Sensibly Speaking Podcast: Chris Shelton & Aaron Smith-Levin

Sensibly Speaking Podcast: Chris Shelton & Aaron Smith-Levin

hi everybody my name is aaron and welcome back to my channel first things first we have some incredible breaking scientology news we had a rare public sighting of david miscavige in clearwater this week miscavitch was captured on film being dropped off outside of a scientology property on fort harrison avenue here is a clip from that footage amazing miscavige really is a tiny angry little fella miscavige is five foot one and even that might be an exaggeration miscavige is so tiny and petite it would almost be adorable if he weren’t so evil my kids have these little plush toys called uh squishamoles or uh it might be squishmallows they look like this little guy right here every time i see them i think of david miscavige there’s a bigger version of these this might be a this might be a little more life-sized but uh harder to fit on camera i’ll tell you what though someone should really make like a plush toy a david miscavige plush toy like a halloween edition so that he’s like a little devil and when you squeeze him he says things that david miscavige would actually say like tom nobody gets me like you do nobody understands us tom or what are you doing about that [ __ ] sucker mike rinder and that leah remini what’s that clear remedy doing now or where the [ __ ] is shelley that thinks i’m gonna do all the work i’ll tell you what if somebody actually made something like that and they wanted to donate like a portion of the proceeds to the aftermath foundation i would 100 promote that on this channel all right on to business today’s video is an interview i did with my friend chris shelton chris uploaded this video to his channel with his permission i’m uploading it to my channel as well so if you’re watching this on my channel check out chris over well the name of his channel is just chris shelton he has a podcast called the sensibly speaking podcast and that’s what this interview was for chris also wrote a book called a to xenu and if you are interested in all things scientology definitely check that book out in this interview we talk about all things clearwater we talk about scientology and covid we talk about whether scientology is really trying to bring a ton of scientologists to clearwater or not anyway we talk about a bunch of things so without further ado here’s my interview with chris [Music] hello and welcome to the senseless speaking podcast this is chris shelton the critical thinker at large coming at you for another hour of podcasting greatness this week with aaron smith levin you can see as my guest hey erin welcome back to the show hey chris good to be with you yeah good to be with you i i really do feel like we should do this more i um i have been very excited lately to uh to see your public announcements now that you are running for city council for clearwater in this next election when do those tell us when when do those have one of those elections happen and and what are you doing there so the campaign season officially starts sometime in september um and just to be cognizant of any election laws scientology will try to uh accuse me of having violated i cannot say i am a candidate i can say i will be a candidate for city council um so in the course of the interview if i if i sort of say i am running or that’s why i am running it really means why i will be running got it um so the once you until you file the paperwork which can’t be filed until some date in september i don’t remember what the date is until you filed the paperwork uh you’re you’re not officially a candidate you haven’t started a campaign and you can’t say that you have so okay having said all of that um i will be running for city council this year the candidates uh that the campaigns will start sometime in september uh the campaign lasts for six months and the elections are in march and um i cannot be more excited for the the six month campaign season i mean you know when mark bunker won his seat on the council uh i really thought that was going to be a pivotal thing and changing the perception of how much influence scientology has in clearwater and i sort of get the sense that um that people aren’t really paying attention to clear water like the people who really really care are paying attention but the public at large are not and and let’s be honest why would they be like why would anyone be paying attention to clearwater um and i want to use this offer i want to use this as an opportunity i want to use hopefully being on the council as an opportunity to rub scientology’s face in the fact that they have no actual influence in clearwater and i’m going to make sure everybody understands it i’m going to make sure business leaders understand it investors understand it developers understand that and i already do that privately behind the scenes but i’m getting a little tired of having to sort of educate people behind the scenes when it can be done much more effectively and much more broadly from the pulpit of the city council like every city council meeting is recorded and is a live public meeting well i want to use every meeting as an opportunity uh not just to bring up scientology but to show everyone scientology has no influence and you know sometimes people get rubbed the wrong way when i say that um even people who really dislike scientology um and so i want to make sure i’m very clear about what i mean when i say that yeah scientology’s presence has had a major influence on clearwater a major negative influence so i’m not i don’t mean that they don’t have any impact i mean they as an organization don’t have what you would call actual influence right they don’t have pull they don’t have connections and relationships that allow them to forward their agenda in clearwater they don’t have any sympathy or cooperation from elected officials or even business leaders or community leaders now somebody might say well if that’s already true then what how do you hope to um then what change is there for you to make i want that to be publicly obvious even though i’m sitting here saying scientology has no influence in clearwater um worth speaking of people still don’t understand that there’s still a perception that they do because those who are um let’s say the community leaders the political leaders they might privately agree with me that scientology has no real influence but they’re not willing to publicly say it and make it obvious you know like they’re not willing to try to change public perception about that well i want to change public perception about that i’m sick and tired of people thinking scientology runs this town i’m sick and tired of people thinking scientology has people on the city council or has the city manager in its pocket or that the police work for scientology none of these things are true and the people in leadership positions here in clearwater know that these things aren’t true but they’re not willing to do and say the things necessary to change public perception about that because they’re too worried about being diplomatic they’re too worried about pissing off scientology and that last part is what i really take issue with in order to change public perception you have to stop acting like you’re supposed to be careful about pissing off scientology you have to show everybody that these people don’t have enough influence to worry about whether you piss them off or not the fact that people walk on eggshells around them is actually what contributes to the perception that they have a lot of influence and power in this town and it’s just not true um so changing public perception about clearwater is my main incentive my main motive for running for city council i think clearwater is actually going in a very good direction right now although it’s having trouble getting there um you know we’re searching for a new city manager right now almost everybody dropped out and they’re having to go back to the drawing board and and put out another request for applications um they’re trying to develop some properties on the bluff to um to redevelop downtown clearwater and they’re