Author Topic: Did Scientology Kill My Dog? - Buzzfeed  (Read 1691 times)

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Did Scientology Kill My Dog? - Buzzfeed
« on: December 17, 2012, 18:24 »
Did Scientology Kill My Dog? - Buzzfeed
LAMagazine Community Contributor

In 1990, Los Angeles Times reporter Joel Sappell suffered a series of mysterious events investigating the shadowy organization. Today, he seeks the truth.


Throughout the 1980s and '90s, the Church of Scientology exerted a near-iron grip over media coverage of their organization. Through a combination of intimidation, secrecy, and vigorous litigation, the group managed to almost entirely avoid public scrutiny, despite its exploding presence in the entertainment community in particular. The big questions about Scientology's work, philosophy, and alleged control over its members were rarely asked, much less examined in any depth.

One of the very few media organizations to take a peek was the Los Angeles Times, whose reporters Joel Sappell and Robert Welkos in 1985 published the first explanation of the Church's science-fictionesque philosophy, and then in 1990, ran a groundbreaking six-part investigation into the church.

While working on the piece, Sappell and Welkos experienced a series of strange and troubling events, which came after warnings from inside the church that the reporters were putting themselves at risk. Perhaps the most disturbing, however, was the sudden death of Sappell's family dog in 1985, which occurred after Sappell had been warned repeatedly to "keep an eye on his pets."

Almost 30 years later, Scientology's iron grip over its coverage has crumbled. A series of public scandals (must recently the Suri Cruise "flight to freedom") and the work of a handful of reporters have led to a slew of disturbing revelations about the Church. For Sappell, however, a few questions have troubled him throughout these decades: What really happened with his dog? And what was the truth about the harassment campaign against him? How much of it was in his head and how much was real? With a handful of defectors from the Church's inner circles now on the streets and openly discussing their experiences, Sappell decided to go after the truth.

In a new article for Los Angeles Magazine (available on the magazine's website Tuesday), Sappell visited some of the Church's most knowledgable exiles and uncovered much of the story of those days, including a campaign by the Church's leader David Miscavige to go after the reporters and "crush them." Among the other findings he turns up in the article: The Church hired private investigators to comb through Sappell and Welkos' financial records, and Marty Rathbun, the Church's most prominent defector, has begun a breakaway movement, persuading members to become "Independent Scientologists."

more at http://www.buzzfeed.com/lamagazine/did-scientology-kill-my-dog
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Re: Did Scientology Kill My Dog? - Buzzfeed
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2013, 17:11 »
Scientology responds, LOL!
The Church of Scientology responds to the tip of the spear - LA Magazine

Quote
Los Angeles magazine received this letter to the editor in response to our January feature about how investigating the Church of Scientology changed journalist Joel Sappell's life
Posted on 1/4/2013 10:21:00 AM

Joel Sappell’s article “The Tip of the Spear” is egocentric, rambling tabloid babble. More than a quarter of a century ago Mr. Sappell spent five years writing intolerably long and factually inaccurate stories on the Church of Scientology for the LA Times. Then media critic James Warren of the Chicago Tribune wrote that the series “became the butt of jokes among colleagues” and that “few heads probably turned” when the results were published. Mr. Sappell forgot to mention this amid all his self praise.

Fast forward to today and Mr. Sappell’s proposed “cold case” grassy-knoll theory that the Church of Scientology may have played a role in the death of his 13-year- old dog 27 years ago is bizarre. Mr. Sappell might as well add that he believes we “shot J.R.” and cause global warming. To reiterate what we told Mr. Sappell in preparing his story we had nothing to do with the 1985 death of a 13-year-old dog nor any other pets of anyone else, nor anything to do with his reporting partner being pulled over by the California Highway Patrol or any traffic or parking tickets Mr. Sappell may or may not have received during the five years he “investigated” the Church of Scientology as well as the last 27 years.

This level of paranoia expressed in Mr. Sappell’s article is exactly what one would expect when a writer deifies his primary source, Marty Rathbun, a self- promoting anti-Scientologist in Texas who is bitter and consumed with resentment and cannot move on with his life (just like the writer himself). Rathbun has been revising his stories to fit any media and his latest exemplifies the revisionist history:

•       Rathbun misrepresents his history in the Church claiming a high position to inflate his status. Rathbun was never part of the Church’s international ecclesiastical management. Contrary to his delusional belief, he was not well known to parishioners, he did not speak at Church convocations and Sappell did not disclose that his only connection to Rathbun was meeting him once nor did he name Rathbun in his 1990 five-year-in-the-making opus illustrating Rathbun’s insignificance in the Church’s hierarchy.

•       The real story is Rathbun was simply a failed external affairs staffer, removed a decade ago for malfeasance, who left the Church in disgrace. He was obsessed with creating and fighting legal cases. In 2003 he self-originated and self-authored a description of his misconduct and admitted to his efforts then to misrepresent his position, stating he masqueraded as “being important or working on important things. It is all the more insidious because that ‘importance’ has been by association with COB [Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center, Mr. David Miscavige].” Rathbun further described the “fraud” (his word) he perpetrated, “Each and every time on major situations, COB has had to intervene to clean up wars I had exacerbated. For example, left to my own devices in handling IRS litigation, the end result would undoubtedly have been no exemption, a billion-dollar tax bill, and possible shutting down of the Church. I have developed a slick false PR technique of positioning myself as having been integral in handling threats during and after the fact, when they are actually terminatedly handled by COB. By calculation I have lost the Church 43 million dollars on losses and expenses that could have been avoided.” (The entire document can be found at: http: //www. freedommag.org /special-reports /sources/marty-rathbun-public- announcement(dot)html and his malfeasance is detailed at www. freedommag.org / special-reports/sources/marty-rathbun-brief- chronology-of-monumental-disasters(dot)html).

more at http://www.lamag.com/offtherecord/2013/01/04/the-church-of-scientology-responds-to-the-tip-of-the-spear
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis.
-Dalai Lama