At around the 1:30 mark you can see pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Lawrence Wright, call Scientology’s Sea Organization “The Clergy” in Scientology.
This is just one time when both of these excellent journalists called Scientology’s Sea Organization, a “clergy” or “priesthood”. It was part of their messaging when they promoted “Going Clear” in many interviews world wide.
So what if Gibney and Wright described the Sea Org this way instead?
“The Sea organization has military ranks, such as Captain, bosun, etc. They wear military uniforms, they muster every morning, and they conduct themselves with orders and military discipline just like the US Navy where Hubbard served. They sign billion year contracts. Scientology calls this their “clergy”, but they compare more to a military organization than a Catholic monastery.
That description is true, and has journalistic integrity.
It gives the information necessary for the viewer to make up their own minds.
Describing them as “clergy” – simply because that is what the Church calls it for PR positioning – has no journalistic integrity, in my opinion. That description does not give you enough information to make up your own mind about what the Sea Org actually is.
L Ron Hubbard taught Scientologists that all criticism was an attempt to destroy the target of criticism.
This is not an attempt to destroy anyone. It is an attempt to point out where a large mistake is being made, and an attempt to show why it is being made.
The following discussion took place on TonyOrtega.com on October 15th, 2015 during a discussion of Louis Theroux’s “My Scientology Movie”.
Chee Chalker •
One thing that I have read in the comments [Regarding Theroux’s “My Scientology Movie”] Marty (allegedly) gets very upset about the use (abuse) of children while Fair Game is in play (I am guessing this is in relation to his own family (son) being harassed during the Squirrel Busters time (and also just in general terms when they follow his wife and child around)
Marty is reported as saying something like ‘when I was in I never would have imagined to use children (as part of a harassment campaign).
Well, what about the Cruise children? They were turned against their mother in a campaign to help Tom Cruise in his divorce.
Idk….I think Marty (as much as I admire/sympathize with him) suffers from a common Scientology affiliation…. Selective memory.
Tony Ortega Mod
That’s an excellent point.
All memory is selective. That goes for everybody. The term ‘suffers’ is not exactly correct in this context.
Furthermore, I think it is more likely that Rathbun ‘suffers’ form Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Yes I completely agree he has some kind of PTSD… How could you not? I think all exs are going to have that to some degree.
As far as Marty’s memory goes…. Maybe it’s not even an issue of memory. Maybe it is now he defines ‘harassment’. Perhaps he feels telling an 11 year old that their mother is one of the most evil people on the planet (2.5% of Earth’s population are SPs) is not harassment. Whereas following a woman and her child and videotaping their activities qualifies as harassment.
I believe they are both forms of harassment and both vile practices.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to wake up one day and realize that I had spent my life making other’s lives a living hell. In that respect, I feel very sorry for Marty. But, you know the old saying about living in a glass house…….
Not every Scientologist did the things that Marty and his friends at Int Base did, nor would they ever have.
Many many Scientologists, when they were pressured to do that kind of thing to other people, refused to do those things and either tried to stop it or left the area.
And when they saw these kinds of things occurring in too many areas in Scientology, they left almost immediately and many began speaking up about it.
Marty, Mike, Karen and all the other Int Base Escapees who have recently been so effective at making themselves available to these journalists and getting the word out about the abuses in Scientology, are not really good examples of the average person who got themselves involved in the subject.
They are not the kind of Scientologist who left and became an Ex-Scientologist when they saw that Scientology did not live up to its promises. When Scientology did not live up to its promises, or went thoroughly crazy, these are the guys who STAYED. And they even implemented the crazy on others for decades.
These were guys who had access to LRH, who saw with their own eyes how insane he was at the end of his life, and were the ones actually lying to the rest of Scientologists about all of that.
These are the “Young Turks” who collaborated with David Miscavige, helped him rise to power, and who kept him there – even though he was doing all the same abusive things then that he does now.
Marty, Mike and the other people from Int Base simply do not represent the average Scientologist, or Ex-Scientologist. But they have the status of being at the top of the Church, and journalists need their “credibility”, until, of course, it bites a journalist, or two, in the ass.
