This week Leah and I welcome the insightful and wonderfully well-informed Jon Atack. (If anyone doesn’t know the term OG, it comes from “Original Gangster” and means “someone who’s incredibly exceptional, authentic, or “old-school”” and Jon certainly fills the bill).
Way back in the 1980’s, Jon was a pioneer whistleblower about scientology abuses. He wrote a seminal book “Let’s Sell These People a Piece of Blue Sky” which was first published in 1990. He has since written two other books on the subject of scientology.
Jon was a “public” Scientologist for nine years, until 1983, when he became a central figure in the establishment of the UK “Independent” movement. He was a Dianetic and Class II auditor, did the Data Series Evaluator’s Course and completed OT V.
The manuscript of Piece of Blue Sky was the foundation for Russell Miller’s excellent biography Bare-Faced Messiah (for which Jon was the only hired researcher. He has proofed or edited a number of other books, including Tony Ortega’s Unbreakable Miss Lovely, Steve Cannane’s Fair Game and Steve Hassan’s new edition of Combating Cult Mind Control).
From 1983 to 1996, Jon worked on more than 200 media pieces, about 150 court cases (he was appointed an expert witness by the English High Court in 1987), was consulted by numerous governments and helped with the recovery of about 500 former members. He spent the next years recovering from harassment, writing novels and studying the many forms of influence and authoritarian abuse used by pseudo-religious, commercial, psychotherapy, martial arts, terrorist groups and gangs, as well as pedophile groomers, human traffickers and in abusive relationships.
From 2013-2015, Jon contributed articles to the Underground Bunker, focusing mainly on recovery – demonstrating the “implant” system that Hubbard created to psychologically enslave people.
Jon has spoken at many international conferences over the years, including talks in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Berlin, Hull, Riga, Bordeaux, Manchester and St Petersburg, Russia.
In 2015, Jon hosted the Getting Clear conference in Toronto with Professor James Beverley. Over the course of five days, Jon and 26 other experts explored the history of Scientology, some of the many contradictions in Hubbard’s autobiography, the real effects of Scientology “indoctrination” and “processing”, the legal situation internationally, and a detailed survey of the Purification Rundown by a toxicologist.
Two lectures from this conference are available on Jon’s YouTube channel jon atack, family and friends – which houses more than 200 videos exploring the manipulation techniques of human predators with the help of leading experts. I have been interviewed by him 3 times now, the most recent was posted just last week.
His brief introduction for those who haven’t suffered the Scientology experience is Scientology: the Cult of Greed
His newest book, Opening Our Minds, will be available in February.
Russell Miller’s excellent Barefaced Messiah
Jon also mentions this book by Ira Chaleff: Intelligent Disobedience
And this one: Shattered Assumptions
And also Take Back Your Life:
Mariela X Vileinor says
As I read each comments I want to let you all know that we Do Not Sale any Dianetics books or Scientology books!! In Texarkana Texas Study Group In Texarkana Texas.
Sister Judy was holding one of the books which we have at our only Bookstore. And I as A Student of the Nation of Islam have Read a few of the bookstores at our Study group.
Because it’s available for Us to check it out!!!! Now any other books we have at our local study Group are for sale!! However if anyone want to know about Scientology we will never stop them from reading it.
“There’s no compulsion in Islam”
We are very Peaceful People in the Nation of Islam. So, for the person who wrote my Name in his Comments and feel the need to discredit me for no reason.
Understand This is the time we all we start seeing change . Now I read books all the time , Even the book Sister Judy is Reading.
The Video you seen is a video of her time with the Nation of Islam!! We are not promoting Scientology at all!!
It’s very sad how Folks take things out of context all because of who we are?
Only if you knew Am happy to come across this blog and article on The internet very interesting what you will find and read of what people really think.
I hope each of you can find peace in your life …. May each of you reading my comments have a bless day
From Sister Mariela X
I found about your podcast recently.
It broke my heart when you said that other than the high schools, the only other way to get people to the Sea Org is in South America or Africa. This is exactly what hapenned to us. By “us” I speak as a group of friends. I’m from Central America.
We grew up together since we were teenagers, and we e¡went to University together, actually, we’re musicians and we went to an Art School all together.
