Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Battle Over Scientology: Part III

I refrained from calling this the last Scientology post because I'm certain that new nonsense will spring up when the church collapses or David Miscavige suddenly dies or there is some sort of impossible coup and Miscavige flees to Honduras, because the merry-go-round of Scientology on Wikipedia isn't broken; they just flipped off a switch.

The Odd "Articles"

I could bring up the recent stupidity that happened on Reddit when somebody posted part two of this on a Wikipedia-criticism subforum ("subreddit"), but I will let that stand on its own. However, just for "Folsomdsf" and "willfe42" I will write this: NO, I am NOT a Scientologist; you two feebs couldn't point at a Scientologist if Chick Corea was humping your leg like a dog.

 Anyway, the "articles"....all of them are quasi-internal and they deal with Scientology, either subjects or Wikipedians. During 2010 through 2011, there was Neutrality in Scientology, a "short term views page" focused on pushing the "neutral point of view" on to all Scientology articles and BLPs ("biographies of living persons") of Scientologists. Some of the people involved were: SchuminWeb (Ben Schumin of Anonymous), FT2 (of "The Anvil email" fame), Scott MacDonald (once accidentally blocked himself), Youreallycan (as sock account Off2riorob; later blocked for nasty emails), Deirdresm (ex-Sci; thought Scott MacDonald was acting as a proxy for banned users), and finally Stanistani (William "Monty" Burns, the human link to Wikipediocracy.) Things done included deleting the Astra Woodcraft and Kendra Wiseman articles to lump them together into the stub, while leaving the Jenna Miscavige Hill article by itself, even though Hill was also a founding member of the Ex-Scientology Kids website! They couldn't merge the Orientation: A Scientology Information Film stub into some other article, and Stanistani couldn't vaporize the Leipzig Human Rights Award article, even though the last time the award was given was 2003, to Andreas Heldal-Lund of Operation Clambake (aka

Another "odd article" was Articles for deletion/Scientology Public Relations from 2006, the subject of which now redirects to the Office of Special Affairs article. Antaeus_Feldspar (Joseph Crowley) voted for its deletion, while Republitarian decided to have a fight with TheFarix and Orsini over the name of the guy who wrote the article, Lord Xenu (who has since vanished into oblivion.) The whole thing was idiotic and quickly buried.

Then there was the July-September 2007 Requests for arbitration/COFS mess. COFS was the original name of Shutterbug, and that was how she was forced to change names, by a committee made up such wonderful people as SheffieldSteel (real name unknown; possibly a sockpuppet, or a guy in Belgium posing as North Carolina college student; only on Wikipedia to harass people), Durova (Lise Broer), Lyncs (as Justanother), Misou (sock of Shutterbug?), Jehochman (Jonathan Hochman), Cirt (as Smee), and Lsi John (name unknown, all that remains is a page of animal photos.) The accusations were mostly conflict-of-interest editing. Following Wikipedian tradition, the block log at the bottom is full of other names blocked or banned: Shutterbug, Makoshack, and Misou banned from Scientology editing for 30 days in 2007; Anybody and Justahulk warned to avoid each other by Rlevse in 2008; Pieter Kuiper topic banned from Scientology for two weeks in 2010 by Tim Song (Wikipediocracy's Tryptich); finally, Courcelles giving Shutterbug the "indefinite ban" in September of that same year for sockpuppeting.

The article Church of Scientology editing on Wikipedia is a weird "hurrah for our team!" article talking about Virgil Griffith's WikiScanner software that discovered how many IPs were Church owned and how the Church can't edit pages about itself. The page history is interesting; begun by Chesdovi in late August of 2010, nominated for deletion by Robofish, worked on by Cirt from August to September of 2010, then handed over to a number of different people who gnomed it until 2015. Meanwhile Chesdovi decided to refrain from Wikipedia editing for a month in early 2012, and never returned (possibly hit by a Jerusalem bus.)

Lastly, there was a WikiProject Scientology, set up by David Gerard in 2005. It was supposed to do what the later Neutrality in Scientology page did, but as a WikiProject it was far flashier and easier to find, though that didn't stop it from becoming a ghost town after October 2014. When the WikiProject Soviet Union was founded the same year as the Scientology one, and that project is still going strong, something had to have gone horribly wrong with Gerard's baby.

