Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney here, with his eye on Scientology. On December 30, 2015, I noticed that someone had been distributing “free” Personality Test tickets in my neighborhood, placing them near mailboxes or at people’s front doors. I live near the Church of Scientology’s west coast headquarters, PAC Base, in Los Angeles. As a result, I decided to pick up the litter of Scientology’s promotional material which actually extended from PAC Base (near Vermont Avenue and Sunset Boulevard), to Celebrity Centre International (North Bronson and Franklin Avenues).
I also learned that Celebrity Centre International (“CC Int”) has been blanketing the area with advertising for “Industry Seminars”, where attendees can “Meet & Greet” a working professional in the entertainment industry; that professional is also a Scientologist, and is used as a lure to get you to attend their seminar. Why? Scientology’s method is a “bait and switch,” in that they’ll draw you into their facility by making it appear that the seminar will give you tips from industry professionals, but all you’ll really get is the “opportunity” to join the Church of Scientology.
Joining a religion is a personal choice, and I will not stand in the way of anyone’s right as an American to practice their faith as they enjoy the freedom of religious expression in the United States. I spent, after all, thirty seven years as a member of the Church of Scientology. What I object to is what Scientology has become since January 24, 1986, the death of L. Ron Hubbard (“LRH”).
After leaving the church in 2014, however, I came to realize how much of a cult* Scientology really is. As early as 1977 and through Scientology’s many policies and bulletins, I began seeing Earth as LRH did (or, at least, I began seeing it through my interpretation of how LRH saw it). I considered Earth an inferior planet filled with people simply too stupid to see, let alone think for themselves. That philosophy, of course, is not correct, and I have realized, since departing Scientology, that we’re all in this together. Earth is not only my home, but the home to many people who need help.
Since leaving Scientology, I’ve learned more about the value of serving others, of volunteering and helping my fellow man. I’ve also watched a Scientology Body Router (“BR”) from the Los Angeles Organization (“LA Org”) attempt to hustle a homeless person with their con. After the homeless person politely refused a “free” ticket for a Personality Test, I asked that person if he was, instead, hungry (he was) and directed him to where he could get a free meal (just a block away from PAC Base).
When I joined in 1977, Scientology offered a “healthier” and “happier” way for you to become a cult member; Scientology in 2016 is designed to harm you and to take you for everything you have (and then some). Like a proud Christian who beats his chest in public and wrongly boasts of his “good deeds,” a Scientologist now values more his or her “status” than the level of training or spiritual counseling achieved. David Miscavige (“DM”) is the leader of Scientology as well as Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center (“RTC”). RTC came into existence in order to “preserve” the “technology” of Dianetics and Scientology; instead, Hubbard’s “technology” has been altered. Those things that LRH found important (including moving up “The Bridge to Total Freedom”) have been negated by cancelling auditing certificates and forcing members to pay for services already taken (in some cases, redoing “The Bridge” from the bottom up), all under the guise of being “pure LRH.”
Scientology in 2016 is the personification of a narcissist: if you walk in through their front door, prepare to be love bombed, then bedded like a whore and, in the end, tossed to the curb when Scientology tires of you or, God forbid, you should speak out against them. Scientology is the puppeteer; you are their puppet. Dance, and Scientology will be happy. Cut those strings, and Scientology will turn against you in the worst possible way.
Celebrity Centre International
When CC Int love bombs a person new to the cult, they do it with class and style. First, the building that that arm of the cult is housed in used to be called the “Château Élysée,” a former hotel built in 1927 (three decades before LRH arrived in Hollywood) as long-term, luxurious apartment houses for the rich and famous in the entertainment industry. Secondly, CC Int offers good food and service in the Renaissance, a French restaurant. Thirdly, they profess to provide tours of their facility and offer seminars that claim to hook you up with “names” in Hollywood who will help you land a job in the entertainment industry. Sound too good to be true? Yes, it is.
On December 30, 2015, I walked from PAC Base to CC Int, covering a sixteen block area. I found promotional material for events at CC Int littering the neighborhood, advertisements such as: Meet & Greet Comedian/Producer/Writer Camille Solari, on January 2, 2016; Free Acting Class with Director/Producer Isa Totah, Jan. 4; The Business of Acting, with actor Tom Ayers, on Jan. 6; Actors: Get Cast for the Part, with Peabody award-winning Director Eric Sherman, on Jan. 13; and Free TV Commercial Workshop, with Actress/former Agent Denice Duff, on Jan. 20.
