Scientology has become a key issue in the LA Mayoral race between Karen Bass and Rick Caruso. Of course, scientology is freaking out as their “good name” (haha) is being used to smear opponents.
It stems from Karen Bass’ ill-advised participation in a 2010 ribbon cutting ceremony for the “new” LA Org building (the building was not new of course, just refurbished).
This came up two years ago when Rep. Bass was touted as a possible VP candidate to join the Biden ticket.
I have some relevant information on this matter, both from my time in scientology and subsequent to this becoming an issue in 2020.
First, scientology has always made a massive effort to get politicians to attend their events. It is a way of gaining credibility. I talk about getting the President of the California State Senate to attend the ribbon cutting of the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition in my book, A Billion Years, and what a feather in my cap this was considered to be. You probably recall various Mayors and other dignitaries being persuaded to participate in these “ribbon cuttings” over the years. Some have been prominent; Rep Charlie Rangel participated in the ribbon cutting of the NY Org building. The Mayors of Buffalo, Sacramento and San Francisco all attended scientology building “openings.” The approach is usually made to these people through a scientologist who is a wealthy contributor to their campaigns or one of scientology’s hired lobbyists or political operatives. They are briefed about the anti-drug, education, human rights and morality programs scientology touts. Who could argue with those things? (That they don’t really exist is not made clear… the videos look impressive). These people are provided talking points they can cover and many of their speeches were actually written by people in the Office of Special Affairs for them (I also talk about this in my book with Charlie Rangel). They show up, are treated like VIP’s, deliver their speeches and go on to their next appointment. They SHOULD do more research about what they are endorsing. Nowadays, they can hardly persuade anyone to show up, even the lowliest, fringe “dignitaries” are not willing to show their faces at any sort of scientology events.
Of course, Rep. Bass should have known better in 2010. There had been plenty of negative coverage of scientology by then. But, she was not alone in her failure to screen her appearance. And it’s easy to look back 12 years ago and think that the world understood scientology like it does today, which was not the case. The groundbreaking Going Clear on HBO in 2015 changed the game. The Aftermath series then raised awareness even further, every week over 3 years new horror stories were exposed and the public came to understand that scientology was not just “misunderstood” or the victims of a “bad rap” in the media, but were engaged in serious, ongoing abuses.
Today, there are plenty of officials who got suckered by scientology into attending their events or providing cookie-cutter endorsements who wish they had never heard the word.
When the 2010 ribbon cutting incident blew up in 2020, Rep. Bass reached out to Leah and me to ask us about scientology. We answered her questions and she watched episodes of The Aftermath. She wanted to know the truth and made the effort and took the time to get herself educated. She asked us how she could help put an end to the abuses she now understood were ongoing in scientology. We suggested some things she could assist with and she readily agreed. Since then she has continued to push through on those actions, even when the media noise had died down. She has lived up to her word. I am not going to detail what it is she has done behind the scenes, because it could potentially derail those actions.
I don’t know much about the positions of either candidate, and don’t tend to discuss politics at all on my blog as it is a subject that usually ends up in flame wars.
But I do have something to offer concerning this matter of scientology.
I have never spoken to Rick Caruso. He may be a great Mayor for Los Angeles.
I have spoken to Karen Bass. I know she now knows the truth about scientology, and took the time to be sure she didn’t repeat her earlier mistakes. There are those who this will never satisfy. I believe people can change, see the light and move forward to create a new future.
I know that of the two candidates, the one scientology would hate to have as the next Mayor of LA is Karen Bass. Rick Caruso has used scientology as a way of smearing Karen Bass, but he has done nothing I know of to curtail their abuses. Karen Bass, I know from personal experience, has. And I know that she will never be tricked by scientology again.
In the scientology stronghold of Los Angeles, a leader who understands their tactics and is aware of their abuses and is willing to do something about it is the best reason I can think of to elect her as Mayor.
