A Cult Named Sue

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The awful Church of Scientology (which sends my house two or three of the most indecipherable space-monster pamphlets a week, thinking wrongly that some defector named "Larry" still lives here), is threatening a trademark-infringement lawsuit against a New Zealand parody site called www.ScienTOMogy.info, which, as you might imagine, takes the piss out of Tom Cruise's pimping for the clam-hating cult. Buried near the bottom of the L.A. Times story is this bit of news about www.truthaboutscientology.com publisher Kristi Wachter, who successfully fought off similar threats four years ago:

a few weeks ago, [Wachter] said, her Web host was forced to temporarily remove more than 600 pages from her site after Scientology lawyers accused her of copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Act.

Link via L.A. Observed.

NEXT: Patriot Act Outrages Continued

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  1. The only thing worse than a Scientologist is an Objectivist. At least scientologists aren’t giving people who believe in “free minds and free markets” like myself a bad name.

  2. The awful Church of Scientology (which sends my house two or three of the most indecipherable space-monster pamphlets a week, thinking wrongly that some defector named “Larry” still lives here),

    Oh, whatever, Larry. We know you’re writing for Reason Magazine now. And we’re still watching you.

  3. there ought to be an aspect of being legally qualified as a “religion” that you can’t sue people for copyright infringement for the use of your name. imagine sects of christianity suing each other for having the gall to call themselves Christian.

  4. One of your friends in a drunken stupor may have found it amusing to send them your address. I used to call the Rev. Ike show and give them all my friend’s addresses back in the eighties. Of course, the stuff you got from Rev. Ike was always great. I held on to my “Blessings” shower cap for years.

  5. I held on to my “Blessings” shower cap for years.

    mk,

    Held on to it? Why, you wore it to the Ireland’s Four Courts the other night, didn’t you? You looked mighty dapper. If only you had stayed for the photos.

  6. imagine sects of christianity suing each other for having the gall to call themselves Christian

    I was going to that you shouldn’t give them ideas, but then I thought, would I mind this so very much?

  7. I was going to that you shouldn’t give them ideas, but then I thought, would I mind this so very much?

    i certainly wouldn’t mind, if they promised to outsource the whole thing to some other country’s court system. it sounds like just the thing for the UK.

  8. Tom Cruise’s pimping for the clam-hating cult

    Tom Cruise a member of a clam-hating cult. Go figure.

  9. You are totally Fair Game now, Welch. You’ll have the Sea Org so far up your ass you’ll be shitting salt water.

  10. space-monster pamphlets

    I’m offended by that comment!

  11. As most H&R regulars know, I’m not a fan of organized religion and Scientology–assuming you concede that it is a religion–is no exception. However, I’ll give the mainstream faiths on thing, they’re usually pretty open about who they are and what they stand for. You don’t need to pay your local minister to find out about JEEZ-us. Hell, he won’t shut up about him.

    Now, how much do you have to pay to be told about Xenu, the Thetens, the DC-8 space planes, the volcanoes, the H-Bombs, the 3-D movie theaters, and all the rest of the OTIII document silliness? OK, I just did for nothing, but does the average sucker know when they’re putting out a second or third mortgage on their house just to learn from the “experts?” Obviously not.

    Do Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, and all the other celebrity Scientologists know the utter goofiness they’re pushing? Do they know the damage they’re doing to the mentally ill when they tell them to “just take vitamins and exercise?” rather than seek actually psychological/psychiatric help? I wonder; do they really believe, or do they get a cut?

  12. Funny this thread is up here today. I just met a regionally-prominent member of another cult this morning.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adi_Da

  13. The mormons are a close second, both in terms of wierdness and secrecy about the wierdness until you’ve been indoctrinated for a while.

    nmg

  14. Do Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, and all the other celebrity Scientologists know the utter goofiness they’re pushing?

    Look what these folks do for a living. The goofiness level of Scientology is probably just background noise in comparison…

    Hubbard was pretty clever, really, to target celebrities as spokespersons for his religion. And no, I don’t believe the celebs have to pay all of the $$$ or deal with the ritual humiliations. That’s left for the plebs.

