“No carbon dioxide tax”

Since: Feb 10

bullet-proof tiger

#22 Mar 6, 2010
Ms. Collbran, who is 33, said she loved the church so much that she never thought she would leave. Her parents were dedicated church members in Los Angeles, and she attended full-time Scientology schools for several years. When she was 8 or 9, she took the basic communications course, which teaches techniques for persuasive public speaking and improving self-confidence and has served as a major recruiting tool.

By 10, Ms. Collbran had completed the Purification Rundown, a regimen that involves taking vitamins and sitting in a sauna (a fixture inside every Scientology church) for as much as five hours a day, for weeks at a time, to cleanse the body of toxins.

By 16, she was recruited into the Sea Org, so named because it once operated from ships, wearing a Navy-like uniform with epaulets on the shoulders for work. She fully believed in the mission: to “clear the planet” of negative influences by bringing Scientology to its inhabitants. Her mindset then, Ms. Collbran said, was:“This planet needs our help, and people are suffering. And we have the answers.”

Christie and Chris Collbran were married in a simple ceremony at the Scientology center in Manhattan. Although she and her parents were very close, she said they had spent so much to advance up the bridge that they could not afford to attend the wedding.

It was in Johannesburg, where the couple had gone to supervise the building of a new Scientology organization, that Mr. Collbran, who is 29, began to have doubts. He had spent months at church headquarters in Clearwater revising the design for the Johannesburg site to meet Mr. Miscavige’s demands.

Mr. Collbran said he saw an officer hit a subordinate, and soon found that the atmosphere of supervision through intimidation was affecting him. He acknowledges that he pushed a 17-year-old staff member against a wall and yelled at his wife, who was his deputy.

In Johannesburg, officials made the church look busy for publicity photographs by filling it with Sea Org members, the Collbrans said. To make their numbers look good for headquarters, South African parishioners took their maids and gardeners to church.

But the Ideal Orgs are supposed to be self-supporting, and the Johannesburg church was generating only enough to pay each of the Collbrans $17 a week, Mr. Collbran said.

“It was all built on lies,” Mr. Collbran said.“We’re working 16 hours a day trying to save the planet, and the church is shrinking.”

“No carbon dioxide tax”

Since: Feb 10

bullet-proof tiger

#23 Mar 6, 2010
‘It’s Everything You Know’

The church is vague about its membership numbers. In 11 hours with a reporter over two days, Mr. Davis, the church’s spokesman, gave the numbers of Sea Org members (8,000), of Scientologists in the Tampa-Clearwater area (12,000) and of L. Ron Hubbard’s books printed in the last two and a half years (67 million). But asked about the church’s membership, Mr. Davis said,“I couldn’t tell you an exact figure, but it’s certainly, it’s most definitely in the millions in the U.S. and millions abroad.”

He said he did not know how to account for the findings in the American Religious Identification Survey that the number of Scientologists in the United States fell from 55,000 in 2001 to 25,000 in 2008.

Marty Rathbun, who was once Mr. Miscavige’s top lieutenant, is now one of the church’s top detractors. The churches used to be busy places where members socialized and invited curious visitors to give Scientology a try, he said, but now the church is installing touch-screen displays so it can introduce visitors to Scientology with little need for Scientologists on site.

“That’s the difference between the old Scientology and the new: the brave new Scientology is all these beautiful buildings and real estate and no people,” said Mr. Rathbun, who is among several former top executives quoted by The St. Petersburg Times in a series of articles last year about the church’s reported mistreatment of staff members.

When Mr. Collbran decided he wanted to leave the Sea Org, he was sent to Los Angeles, where potential defectors are assigned to do menial labor while they reconsider their decision. Ms. Collbran remained in Johannesburg, and for three months the church refused to allow them to contact each other, the Collbrans said.
Letters they wrote to each other were intercepted, they said. Finally, Ms. Collbran was permitted to go to Los Angeles, but husband and wife were kept separated for another three months, the Collbrans said, while they went through hours of special auditing sessions called “confessionals.” The auditors tried to talk them out of leaving, and the Collbrans wavered.