“Meet & Greet” Comedian/Producer/Writer Camille Solari
This seminar claims to give you “direction” and the Scientology tools you’ll need for success in the entertainment industry.
This flier, by the way, is nothing more than an elaborate “free” Personality Test ticket. The event and the Personality Test are “free,” yet is anything in life really free? Be prepared to find out that once you’re in Scientology, it’ll be their way or the highway. Please don’t go to one of the these events. If you do find yourself in their building, don’t go alone, and do not in any way allow the two of you to be separated, as J. H., of Los Angeles found out in 2013 when she attended such an event with her fiancé:
“After the quiz, they separated us to ‘review’ our results and discuss our avenue of ‘training’. They tell you their ‘church’ is absolutely free. The catch is that you have to pay to get their ‘workbooks’. We both told the ‘counselors’ we were dealing with that we needed to discuss with each other before we signed up. They both walked out of the offices and met each other in the hall—so they said. When they came back into the offices, they conned us into signing up by saying we couldn’t see each other just yet and that the other one already signed up!”
Later, when they walked out of the Introduction [Indoctrination] to Scientology film, an irate J.H. confronted her “counselors”:
“I started asking them why they lied to get us to sign up. They sensed my fury and quickly pulled us into an office and closed the door. They said it was all a big misunderstanding, so I asked how there was a misunderstanding. They couldn’t explain it…”
Photo Caption: On the day I shot this photograph outside of CC Int, a Sea Org member (who had just finished inserting the advertisement into
its metal frame) gave me the biggest smile and declared, “Well, hello there!” to which I responded, “You won’t need to love bomb me; I know all about the cult of Scientology.”
Photo Caption: As a “reward” for what I said to the Sea Org member in that last picture, I received not one, but two escorts. Notice the one in the distance, indicated by the arrow; also notice how they’re both leaning to the right, so as to hear my every word. I did tell the Sea Org Security Guard with the bicycle, “It looks like I’m being followed.”
“Free TV Commercial Workshop,” Given by Actress and Former Agent Denice Duff
In this workshop, you” “learn to walk into the room and nail the part”, all based one of the cult’s books, The Fundamentals of Thought, by L. Ron Hubbard. Forget getting formal training of any kind; lean only on the words of LRH, as K.P., of Honolulu, Hawaii, found out in 2015:
“If you’re looking for an acting class, take an acting class, not Scientology to improve your acting. Take acting classes and learn how to walk into the room and nail the part using Meisner, Stanislavski, etc.”
American actor and acting teacher Sanford Meisner (1905—1997) developed the Meisner technique, used by leading professionals in the entertainment industry including Alec Baldwin, David Duchovny, Robert Duvall, Tina Fey, Bob Fosse, Diane Keaton, Christopher Lloyd, Geraldine Page and Gregory Peck as well as Scientology’s very own Tom Cruise. Russian actor and acting teacher Constantin Stanislavski (1863—1938) developed the Stanislavski system provided the foundation for many of the finest theatrical and motion picture performances, especially after World War II. Significant students of Stanislavski’s method included Lord Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud and Lee Strasberg, who co-founded the Group Theater, the first acting company in American to put Stanislavski’s theory into practice. The “Hubbard technique” (as reported by Tony Ortega’s The Underground Bunker and Mike Rinder’s Something Can Be Done About It as well as best-selling Scientology exposes such as Jenna Miscavige Hill’s Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape) includes, among other abuses, pressuring children into signing billion year contracts, all in the name of “serving” Hubbard and “saving” mankind from extinction.
“Actors—Get Cast for the Part,” with Peabody Award-Winning Director Eric Sherman
If you missed finding out about the Hubbard technique from Camille Solari or Denice Duff, Eric Sherman will provide “practical Scientology tools” so you can “book and nail auditions.”
This event is based on another book by Hubbard, The Problems of Work. Without actually saying it, this flier is just a “free” Personality Test ticket. If CC Int manages to get you through their front door, they will not let you go without some kicking and screaming. Scientology has perfected the art of drawing blood from a turnip: if you have money, or access to it or good credit, Scientology will milk you, your spouse, a loved one, your bank accounts, your credit line, until you have no money left. As K.P., of Honolulu further illustrated:
“They don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I can feel the pressure building as I am on the phone, I can’t imagine the sand trap experience it is to be there in person.”