One of us started to go to a “business seminar” and slowly we kept that this was something else. He was involved so fast that we couldn’t do anything for saving him. He dropped everything and left to Clearwater. We don’t know anything about him about 4 or 5 years now. Neither his family. He disconnected from all of us as we didn’t want to participate in Scientology.
We miss him. Personally, I think a lot on him, as his birthday is coming over in a few weeks, and we cannot even email him. He doesn’t use any social media and his old email, everything is gone. He is gone. We’re mourning our friend,
This awful thing destroys jobs, families, friendships. It destroys lives.
Thank you guys for raising the voice so we know at least what hell is he into now. I hope that some day we can recover him back.
Coffee Cup says
Great stuff as usual! Mike, I have a question, maybe something I misheard. John mentioned that an Anglican minister (bishop?) committed suicide because of things that were published in News of the World. Was that part of a Scn attack or just a general comment on the harmful nature of false information? Because if it was a Scn thing I find it interesting, seeing the Murdoch connection and how much the Murdochs seem to detest COS. I was just reading that great book on Scientology in Australia.
Great interview with Jon. Of the interesting nuggets, one so telling that stood out is Jon recounting a tale of Hubbard, running the show, and ordering a punishment of staff by doing away with toilet paper. Jon characterizes this as “animalistic.” I could not agree more.
Since stepping outside the bubble and engaging in this forum, something that keeps surfacing is the evidence of how much Hubbard disdained labor. It seems NOT rocket science that, to build an organization, requires staff well-cared for and well-paid. In Scientologese, “do all you can to make the post occupiable.”
This factually would entail each post in the organization COULD be occupied. A person in that post would be well thought of, treated well, paid well, have opportunity for advancement, access to routine healthcare, good nutrition, the promise of a pension or, in modern-day convention, a 401K with employer contribution match. As many of us have experienced, this how a lot of the rest of the working world is organized. It is not rocket science. It is how you attract, motivate, and retain talent. One certainly would do this if they wished to foster stability and expansion, rather than a slave empire.
Life in the Sea Org: the design of it seems so punitive and grinding, until there is just about nothing left of the individual. If Hubbard truly wanted to set up “his own navy,” then he would have made it like the actual navy, which—while requiring dedication, sacrifice, and hard work—has many benefits in return. For any reading who have been in the military or are close to someone who is, these can be satisfying careers, including by providing financial stability to the service member and their family. Nothing is perfect, of course, but they do (so I have been told by friends and family who have served) routinely have toilet paper in their work environments.
As a non-Sea Org member, I was clueless as to the punitive use of toilet paper. A previous interviewee, Valeska Paris, spoke of this in her tale of growing up in a cadet org in England. There was no toilet paper EVER, she reported.
I recall a new public, swept into the promises and grandeur of Scientology, advised to clean out her retirement account, buy the Briefing Course and head to Los Angeles to study. A neat and proper lady, she nearly about-faced and headed home upon arrival because THERE WAS NO TOILET PAPER in the ASHO (American Saint Hill Organization) ladies’ room. Never could she find any, nor (she reported) was she successful getting the situation corrected. She took to surreptitiously carrying a roll around with her in a cavernous handbag.
This reminds me of the tale of “losing the kingdom for want of horseshoe nail.” Will the empire be lost for want of toilet paper? This is a strange—and yet, as ever, dutifully self-imposed—fixed condition.
George M. White says
Vert good interview with Jon Atack. I listened to most of it. Did not know Hubbard died with $648,000,000 in cash, Big chunk was mine – ho ! .
The main point is correct. Scientology ruined my life and it took thirty years to shake the roots. Fortunately we got married and had kids out of Scientology because we knew it was a major problem.
The big problem was ten years later when they realized we had been in Scientology. Took years to get them back to us.
Biggest problem with Scientology for me was “false hope”. This false hope eats at the being and fools you with negativity. Took decades to shake it. Hubbard was a sicko.
Jennifer Norris says
Hi guys live the show and blog. There is a channel on YouTube called top5s. He just did a short documentary on Shelly Miscavige. It’s about her disappearance if anyone wants to check it out. Hopefully the more people that see it, the more pressure on Scientology to say where she is at.