having some some trouble and obstacles with that um we’re in the middle of a project called imagine clearwater which is like a 65 million dollar renovation of coachman park to basically bring non-scientologists back to downtown there’s some big hurdles with that right now so um my general belief is that if anything is going to hold clear water back is if anything is going to prevent investment and development it’s going to be people’s misunderstanding that they should be afraid of scientology and if i can add anything to the board it’s going to be my efforts to change that perception and maybe that perception can’t be changed we’ll find out but i genuinely believe that if it can be changed i’m the one in clearwater who has the best chance of making that happen and we’ll see if it works or not but it is why i’m running and it’s why i expect to have a lot of community support and i don’t actually expect expect to have the support of what one might call the establishment the establishment i think is to blame for the status quo and the establishment includes things like the mayor’s best friend also representing scientology and development deals and i’m like how can you be running a city and one of your best friends is representing the organization that has declared war on the city you’re running right like these these conflicts of interest that the people in power would probably deny are actually conflicts of interest i’m just kind of like i’m done with it i’m done with it you know the status quo isn’t working that great um and i hope to at least be somewhat effective in trying to change it and so the campaign i’m really just going to be rubbing miscavitch’s every single day in the fact that there’s not a damn thing him or any scientologist can do um to keep me from hopefully winning this campaign i mean i’m not saying i’m guaranteed to win i’m saying that if i lose it won’t be because of anything scientology does and um none of the people that are considered uh scientologists who are business leaders in the community none of these guys have have the balls to step up and run for public office because they know how embarrassing it would end up being to scientology like i mean you know what i mean like the fact that no one’s run like this is an example of something a lot of people don’t understand about clearwater not only has a scientologist never been on the city council a scientologist has never even attempted to run for city council because it would just be a a massive embarrassment you know scientology claims to have about 15 000 scientologists living in clearwater there aren’t even 15 000 scientologists living in all of tampa bay and and if there were 15 000 scientologists living in clearwater the city council would be stacked with scientologists and um so anyway um i’m just going to be rubbing scientology’s face in it seven days a week all six months that um and almost daring them to do something about it because you know they’re not going to be able to help but to do some really foolish things oh yeah oh yeah and i’m going to be like do it all do throw throw your worst at me i’m going to use it to make you look foolish like i almost don’t even care what they do to me at this point you know wow like the worse the better i mean well you know you’re you are it’s a it’s an awesome thing you’re doing right now because of course you’re shouting from the rooftops come at me [ __ ] right but at the same time um that it actually is ballsy because you’re in mescavige’s backyard here this is not like you know he’s not over in hemet anymore he’s not he doesn’t focus on california he’s he’s really focused there it seems from what we’re hearing or seeing is that consistent with what you were perceiving well i’ll give you my opinion on that yeah do i believe that he’s actually in town and has been in town for a long time yes i do um do i think that has some greater significance in the world of scientology um i don’t uh and here’s why uh you and i both know there have been times in the past where miscavige has spent extended amount of times in clear water i mean that’s right one obvious example is the whole lisa mcpherson thing yep did he really need to be here during that no did he feel a desire to be yes um another example would have been around the 96 era for the golden age stuff that’s right um i guarantee you something was similar for golden age of tech 2. um well then now they’re starting the the new oec evolution for the the management teams worldwide miscavige has a reason to be here um i would also point out that for the church to come out and publicly say miscavitch resides in clearwater now um means it’s convenient for them to say that because if that were true why the [ __ ] would they tell everybody that so the church has some interest or motivation or something to gain by saying miscavitch lives here even if only maybe that makes it harder for them to serve him because it’s a giant base and no one’s like you know what i mean why would this be the one thing we believe scientology is being honest about miscavity doesn’t live anywhere it’s just where is it most convenient for the church to say he is a resident and i don’t claim to know the exact reason why it’s convenient for them right now so i guess on the one hand i’m saying sure miscavige is in town and probably has been for a long time on the other hand i don’t think it has any greater significance other than the fact that you’ve got this oec evolution happening other than the fact that you’ve got a lot of stuff happening in the city of clearwater that miscavige wants to sort of know exactly what’s going on instantly we’re getting a new city manager we’re getting a new city attorney we’ve got council elections coming up that are important we’ve got these um bluff development um stuff happening which by the way i don’t want to get too far off in a tangent but the whole development of the bluff is probably one of miscavitch’s biggest concerns this is basically giant hotels condo buildings multi-use residential commercial things being built right behind the fort harrison and right next to the oak cove right david miscavige already went to war with david yates and the clearwater marine aquarium simply over purchasing or not being able to purchase a property one can only imagine the lengths he’s going to go to to fight basically the taj mahal being built behind flat so he’s got a few reasons to want to be here right now but i think it’s just these these subject based reasons i i don’t think he’s like necessarily making clearwater his home i think eventually he’ll decide he hates everybody here too and he’ll find somewhere else to go just like just like happened well he can certainly go to live in the apartment behind asi he can certainly go live on the uh what was it the fifth floor of the main building right in in pacquiao he’s got that entire wing that is that is nothing but his apartment space locked up right he’s got other places he can go pro certainly in the uk and in other places in the world but it’s i’m not conjecturing here or saying that this is the case but it would be thought by a lot of people that it could be a pr a portent or a sign if he’s you know officially in clearwater that that the church is pulling in their flippers you know it’s becoming even smaller and the main concentration of money influence and power in scientology is undoubtedly clearwater so he would want to make his last stand there so to speak i think that’s a hasty judgment i don’t think that that’s what’s happening at all i think it’s more in line with what you just said but what would you say to people who are saying oh yeah no that’s that scientology is imploding and and and this is miscavigi’s last safe place to be in the world or something you know well those are two different things whether whether scientology is imploding and therefore resources are being consolidated or whether uh the last thing you said was more like miscavitch is like did you say hiding here oh yeah i said the last safe place for him is what i was thinking about oh we’ll see i think those are two different things flag might be the safest place for him uh if he has