Part II: Getting to Know Scientology

Before diving straight into the case of Shelly Miscavige, I wanted to give a brief background on the organization responsible for her disappearance.

While you are learning more about Scientology, it is recommended you listen to “Antarctica Echoes” by Vangelis, “Hard Trafikk” by Bjorn Torske, “Exurgency” by Zoe Keating and “Run Boy Run – Instrumental” by Woodkid

Origin Story

This is the story you are not supposed to know.

75 million years ago on the civilization of the Galactic Confederacy, Xenu was the dictator of 178 billion aliens. The aliens there were no different from the humans you know today; they wore clothes, drove cars, rode trains and boats. They were beautiful and complex, just like us. But a population of 178 billion was too much for Xenu to handle, so, instead of finding a humane solution, he paralyzed and froze billions of his people, boarded them onto spaceships and flew to the planet of Teegeeack (what we now consider to be Earth). When they landed, Xenu placed his paralyzed citizens around volcanoes that he then filled with hydrogen bombs. After the detonation of the bombs, only a few survived. Hubbard called the souls of the dead victims thetans. The volcanic blast blew the thetans into the sky to be captured by Xenu’s army, who sucked the souls into “vacuum zones” around the world. The thetans were then forced to watch a 3D motion picture about God, the devil, space opera, etc. for 36 days, implanting “misleading data” (also known as the R6 implat) into their memories and taking away their personal identity.

Of course, how much personal identity can a person have after they are frozen and destroyed by a hydrogen bomb in a volcano?

When the 36 days were up, the thetans clustered together in groups of thousands and placed themselves in the bodies that survived the explosion, creating a new entity: body thetans. Body thetans are still clinging on to every single living person, and the only way to completely get rid of these hosts is through auditing, which only a few Scientologists have succeeded in doing. Eventually, long after Xenu’s genocide, a government known as the Loyal Officers overthrew him and locked him up in “an electronic mountain trap”. He remains there today.

Tiny Intro to Scientology

The foundation of Scientology is the belief that you can better your mind and better the world. Members work their way through Dianetics, as I explained here, to ascend the Bridge to Total Freedom: the process of erasing one’s reactive mind.

Though founded by L. Ron Hubbard, David Miscavige came to power quickly after Hubbard died of a stroke in 1986. Miscavige did not tell his followers the true reason for Hubbard’s death, and instead framed it as Hubbard reaching the highest level of scientology, leaving his human body and moving onto a new spiritual being. His lies kept the Church moving, making him millions of dollars.

Miscavige joined the Church in 1971, dropped out of High School at 16 (most young Scientology members also dropped out of high school, or did not attend at all) and moved to the campus in Clearwater Florida. In December 1982, he married Michelle Diane Barnette, known as Shelly Miscavige, a Sea Org member. David has since lost relationships with his family members, whom Miscavige considers to be false and non-spiritual relationships. He values the relationships he has with celebrities, particularly Tom Cruise, who spend their lives promoting the Church, donating millions of dollars and moving up the ranks of Scientology.

According to Hubbard and as you now know, we are all body thetans who cannot rid ourselves of our reactive mind (free of trauma and unwanted emotions) without the courses, studies and teachings required in the church. The story of Xenu is not accessible to anyone who has not received the authorization to hear it; anyone who finds out about it without authorization are susceptible to pneumonia and will die. Members can look it up on the internet, but it will never be confirmed until they reach level Operating Thetan Level III. Once they have reached this level, they will walk through doors of heavily armed security guards and into a private room, where they will finally read this story and receive answers to the questions they have long been asking. Many members have contested their doubts about the story. Hubbard was a science fiction writer, after all. Couldn’t he had just made it all up?

In reality, yes, he most likely did. Scientologists have admitted to that, but it is okay if they do not believe in the story of Xenu. They just have to practice it. Much of Scientology does not depend on whether you believeanything L. Ron Hubbard says, rather it is if you practiceit by taking the required courses, promoting the religion, attending services and doing all you can to make the world a better place.

Most Scientologists never reach these Operating Thetan levels because it is so expensive and difficult to acquire. Leah Remini, a famous actress and ex-Scientologist, says the Church of Scientology will force people to move down a level and make them redo the classes. You can be a level OT IV and then, out of nowhere, have to redo OT III because of a mistake you or one of the authorities made. And when you redo these courses, you have to pay for it yourself.

So, what is Operating Thetan?

