You gotta believe
Our world is filled with religious cults like the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, outright fakers like Robert Schuller, Benny Hinn and apostates like Rick Warren. But the crown jewel in religious scams is still the celebrity-filled Church of Scientology. And brother, what box of chocolates this group is.
FBI investigates Church of Scientology over claims of human trafficking, enslavement and violence
The FBI is investigating the Church of Scientology over allegations of human trafficking, it is claimed. Federal investigators have been interviewing former members of the controversial organisation, which counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta among its followers, over allegations of enslavement and violent treatment. According to the New Yorker magazine, the FBI is also investigating allegations surrounding David Miscavige – the group’s leader and the best man at Cruise’s wedding – who has been accused of repeatedly hitting youngsters.
In an interview with the magazine, Hollywood director Paul Haggis spoke out for the first time over his embittered decision to leave Scientology. ‘I was in a cult for 34 years. Everyone else could see it. I don’t know why I couldn’t,’ said Mr Haggis, who wrote Million Dollar Baby and Casino Royale. The FBI investigators have interviewed former members in California and Clearwater, Florida, where Scientology – regarded in many countries as a cult – has its spiritual HQ.
Even though it has just become public, the investigation has been going on for a year.
Allegations of abuse against Mr Miscavige, 50, were made in 2009 but the FBI’s involvement indicates that it was not satisfied by the church’s claim that the accusations were simply concocted by embittered former members.
Many of the accusations against the organisation centre on Gold Base, Scientology’s nerve centre in the Californian desert. It is the home for many members of Sea Org, its elite ‘religious order’ of young devotees. Many join Scientology as teenagers and, at Gold Base, church leaders are allegedly encouraged to ‘instill aggressive, even violent discipline’.
Some Sea Org defectors have described ‘punitive re-education’ programmes which have sometimes entailed years confined at rehabilitation camps doing manual labour and spiritual work. An ex-Scientologist claimed that punishments at Gold Base included being sent to the ‘Hole’, a pair of extra-wide mobile homes on the base where between 80 and 100 people were ordered to take part in ‘group confessions all day and all night’. Marty Rathbun, a former senior Scientology executive, claimed in court in July that Mr Miscavige once organised a brutal game of musical chairs at the Hole in which only the winner would be allowed to stay on the base. source Daily Mail