Progress Continues on Knowledge Report

Jason Beghe
I took a break from editing in the past couple weeks to head up to L.A. and do a couple more interviews for my new documentary, Knowledge Report.  Tory Christman has been my friend since she left Scientology.  She sat down with me to talk about her experiences both inside the organization and what actions they have taken against her since she publicly departed.
And Jason Beghe made a big splash on the net four years ago when we sat down to do his first interview about Scientology.  We felt it was about time to update his story both for the film and for another revealing long form interview for the net.  Here’s a teaser of what’s in store:
By the way, the latest fundraising campaign for my film ends in a little more than a day.  If you’d like to contribute or just spread the word, click here.

Panorama: Secrets of Scientology

John Sweeney's "Secrets of Scientology"
John Sweeney’s follow-up to “Scientology and Me” features the involvement of Marty Rathbun, Mike Rinder, Larry Anderson, Jason Beghe, Amy Scobee and Marc & Claire Headley.   Sweeney gets a full hour to put together one of the best broadcasts on the subject in years.
The audience for the broadcast was huge.  Nearly 5 million people watched the show as it aired live on the BBC.  Millions more will see it online.  The New Statesmen called it “a bad day for Scientology.”  Anons are buzzing about it over at Why We Protest.
Continue reading “Panorama: Secrets of Scientology”

Orientation Star Demands his Money Back — on Tape

The St. Petersburg Times continues their explosive coverage of Scientology with today’s story about celebrity Larry Anderson departing Scientology and asking for the return money he had in his account:

If you watched TV in the past three decades, you probably saw Larry Anderson. He appeared on more than 30 shows, including Charlie’s Angels, Mork and Mindy, Desperate Housewives and Mad Men. He hosted three game shows and had bit parts in eight movies.
He got lots of parts but isn’t well known. Except to Scientologists.
Anderson starred in the Church of Scientology’s 1996 film Orientation, a 40-minute promotion central to church recruiting efforts. Translated into 15 languages, it has been shown at church facilities worldwide not only to potential recruits but also to parishioners and staffers, to get them more involved in Scientology.
At the film’s dramatic climax, Anderson is a portrait of rectitude as the background music swells and the camera zooms in:
“If you leave this room after seeing this film and walk out and never mention Scientology again, you are perfectly free to do so. It would be stupid. But you can do it. You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out. That is your choice.
“But, if you don’t walk out that way, if you continue with Scientology, we will be very happy with you. And you will be very happy with you.”
Now, after 33 years as a Scientologist, the past 13 as the voice extolling the virtues of Scientology and the perils of walking away, Anderson is walking away. He says the church failed to deliver the spiritual gains it promised.
Larry Anderson with the tiny David Miscavige and Shelly Miscavige at a Scientology event in 1996He also wants his money back, nearly $120,000 he says he prepaid for services never taken. A church policy says parishioners can get repayments, but if they do, they cannot come back.
Eleven months ago, Anderson met with Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis to discuss his request for repayment. Anderson, 58, put a tape recorder on the table between them.
The 90-minute tape affords a rare look at how the church dealt with a high-profile defector and his demand for his money.

You can listen to excerpts from the recording on the St. Pete Times website.

Leaked IAS Video

Get out your checkbooks.  David Miscavige wants you to make a donation to Scientology.
Here’s the video they show while they’re shaking down members.  It shows lots of impressive things that the IAS is supposedly doing.  You know, they’re spreading human rights to everyone on the planet — except those under the control of Scientology.  Yes, you too can have human rights — unless you’re on staff or in the Sea Org.  Then it’s rice and beans and off to the RPF for you.
And as a bonus to you, dear viewer,  Jason Beghe provided the narration for this video.  Just one of many videos Scientology now has to re-do.
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Celebrities Lead Charge Against Scientology

Celeb Center
A great new article in the UK’s Guardian talks about Scientology’s recent troubles from the leak of the Tom Cruise tape, to the departures of Jason Beghe and Paul Haggis, up the the current mega-flap from Australia.  It all kicks off with the death of Scientologist attorney Earl Cooley.

The security at the red-brick and glass-walled horseshoe of the John Joseph Moakley courthouse on Boston’s waterfront was unusually tight. Anybody who was not a member of the city’s bar association was swept with a search wand. Photo IDs were checked. Mobile phones were taken from guests, who included the Hollywood star Tom Cruise.
The occasion was a memorial service for Scientology’s top legal adviser for a quarter of a century, Earle Cooley. The controversial head of Scientology worldwide, David Miscavige, delivered the eulogy, thanking his late friend for his contribution to the neo-religion during his career, much of which was spent pursuing journalists and former members who spoke out against it.
Miscavige may since have wondered privately what Cooley would have made of the events of last week. Scientology, founded in 1953 by the late science fiction pulp novelist, serial fantasist and inveterate self-publicist L Ron Hubbard, is under fire again across the globe, following years of struggle to be recognised – with some success – as a legitimate church.
The church has just been denounced in the strongest possible terms in the Australian parliament. Prime minister Kevin Rudd has expressed his concern over allegations of “a worldwide pattern of abuse and criminality” and is contemplating a parliamentary inquiry. The organisation is under police investigation and yesterday angry ex-Scientologists, spurred on by the claims, converged on its Australian headquarters calling for its tax-exempt status to be revoked.
And it is not only in Australia that Scientology is facing problems. A new book in America – Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of the Church of Scientology – by Marc Headley, an employee of the church’s Los Angeles headquarters for 15 years, details – as others have – allegations of systematic abuse and bizarre episodes, such as the three weeks Headley claims he spent under instruction from Cruise in how to move bottles and other objects by concentrating on them.
Headley’s book follows a year in which Scientology has been plagued by unwelcome revelations from high-profile defectors and fresh media investigation into its practices.
Last month the church narrowly avoided being banned in France after being prosecuted for fraud, following claims that four leaders – all given suspended jail sentences – had preyed financially on several followers in the 1990s. In Belgium, too, Scientology is embroiled in a long criminal investigation. Perhaps most embarrassing for an organisation that prides itself on its wealthy Hollywood followers, Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis, an adherent of 30 years, abandoned Scientology in October, accusing it of homophobia.

You can read the full article here.  Marty Rathbun shares his memories of Earl Cooley at his blog.  My memories aren’t as golden.  I know Cooley through his appearances on TV, like this one on 60 Minutes back in 1985 in which he and Heber Jentzsch team up against Mike Wallace and are sadly outmatched.

Jason Beghe Interview

Jason Beghe is the first celebrity to leave Scientology and publicly discuss his involvement and then disillusionment with the group. He made it to OT V on Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom” and discovered the best way to get free was to get up and walk out the door.
It was a great pleasure to meet Jason and his family.  Jason has a long list of acting credits in film and TV and has done extensive voice-over work through the years. His talents were also used in countless Scientology PR and training videos, including a recruitment video for Scientology’s Sea Org.
I think you’ll greatly enjoy this interview. That is, unless your name is David Miscavige. Continue reading “Jason Beghe Interview”