The higher up you go in Scientology, the closer you are to reaching the Bridge to Total Freedom and “operating without dependency on things”. Operating Thetan consists of eight levels, OT I, OT II, OT III, OT IV, OT V, OT VI, OT VII, and OT VIII, all of which are expensive and time consuming. Once completed, a Scientologist develops various supernatural abilities, including the eradication of illnesses from their bodies.

A Day in the Life

The moment you walk into a church of Scientology, your privacy is gone. They have a folder on you and know as much about your life as they can possible receive. If you choose to continue with the church of Scientology, this folder will follow you wherever you go. The higher your rank, the more information they have. They know every single detail.

To join Scientology, members attend a conference where Scientologists gather for discussion and recruitment. These conferences are typically held in large cities, like Los Angeles or New York City. You can also find local Scientology churches in your area; Nevada has two: one in Reno and one in Las Vegas. If you are interested, you will meet with a Scientologist and complete an audit, where they will learn more about your life. You can continue going to the meetings and gatherings, but if you want to move up, you have to pay.

Literally pay. Like, it costs a lot of money to get anywhere in this church.

Costs, Details and Net Worths:

Class and status are interchangeable in Scientology. The richer you are and the more money you give, the higher up the ladder within the Church you get. People have lost their homes, all their belongings, everything they own to keep up with all the finances the Church requires. If you cannot make the payments, you cannot move up and you cannot successfully achieve peak spirituality and may be punished with a freeloader debt. Below are just some of the required costs:

  • Ron Hubbard’s textbooks package (12 books): $4000
    • Members are also encouraged to buy books and donate them to libraries.
  • Introductory Scientology courses (throwaways): $35
    • These courses don’t count as credits. They’re only used to bring in new members and indoctrinate them.
  • The Bridge to Total Freedom courses: $650 each
    • Study from 9 am to 10 pm seven days a week.
    • To complete The Bridge to Total Freedom, members have to live on a cruise ship called the Freewinds: filled with hours of auditing and Sec Checks.
  • Auditing (therapy): $800 an hour
    • Can last a minimum of 180 minutes.
    • Done with an E-meter, a lie detector that aids the auditor in their work.
    • Children as young as six could administer audits.
  • Security Checks (administered to members who break a rule or question the Church): Various prices but come out of the member’s pockets
  • Fine for disclosing confidential information about OT Levels: $100,000.
    • It does not matter if you tell your own family or friends; if they are within the church, they have to report you to higher Scientology authorities. If they are outside the church, there will always be someone who finds out what you say.
  • Moving Up OT Levels:
    • OT: $2, 750
    • OT II: $5, 225
    • OT III: $8,910
    • OT IV: $40,000
    • OT V, OT VI, OT VII: NA
    • OT VIII: $30,000-$40,000a year. Members typically stay on this level for 10-20 years.

And we can’t forget the net worths of some of the most important people in the church: 

The net worth of L. Ron Hubbard: $600 million

The net worth of David Miscavige: $70 million (that we know of….)

The net worth of Tom Cruise: $550 million

The net worth of the Church of Scientology: At least $1 billion

Locations:

Scientology has many headquarters, orgs (organization centers) and bases. The Sea Orgs are the most popular locations within the church and where many scandals and illegal activities occur. Members there receive a $75 weekly allowance and have to sign a billion-year commitment contract, pledging to “get ethics in on this planet and the universe.” These are some of the locations:

  • Saint Hill, West Sussex, England
  • Flag Land Base, Celarwater, Florida, United States (Sea Org location)
  • Gold Base (International Headquarters) located in Gilman Hot Springs, California, United States (Sea Org location)
  • Casalotti di Boccea, Rome, Italy
  • Freewinds Cruise Ship (Sea Org location)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark (Sea Org location)

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It is common for churches, religions and organizations to prioritize money and donations to an extent; many are non-profits whose existence solely rely on the money of other’s. Scientology is considered to be a nonprofit because of their legal religious status, but their hefty costs and fines for violations of the smallest things begs to raise a few eyebrows. It is interesting how a religion that prides themselves on spirituality and authenticity ends up overtly valuing money more than anything else. Much of the finances go into paying for the Church’s various locations, promotions, TV channel, books, etc., and it is evident the money goes to the leaders and some higher-ranking employees.

But there is a lot that the Church keeps secret; could it be possible money is used to silence victims of assaults and violence? Does the money have anything to do with Shelly Miscavige’s 11-year disappearance? How much money is going into the Hole, the Church’s  secret prison camp? Is Shelly hidden away there?

Is she even alive?


Cover photo: https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/22/us/believer-what-is-scientology/index.html

All other sources are within the text.


 

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