  15. Akira,

    I think having zombies over to mow your lawn for nothing and free drinks at the celebrity center counts as a “cut”.

    Oh, and the reason all this sc-fi stuff sounds like nonsense is that you are not free of the body thetans. If you were “clear” you would see the truth in it all.

    It’s so simple. You shouldn’t be glib..

  16. Akira, i think they really do believe it all. one of the functions of spending ridiculous amounts of money to have “secrets” revealed to you is that, by the time you actually do hear these “secrets”, you have to believe them, because damn it, you couldn’t possibly have spent all that money on nothing.

    these actors might be getting a cut of the Church’s profits for being spokesmen in some official capacity; but i think that, if they were directly being paid with the understanding that they’re lying, they would take much more care to keep themselves from looking like idiots otherwise (i.e. jumping on couches, etc.).

  17. You know, it’s enough to make you think that the whole “if you want to make a million dollars, start a religion” story really did happen. I wouldn’t put it past Hubbard given how he took Jack Parsons to the cleaners.

  18. I’ll second that nmg.

    THeir secrecy in letting you in on the foundation truths is also comparable in that those truths are both so obviously ridiculous to those who are not already invested believers (as zach pointed out).

    The difference that I have found is that there is a pretty wide range of zealousness amongst the mormons, from beer-drinking, club-going bisexuals who do their missionary work anyway, to outright polygamist fundamentalists. Scientologists seem to be much more of a all-or-nothing group.

  19. I assumed Hubbard started Scientology to both make himself rich and to beat ol’ Crowley at his own game by creating a money-making goofball religion that actually worked, since it all began more or less around the time of his falling out with the poor chumps in Parsons’ OTO lodge. Hubbard certainly got the last laugh in that regard.

    I welcome the coming religious wars between the Scientologists and the Kabbalists for the souls of the Hollywood elite. I don’t know how mystical water will stand up against space jets, though.

  20. I, personally, await the coming of Galactus.
    Or Cthulhu.
    Whoever gets here first, they have my devotion.

  21. Pastafarian –

    I enjoyed your cooking many times at Dead shows. Your food went very well with Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale.

    There were many zombies at the shows, but I do not believe they were under the influence of Scientology. There were much more powerful forces at work.

  22. Isn’t the Crowley/OTO — Hubbard/Scientology a little unfair to Crowley?

  23. I forgot to add the word analogy after Scientology

  24. Isn’t the Crowley/OTO — Hubbard/Scientology [analogy] a little unfair to Crowley?

    I think it’s an apt simile given how both played upon the zeitgeist to acquire followers. At OTO, Crowley played upon the relapse of interest in spiritualism and frustration with Victorian morality while Hubbard used the space age to bag his prey.

  25. Yeah, but I think Hubbard qualifies as a charlatan whereas I think Crowley was just wierd. I think Crowley for the most part believed the wierdness he espoused.

    Plus the OTO never tried to whack the mayor of Clearwater Florida.

  26. the OTO was never that expensive.

    the scientology/kaballah center method is certainly far more lucrative. they take the guru game to a whole new level – or nearly papal proportions – of cash and prizes.

  27. I will say this for the Scienos. Dowtown Clearwater was dead before they came along.

    An interesting aside. My buddy in highschool lived a couple of blocks away from the Scientolgy Center on Ft. Harrison in Clearwater. He lived in a nieghborhood full of nice homes. His parents were in the process of selling theirs. One night he comes home after usual Clearwater night out high and a little drunk only to find a pre Pulp Fiction Travolta sitting on his front porch. We’re taliking Look Who’s Talking Travolta. My buddy ends up showing Travolta his house in the middle of the night while his parent slept upstairs. The nest mornig his parents, knowing what a pot head he is, don’t believe a word of it. Ok not that interesting of a story. But the image of my baked buddy showing a still washed-up Travolta around his house in the middle of the night cracks me up.

    Also – Lisa Marie had her kid in the house next door to him.

    I love Clearwater. Everything the Scienos don’t own is owned by pro-wrestlers.

