The first mainstream book to expose the truth about David Miscavige
Something has happened — Janet Reitman’s new book, Inside Scientology. This book has opened doors that few serious journalists have dared peer behind, much less open wide.
Dozens of Scientologists and former-Scientologists representing a panorama of opinions, pro and con, contributed their knowledge and data, and many are quoted throughout the book. Among them (in no particular order): myself; Dan Koon; Sinar Parman; Mark Fisher; Steve “Sarge” Pfauth; Tom De Vocht; Don Jason; Jason Knapmeyer; Amy Scobee; Mat Pesch; Jeff Hawkins; Bruce Hines; Mark and Claire Headley; Stefan and Tanja Castle; Jason Beghe; Greg Barns; Chuck Beatty; Mike and Donna Henderson; Anne, Jeffrey and Anthony Aylor; Nancy and Chris Many; Jesse Prince; Maureen Bolstad; Kendra Wiseman; Jenna Miscavige Hill; Astra Woodcraft; Caroline and John Brown; Jana Daniels; Donna Shannon; Gale Irwin; DeDe Reisdorf; Glenn Samuels; Teresa Summers; and many more whom I have yet to meet, such as Karen Pressley and Art Cohan. (If I left anyone out, please let me know and I will add).
Melanie Stokes and the late Alan Walter provided firsthand insight on the infamous Mission Holder’s conference and the dismantling of the mission network in the early 1980s. Larry Brennan explained the corporate restructuring of the CoS.
Janet also found a wealth of information through the writings of others on Scientology-cult.com. And through posts on Moving On Up A Little Higher, she used information from Marty Rathbun and Mike Rinder, although neither granted Janet an interview. Some of those posts included, “Funeral for a Friend” and “Miscavige Black Ops Squad Hits Corpus Christi,” “The Reformation,” and “Murder Outs.” She also used “What Impinges: Survey Results” published on both websites in which Mike so aptly described “the vulture culture.”
In addition to Scientology-cult.com and Moving On Up A Little Higher, Janet also drew from other authoritative websites including, Leaving Scientology and Ex-Scientology Kids.
Janet also garnered key information from luminaries including detectives, attorneys and key law enforcement personnel, not to mention journalists such as Joe Childs and Tom Tobin of the St Petersburg Times.
I don’t know how she pulled it off, frankly. It was a Herculean task. I myself received 101 emails from Janet, most of which I answered in detail. How she managed to digest all that information… amazing. In addition, my telephone interviews with her in 2009 were something like 6 hours, as I recall.
Dan Koon and I spoke almost daily throughout 2009 while I was building Scientology-cult.com. And we often spoke about Janet’s book. Since she was interested in our data, we saw her book as a chance to make the truth about David Miscavige known more broadly.
As you may know, LRH’s opinion on journalists was not too high, having been burned I guess too many times by “writers” who already had their hatchet sharpened and angle written before they even interviewed him.
As Janet pointed out, LRH was a showman and a storyteller. That is something we Scientologists overlook because against the value of the tech, such personality faults are trivial… because the only thing we rate as important is the workability of the tech. Against that, others factors simply cannot be compared.
However, journalists routinely stumble upon LRH’s personality faults and his human errors and never actually duplicate the value of the tech. They weigh in so heavily on personality faults the net effect is to invalidate the whole subject.
I’m sure some of those journalists were simply trying to be fair. Others were paid to write a hatchet job by vested interests — happens all the time. A few were simply malicious.
In retrospect, perhaps the correct handling by LRH when caught in a white lie such as not really being a “nuclear physicist” would have been to freely admit the error. Easy for me to say. I wasn’t there. The remarkable thing is LRH was there. He carried Scientology a long, long way alone. He helped tens of thousands of people. Millions today are thankful he lived. Instead, LRH stopped communicating with the media, violating one of his golden rules: “Motion comes in, use and win.” No one is perfect. I appreciate him none the less.
In Inside Scientology you’re going to get a good dose of LRH’s faults. Are these things healthy for you to see? Yes. If you are so shaky on Scientology that learning about LRH’s faults is going to knock you out of orbit, then it’s bound to happen eventually. You might as well get it over with. Not all of his alleged faults are true by any means, but many are.
And if you survive learning something about LRH’s faults, the bright side is you will be all the stronger for it because nothing can trip you up.
Others of us are immune to personal criticism of LRH for reasons already stated. We aren’t Scientologists because LRH was a good guy. We are Scientologists because the technology works and it enables us to solve problems nothing else can fix. But with a subject like Scientology, of course the founder’s life is going to remain under the microscope for centuries to come. So get used to it. LRH wasn’t perfect. So what? Who is?
Another thing you will find in the book is the OT III story. If you haven’t heard of it, well, you might as well get used to that too. The data was leaked out on David Miscavige’s watch and it isn’t going to go away. However, contrary to popular belief that LRH said the data can make you ill, the fact is only mis-auditing the level can make you ill.
These sorts of issues more or less go with the Scientology territory. Here’s what doesn’t work: sticking your head in the sand. Here’s what else doesn’t work: trying to censor freedom of speech. Here’s what does work: go ahead and learn about LRH’s failings — they have nothing to do with the workability of the tech he developed.
As I have said before, if a car designer lied about where he went to school, does it mean the car he designed won’t work?
So when it came to “talking to the media” in 2009 (meaning Janet Reitman), Dan and I discussed the matter and it was basically a no brainer: By speaking out, could we in fact make Scientology’s PR any worse?
No — nothing could make Scientology’s PR any worse!