to and if people have to know where he is if people don’t have to know where he is there’s a million other places he could be that nobody would ever find him that’s right so the fact that he’s here at flag to me doesn’t indicate he’s trying to be safe if he wants to be really safe nobody would even know where he is they sure as hell wouldn’t be announcing where the [ __ ] he is exactly so i throw away the whole this is the safe place for him to be as a motivation um as far as scientology shrinking i think for someone to truly believe that they would have to not really understand how scientology management um works because uh that that would imply there was what miscavity can’t be doing two things at the same time he can’t be putting um non-stop pressure on continental management units and local lords to expand while also having a strategy that reflects a shrinking scientology like one of the only things that allows miscavige to retain power is the belief on the part of all scientologists that scientology is massively expanding and miscarriage is pretty much the sole cause of that right so executing a strategy um that reflects a shrinking scientology doesn’t even work and wouldn’t even enter into miscavitch’s mindset particularly um and and you and i know from conversations we’ve had off screen that there’s still as much pressure to expand scientology orgs on a local basis and on a continental basis than there ever has been um you know uh and not with any success no see that’s the thing i mean from it and it’s and admittedly i think it’s gone in waves because there have been times where we’ve looked at how the orgs are being dealt with and i have said straight up from a former manager perspective these orgs are being ignored nobody’s trying to manage these places right and then you see other things happen as is what’s happening more recently and which we’ll get to and you go oh yeah no these orgs are not being ignored quite yet it’s not really pulling the flippers time and give up on them and and let them go we’re not there at all yet you know sure and chris i would even ask um well first of all to agree with what you just said you see all these efforts to continue opening ideal orgs it it’s getting harder and harder and harder it’s getting slower and slower and slower but it’s still happening so that means miscavige is still putting up this pretense of executing this strategy that’s supposed to result in you know worldwide expansion of scientology so we see that but i would also say if he were to shift gears um and pull in the flippers like i would almost ask what would that even look like would that look like less ethics to people with down stats would you have to start telling people it’s okay to have your stats level like how would you even in the world of scientology how would you even execute such a strategy predicated on pulling in the flippers when that’s against everything scientology management stands for in the first place and would acknowledge that miscavige has failed how would miss that what would that even look like to execute a strategy predicated like pulling in the flip well i don’t even know what that would look like well i’ll tell you straight up one of my first indicators of it or was something i would be watching for would be sea org members being pulled out of the orgs and back to the bases to consolidate and centralize right because that’s the sea org is his core group right it’s the most loyal it’s the most fanatical and we don’t and instead what we see is the exact opposite of that happening right now which tells me it’s not that situation that’s why i wanted to bring it up in fact is because i i don’t see him pulling in the flippers and trying to consolidate i see him shotgunning out trying to deal with this and that and this and that and in in sciento as you and i know from our years in that’s how they operate it is it is it is not like they have these long-term stable plans that they follow ruthlessly they are they is a chaotic mess at the level of of organizing and managing scientology it’s not a clean it’s just not anything like you would see in the business world let’s say that’s right and i think any examples that we could point to where it looks like classified orgs or maybe certain classified orgs are being sort of ignored or not managed is just that it’s getting so much harder you can’t if the staffs are getting so much smaller yep the public inflow is is getting so much smaller that in order to pay attention to some of these orgs you sort of have to ignore the other orgs and you know to speak to the the cyclical nature of management styles you know one month it’ll be you uh you know speaking to the staff of an org you guys are a bunch of [ __ ] you’re not doing your job so we’re going to come in and do it for you and then the next month it’ll be you guys are a bunch of [ __ ] for thinking we’re just going to stay here and do your jobs for you we’re leaving yep right yep exactly exactly it’s so whimsical it’s so wimpy you know it’s so whimsical right how dare you expect us to stay here and do your job we’re out of here you’re responsible for this i mean and i think the reason one of the reasons you see this cyclical nature of a management style is because the scientology management system does not work and so you’re always just handling the current emergency and miscavige is always and management’s always having to blow whichever uh direction miscavige’s uh wind is going um blowing with his wind and he changes his mind all the time but i think the biggest thing i would point to right now um as evidence against the pulling in your flippers is that management teams from all the orgs are being sent to flag for the new oec course which every time the oec evolution has happened in the past and it’s at least twice this is supposed to be the new spearhead strategy to expand scientology greater than ever before and that’s right and it’s like okay you’re doing another training evolution um that’s right and you know someone someone asked me recently like um because i was speaking to someone who was fresh out of scientology and and they had information about all of these other orcs and how horribly they were doing and in a conversation i was having someone said how are these orgs in touch with each other i thought they were like just islands who didn’t know what was going on everywhere else and i and it occurred to me that you know normally that might be true but every time miscavige pulls people to flag for these massive international training evolutions it creates a network where the staff members and all the orgs practically become family that’s right and then they go back to their orgs and all of a sudden there’s this international network where everyone’s talking to each other and everyone everyone finds out how [ __ ] up everything is at orgs halfway around the world that’s right it’s almost an unintended consequence of miscavitch still trying to run everything from flag and make sure everyone’s on the exact page he wants them to be on but then they all go home and they all stay in touch with each other so it makes it harder for him to lie to everybody about how things are going internationally right so i i really do feel there’s nothing there’s nothing miscavige could do at this point to sort of reverse the dwindling spiral of scientology but he’s not going to stop trying because he’s not capable he’s not able to stop trying it’s his only way to retain power is to try to maintain this illusion everything’s working and everything’s working wonderfully and he’s responsible for it you can’t you can’t change that equation he has to keep trying to do that that’s right um or putting out the appearance that that’s what he cares about and that’s his main line activity exactly yeah um can i tell you a quick anecdote on this subject that combines clearwater scientology and that strategy of having to make it look like you’re expanding so you know the sandcastle is the one building on the flag land base where the ot levels are delivered well the sand castle is located right next to coachman park well coachman park as i mentioned earlier is under is about