - Mass Exodus of Senior Staff and 'A' Listers
Posted by: SeekingTruth ()
Date: July 06, 2012 05:35PM

Katie Holmes 'Biggest Nightmare' in Scientology History, Say Experts

10:44 AM PDT 7/4/2012 by Dana Kennedy

In filing for divorce from Tom Cruise -- and apparently blindsiding him -- amid indications she doesn’t want her daughter raised a Scientologist and is seeking sole custody, Katie Holmes has made it clear that she is taking a very different tack from Nicole Kidman, who split up with Cruise in 2001.


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