Gus Cox says
Scientology’s “good name” lol. One thing I am wary about is voting on a single issue. I recall clashing with somebody (I don’t recall his handle) about Jackie Lacey, who was running for re-election as LA County District Attorney. “Anyone but Lacey” was his take on it, because she took a long time to file charges against Donkey Boy. Well, LA got somebody other than Lacey in George Gascòn, and it’s been a disaster. Meanwhile, Donkey Boy’s trial continues apace.
I’m not much of one for politicking either, but Scientology is a lousy issue to base a vote on. There are much bigger issues facing Los Angeles than a dying cult. Even though both candidates have made it an issue, Scientology is just a fly on LA’s shoulder.
Kathleen Viviano says
Wow! It would be great if every politician from local to the White House would educate themselves about Scientology like this. Once you gain and understanding of how they operate, I don’t know how you can not want to join the fight against their abuses. Be like Karen!
Paul Horne says
This post makes no sense – Caruso has always known and understood what Scientology is about – the point is that Karen spoke at the event without doing any research. It says a lot that she didn’t make an effort to apologize or learn anything about Scientology until it became a political issue for her in 2020. The smarter candidate is the one that didn’t get duped in the first place.
LA is in crisis now because of the current administration, which Karen Bass is a part of. If we vote for more of the same, then we’re going to get more of the same. I am a liberal Democrat voting for Caruso.
Mike Rinder says
You vote for who you feel good about.
The post only makes “no sense” because you don’t want to see anything that might detract from your candidate of choice.
I’m curious. If as you say “Caruso has always known and understood what scientology is about” — what has he done with that knowledge?
Paul Horne says
It’s false, condescending and insulting to say I don’t want to see anything that might detract from my candidate of choice, since you know zero about me or my experience or motivations.
I think the post makes no sense because of your assessment that the person willing to do something about Scientology deserves to be mayor because of it – after you just admitted that you don’t know either candidates positions on anything. I appreciate the work you’ve done to discredit Scientology, and in fact, it’s because of your previous quality work that the post seems weak. Or maybe you don’t live in or care about LA, which is fine – but for those of us who do, this is an extremely important election.
Mike Rinder says
I don’t live in LA. I am a single issue voter when it a candidate brings up the subject of Scientology. You are free to ignore my perspective.
If you think it’s false, condescending and insulting for me to offer an opinion I don’t know why you don try just ignore the information I offered and carry on with life…
The Karen Bass/Scientology thing isn’t limited to Scientology. Mormonism does it too. Mormon leaders cozy up to various political and religious leaders to give their church legitimacy without disclosing the facts.
Enlightening information every voter should have, Mike. Thank you for this!!!
Wow! Thanks, Mike! Very helpful in picking our next LA Mayor. GoodOnYa, Karen Bass!!
Tick Tock MFers!
Linda Olsen says
Wow. Whether you were never in or got out, scientology is the gift that just keeps on giving.
Lily R says
Mike, thanks for giving us information on Karen Bass’ attitude and understanding of the cherch and her reaching out to you and Leah after her disastrous endorsement of them.
Reading about how politicians are ensnared by the cherch using wealthy donors, etc seems like a type of entrapment. Scientology gets a politician to say nice stuff and promotes it hard and often years after that politician has moved on, retired, or died.
And in Ms. Bass’ case gets Fair Gamed for not staying in their neat little trap.
I Yawnalot says
jim rowles says
Thanks for the reveal. Who would have thought a politician would look for information on their own.
If Karen Bass is elected mayor she will hopefully push to get “L. Ron Hubbard Way” named back to Berendo Street. Having a street named after that racisit, misogynistic, homophobe is an embarrassment to Los Angeles.
From: David Miscavige COB RTC
Re: Karen Bass.
Well, now! That’s something you will never see! L. Ron Hubbard Way will ALWAYS be L. Ron Hubbard Way! Why? Because Karen Bass will never be elected mayor! How do I know? Because I will use my OT powers of positive postulates to make sure it doesn’t happen! And don’t you dare call me a racist, misogynistic homophobe ever again!