to undergo a 65 million dollar renovation and that renovation includes a massive uh covered outdoor 4400c amphitheater that’s gonna have concerts like every week okay oh they’re gonna just be fit to be tied about that well you’re gonna love how you’re gonna love how this works out here the amphitheater was actually moved all the way to the side of the park closest to the sand castle making that building impossible to run auditing sessions or solo auditing sessions right yes so what so what they’re planning on doing just like they did with the fort harrison is re converting the sand castle into a pure hotel not an advanced store yep and they’re building a new or they will be building a new advanced org um north of the sand castle further away from the park and probably with better soundproofing and everything and you can see where this is going this is a strategy they’ve had to implement to basically even be able to continue delivering ot levels that’s right and yet they’re going to market this as an expansion of the base they’re going to market this as we had to build a new ao because of the unbelievable explosion in growth at the top of the bridge and scientologists are just going to swallow that [ __ ] cold that’s right that’s exactly right exactly they can all they almost have the ability to turn anything bad into an opportunity to create this illusion that it’s good or that it’s expansion oh we had to buy more buildings no you just got chased out of your advanced award because that’s how little influence you have on one side of the park you have a big condo tower full of rich people on the other side of the park you have the advanced org of the church of scientology well the rich people were able to use their influence to say we don’t want that [ __ ] amphitheater on our side of the park get it over there that’s right [Laughter] and scientology didn’t have the influence to be like this is religious persecution like they had no influence to prevent it from happening so instead they’re going to turn it into a hotel and they’re going to build a new advanced org and they’re going to you know basically mask the fact that they had no influence to prevent this from happening to them perfect anyway it just occurred to me to ask you this do you think that the push to get scientologists to move to clearwater which seems an informal sort of you know thing with the public that they talk to one another or the staff kind of push this i guess in some fashion but it seemed like that was a thing for a while um is that still a thing are they trying to get them there and do you think they’re trying to get them there to try to counter this problem of not having influence so um my answer is i don’t think that’s the thing i don’t think that’s happening i’ll tell you why okay uh first of all i think we know um ever since you and i were on staff and in the sea org um every time the flag world tour goes from org to org or every time you know an fsc comes to town there’s always some sort of a mild push to move to flag even if it’s under the guise of go from clear to ot7 and it’s like yeah i’m moving to clear what there’s always been somewhat of a push to get people to clear water only if just because well that’s where you can truly be a dedicated scientologist and move up the bridge with no distraction so we know that’s always been there um we have seen there’s been sort of an exodus from states like new york and california just due to the covid stuff in general yeah um but here’s here’s my real point i have seen scientologists moving to clear water but not to clear water clear water uh what we what you and i call clearwater is really a collection of towns dunedin largo safety harbor palm harbor um uh and and the reason i’m mentioning this is because you can only vote in the elections if you oh bel air you can only vote in the elections if you actually live in clearwater and many of these scientologists who on facebook are saying they’ve moved to clearwater don’t live in clearwater and so if miscavige was really pushing people to move to clearwater and instead you move to bel air or largo or dunedin you’d actually be in a lot of trouble because that’s counter intentions management if if they’re trying to stack the deck for the next election and you move here and you move to somewhere where you can’t [ __ ] vote uh you’ve just non-complied with david miscavige’s intention right so um that that’s why i’m confident there’s no there’s no big push to do that um also you’d have to take a good chunk of all the scientologists in the world and get them here in order to even have any hope of having any sort of an impact um and it just wouldn’t work it just wouldn’t work and it would really make it more obvious in all of these other fields that there’s really not as many scientologists as there should be like like trying to bring everyone to clear water would be a little counterproductive for uh miscavige i think actually yeah um yeah so those those are my thoughts yeah fair enough i get that i’ll say on top of that that the thing that occurs to me is if i were in charge of this and if i were like on scientology’s part if i was in charge of or given charge of uh dealing with the clearwater you know voting problem or something um and and i’m quite positive that conversations like this have happened you know so whether you know they’ve done anything about it as another mob problem but you know you mark bunker i mean you guys are absolutely thorns on their sides no question about it they hate you guys and they would love to do something about getting you out of their hair so i would be working on establishing community amongst all the scientologists who are there but here’s the problem is that even that can’t happen because in scientology you can’t really create community because there’s this little thing called trust and scientologists don’t really trust one another it’s a snitch culture and it and that’s always there uh the the dewalts talked about this i mean sylvia was there tim were there right we talked about this in some detail about how the scientologists in the community they they watch each other they’re they’re snitching on each other all the time you cannot create community in the in that kind of environment in that kind of culture you know and so so i i bring i only bring that up because it’s not really talked about very often in relation to clear water but it’s an important point that the scientologists in clearwater aren’t even a united body because there’s they’re they’re not united because in scientology you can’t be because you have because of the snitching thing you know the confession culture so anyway i just wanted to make that point on top of yours no it it’s true and you know you also you have that dynamic um just person to person within the normal scientology community and then it gets compounded when you have this caste system of sea org members staff members and public and they’re all trying to snitch on down the ladder and then in the normal community of scientologists you have the mixture you have those staff members mixed in with the public and the staff members are always trying to be the ones to be you know have ethics presence with the public yeah trying to keep every and everyone’s just pressuring each other i mean it’s just not a good scene and and when you talk about creating community i i were you referring more of just the scientologists are trying to get them to also create community with the non-scientologists well that’s why the first phase would be the scientologists themselves and then the next phase would be intermingling with the you know with the logs with the non-scientology public and generating you know the good will and the pr area control i mean this is how it’s supposed to work and the only people who are really any good at it are are a couple people in osa yeah exactly and even then it’s like it’s really interesting to speak you know privately with non-scientologists who scientology thinks are safe-pointing right and and to get their real thoughts of like yeah they’re really weird and uh like creepy and like slimy and they’re always uh doing like they’re