  28. I once went to Lisa Marie’s birthday party. She didn’t serve clams.

  29. Everything the Scienos don’t own is owned by pro-wrestlers.

    And Hollywood Hulk Hogan takes Tom Cruise to the top rope… BODY SLAM!

    I’m tellin’ ya McMann, in all my years ringside, I have never seen such a heinous–yet satisfying–act of brutality!

  30. My Italics went craaazy.

    sorry

  31. I learned a long time ago to never trust a man who uses a first initial and a middle name (e.g. L. Ron Hubbard, G. Gordon Liddy, E. Howard Hunt, F. Scott Fitzgerald, F. Lee Bailey.)

  32. And Hollywood Hulk Hogan takes Tom Cruise to the top rope… BODY SLAM!

    Hogan’s flexing for the crowd – But wait! Who’s that running to ringside? It’s Katie Holmes! She’s distracting the Hulkster! Cruise is back up! He’s got a chair! Right to Hogan’s head! He’s wearing the crimson mask! Cruise with his patented Theatan Buster in the corner! Hogan is Dazed! Hogan is down! Oh no! Cruise has applied the Level 5 Leg Lock! Hogan is helpless! Hogan’s forced to tap out!

    Tom Cruise has Personally! Personally! Forced Hollywood Hulk Hogan to submit!

    Krazy Katie has brought Cruise the mic what’s he got to say! we don’t need to hear from him! He’s despicable!

    “To beat a Level 5 – You’ve got to be a level 5! Whoooooooooooo!”

  33. Scientology lawyers accused her of copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Act

    Ahh, the DMCA: a gift that keeps on giving.

  34. At least they’re not as bad as the Movementarians. Talk about a shady bunch.

  35. NoStar:

    How about K. Eric Drexler, or L. Neil Smith?

    OK, that last one may not have been a good example.

  36. Funniest comment of the day goes to ralphus at October 19, 2005 01:05 PM

  37. My Italics went craaazy.

    Why you always-a gotta blame-a us because-a you cannot-a type-a, aaah? Is-a no fair!

  38. I learned a long time ago to never trust a man who uses a first initial and a middle name (e.g. L. Ron Hubbard, G. Gordon Liddy, E. Howard Hunt, F. Scott Fitzgerald, F. Lee Bailey.)

    What about someone who uses only a couple initials and a last name?

  39. I, for one, welcome our space-monster overlords…

  40. At least they’re not as bad as the Movementarians. Talk about a shady bunch.

    HA!

    One of my ex-girlfriends is a member of the Ba’hai faith. It’s harmless in that “we want everyone to get along and are accepting of all” kind of way.

    Which to my mind makes it annoying. I mean, the most fun part of a religion is that you get to exclude people you don’t like.

    Oh, and too many damn paranthesis. First time I read about it on the web, I thought it was made up by a bunch of Star Trek fans going for that whole Klingon ethos.

  41. And by parenthesis, I meant aposthrophe.

    *smacks forehead*

  42. Well, the movementarians considered Homer to have the most powerful mind they had ever encountered, so obviously they had some problems from the beginning… given the recruiting grounds for scientology, probably not so much an issue for them.

  43. I never really thought Crowley believed much of what he wrote — at least in terms of rituals and such. But people need a show. And much of the OTO did seem to center very much around sending Crowley money. Hubbard just had the sense to charge more and keep the hippies out.

    Now that crazy lady who started the Unarius movement — now she BELIEVED. Maybe she, Hubbard, LaVey, and Crowley can all one day return from their various magical planets and planes and create the one true super-religion that unites us all and finally pushes us into the predicted era in which we all wear metallic-colored tunics and live in geodesic domes.

  44. Speaking of scientology, my crackpot theory, arrived at while vacationing at the beach, is that those “Dippin’ Dots” stores are really a front for some sort of scientologist outfit. I never see anyone eat that stuff, and there’s never anyone in the stores besides one bored employee. But they’ve got half the building cordoned off behind a wall. Who knows what’s going on back there?

    Plus, there are 2 or 3 of them in tourist areas, each with zero traffic in them. Plus all that ‘ice cream of the future!’ stuff they spout. Seems fishy to me….

