Steve Hassan sends along this video which features a discussion with Ex-Celebrity Center top person Karen Pressley, who was a Sea Org member and worked directly for David Miscavige for four years. Attorney Paul Grosswald, also a former Scientologist, joins with Steve as they speak casually in Hassan’s hotel room at the 2010 ICSA conference.
Karen Talks about Miscavige’s abuse, combating the cult mindset and her presentation at the conference with ex-Children of God member Miriam Boeri (wrote Heaven’s Harlots), suppression of her book by the cult, and its forthcoming release.
Fred Phelps take his sick anti-gay message from town to town, preaching that “God Hates Fags.” He draws a lot of publicity by protesting at the funerals of fallen military members. When he came to Chicago back in March of 2010, a local student decided the best way to fight back was to use the appearance to raise funds for groups that Phelps was targeting.
Inside New Zealand produced this look at the behavior of destructive groups such as corporate Scientology.
Inside New Zealand: How To Spot A Cult gives viewers an intimate view of what life is like inside groups that some former followers say are cults operating in New Zealand.
“These former members have consistent stories about how the different organisations actually work,” explains producer Gary Scott, “and the techniques they say were used to control them, even though the belief systems can be miles apart.”
“The modern rise of cult-like groups is not something experts can easily quantify, but there is a proven trend away from mainstream churches, towards other forms of spirituality. There has been a lot of talk about Destiny Church, since the covenant of 700 followers.”
The two-part documentary consists of ex-believers’ stories, and investigates the similarities they say exist between groups including the Exclusive Brethren, Scientology, Centrepoint, Gloriavale, Avatar and the International Church of Christ.
The documentary includes abuse survivors who have never spoken before, including the first ever interview with a young woman born into the controversial Centrepoint commune, the first of her generation to speak out.
How To Spot A Cult also features Ualesei Vaega, a New Zealand survivor from Waco, Texas, where an FBI seige ended with the death of 86 followers of David Koresh in a devastating fire.
“As you would expect, the effects of something like Waco are deeply traumatic,” Scott continues. “Ualesei Vaega’s story is even more powerful because he witnessed Koresh go down the path of collecting guns, having sex with young girls, and yet Ualesi came back to New Zealand even though people around him were too deeply brainwashed to make that key decision to leave.”
Ualesi Vaega lost his brother, sister in law and many good friends in the tragic fire.
As the documentaries show, a similar armed stand-off was only narrowly avoided in New Zealand at Camp David, a walled compound north of Christchurch.
“The scary things about Camp David,” says Scott, “is that when the police raided their weapons stockpile, the members were hidden and watching them arrive through rifle scopes. Many of those guys had military training. Even today, some say there is still a stockpile of weapons buried on the West Coast.”
How To Spot A Cult will reveal all this as well as the tactics cult-watchers and academics say should warn people that a group may want total control of their followers’ lives.
People always ask me if L. Ron Hubbard or David Miscavige really believe in Scientology’s vaunted technology. I believe they were (and are) in it for the money, even if they do believe some of their own self-generated nonsense.
But they are not alone. Lots of people make a very healthy living scamming people who are in pain, confused or in need of direction. People like Sylvia Browne who could care less that their little dog and pony show is adding more distress to a family like the McClelland’s.
Two distraught daughters came to the Montel Williams show to ask the whereabouts of their missing mother. Sylvia makes up a story about the woman being taken away by some fellow with the initials MJ and tells them their mother is still alive. In reality, the woman had been murdered by the husband of one of the two daughters and the shocking details would come out after this show was taped.
The gang’s all there. 1996: Rev. Moon throws gala event in Washington celebrating the fact he’s stopped calling the Moonies the “Unification Church” and will henceforth be known as the lord of the “Family Federation For World Peace and Unification.” You won’t believe what Republicans show up.
A three part series from a Massachusetts TV newscast about Potter’s House and Victory Chapel.
Part One covers the devastation when families are torn apart by policies similar to Scientology’s Disconnection Policy.
Parts Two and Three follow the money trail.