not trusted like scientology really you know osa the pat harneys the lisa mansells of of of clearwater really do think that they have people safe pointed in the community um and they really don’t yeah um and and again that’s one of the things i’m hoping to make very very obvious when i have a platform to do so yes exactly well i can speak to this as well from my own experience of having been out and about across the west u.s recovering scientologist for so many years and how i thought in my deluded sea org you know because the same thing cast system sea org i come in i come rolling into town i’m the guy in the uniform everybody has to yes sir no sir how high sir that’s that’s the etiquette right that’s just the culture so i’m thinking as a sea org member oh i’m the friendly sea org member i’m the guy everybody likes you know and i recover people and i’m a happy sea org member and this is what i was telling this was the narrative i was telling myself right and i can look back now from my from my perspective which is a hell of a lot more objective than it was then and see i intimidated people i threatened people i scared people i frightened them into compliance all the time i was not a nice guy but i was telling myself i was a nice guy because compared to other sea org members i kind of was you know which is horrible uh because it really speaks to the depths of the of the depravity of it i mean it’s really the power disparities are are unbelievable they’re very hard to describe unless you live it yeah but i really came out of scientology and for a number of years i thought i was the good seaword guy you know and you know that’s that that really doesn’t exist that was me lying to myself there is no such thing as a good sea org member that that that just doesn’t really work out you know it’s true it’s true and um you know the things they try to do in the community like like i’m one of the directors of my neighborhood association and the president of that association is a good friend of mine and she is someone who’s very well known in the community she’s lived here forever like she knows everybody and um pat harney requested a meeting with her oh i and so my my friend called me i’m like why is why is the church why is pat asking to meet with me there’s something going on and i’m like well it just so happened this was around the time the cult city tourist thing was going on and and i’d started talking about running for city council publicly already and and i said oh she’s calling you in to tell you about the cult city tours and to tell you about what a giant bigot i am and how could oh it would be horrible if someone like this ran for city council and she goes she better not that better not be why she’s calling me because i’ll get up and walk out so she goes to the meeting and uh and that’s exactly that’s exactly what it was you nailed it and and then pat pat says to uh my friend um you know aaron was expelled from scientology for bullying people this is when i put up a tweet that i saw that was like scientology’s trying to tell people in my community i got kicked out for bullying people you can’t get kicked out for raping people exactly you can’t you can’t get kicked out for molesting kids that’s right you can’t get kicked out for running a billion dollar ponzi scheme you can’t get kicked out for defrauding medicare of tens of millions of dollars but they want to be like aaron bullied people he was mean aaron was mean to people and can you could what do you think he aaron might run for city council and my friend goes yeah i heard that he might and and pat goes it’s not a rumor it’s true like she thinks people are going to be more afraid of aaron the bully than the church of scientology you know trying to take over clearwater in that clumsy way that they attempt to do it so it’s almost like you know what i started to try to explain to people chris is like if you know a little bit about scientology you’re probably going to be afraid of it the more and more you actually know about scientology yeah the less afraid of it you’re going to be because on the surface level they’re able to get into your head you hear fantastic things you know they’re true of course but you know it it instills fear and mystery and the unknown that’s right and the more you truly understand it the more you go oh it’s just a bunch of [ __ ] they’re totally unorganized there’s like the keystone cops yes they can try to do things with their money to [ __ ] with you but it only works if you don’t understand what they’re trying to do and why and the limits of how it’s just so unaffected it’s just so uneffective exactly um and i guess it’s that um it’s that main i guess it’s kind of that’s my main thrust of like there’s a lot of people in clearwater who have that surface understanding and therefore have a a degree of fear yep i want to try to give as many people in clearwater as possible the deeper understanding so they can understand no no no it’s almost like a snake they’re actually more afraid of you than you should be of it um and i’m sort of hoping that the more the people of clearwater understand that the more um they will just come back downtown it’s almost like people talk about taking back downtown and you go do you know how to take it back take it back nothing’s preventing you from taking it back right now other than um not fully understanding that you can you really could just go take it back so um it’ll be hard it’ll be a challenge to communicate all of these things to as many people as possible over a six-month period uh but i i’m really hoping and i really do believe it’s something that the people of clearwater will uh support in a big way awesome well i i certainly hope so too and i i wanted to say to build on to what you just said that it is you know somebody could watch my channel and of course there’s you know tons of stuff to watch there and they could watch yours and they could you know check out tony’s blog and stuff and they get that we talk about this group as an authoritarian high control group because that is internally what it is they’re the the membership is is horribly abused you were abused i was abused we are trauma survivors that all being said what we’re trying to differentiate here i think and i don’t want to put words in your mouth but what i think we’re trying to differentiate is that they’re a threat to the people inside way more than they are a threat to the people outside absolutely that’s right that’s right because someone could hear the message i just said and go wait you’re saying the more you understand about them the less afraid of like are you saying they’re good no no no no no right exactly don’t be afraid of them you are more powerful against them than they are against you right yeah by by all means if your family member is about to join scientology you have something to worry about yep exactly exactly and we need to be clear about these things because people can do interesting things with our words you know so i so i take great pains to clarify these things because i want people to get that yeah it is a dangerous destructive group and you don’t want to have anything to do with it on the other hand don’t let this little pip squeak operation run by a piss ant sociopath just you know keep you from living your life doing what you want to do and if you want to move to clearwater you want to move to florida do it you know it does nothing that’s right about that that should scare you and that’s the thing that’s right that’s right there’s so many people who ask me in various contexts people who’ve never had anything to do with scientology um am i in any danger um is my life in danger and that’s sort of what i mean when i’m like oh boy uh you have to have a very superficial introduction to the world of scientology to think they have that much power that they could actually be a literal danger to you and then i have to sort of correct myself and go well look do they try to mess with me and my life and my friends and my business yes should that bother me no right they’re very bad at it exactly exactly i mean and just to and not to put too fine a point on it or or or pump myself