Ms. B. Haven says
OK, I admit it. I have a crashing MU (misunderstood word). I always thought that OG was an acronym for Old Guard, not Original Gangster. I have word cleared this term using Methods 1 thru 9, faithfully used my demo kit, made a very spiffy clay demo, sent myself to Qual and am ready for a Star Rated checkout.
Despite this pitiful mistake I have made I still managed to extract myself from the cult. I got out before the internet was widely available and before Jon’s book was published. I had had enough of the bullshit of getting nowhere and decided to take a break. I had just finished training thru Level IV and was supposed to start the internship. Completely out of character, no one made much of an effort to “recover” me and get me going again. There were a few phone calls, but I had voicemail tech to screen my calls. I poured myself into work to get back on my feet financially and spent as much time in nature as I could. This cleared my head and gave me some space to think for myself. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was wrong with scientology, but at that point it didn’t really matter. I was outta there. Shortly after that I had a job opportunity come up in Alaska and I jumped on it. That really gave me some space on so many levels. Many years later, I found the internet and used that (eBay) to unload my extensive lrh library (for mere pennies on the dollar, a great score for me). I indulged my curiosity a bit and that is when I stumbled across Jon Atack and his work. I gobbled it up. Pretty much everything I suspected was going on was validated in spades. I would recommend his work to anyone. Besides his outstanding intellect, he has a great sense of humor and a pervasive humility about him. Something that is sorely missing in scientology.
Nice story. Thanks for sharing it.
The overall presentation of Hubbard/Scn is “We know everything about everything. We’re right and everybody else is wrong.” IMO that means your in a cult even if it’s a “mainstream” religion.
On a TV show a commentator was interviewing a fundamentalist minister and asked him if he thought there was any truth in other religions and his immediate answer was “No.” I guess she wasn’t expecting that answer and after an awkward ten second silence she replied, “Well . . . Okay”
Geoff Levin says
Jon was instrumental in helping me way back in my deprogramming. Looking forward to the podcast.
I Yawnalot says
He’s a good man Jon – I wish him well.
Mary Kahn says
I love listening to Jon. I find that he is not only well versed in the subject of scientology but his retention of data and the history of events in scientology is remarkable. I love listening to Jon, in particular, because as someone who has spent the last seven years trying to “understand” it and my part in it, Jon has his own exceptional way of explaining that make me think, “Oh, yea.” or “Oh interesting view.” that clean out some piece in my mind. No wonder Jon states that someone who has spent an afternoon with him not only understand that the philosophy of scientology doesn’t work or is brainwashing or whatever but that they walk away personally helped to a greater or lesser degree. It takes this kind of understanding he has on the subject to actually really help. Most “professionals” I have turned to for help can’t and don’t help because they really have no idea about the subject.
Jon is a great resource on co$ and also seems to be a great guy. Always interesting. When I first got into learning about this cult I bought all his books and watched most of his videos. I’m always impressed by his forthright and logical presentation, which reflects how I think. His intellectual approach to this subject is awesome, as well as his sense of humour!
Loosing my Religion says
This may move a little from the subject but it always has to do with fair game.
Searching the net I saw there is a ‘Leah Remini’s blog’. It is actually a decoy.
Another site they use to convey their hate crap. Made for the purpose of attracting anyone who is obviously a fan or looking for news about Leah.
It was set up by CSI.
Inside there are also usual articles against Mike, Tony, Jeffrey, etc.
It is a cut and paste of freedom mag (also same kind of photos).
Always the same boring soup – every now and then they should vary the menu!
My question is whether they can use Leah’s name so shamelessly to give the idea that the blog is hers to attract people purposely to give bad PR to?
This is off topic but I thought your blog was down. I access your blog through Google by typing Mike Rinder, and at first your blog was at the top, but now I have to scroll down to find it. The top search results I assume are the hate sites that scientology put out against you cause when I clicked on it the information was not favorable about you. Although I don’t know you personally, I have been following you and Leah, and I see the good deeds that you are doing, so I just backed out of that page until I found the blog again.
The actions of a person are louder than the words they speak. Keep up the good work Mike and Leah!
