Church of Scientology Asks Followers to Censor Web Comments

The Katie Holmes-Tom Cruise split apparently has had a negative effect on the Church of Scientology, which is calling for members to take action and silence naysayers.

The campaign also comes as an entire mission for the church has defected from under the leadership of David Miscavige, reports the Village Voice. Leader Dani Lemberger of Israel’s Dror Center, in Haifa, told Voice blogger Tony Ortega that his mission is one of the few that are still growing and announced that it is rejecting Miscavige’s leadership.

It is the “first time in memory” that an entire mission has announced that it is leaving the church, Ortega said.

The church has sent an email to followers instructing them on how to “counter free speech on the internet,” according to former Scientologist and current anti-Scientologist blogger Marty Rathbun, who posted the email message in its entirety on his blog.

He notes that it comes from the church’s Office of Special Affairs, otherwise known as the “dirty tricks and propaganda arm of Scientology Inc.” The message begins:

I am not a big fan of media, but you may have glanced the news of the split between TC and Holmes and all the speculations around. While this is a personal matter, when people start to bring our religion into the middle and a bunch of uninformed people start to spread false datum, rumors and defame our religion it became a matter that does affect my Dynamics and I believe that affects yours as well.

The message instructs followers to visit media sites, including Microsoft, Google or any other that requires users to agree to a code of conduct that prohibits comments that threaten, defame or degrade any group or individuals.

Followers should hunt for any comments about the Cruise-Holmes divorce, click the “Report” tag, and report the comments as violations of the site’s code of conduct, the email instructs.

You can write something like “Violate Your Code of Conduct”. ‘defames or degrades a group for any reason including on the basis of religion.’

The author of the email notes that if only one person does it, the news site moderators won’t act. Thus, the email says, “if you start to have 10 or 20 people reporting it, they are going to take this down.”

Blogger Rathbun notes that the attempt to censor website comments is like showing up to a nuclear war with a squirt gun.

When will David Miscavige (supreme leader of corporate Scientology and Tom Cruise’s best man) ever learn that attempts to suppress communication and expression only make more news than the news he attempts to censor?

Meanwhile, the Church of Scientology is also facing several high-profile defections in the wake of the Cruise-Holmes divorce, as well as the high-profile lawsuits accusing John Travolta of making inappropriate sexual advances.

Lisa Marie Presley reportedly has parted with the church, said Fox News.

After moving to the English countryside, she told the network, she began second-guessing “everything and everyone I knew. … People that were in my life for a long time turned sinister and tried to control me and all kinds of weird stuff happened.”

Jefferson Hawkins, a former executive with the church, told Fox that he expects more defections.

“A lot of celebrities are starting to wake up. … You don’t see the big celebrities promoting it anymore. Even Tom has been pretty quiet on the subject over the last few years.”

WHAT IS SCIENTOLOGY (from Wikipedia):

Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by L. Ron Hubbard (1911–1986), starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics. Hubbard characterized Scientology as a religion, and in 1953 incorporated the Church of Scientology in Camden, New Jersey.

Scientology teaches that people are immortal beings who have forgotten their true nature. Its method of spiritual rehabilitation is a type of counselling known as auditing, in which practitioners aim to consciously re-experience painful or traumatic events in their past in order to free themselves of their limiting effects. Study materials and auditing courses are made available to members in return for specified donations. Scientology is legally recognized as a tax-exempt religion in the United States and some other countries, and the Church of Scientology emphasizes this as proof that it is a bona fide religion. In other countries, notably CanadaFranceGermany, and the United Kingdom, Scientology does not have comparable religious status.

A large number of organizations overseeing the application of Scientology have been established, the most notable of these being the Church of Scientology. Scientology sponsors a variety of social-service programs. These include the Narconon anti-drug program, the Criminon prison rehabilitation program, the Study Tech education methodology, a volunteer organizationa business-management method, and a set of moral guidelines expressed in a booklet called The Way to Happiness.

The Church of Scientology is one of the most controversial new religious movements to have arisen in the 20th century. It has often been described as a cult that financially defrauds and abuses its members, charging exorbitant fees for its spiritual services. The Church of Scientology has consistently used litigation against such critics, and its aggressiveness in pursuing its foes has been condemned as harassment. Further controversy has focused on Scientology’s belief that souls (“thetans”) reincarnate and have lived on other planets before living on Earth, and that some of the related teachings are not revealed to practitioners until they have paid thousands of dollars to the Church of Scientology. Another controversial belief held by Scientologists is that the practice of psychiatry is destructive and abusive and must be abolished.