up because i you know because i i don’t really need an excuse to do that anyway but uh i have not i i’m not even on the stanley page i mean you know i am not an ineffective critic yeah i have i have personally kept people out of scientology gotten people out of it etc i am a direct threat to the church i’m not even on their stan league page i find that fascinating you know you should write a strongly worded letter well just to speak to inefficiencies just to speak to how ineffective they are you know these are people who don’t have anything else to do all day but work about you know work against us you know work against you me mike leah and clearly their time is dedicated to you know their legal cases and mike and leah a hell of a lot more than they’re worried about you and me um but it’s just interesting how you know i’m just i’m really just trying to reinforce what you said about how inefficient and unorganized they are you know it really is because there’s so few of them people really don’t understand how few of them there are and in the entire time i have done this from the first day that i s that i put my first video out or wrote my first anonymous thing on mike’s blog i have never once thought that they that i should fear for my life in my wildest fantasies of what scientology could do to me and and i’ve had some pretty wild you know ideas about how they could come after me um and they certainly have the resources to do it i never imagined that they would try to kill me you know or anybody i’m connected with that’s just never even entered my headspace so yeah that’s right questions those are very funny questions to get yeah isn’t it interesting chris to see the length scientology will go to to harass somebody and um and how much money they will spend when it would be so much cheaper and easier to just have them killed right i mean right look at everything they did to paulette cooper are you kidding it would have been so much easier to kill her that’s right that’s right i mean i mean it sounds twisted but it’s true yeah like and then there’s that story that gets told i don’t say story is if it’s not true it’s just the anecdote of like her roommate having been infiltrated her life who was a scientologist and they were up on top of a building and they were drinking and she was standing on the ledge this story gets told as if it’s um oh my god they could have had her killed and i go yeah and it would have been so easy to do it right there yep but they didn’t right they’d rather it’s i’ve always wondered like is it just that miss that’s a line miscavige isn’t willing to cross or does he take more pleasure in just being able to [ __ ] with somebody for 20 or 30 years i don’t know the answer would be willing to have someone you think it’s the latter i think it’s the latter yes and the reason why is because i to this day and just just between us you know us us girls i i really still to this day wonder about shelley’s mom okay i really do wonder about that one but that was so close to david that was like a family literally right so yeah i’ve always wondered that’s the only one i’ve ever really wondered about you know uh the the judge’s dog too right getting killed i think that was a thing but that that was probably a private investigator executing that that wasn’t even a scientologist doing that you know yeah i mean even when marty was before he went uh you know uh back like i have asked marty and mike directly like okay what’s the deal with the dog stuff yeah and they’re like you know that’s just not something we would have ever ordered or asked for like if someone did that yeah if someone did that it was just like someone deciding they were gonna like go overboard and be an [ __ ] like that’s not that’s not something that was done that wasn’t part of a thing and i i i believe that i mean i don’t know i mean coincidences happen so i can’t say absolutely positively it was scientology who killed that judge’s dog i mean you can’t right you know and if you can’t do that you do have to recognize that your claim is on shaky ground and you got to at least acknowledge that yeah because you know if it had been you know you know it would be it would be a piece of cake for mike to be like oh yeah miscavige loves the dog thing yeah exactly exactly and and mike would know yes and it it’s not like he hasn’t acknowledged worse right yeah exactly see here’s the problem is we start talking about this stuff and we start sounding like scientology apologists you know so i just so so we got to be a little careful with that but it’s um because we’re certainly not that but we’re really trying to just bring the the the boundaries of how we talk about this into a more realistic band i think is what we’re really trying to do here we’re not trying to say this my back my backyard neighbor’s a scientologist if someone wanted to poison my dog he’d be dead boom there you go exactly yeah it’s not quite like that nor would i as a sea org member ever have poisoned a dog in my most fanatical moments i would not have done that i i have said out loud and i do believe i would have taken a bullet for miscavige um i would have taken a bullet for hubbard absolutely like no question about it um and i would have engaged in physical violence for scientology i would have done that um i don’t know that i would have killed some innocent creature for scientology i don’t think i could see myself doing that in my wildest times of fanaticism there you know and so i and just speaking to your backdoor really what i was responding to was your your next-door neighbor you know they’re they’re not it’s not a case that every scientologist is fully violently radicalized that’s not really the picture with scientology yeah that’s true yeah um okay but there are changes happening as a result of what we’re doing and i did want to talk about that because you um from your position do happen to be in a place where you have inside skinny and you know i’ve kind of i i don’t really even ever have tried to build those bridges to find out what the hell’s still going on in scientology i gave up on that years ago is frankly kind of not interesting but these updates are kind of interesting so if we could talk a little bit about that well i um i can’t even say that i’ve put effort into trying to maintain or build those bridges either but we end up getting things like getting information from sources because of the aftermath foundation um and because of people leaving uh ideal orgs people leaving sea orgorgs um and i don’t know a few things if uh one interesting thing that i don’t even think we talked off camera was uh you know we had heard of i had heard a while back of them uh implementing wi-fi at the pack base on l run hubbard way for the staff for the sea org members yep and at first i was like what the [ __ ] um why the [ __ ] would they put in wi-fi like first of all even if you put in wi-fi that doesn’t allow more people to have access to the internet because nobody has devices and so what i found out is that the reason wi-fi was implemented was as part of a solution to the flap that it was becoming more and more of a problem of search members uh being completely out of touch with their families and so then i asked okay but they didn’t all just get devices well there’s there’s rules against not having cell phones but there’s not rules against having for example an ipod right like when i was in this yoga i had an ipod now there were earlier versions of ipods they don’t have the same capability that they have today yep but today an ipod is basically an iphone you can download any app like facebook messenger or whatever or any anything else like uh wechat signal whatsapp and it’s immediately like a phone um and this speaks to sort of the um the rigidity of seared rules and people people’s inability to think with them despite the fact that there’s rules against having phones in the sea org you’re allowed to have an ipad or an ipod and so people were using their devices to stay in touch with their families but but then they basically all had access to the internet now so this is kind of this is you know over the last two years this has really