“No carbon dioxide tax”

Since: Feb 10

bullet-proof tiger

#24 Mar 6, 2010
They could not just up and go. For one, they said, the church had taken their passports. But even more important, they knew that if they left the Sea Org without going through the church’s official exit process, they would be declared “suppressive persons”— antisocial enemies of Scientology. They would lose the possibility of living for eternity. Their parents, siblings and friends who are Scientologists would have to disconnect completely from them, or risk being declared suppressive themselves.

“You’re in fear,” Mr. Collbran said.“You’re so into it, it’s everything you know: your family, your eternity.”

Mike Rinder, who for more than 20 years was the church’s spokesman, said the disconnect policy originated as Mr. Hubbard’s prescription for how to deal with an abusive spouse or boss.
Now,“disconnection has become a way of controlling people,” said Mr. Rinder, who says his mother, sister, brother, daughter and son disconnected from him after he left the church.“It is very, very prevalent.”

Mr. Davis, the church’s current spokesman, said Scientologists are no different from Mormons, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Amish who practice shunning or excommunication.

“These are common religious tenets,” he said.“The very survival of a religion is contingent on its protecting itself.”

The Collbrans went back to work for the church in Los Angeles, but Ms. Collbran found the atmosphere so oppressive, the staff members so miserable, that she likened it to living under “martial law” and again resolved to leave.

So she intentionally conceived a child. She knew that the Sea Org did not allow its members to have children, and she had known women who were removed when they refused to have abortions. She waited until her pregnancy had almost reached the end of the first trimester to inform her superiors. It still took two months before the church let the Collbrans go, in 2006, and not before making them sign affidavits.

“All of the auditing that you do, there’s files kept on it,” Ms. Collbran said.“All of the personal things you ever said, all the secrets, the transgressions, are all kept in there. They went through that file, wrote this affidavit as if I wrote it — and I never wrote this affidavit, the church wrote it — and made me sign it.”

They were also handed what the church calls a “freeloader bill” for services rendered, of $90,000, which they later negotiated down to $10,000 for Ms. Collbran’s portion and paid. They now had a child and no money, but they thought they were still in good standing with their church.

Mr. Davis, the church spokesman, said the Collbrans’ exit was not unusual. The Sea Org is a religious order that requires enormous dedication, he said, and leaving any religious order can be a lengthy process. He said the church does require departing staff members to pay freeloader bills and to sign affidavits drawn up by church officials, but he contends that the affidavits never contain confidential information drawn from auditing sessions.

“We have never violated that trust,” Mr. Davis said.“We never have. We never will.” The church in Johannesburg is thriving now that the Collbrans have left, Mr. Davis said.

“No carbon dioxide tax”

Since: Feb 10

bullet-proof tiger

#25 Mar 6, 2010
Mr. Davis, the church spokesman, said the Collbrans’ exit was not unusual. The Sea Org is a religious order that requires enormous dedication, he said, and leaving any religious order can be a lengthy process. He said the church does require departing staff members to pay freeloader bills and to sign affidavits drawn up by church officials, but he contends that the affidavits never contain confidential information drawn from auditing sessions.

“We have never violated that trust,” Mr. Davis said.“We never have. We never will.” The church in Johannesburg is thriving now that the Collbrans have left, Mr. Davis said.
‘Suppressive Persons’

In 2008, organizers with the Internet-based group Anonymous began waves of protests outside Scientology churches in many countries. Anonymous said it was protesting the Church of Scientology’s attempts to censor Internet posts of material the church considered proprietary — including a video of Tom Cruise, an ardent Scientologist, that was created for a church event but was leaked and posted on YouTube.
“Since Anonymous has come forward,” said Marc Headley, who belonged to the Sea Org for 16 years,“more and more people who have been abused or assaulted are feeling more confident that they can speak out and not have any retaliation happen.”

Mr. Headley, who wrote a book about his experiences, is suing the church for back wages, saying that over 15 years his salary averaged out to 39 cents an hour. His wife, who said the church coerced her into having two abortions, has also filed a suit. The couple now have two small children.