  45. I’ve eaten Dippin’ Dots, at an Arena football game in Hawaii, they’re tasty… DIE HIGHWAY WORTHLESS HERETIC I’m not sure what your question is about ? So stop asking.

    I’m waiting for L. Ron Hubbard to join Jimmy Swaggart and Crowley by having what’s left of Ozzy Osbourne write a song about him. I’m also waiting for Jimmy Page to buy one of Hubbard’s old houses.

  46. Don’t put Dippin Dots in your freezer — they’ll stick together!

  47. “I never really thought Crowley believed much of what he wrote — at least in terms of rituals and such.”

    Why do you say that?

  48. and finally pushes us into the predicted era in which we all wear metallic-colored tunics and live in geodesic domes.

    Will there be moon boots?

  49. I want to be taken to Blisstonia, damn it!

  50. What about R. Lee Ermey? Can we trust him?

  51. Although I do agree that Scientologists are cretins and am proud to be an anti-Hubbardite what’s with the anti-Mormonism?

    Their scriptures and rituals are no more ridiculous than others and all the ones I’ve met are genuinely nice people in the way Christians would be if they actually emulated Christ.

  52. I’ve met are genuinely nice people in the way Christians would be if they actually emulated Christ.

    Don’t fall for it. Behind that Osmond Family Christmas facade burns the same irrational, mindless, zealotry that fuels all organzied religion. In public, it’s church picnics and prayer groups. In private, it’s pipe bombs sent to abortion clinics and gay night clubs.

  53. Akira,

    Don’t you think you’re painting with an awfully broad brush there?

  54. I’ve known thousands of Mormons and didn’t know anyone who would do those things. Some have the same pitfalls as a lot of religious people (i.e. self-righteousness, hypocrisy, etc.) but those types are generally disliked by other Mormons. No one’s perfect, but at least most of them try to be good people….

  55. According to a Mormon acquaintance of mine, the Mormon church teaches that if you’re extra-special virtuous and committed to the church in life, you get to spend the afterlife on your own planet. If so, maybe they have more in common with Thelema and Scientology than it seems.

    I don’t get what’s so rewarding about having your own planet for eternity. I don’t think I’d want to spend eternity alone. Plain old heaven sounds more appealing. One could come into contact with all sorts up there.

  56. Can you trust R. Lee Ermy?

    A drill instructor and part time actor?
    What do you think? As for me, I regard him with suspicion.

  57. The mormons have just as may crazy sci-fi hokey beliefs. And they tend to hide them from neophytes, just like Scientology does. The scriptures and rituals *are* more ridiculous than more mainstream versions of christianity.

    They’re perfectly decent people and I didn’t say otherwise. Their beliefs are extra-wierd and they gloss over them like Scientology does. That’s all.

    nmg

  58. Mormons are as wierd as Scientologists, Exhibit A:

    they have a “second tier” membership that allows you to attend the secret inner temple rituals. Only members who have paid the 10% tithgin on their income for a year are granted this status, called “temple worthy”

    There’s a reason they hold off these secret temple rituals for a year. They are bizarre and some members freak out. The rituals include the famed baptisms for the dead that have offended vocal jews who found out their ancesotrs were being baptised by proxy in mormon temples for the mormon god(s).

    nmg

  59. Exhibit B: you must pay tithing to get to heaven.

    Most versions of christianity have abandoned the “you must pay us cash to get into heaven” approach but not the mormons. They are mercenary about it. I’ve read that the Scientologists also require pecuniary commitment to be promised a successful afterlife.

    nmg

  60. Point of correction about the Mormons: you don’t have to pay to get into heaven. In fact, the Mormons are much nicer than the Baptists or Catholics in terms of heaven’s gate policy.

    In the Mormon afterlife, there’s actually three levels of Heaven, the highest one being the place where you get your own planet. And you can get in the highest level without paying a dime or ever following the beliefs in life. Thats the point of Baptism of the Dead. If a good mormon on earth gets baptised in your name, then you get a promotion in the afterlife.

    But almost everyone can get into the two lower levels of heaven and are not punished for their beliefs on earth. Contrast with the Baptists who will gleefully send you to hell if you’re not ‘saved’.