started to backfire uh people watching netflix people watching youtube and stuff like that um sort of gives them a taste of the outside world we’ve been hearing hearing about this for a couple years um and uh and um i thought that i think there was another add-on point i was trying to make to that but i told you staying in touch with their families yeah they’ve got internet yeah that’s right and they’re being a little more permissive with sea org members having phones but it has to be an android phone it can’t be an iphone um and uh chris owen gave a great explanation for that he said well android phones you can side load software into an android phone that allows you to monitor all of the activity that’s right i mean i believe even down to the keystroke level yep um so and so that’s a way where you the search member feels like they have freedom but you can still completely monitor what they’re doing that’s right um and uh and so what was what was some of the other stuff that we spoke about uh well it was it was um there are also the cleanup that’s being done oh absolutely so um there’s been a lot of stuff published on mike’s blog and tony’s blog about the financial irregularities that have occurred and um in other words that’s what scientology calls it internally what we call it in the real world is credit card fraud extortion things like that and and wire fraud yeah right so you get a public’s information anyone who’s been in scientology for a long time knows that a registrar will sit down with the public who they’re trying to get a large donation from the public will say oh i don’t have enough credit um cards i don’t have enough availability uh the reds can get the public to give them all of their information social security number everything that they need and the regs will go and open up a bunch of credit cards right in their name and then basically maxed them out that’s right well as scientology started to dwindle and it’s dwindling at the same time that miscavige is trying to build all these giant orgs um it’s created a real problem financially and the stress of how to make this money has caused the registrars to go more unusual and unusual um i.e illegal illegal of opening up credit cards in people’s names without their permission and then maxing them out that’s right and now you create a problem where well this scientologist uh based on internal policy is prohibited from seeking any uh relief from the actual authorities um and yet this is credit card fraud and this has gotten so bad that the sea org has been sending in missions to various orgs um heavy heavy ethics missions class nine auditors to sec check all of the execs um removing the executives um going through all the treasury files and this is where it gets really incredible creating setting up a legal fund um from funded by so reserves to a sea of reserves to actually pay back the public who had the credit cards opened up like actually issuing refunds proactively to prevent um the legal fallout from having committed to credit card fraud and between you and me i mean look i’m no legal expert i’m no scholar i’m no lawyer the fallout could be as as as as um as big as eventually losing their tax exemption yep right i mean exactly the problem that’s right um committing credit card fraud and wire fraud these are federal crimes yep and it’s widespread and the church knows it’s widespread and they know like at the end of the day miscavige is it there’s one thing the scavengers that’s interested in more than making money that’s protecting the tax exempt status yep so once um and by the way this whole practice from what we’ve heard from various people started after la org turned into a sea org and they brought in registrars from orgs all over the world where ideal orgs were opening to train under the sea org registrar at la org that’s right and this son of and this son of a [ __ ] trained all of these regis at the ideal orgs on how to commit this credit card fraud yep and and you can and this is a huge threat to the to the tax exempt status of the church and me saying this on the video doesn’t like let the cat out of the bag the church knows it’s a threat which is why they’re trying to do damage control and the thing is giving everybody their money back doesn’t get you off the hook for having committed the credit card fraud in the first place in fact it acknowledges you knew about it exactly exactly and i’m not saying and i’m not saying it would have been better if they didn’t give everybody their money back i’m just saying they’re trying to cover up something but the cover-up is going to make it more obvious that they knew about all this [ __ ] exactly do do they are they getting people to sign you know nda flights or something like that for you know when they get their money back oh i i don’t have the the i don’t have that level of debt no fair enough i just thought i’d throw it out there because i’m pretty sure they’re going to do something like that you know we’ll give you this money but you have to sign on the dotted line right you’d have to think so it’s just that um no nda can prevent someone from cooperating with the authorities oh true enough um true enough you know yeah um but at least it would stop them from overtly going and you know no no no no no no no no an nda when an nda cannot prevent you from proactively going to the authorities like you cannot prevent someone from disclosing a crime okay got it got it um it you cannot it can bring you from maybe like speaking to the press um well there’s certainly nothing there are certainly a lot of ndas out there that seem to effectively shut people up from talking about criminal activities but well that’s true yeah but also let’s take angie blankenship bernie just as an example let’s say she has an nda to keep her mouth shut um she even if she knew let’s assume she does know that that nda doesn’t prevent her from going to the authorities if she did go to the authorities the church would stop giving her money right uh that’s right that’s right and also the one of the purposes of those ndas is to give people the impression that maybe they’re not allowed to go to the authority that’s my you know it’s the psychological op as much as it is a legal op you know exactly that’s exactly that’s where i was going with that but please continue yeah and so those financial irregularities are um you know it’s it’s not just that awards it’s with you know sea org members um search members who are at the end of their lives um who once they die they’re unsecured credit will be erased their unsecured debt will be erased um and the thing is scientology knows that these things are known about outside of scientology so on the one hand i guess it’s positive if uh you know the public exposure of this information or the fact that they know people know prevents them from continuing to do it that’s a positive yep right yep um we mentioned earlier about the rpf the rpf has developed so much bad pr for scientology that at first they just sort of um stopped assigning people to the rpf and they let everybody graduate and then when they weren’t graduating fast enough they sort of accelerated the graduation process or lowered the requirements or whatever and now they’ve simply they don’t assign people to the rpf anymore yeah right yep and that’s a good thing that’s right uh it’s not because they changed their mind about it it’s because it’s a cover your ass thing and you go okay that’s positive you know people are no longer going to be subject to the horror that was the rpf um and so i don’t know all these things sort of combine together into a giant soup of uh scientology gradually diminishing in size uh in influence in membership um gradually being forced to treat uh their people a bit better um and uh i don’t know that’s another thing this is another area where people uh might have different interpretations of uh what’s good or what’s bad like i’ve seen some people respond to information like this and go well this is actually bad because if they treat people better people will be more likely to stay um and it’s hard for me to have a strong opinion about that one way or the other i’m even if