Alex Gibney’s Going Clear has been seen by about 10,000,000 people. GC would not have been possible without the meticulous work of Lawrence Wright interviewing powerful former Scientologists and the support of the New Yorker in publishing the original article “The Apostate” on Paul Haggis: http://www.newyorker.com/magaz…
Wright’s Going Clear was supported by, and originally published by the powerful publishing house Knopf. The book has won many awards and garnered high praise:
“An utterly necessary story. . . . A feat of reporting.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Brings a clear-eyed, investigative fearlessness to Scientology . . . a rollicking, if deeply creepy, narrative ride, evidence that truth can be stranger even than science fiction.” —The Washington Post
“A hotly compelling read. It’s a minutiae-packed book full of wild stories.” —The New York Times
“Courageous. . . . Devastating . . . will come as news even to hardened Scientology buffs who follow the Church’s every twist and turn.” —The Daily Beast
“Essential reading. . . . Lawrence Wright bend[s] over backward to be fair to Scientology. . . . This makes the book’s indictment that much more powerful.” —The New York Times Book Review
Going Clear the HBO documentary would not have been possible without the vision and leadership of Alex Gibney assembling together Lawrence Wright, a group of powerful former Scientologists, Tony Ortega, and many others into a project that he then got HBO and parent Time Warner to greenlight
The same is true of Louis Theroux and BBC films.
The powerful Scientology exes have debriefed the FBI and other federal agencies both in the US and Europe. Rathbun, Beghe, Brennan, and Headley spoke at the Minister Caberta’s conference in Hamburg.
Say what you will, but I celebrate Marty, Mike, Karen, Tom, Sara, Tony, Alex, Larry, Jason, Marc, Claire, Jesse, Jeff, Nancy, Amy, Matt, Jenna, Chuck, Jesse, Leah, and all of the other former high-ranking Scientologists, both SO and publics, who have variously written books, spoken out, and generally helped at a great personal cost by contributing their artistic talents, money, personal sacrifices, and blood, sweat, and tears to help to expose the Church of Scientology.
I understood a long time ago that high-ranking former Sea Org were the necessary experts at explaining, exposing, and deconstructing the Church. Filmmakers, authors, and journalists understand this and therefore seek them out as they were participants and eyewitnesses who departed and spoke out. My project to interview these people on my podcast is an effort to contribute a level of details and insights that would not otherwise be covered in major documentaries. I want to help fill in the historical record with day to day details.
If there is blame, lay it at the feet of the IRS. The IRS authorized the Scientology Monster in 1993 when it could have just as easily denied it based upon the 1992 ruling in CST vs. the United States: https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Co…
But think of this, J:
I watched Lawrence Wright and Alex Gibney – two of the best journalists on Earth right now – describe the Sea Org as “an elite priesthood” more than once in several global interviews.
“An Elite Priesthood” that wears military uniforms? Has military ranks such as “Captain”? And calls even the female “officers” ‘Sir’?
The Sea Org is not an elite priesthood. It is exactly what it looks like: a fanatic totalitarian paramilitary organization.
And I would put to you that the reason these two world class journalists could not see this reality right in front of their own faces, and call The Sea Org what it actually is, was because they had all these “powerful” Sea Org members still dramatizing Scientology shore stories on them – and making themselves available to cross check each other.
This might be the journalistic result of choosing too many people who were highly placed in the most insane parts of the organization – Int Base – as their main sources of information – for the sake of “credibility”.
It’s a problem, not only for the credibility of their journalism, but for the messaging that the government and the public need to hear to reign in Scientology’s criminality and abuse.
As soon as Marty and Mike – and many of the others you mentioned – left and stopped fair gaming journalists, then David Miscavige didn’t really have anyone to use to fair game journalists any more. And so the climate became safer for journalists to report on Scientology.
That’s why the reporting on Scientology has exploded.
Anyone these journalists picked to be their sources would have worked their asses off to make the reporting successful. But only “powerful” sea org members who were still dramatizing Scientology would have allowed those mistakes to come out of those journalists’ mouths.
I see this as only one of the problems with equating credibility of your sources with elitist rank in the Sea Org.