    You apparently have to be pretty bad to get sent to Hell on a permanent basis. Thats one way their afterlife somewhat resembles Buddhist belief. People are expected to evolve into something greater and are not stuck with their current situation.

    So make sure your name gets added to their list and you’ll have an insurance policy for free.

  61. CS,
    I went to an elementary school in Ogden for a year. I figure I must be on one of their lists.

  62. As a Recovering Mormon (clean 12+ years), I’ll rebut “CS”.

    There are indeed three levels of Heaven according to LDS doctrine.

    But you don’t qualify for the highest level (Celestial Kingdom) unless you are Temple-worthy, which means full tither payer for starters.

    Other criteria include periodic intensive interviews from local and regional leadership to determine if you are maintaining sexual chastity (sex within marriage only, or complete sexual abstinence if unmarried); drug-free (including tobacco, alcohol and caffeine); and publicly acknowledge without reservation that God’s direct conduit to humankind is represented by the church Prophet in Salt Lake along with the (literal) Twelve Apostles and other General Authorities (third tier management).

    Side note to above references about sexual chastity – The Celestial Kingdom is not open to unmarried females, regardless of their meeting other qualifications. Further, all marriages (for males or females) must be ordained in a clandestine Temple marriage ceremony which may only be attended by other Temple-worthy LDS.

    One of the strongest recruiting hooks of the Mormon church is “Families Are Forever” which teaches that families may spend eternity together.

    IF each of them are temple-worthy and faithful per the above requirements and IF any husband-wife combos are both faithful and temple worthy members.

    Any non-temple worthy family members will be forever separated from other family members who qualify for the LDS Golden Ticket.

    Are Mormons OK people? Yep, for the most part in my experience, as are most of the Scientologists I’ve met and done business with during my eight years here in Clearwater.

    But make no mistake about the doctrines they teach. Caveat emptor.

  63. Well, as far as I know, the Mormons have never persecuted Jews so they’re way ahead of most of the other goyim.

    To paraphrase Ali, “I ain’t got nothing against no LDS.”

    And, please, Moroni, et. al., are no more ridiculous than the characters in Genesis or Revelations.

  64. Crimethink:

    Do you think I care? A is A. Religion is religion. Mankind has to chuck it all on the proverbial Ash Heap Of History before it drags us back down to Dark Ages, or worse, the caves.

  65. SteveInClearwater:

    Regarding the entry of non-believers into the CK:

    I always thought being posthumously baptised would get you an entry into the CK (assuming your soul in limbo accepts the gesture), which would then create a loophole which would allow you to live the life you wish, without tithing or holding to the specific moral laws.

    I also thought the unmarried can make it into the CK, but they don’t get a planet but are rather pushed into messenger duty for those people who did get planets.

    But I’ve never been a member so I’m probably more than a bit mistaken.

  66. Don’t put Dippin Dots in your freezer — they’ll stick together!

    *gasp* – Another conspiracy!

  67. NoStar, I’m disappointed in you. You left out J. Edgar Hoover. Of course, I, for one, welcome our namedropping overlords, especially considering that I’m one. It’s a world of trouble going by your middle name, let me assure you, so we deserve the right to screw over the rest of the world.

    SteveInClearwater, I agree that, like Soylent Green, Scientologists are people, but you have to admit that it’s a little creepy driving down Ft. Harrison (the main street for Scientology in Clearwater, for all of you non-Bay Area (yes, Bay Area, damn you all to hell)) folks. They’ve moved into Ybor City, too, so I expect all of Tampa will soon join Clearwater in submitting to the Scientology hegemony. Heck, John Travolta already has a jet airbase a little bit north of here, in Ocala. We’re doomed.

  68. Sorry folks, I had a bad night yesterday and I had to take my frustrations out on something. Religion was just an easy target.

  69. What about R. Lee Ermey? Can we trust him?

    Comment by: Stormy Dragon at October 19, 2005 05:48 PM

    Obviously, you haven’t seen that remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. As it turns out, Ermey Leatherface’s pappy.

  70. SteveInClearwater, Pro Libertate,

    I had no idea there was a Clearwater faction on Hit and Run. No place quite like it.