The church acknowledges that Sea Org members are not allowed to have babies, but denies that it pressures people into having abortions. On the pay issue, it says that Sea Org members expect to sacrifice their material well-being to devote their lives to the church.

Scientology parishioners interviewed in Clearwater seemed unperturbed by the protests, headlines and lawsuits.

“No carbon dioxide tax”

Since: Feb 10

bullet-proof tiger

#26 Mar 6, 2010
Joanie Sigal is a 36-year parishioner in Clearwater who promotes the church’s antidrug campaign to local officials. She said the defectors’ stories were like what you would hear “if I asked your ex-husband what he thought of you.”

“It’s so not news,” she said.“It’s a big yawn, actually.”

The Collbrans, despite their efforts to remain in good standing in the church, were declared suppressive persons last year. The church discovered that Mr. Collbran had traveled to Texas to talk with Mr. Rathbun, the defector who runs a Web site that has become an online community for what he calls “independent Scientologists.”

The church immediately sent emissaries to Ms. Collbran’s parents’ house in Los Angeles to inform them that their daughter was “suppressive,” Ms. Collbran said. They have refused to speak to her ever since. Recently, Ms. Collbran received an e-mail message from her mother calling her a “snake in the grass.”

Ms. Collbran says she still believes in Scientology — not in the church as it is now constituted, but in its teachings. She still gets auditing, from other Scientologists who have defected, like Mr. Rathbun.

Mr. Davis said there is no such thing:“One can’t be a Scientologist and not be part of the church.”

Mr. Collbran, for his part, wants nothing to do with his former church.“Eventually I realized I was part of a con,” he said,“and I have to leave it and get on with my life.”

Despite all they have been through together, Ms. and Mr. Collbran are getting a divorce. The reason, they agree sadly, is that they no longer see eye to eye on Scientology.
Gottaliv

Brisbane, Australia

#27 Mar 6, 2010
Today Tonight aren't giving up, they're doing another segment on it this week, Monday again I think.

Scientology lesson:
Reporter: Bryan Seymour - Broadcast Date: December 09, 2009

If you think the Federal Senate should hold an inquiry into Scientology, write to:

Tony Abbott, Federal Liberal/Opposition Leader and/or Senator Nick Xenophon *(addresses on link)*.

The campaign for a Senate inquiry into Scientology is getting stronger, with the Greens adding their support.

We're continuing our investigation, especially into two Scientology schools and a million dollar fundraising campaign kept secret, until now.

The Yarralinda school in the Melbourne suburb of Mooroolbark looks lovely. And has nothing to do with the church of Scientology, or does it?

"The Commonwealth has a lot of skin in the game. They're giving our money to those schools to the tune of $1.4 million over the next four years. That's a lot of money, that buys a stake in what's going on in those schools," said New South Wales Greens MP Dr John Kaye.

The Yarralinda school in Melbourne and The Athena school in the Sydney suburb of Glebe both employ the so-called teaching technology developed by Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard called 'Applied Scholastics' or 'Study Tech'.

"There's no scientific evidence that applied scholastics works, there's no scientific evidence that it's been tested, that there are controlled studies that show that this teaching actually does produce outcomes," Dr Kaye said.

Both schools claim they are secular schools that do not promote, teach or advocate Scientology or any other religion.

We obtained a document titled 'Knowledge report'(a Scientology term) and written by the principal of Yarralinda school, Christel Duffy. It outlines in detail the plan to mortgage the school for $1 million and to give that money to the church of Scientology.

It was allegedly used to assist in buying a $7 million dollar property in Ascot Vale, close to Melbourne's CBD. A former Catholic College and home to the Sisters of Mercy, it's to be the future home of Scientology, called the 'Melbourne Ideal Org', partly bankrolled by using the Yarralinda school as security.

"The Greens strongly support a federal senate inquiry into Scientology," Dr Kay said.

The Rudd Government says it has no authority to support an inquiry into Scientology but Senator Nick Xenophon says he's confident he'll get the numbers he needs and he'll be calling a vote when Parliament returns.