Diane Vallecillo says
I love Jon. I’ve listened to his podcast for a couple of years. He always has some tad-bit of deep thought that sits with me for a couple days. I am looking forward to listening to him being interviewed.
Zee Moo says
Jon Atack is one of the heroes of the ASC. It takes a lot of perseverance to keep up his work and dodge all the crap the malevolent miscreant throws his way. I salute you from afar Jon…
Rip Van Winkle says
Thank you for every bit of this.
George M. White says
The NOI Ministers in East Tampa have clearly stated to me that they follow Dianetics but not Scientology. These NOI members clearly do not understand that Scientology will lead them away from Islam. A conflict is really brewing and will be decided after Louis Farrakhan passes.
I look forward to listening to the chat. How did it feel to turn tables on Jon and be interviewing him for a change?
George M. White says
Jon Atack, a real giant in the field of research on Scientology. I like the title to his new book – “Opening Minds”. Looks like a must read.
O/T. Below are links to a video of Nation of Islam Sister Judy Muhammad. The video includes shots of the NOI Texarkana Study Group bookstore.
The video is significant for four reasons.
First, the bookstore offers at least eight Scientology lecture packs for sale. Featured is the lecture “Technique 88.”
Second, it is one thing for NOI Mosques to offer Scientology materials for sale in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Tampa and other locations where there are Scientology Ideal Orgs, but Texarkana? And a mere Study Group (think rough equivalent of a Scientology Mission)? If the NOI is selling Scientology materials at the Texarkana Study Group bookstore, the NOI is likely selling Scientology materials everywhere.
Third, this is quite clearly a promo video. One of the things being promoted is Scientology.
Fourth, the author of the post, Sister Mariela X Jean Vileinor, refers to the lectures as “Dianetics.” She cannot even bring herself to admit that they are studying Scientology.
Original Facebook post:
My ESMBR post:
Sister Judy is promoting Islam or at least the NOI version of it. At her age I doubt she has any interest in scn. Maybe Sister Jean is onboard.
I guess you need to be on Facebook which I’m not to read Sister Jean’s commentary?
A screenshot of the Facebook post and two screenshots of the Facebook video are included in my ESMBR post at:
One of the screenshots shows eight Scientology lecture packs for sale at the NOI Texarkana Study Group. Another screenshot shows the lecture pack for Technique 88 for sale at the Study Group.
In the Facebook post, Sister Mariela X Jean Vileinor states:
“Apdta You see that Dianetics book that she is holding in the bookstore in Texarkana study group.”
Apdta = All praise due to Allah.
The “Dianetics book” Sister Jean is referring to is actually the Technique 88 lecture pack.
When a NOI promo video specifically shows eight Scientology lectures for sale, and highlights the lecture Technique 88, then it is reasonable to conclude that one of the things being promoted is Scientology.
Got it – thanks
In the history of religion and religious cults the alliance of Scn and the NOI is probably “unique”. History in the making. 😁
George M. White says
I agree, Richard. The real battle will be in a few years when NOI ministers do the OT levels. Miscavige has the policy that they will “cog’ and turn to Scientology. Some will remain in Islam and we will have a split. In East Tampa, I watch NOI progress carefully. They can sell a few newspapers but the ranks of NOI ministers is not growing. Farrakhan runs the newspaper and is very influential. He is in his late 80’s. There will be a power struggle. My hope is that NOI takes over the buildings of Scientology and converts them to Dianetics. Black Nationalism is very real in NOI.
The great point here is that the Black Man will not take crap from Miscavige. All they need to do is eliminate him and put a Black Man in charge. It will prove to them that the white race is inferior which is what they proclaim.
That’s an interesting plus funny comment George. 😁
I won’t speculate about which race or ethnicity has the highest IQ but my guess is that Black NOI ministers have more common sense than White Scn ministers. lol
George M. White says
When George wrote, “. . . the Black Man won’t take any crap from Miscavige.” I got a picture of DM getting in the face of a burly NOI dude or feisty NOI woman. It probably wouldn’t end well.
Sister Jean is posting on a Facebook group called Dianetically Speaking so maybe I’ll give her a pass on referring to the Technique 88 lectures as a Dianetics book. Maybe she has an MU. On the other hand maybe she’s a total squirrel.
Talk about “mixing practices”.