    I went to Clearwater High School. Our annual scavenger hunt came to an end because one year Scientologist name badges were on the list and people were a little too zealous in retrieving them. Scienos also used to get Supersoakered and water ballooned on a regular basis. I always thought they were weird but not worthy of persecution. I used to get into arguments with classmates when I would point out that alien spewing volcanoes were not that much weirder than talking burning bushes and magical gardens.

    After all we went to school with Greeks. Talk about you insular cultures with weird traditions. No body hassled them. Mostly because Greek chicks were hot (at least when they?re young), Greek guys could fight and their food rocked.

    Along with the Greeks there were, Mormons, tons of Baptists, Wiccans, and Catholics, every flavor of Judaism, Santeria practitioners, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus. Hell, our Albanian neighbors sacrificed a goat and mixed its blood into the foundation of their house after they buried gold coins at the four corners of the slab. And I was supposed to think Scientologists were the weird ones? My feeling on Scientology is that if someone is dumb enough to buy into it that’s his or her problem. Which is pretty much my feeling with all religions.

    Meanwhile you have to admit that downtown Clearwater is looking pretty good these days. Last time I was back I noticed a huge difference. Instead of a vagrant on every corner there was one on every other corner.

  71. Welch does know the history of the Digital Millennium Act, I DO!

  72. More crazy mormon beliefs:

    native americans are all descended from jews who emigrated to continent in 60BC. Before that, the place was unpopulated.

    Some of the jews turned wicked and god cursed them with dark skin. They wiped out the good white jews that were left.

    Bigfoot is real, he is Cain, wondering the earth cursed by god

    Blacks are cursed with dark skin because they are descended from cain

    god lives on a planet which circles a star called kolob.

    A vast civilization of millions once flourished in North America. They had steel swords, writing, money, and cultivated grapes and barley and used elephants and horses. They all wiped themselves out before columbus arrived.

    Once you go through the temple rituals, you get to wear magic underwear that protects you from evil. You must wear it at all times.

    Satan has special power over bodies of water and their missionaries are not allowed to go swimming.

    Yes, you get your own planet when you go to heaven, and yes, the males get a harem more or less. It’s well-established doctrine that when you get to heaven, the men will be given extra wives.

    In my opinion, yes, all religions are kooky. But if you think scientology is extra -wierd compared to more mainstream religions, then mormons are too.

  73. THanks nmg for doing what I was too lazy to do.
    Plus you added one I didn’t know. I had never heard about the bigfoot thing. Wow, that is something else isn’t it?

    Now I’m off to worship FSM

  74. Actually, ralphus, Pinellas County is for sinners–I live in Tampa 🙂 My dad used to live in Tarpon Springs, though, so I’ve enjoyed eating Greek food and viewing Greek women, too.

  75. Blacks are cursed with dark skin because they are descended from cain

    This idea actually predates Mormonism — you can see it referenced in some of the poems of Phyllis Wheatley, a colonial African American poet.

  76. Tarpon Springs.

    Go Spongers!

    For non-Bay Area residents. I shit you not. Their High School mascot is a sea sponge. Like I said, Sceintologists are hardly the weirdeest thing in Pinellas County.

  77. Blacks are cursed with dark skin…

    This idea actually predates Mormonism…

    Actually the Cain thing does not appear in Mormonism until about 1848, which means Brigham Young introduced it. The Reorganized Church (Josephites) never taught the doctrine just as they rejected polygamy and BY’s authority. A schism, by the way, that strongly resembles, to my mind, the Shi’ite vs Sunni break.

    That said Joseph Smith pretty shamelessly stole ideas from every religion around methodism, quakerism, you name it.

    William Penn (and others) postulated that American Indians came from the Ten Lost Tribes. There’s plenty of reason to believe that that’s where Solomon Spaulding or whoever actually wrote the Book of Mormon actually got the idea.

  78. A nice breakdown of one of the great South Park Mormon episode.

    http://www.i4m.com/think/southpark/

  79. Actually the Cain thing does not appear in Mormonism until about 1848

    Correction 1852.

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