More: http://au.todaytonight.yahoo.com/article/6569...

“No carbon dioxide tax”

Since: Feb 10

bullet-proof tiger

#28 Mar 6, 2010
OK, Thanks. I will watch it.

The female Indian vigilantes should be on tonight.
Can't wait.
Gottaliv

Brisbane, Australia

#29 Mar 6, 2010
SupaAussie wrote:
OK, Thanks. I will watch it.
The female Indian vigilantes should be on tonight. Can't wait.
Looks like that story might have been pulled as this is what's advertised up here:

"Written and presented by leading British writer Howard Jacobson, this film examines the story of the origins, and consequences, of Christian belief."

?????
Sheila

Sherman, TX

#30 Mar 6, 2010
I wonder if Tom Cruise and his wives were ever hooked up to the scientologist e-meter?
:-)
Sydney

Australia

#31 Mar 19, 2010
I participated in the Landmark Forum and Advanced Course.

I think the education is awesome and I got so much out of it. There's a lot of talk that it's a cult, it definitely isn't. A cult wants to take you away from society, Landmark wants to send you back out to society a better person. I saw many people being transformed into positive and confident people.

HOWEVER, I have a huge problem with the marketing and sales techniques and bullying to do the next course and the next course and the next course. During the Advanced Course you are encouraged to do the Self Expression Leadership Program where you develop a community programme and enrol people to join you in developing it. During the advanced course they start by saying it's the next step in your education, by the end of the weekend you are harrassed into registering for it. At the end of the course on a Sunday night, we were told that as a group we did not complete our advanced course because there were people who had not registered for SELP, those who had registered were asked to take a break and leave the conference room while those who had not registered were basically bullied as to why they had not registered and coerced to register. I registered purely to avoid the harrassment from the course leader, the staff and from others on the course. When I expressed during the course I did not want to do SELP, I was shot down and belittled. All the great things I learned over the weekend were destroyed by the sales aspect and basically told that I didn't have integrity or commitment.

I was willing to lose $260 just to escape being harrassed. I rang to cancel and basically was made to feel I was less of a person and a let down.

During your breaks you have to call people and enrol them to do the course. And your 'homework' is to call people and enrol them. Now, the course finishes at 10pm so you are told to call people when you get home or first thing in the morning. I'm sorry but if someone called me at 11pm at night or 8am on a weekend just to say they are on a personal development course I certainly am not going to be enrolled. And I can tell you I didn't call anyone.

Other Landmark courses promote being a Landmark leader or coach. My answer to this is that if you go to church every Sunday, doesn't mean that you want to become a priest or preacher.

I get the "tell your friends about it". But it's to the point that you have to say who you called and what you said to them and how many people do you have coming to the information night.

As I said I think the education is fantastic, but detest the sales technique. The Forum and advanced course is 3 days and then a Tuesday night. The Tuesday night is told to you as the last piece of education. It's not, there is nothing more to be learned that night. It's a recruitment drive for the friends you bring along. If you do the course, believe me Tuesday night is a waste of time unless you want your friends to sign up. I think there is real value doing the courses and you will get out of it what you need and want to, but be prepared for the harrassment.
not so superior aussie

Sydney, Australia

#32 Apr 29, 2010
SUPERIOR AUSSIE wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes its a bad one. http://www.caic.org.au/psyther/landmark/forum...
So you've done it then and actually have a basis for your comments?
not so superior aussie

Sydney, Australia

#33 Apr 29, 2010
Sup Cozzy wrote:
<quoted text>You say that because you are one of them.
Landmark was originaly modeled on the Church of Scientology.
People who really WANT to help others do NOT ask for money.
Have you actually done any research on this?? It was not modelled on scientology... yes werner erhard while he travelled on his 'journey of self discovery' looked at scientology but also spent a large amount of time with zen buddhist monks... I wonder why you dont say its modelled on that...
not so superior aussie

Sydney, Australia

#34 Apr 29, 2010
Lastly Im surprised by the naivety of some...