even you know what i mean like there’s people in scientology maybe start getting treated a bit better so they’re more likely to stay i’m like well i don’t really give a [ __ ] if someone wants to believe in science i don’t really care yep what i care about is families being destroyed what i care about is people being bankrupted what i care about is that um emotional terrorism that they enact upon their members that’s right that’s right so scientology sort of reaches this equilibrium where they sort of treat everyone good enough to keep who they have i kind of go i don’t care they’ll still lose their tax exempt status and they’ll they’ll still get in and dated with lawsuits after that and yeah you know well it’s the it’s what i call the mainstreaming of a cult right and it’s it’s sort of a microcosm of that i mean it’s cover your ass is what it actually is you’ve correctly labeled it that’s a thousand percent what they’re doing however there’s a pr spin you can put on this of oh this is scientology 2.0 this is scientology kind or gentler this is the better scientology this is how it really should have been all along well no that’s just pr because you still have osa you still have shunning in this connection you still have the emotional blackmail and the cans and the um confession culture right which is psychological blackmail and all of those elements are still there as well as the authoritarian control system and caste systems so so it’s all just pr that this is spinning in a positive direction yet at the same time it’s a real world reality that i will absolutely attest to that thank [ __ ] god the rpf doesn’t exist anymore because i can’t imagine something worse for somebody to experience than what i went through for three years so absolutely you know good thank you but let’s not pretend that this is anything more than covering your ass it’s not scientology it’s not a reform it’s not a reformation it’s not a david miscavige has suddenly realized that there’s a kinder side he should exhibit or demonstrate that none of that is part of this picture and as long as that’s clear about that i think we’re talking honestly about it that’s right and what’s interesting about these changes that they’re making is they’re not even changes they can try to toot their own horn about because if they do they have to acknowledge there was something wrong in the first place and they never do that’s right that’s right which is why it’s just going to be relentless spin instead of acknowledging you know any time the church has had to defend the rpf or the concept of the rpf in a court of law they always refer to it as being either voluntary or based on scripture and all this other kind of stuff yep so then how in the hell would miss explain getting rid of it exactly he’s got five papers from academics apologizing for it he’s got apologetics on the rpf i mean i think there’s about three or four or five papers on that that they paid good money to have produced you know yes you know for 40 years he’s been saying that every word l ron hubbard has ever written has been reviewed and verified against the originals after completely on source and it’s like and and like you said they’ve commissioned all these studies to defend the rpf and it’s like then why did you get rid of it exactly exactly so they they can’t even publicly say we’ve made a change we’ve done this it’s something they just they just tell people internally oh yeah no we’ve gotten rid of that it was uh it was it was reviewed it was off source and uh because of the brainwashing i don’t like the word but the conditioning people go oh yeah that makes sense you know i i owe that and i’m so glad you changed it now the cognitive dissonance within scientology allows miscavige to get away with little with explanation that’s right that’s exactly right um to the world at large it wouldn’t work but the world at large isn’t paying attention exactly and i think that’s probably why well here’s the thing um for those who are paying attention or for those who know something about it now even a little bit having watched aftermath or going clear or something like that and written it off as an authoritarian destructive cult right which is it which is what it is you you could if if it wasn’t what it is then they would fess up to their mistakes and they would they would say we screwed up this was wrong they could even use the few bad apples arguments and probably even get away with it because people are pretty silly that way but they don’t even try to do that much because the cult mindset one for one for one across the boards whether it’s scientology or anybody else when you get to the level of the policy making leadership level this is a level where you cannot ever admit error it’s just the nature of the beast that they can’t go there the second you start admitting error is the second you actually stop being such a destructive cult because you’re capable of reflection and change and that’s not what that mindset’s about so that’s the push-pull of this that makes it so frustrating and fascinating at the same time you know totally totally you know there’s one other aspect um i’ve done some videos and spoken publicly about and and when i’ve done these videos it was really for the benefit of local clearwater people to understand how flag engages in human trafficking um and it’s it’s not sex trafficking it’s not no it’s not child labor trafficking yeah yeah you know bringing in people from russia and south america on religious visas uh you get somebody to pay for their plane ticket in other words they couldn’t even afford to come they get here uh you take their passports and their visas you’re only paying them 50 a week so now that they’re here not only can they not afford to leave if they wanted to but they don’t have their travel documents to leave um so i’ve discussed that publicly well they’ve that’s this is another example where they’ve they’ve stopped taking people’s passports because they’ve acknowledged it’s illegal right but they can’t publicly say they’ve stopped doing it because that would admit they were doing it before right that’s right that’s exactly right it’s like the kids in school that you know osa came down like a ton of bricks on on all the miners on the base going to school because they have to go to school it’s a legal requirement they started coming down on this right this is back in like 2008 or nine or something and um and suddenly it was a thing the schedules got changed all the cadets had to now be on this new schedule and it was to comply with the law well the only reason for that is because so many of those cadets had left the sea org and spoken out about the abusive harsh conditions and how they’d been raised with no education no real even parents no parenting was really going on and it was a disastrous mess and osa was left to clean that mess up because they never bothered to enforce legal standards in the first place if they had done their job in the first place none of that would have happened you know so that’s right so let me tell you a funny little story here that uh how even though they’re trying to comply with the law to cover their asses at the uh at their core they cannot help but um to continue to act the way they really want to act so here’s the huge answer so there was this russian young russian guy who left the surrogate flag and i was talking to him and he goes uh he goes you know because i i asked him about the passport thing he’s like oh yeah we had to turn on our passports to x y and z and then he goes but you know what i then then at some point my passport was routed back to me in the comm system without any explanation or for why it was being sent back to me and i didn’t want to ask i just held on to the passport but then when i said i wanted to route out the senior hco person came to me and said oh yeah you need to you need to turn over your passport right that’s right there it is there it is and but here’s the thing that’s even worse like it’s one
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Sensibly Speaking Podcast: Chris Shelton & Aaron Smith-Levin

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