Thursday, January 28, 2010

Coercion and Extortion? In *My* Religion?

Tommy "Foot Bullet" Davis has been at it again. In case you've not heard, Larry Anderson, star of the Church of Scientology's Orientation video, has woken up and walked, claiming that he no longer believes Scientology can deliver what it promises (freedom from "the trap"). He also blames what he regards as corruption in the upper levels of management, citing the fact that the Church, for a period of about two years, was quite happily selling books it knew were no good, while those titles were being revised for re-release. This mis-selling is the sort of brazen nasty that we like to report on at The Beacon because it is irrefutable. The "wrong" books were sold right up to the day before the release of the "corrected" versions. It's so irrefutably wrong of the Church that they haven't even sought to apply any spin on it.

But anyhew. It's what happened next where it gets really interesting. Reports are widespread of the lengths that the Church will go to to retain parishioners it believes are valuable to the church or best kept silent. After making his intentions clear Anderson agreed to meet and discuss with Davis the return of money the actor had on account with the Church for services he had not yet received. Anderson had the foresight to record the "brief meeting" that became a ninety-minute conversation, with the full consent of Davis. Excerpts from the tape are now available online.

Knowing that the conversation is being taped, Davis nevertheless tries on various tactics to ensure Anderson, at the very least, remains quiet about the Church on his departure and does not receive any refunds. He waves the IRS at Anderson, discusses Anderson's impending disconnection (with some wonderful double speak; he says it does and doesn't happen in the same breath), tries to make Anderson feel guilty and/or pay(!) for the projected $2 million reshoot of Orientation and makes veiled threats concerning those Anderson will leave behind in the Church. One can only wonder how differently the conversation would have run had it not been taped!

Davis seems to be making a habit of saying things he oughtn't on tape. Last year saw him reveal that he was passing on former-Scientologists auditing files, collations of things admitted to while undergoing auditing, in the hopes that he could make some kind of ad hominem attack and damage testimonies regarding David Miscavige's violence and brutality. Naturally enough the provision of firm evidence that the Church does exactly what it says it doesn't do did not do much to dissuade the reporters from pressing ahead with their story. One wonders how long Davis can keep hold of his job; his continued ineptitude in handling these situations suggests that Miscavige has no-one with which to replace him. By sticking to CoS procedure, Davis only ever seems to galvanise departing parishioners into the new role of vocal criticism of the Church, its management and its policies. Scientology seems unique as a religion that makes enemies of its footstools.

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