"Scientology is a UFO religion"

That statement shows the bone ignorance of the person who repeats it. If anything, Scientology is an "ancient astronauts" religion due to the Xenu story, except unlike most ancient astronaut theories (which have aliens building Stonehenge or carving the Nazca Lines of Peru) Hubbard's tale takes place before humans evolved on Earth. Due to the multilevel structure of Scientology, it takes years to get to read the "Operating Thetan III" materials or hear Hubbard recount the story of "Incident II" on the Ron's Journal 67 tape (recorded in 1967 on a Scientologist-run ship in some Mediterranean harbor.) Scientologists are told to not speak of the things they learn to "uninitiated" lower-level members or outsiders at all. L. Ron never claimed that he got his knowledge after being taken aboard a flying saucer; Excalibur was written after a laughing gas "trip" in a dentist's office in the late 1930s, while Dianetics was hammered together from that material and other readings in 1950, and Scientology grew from that.

Now there are UFO religions, like Raƫlism (founded in France in 1974), or the Aetherius Society (founded in London, England in 1955), or Unarius Academy of Science (founded in Los Angeles in 1954, now in El Cajon, California); even that joke super-pastiche The Church of the SubGenius (founded in Dallas, Texas in 1979) has UFOs taking away the faithful on X-Day when the aliens come to destroy the planet. Weirder yet, the long-exposed hoax/"fiction" of UMMO has given birth to a "Daughters of UMMO" cult in Bolivia. The difference is that these groups were not founded by science-fiction writers (Ivan Stang, et. al. of the SubGenius Church are parodists, certainly, and the "Daughters of UMMO" are more of a syncretic group), but by people claiming to have had experiences they claim are genuine (whether they were or not is beyond the scope of this article, but I am not a member of any group listed.) Scientology, when it was Dianetics, was a form of abreaction therapy in combination with self-hypnosis; it began getting the "space opera" trappings when people claimed to enter memories of previous lives when hypnotically regressing to early childhood, and the past lives started becoming extraterrestrial when they went further back (whether that was due to Hubbard's direct or indirect influence or not I cannot say*.) Nothing of anything written within this section counts however, because Wikipedia has decided Scientology is a UFO religion, Google re-transmits that, and the press goes along. Just to screw with Google, Scientology is NOT a UFO religion.

How to Have a New-Age Article on Wikipedia Without the Mess

1. Be obscure. Do a search for "Rational Culture" or "Cultura Racional." You won't find anything. However, if you type in Universe in Disenchantment you will stumble across the article on Tim Maia, a Brazilian musician/national treasure, who had joined the Rational Culture cult for a short time in the 1970s, by reading their holy book Universe in Disenchantment. Ivan Stang clued me into this Brazilian religion in his 1988 book High Weirdness by Mail, where he wrote that the RC organization at the time was claiming their books were being dropped out of UFOs and that they had healing properties (!) because of that.

2. Have a fixer. If you look at older versions of the article on Prem Rawat, there is no clue he ran a cult (Divine Light Mission.) Why? Because of an employee of his, Jossi Fresco Benaim aka Jossifresco, who was made an administrator, and later thrown out (though allegedly still editing Rawat material under a sockpuppet.)

3. Be loved outside of Wikipedia. A good example would be Sri Chinmoy, the now-deceased weightlifting guru, though he had to have a number of fixers keep any of his darker elements from being on Wikipedia. People like: Fencingchamp, Vivvvek (a "single-purpose account"), Wiki9898zzz (another SPA), and Chotochele (ditto), among others kept the controversies away. So the article has expanded and contracted over, and over, and over, again. But notice we hear none of it, because the truly obnoxious users are elsewhere. Probably wearing Guy Fawkes masks.


*  The Research Council of the American Medical Association stated in 1985:
“....memories obtained under hypnotic interventions contain confabulations, pseudomemories and inaccuracies. Self-report, alone, cannot be used to determine the reliability of true from false memories.” (Quote taken from here.)

For the record, William Burns' nickname is not "Monty." I call him that because his actions resemble that of The Simpsons' Montgomery Burns character, though in truth, he is really Steven McGeady's Mr. Smithers.


1 comment:

  1. I like to think that of the Simpsons characters, I most resemble Groundskeeper Willie, at least as far as my role at Wikipediocracy goes.