"People who really WANT to help other do NOT ask for money"... what like religion, i guess you forgot about the collection plate.

Its pretty simply really if you want to do a course there are expenses/overheads ie Venue hire, travel, the salary of a full time speaker etc

Just so you know Ive done some of their programs and I have done alot of other personal training and development programs (an example Tony Robbins Courses) I am a healthy and mentally well professional and all these training programs have contributed to the success I have had in life. Landmarks course just seemed to be the cheapest and the best by a long way.

If youve done it and dont agree well fine... If you havent then how the hell do you have any idea what your talking about...

“No carbon dioxide tax”

Since: Feb 10

bullet-proof tiger

#35 Apr 29, 2010
You must have a soft brain. You know, easy to manipulate.
I have been there with athe purpose of exposing this sub branch of the COS. Here are some of the "key" landmark words: "payoff" "racket" "vicious circle".
When Landmark realised I was on to them i had a room full of people who had pudding in their pants....
Soft minds like your mould well to anything. You are a lanmark sheep. How much money has it cost you??????????
All of it???????

“GOOD BYE”

Since: Oct 09

Sutherland,Australia

#36 Apr 29, 2010
SupaAussie wrote:
You must have a soft brain. You know, easy to manipulate.
I have been there with athe purpose of exposing this sub branch of the COS. Here are some of the "key" landmark words: "payoff" "racket" "vicious circle".
When Landmark realised I was on to them i had a room full of people who had pudding in their pants....
Soft minds like your mould well to anything. You are a lanmark sheep. How much money has it cost you??????????
All of it???????
go back to sleep hehehehehehhe Laughter is often a bonus.
tah1604

Brisbane, Australia

#37 May 31, 2010
Are you all serious?

How can you have an opinion about Landmark until you have done one of the courses?? LOL
Sheila

Sherman, TX

#38 May 31, 2010
tah1604 wrote:
Are you all serious?
How can you have an opinion about Landmark until you have done one of the courses?? LOL
That's like saying I can't express a opinion about the toxicity of arsenic without having consumed some of it myself.
Sheila

Sherman, TX

#40 May 31, 2010
dropac4 wrote:
Interesting hearing your thoughts guys I'm a newsie who was contacted by a source claiming a Mormon Doctor working out of the Royal Brisbane Hospital called Justin O'Brien is recruiting patients and hospital visitors to an education organisation called "Landmark Forum". One alleged victim says it's a cult and he was lured in and then fleeced for approx.$100,000 and has been left financially ruined. We're seeking more sources for the story and any information out there on this or similar would be great.
Scientologists should be added to the "stranger danger" list for the lost and naive in our communities. They are just a more sophisticated beggar than the one you see on the streetcorners with a cup in his hand.
Adelaidean

Australia

#41 May 31, 2010
Sydney wrote:
I participated in the Landmark Forum and Advanced Course.
I think the education is awesome and I got so much out of it. There's a lot of talk that it's a cult, it definitely isn't. A cult wants to take you away from society, Landmark wants to send you back out to society a better person. I saw many people being transformed into positive and confident people.
HOWEVER, I have a huge problem with the marketing and sales techniques and bullying .......... be prepared for the harrassment.
Basically it sounds like any other hierarchical marketing scheme. Only the sales product is different. Someone is making a mint out of it, but not the minions. You could probably have found an equivalent TAFE course without all the hassles.

Since: May 10

Canberra, Australia

#42 Jun 1, 2010
I'd like to hear from former or current senior Landmark members in particular:

Why do you need to so aggressively recruit people for expensive courses if the teaching is so effective in other areas of your life?
Why are the courses so expensive? Wouldn't half the price have the same incentive and commitment effect? Why not double the price?

Why don't you simply say we're going to use standard interrogation techniques, NLP techniques, and other mind altering trace patterns to open attendees to suggestion then convince them "our way" is the "only way".

If someone advertised a course in mind manipulation and control I'd be more likely to attend then getting hoodwinked at church or a public gathering by a quasi-friend into a scam seminar.

Does anyone else know of people who've had this experience?

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