“Free Acting Class” with Director/Producer Isa Totah
This workshop touts the Hubbard-penned workbook, The Emotional Tone Scale. Keep in mind that Hubbard originally wrote about the Tone Scale in his book, Science of Survival, written while hiding in Cuba from his wife and after kidnapping their daughter (Hubbard would later tell his wife that their child’s body could found in pieces floating in a river).
M.Q., of Brooklyn, New York, found her experience at CC Int to be anything but welcome:
“The video kept saying that Scientology is welcoming and anyone could ‘come on in,’ but the experience was the opposite: extremely exclusive, and followed around everywhere.”
Photo Caption: An advertisement at Starbooster for an event to be hosted by Isa Totah and the Church of Scientology at CC Int. Notice that the posting date (“June 16, 2015”) and that no expiration date for this ad exists.
“The Business of Acting” with Actor Tom Ayers
Fifty dollars for a series of seminars might sound like easy money if it could get a budding actor further in his or her career. That’s what J.M., of Valley Village, California, thought when she forked over her hard-earned money to Scientology. She’s never attended a single seminar or class, but
this is how Scientology continues to affect her life:
“I paid $50 for a series of seminars offered by CC Int before I knew that it was owned and operated by the Church of Scientology. Once I learned that, however, I made my intention to never attend the seminars very clear and requested my money back. Not only was I given the run around, it’s two years later and I have not received that refund, but once a month I get a bill in the mail from Scientology telling me that I owe them money! I have never stepped foot into any of their buildings nor have I attended one class or seminar yet they keep mailing me!”
Solution #1 for a Scientology-free World
Everyone who is not a Scientologist should immediately sign up for something in Scientology (an auditing action, for example), pay for it and then request their money back. That’s what P.H., of Los Angeles did in 2013, when he signed up for the Purification Rundown (a Scientology service he never started). After weeks of letters and telephone calls in which he asked for his money back, CC Int finally told him to pick up his refund. When he got there, however, Scientology ‘s representatives took him into a room, closed the door, and had a surprising revelation in store for him:
“Before they’d give me the check, they asked me to sign a form that said I was being excommunicated from the church. What? I asked how could I be excommunicated when I didn’t even know anything about the church yet. They literally said ‘If you do not wish to continue your classes, then you are against the aims of the church and you will be excommunicated.’ My jaw dropped and I just began laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. I happily signed the form, grabbed my check, and thankfully made it out…”
P.H. concludes his review of CC Int with this poetic statement:
“There is a huge chasm between the beauty of the outside of this church and the sinister practices inside.”
Solution #2 for a Scientology-free World
After CC Int pressured her to give them $40 for books, L.V., of Los Angeles changed her mind about doing Scientology’s class and left (not without a struggle, that is). For months afterward, she got telephone calls and letters from CC int, urging her to come back. Here is how she got her money back; it might seem a bit “extreme,” yet it seems fitting for an “extreme” church:
“One day, my friend and I (I had to have a body guard), walked into their building, stood in the lobby and f*cking yelled, telling them to never, ever, send a f*cking piece of mail or call my home again and I threw the mail all over the lobby. I can still see the glazed-over look on the receptionist’s face. Have you ever noticed that in really freakishly religious people? They’ve got those wide-open, glazed-over eyes and there’s nothing behind them but a brainwashed freak? The good thing is, I never heard from them again.”
Solution #3 for a Scientology-free World
Perhaps you own a home or an apartment building in Los Angeles. Perhaps you manage one. In any case, you’d like to keep CC Int’s seminar/workshop fliers away from your building and its tenants. This solution is lawful and only requires a simple two word sign: “No advertising.” Sec. 28.00 of the City of Los Angeles Municipal Code defines “hand-bill” as such:
“‘Hand-bill’ shall mean any hand-bill, dodger, commercial advertising circular, folder, booklet, letter, card, pamphlet, sheet, poster, sticker, banner, notice or other written, printed or painted matter calculated to attract attention of the public.”
We find Solution #3 in Sec. 28.02 of that code:
“No person shall distribute, deposit, throw, place or attach any hand-bill to, in or upon any porch, yard, steps or mail-box located upon any premises not in the possession of or under the control of the person distributing the said hand-bill, which premises has posted thereon in a conspicuous place, a sign of at least twelve inches in area bearing the works, ‘No Advertising,’ unless the person distributing the hand-bills has first received the written permission of the person occupying or having possession of such premises authorizing him so to do.”
*The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a “cult” as “a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous.”