We also felt it was significant in that we were presenting a new viewpoint: that the philosophy of Scientology had almost nothing in common with the inexplicable and ever offensive behavior of the Church. We made it clear the organization was in fact being run by a madman, who’s actions were criminal at best.
Photo by Deborah Lopez
Dan spoke with Janet in April 2009 and told me about her. I sent her an email in April 2009 introducing myself. By that point Janet already had a rough draft of her book, but she said it was in desperate need of improvement. It was missing crucial points, both contextual and factual. The last third of the book was to deal with a subject nearly every other writer had shied away from, and continue to shy away from to this day… David Miscavige, his rise to power, his deeds and even life at the infamous Int base!
Janet said she wanted to look at LRH as both a man and as the founder of Scientology, and she also wanted to look at DM. Unlike so many before her, she had the courage to ask, “Who is this guy (DM) and how did he get where he is? And, what is he doing with his power and position? Is he truly a steward of the church, or is his controlling instinct destroying the church?”
She needed someone to help shed light on his character, particularly the early years 1984-89. She wanted to understand how this hostile takeover of sorts really worked. Who was Pat Broeker, and did he have supporters or a Pat Broeker “camp.” And conversely, was there a David Miscavige “camp”?
In speaking with Janet over the phone, she seemed honest and rational. Yet, like moths to a porch light, few journalists are able to avoid mischaracterizing LRH and the tech and Janet is no exception. In my opinion, she does mischaracterize LRH and fails to appreciate the tech. Joe Childs and Tom Tobin, well, they are exceptions and for that I hold them in high regard.
Still, I decided if she got nothing right but at least helped expose DM, that would be a step forward since mischaracterizations of LRH and the tech itself are nothing new.
Her book includes a huge section at the back entitled “Notes.” She stressed that not a single one of the people who contributed information like myself “had every spoken publicly prior to my interviewing them, nor had any of them pursued legal actions against the church or written a book.” Except where specifically noted, all references to these people, their stories, and their quoted words came from her own interviews and conversations with them.
Inside Scientology is probably the best definitive work on the Church yet produced. It does what the church's book, What is Scientology? never could: namely, tell the truth.
Yes, David Miscavige micromanaged the writing of What is Scientology?
Janet spent five years researching and writing Inside Scientology. Some contributors, like Mark and Claire Headley began to help her as early as 2007. Included in the book are factual but harrowing tales of abuse and escape.
Of course, as with any work of this nature, the reporting is colored by the input. But as an Independent Scientologist, it’s incredible she got so much right. We are recognized as “part of a new ‘Independent Scientology’ movement: people who’ve remained true to the original theories and teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, though not to the current management of the church.”
Janet reveals the FBI is currently investigating Scientology over the abuse allegations made by numerous Sea Org staff; the agency is also reportedly investigating David Miscavige for “inurement,” or allegations that he has personally enriched himself with church funds… perhaps his $100,000 stereo system, or his numerous cars and homes.
Janet takes the reader into life at the Int base and documents the massive exodus of senior staff and executives throughout the 2000s. She covers intimidation and efforts to buy the silence of ex-Sea Org members. For example, David Miscavige’s personal lawbot, Elliot Ableson, handed Stefan Castle a check for $25,000 to keep silent.
Considering that Janet is not a Scientologist, she is remarkably fair and evenhanded, but not perfect. Then again, who is?
Some errors: I think her history of LRH is slanted toward the idea that LRH used marketing and advertising to promote the religion. Well, duh. Since the beginning of time, everything uses marketing and advertising to promote anything. Early Christians used word of mouth, testimonials, letters of recommendation, tours, rallies, talks and more. So to me, it’s a silly point to make and just seems to suggest that Scientology expanded because of good marketing, instead of due to the value of tech.
Likewise, she says the E-meter is not a new invention “contrary to Hubbard’s claims” because it is actually a variation of a Wheatstone Bridge — a fact every Scientologist knows because LRH said so himself. But it’s a small point. There are other such minor errors here and there. She quotes ex-Scientologists such as one who knew LRH in the 1950s and later decided his only motivation was “money.” Okay, whatever.
But on what I consider really, really important — the subject of David Miscavige and his rise to power, his abuses and excesses, Janet Reitman wins with a TKO. Here Janet finally published what even the St Petersburg Times failed to print: that David Miscavige’s handwriting was allegedly all over Lisa McPherson’s auditing files. Janet covers the whole saga, weaving together data from eyewitnesses.
There are many other pluses, and of course a few minuses. She ends the book with the opinion of Natalie Walet, a college-age Scientologist currently taking courses at Flag. Natalie rejects defectors’ claims that the environment was too corrosive. “So it really floors me that people saw DM doing this, if he did this, and didn’t do anything. Shame on them for not fixing it.” Well, Natalie (she hopes to become a judge one day — God save us) what the hell do you think we are doing?
Personally, I think all clueless 23-year old Scientologists who “have heard terrible things” yet who are themselves doing nothing to correct those “terrible things” should simply decide they know best about everything and dismiss those who are actually working to correct the situation. Please feel free to assume we are just complaining (when in fact, we are actually using Scientology to audit the 3rd dynamic). I mean, why actually take responsibility for Scientology when you can just kinda play like you are taking responsibility for it, right, when in fact you are just doing some courses and not applying what you are learning? Kewl, right? Right? Just let the whole thing pass right over your head.
All told, Janet Reitman’s Inside Scientology is a must read. She has sent an enormous boulder crashing through the glass house of Miscavige; those pink legs sticking out… well, I think you know whom they are attached to. It’s a strong statement that ultimately will help further our cause as Independent Scientologists. Read the book for yourself and see what you think.
Written by Thoughtful