To: David Miscavige COB RTC
Re: racist misogynistic homophobes.
PickAnotherID was referring to LRH, you bonehead.
No love at all,
If you really want to know what scientology is about go buy the basics. Critics get paid to criticize. I have 3 full sets of basics in my garage if anyone is actually curious. Can be a win-win.
Mike Rinder says
You don’t even need to buy them. You can find them on the internet for free. I have included some excellent excerpts from one of “the Basics,” the absolutely incredible A History of Man, and some from Science of Survival and Dianetics right here on this blog. Happy reading!
Oh I’m all over this! I don’t suppose we could get a copy of Dianetics (sp)on the Internet?
I’ve been dying to read this forever but I don’t wanna pay for it🤭
Mike Rinder says
Pretty sure you can find it if you look. But while you may not waste any money, you will waste your time…
Anons used to joke about how they got their check from Pfizer, Eli Lily and other Big Pharma companies, and I participated in that. Truth is I never got a penny, but I guess you wouldn’t believe that.
It’s also beside the point of the criticism itself. Please explain how you make sense of all the harm the church does as shown by The Aftermath, Going Clear, Mike and Leahs books and the dozens of other books. And of course the big list:
Also I’m quite sure you, Howie, are paid by the Church of Scientology to post here and therefore are not a trustworthy source yada yada! (See what I do here?)
Next time please respond to the criticism itself.
Oh wait, you can’t.
Mat Pesch says
Its hard to find worse PR than Scientology and its abusive “leader”, Miscavige. Very well deserved and irreparable. It just keeps getting worse and worse as more truth is released. Currently we have Mike Rinders new book, the L.A. Mayors race and the Danny Masterson trial to help add fuel to the dumpster fire that is Scientology’s reputation. Tick, tock….
Dotey OT - In from 1990 to 2017 says
The world does not understand very well this important point:
A scientologist does not really know about scientology.
This is a difficult thing to see. The way that scientology works is that parishioners are told that the only truth about scientology comes from scientology. If you hear something bad, it is not true.
So when you ask a scientologist “What about ————–” (fill in the blank with any one of hundreds of damning things) a scientologist will answer with “That’s not true!!” and really mean it!! It isn’t true, because they do not know. They will seem sincere, and they are. They just don’t know.
So if you know a scientologist, know this point. A “good” scientologist does not look at the bad news about scientology.
There are exceptions to this, but it’s generally true. It just seems odd because it is.
Again, Mormons do the same thing. Ask a Mormon about Bruce R. McConkie saying that black people were less valiant in the pre existence and they will tell you that that never happened. They base their idea on the 1985 edition of the book Mormon Doctrine which deletes this quote but have never seen the 1966 edition which contains the quote. So to them, the quote about black people is anti Mormon propaganda because it’s not found in current church publications.
Linda Olsen says
And then there’s that complete cover-everything by LRH to keep you in the cult, “If it’s not true for you, then it’s not true” That’s like saying human trafficking doesn’t exist in the world because I have never personally experienced it or seen it in my neighborhood. So not only do I not have to think about it or do anything about it or learn about it, I can just dismiss it and go on my merry way.
In this way, there is complete control over the members as well as a great way for the cult to get rid of any cognitive dissonance (for cult members) generated by people’s testimonies, their experiences and the experiences of many of their family as shown on Going Clear and then the Aftermath as well as chronicled in the growing and consistent body of literature from so many different voices.
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. And if there is evil, YOU pulled it in!
Scott Tweedie says
Mike, this a small part of a story in The Courier Mail on the 25/10/22. The Courier Mail is the largest daily paper in Queensland, and one of the largest in Australia.
I quote in short:” The Evergreen Taoist Church of Australia is being sued by three claimants (former members) for the sum of $250,000 in backpay. (cleaning, property management, office admin, etc,etc)They are being charged with, ‘Engaging in systematic and planned underpayment and theft of wages from long serving , ,vulnerable and lowly paid employees. Further, the claim is that the church, “wilfully and deliberately did not pay casual loading, overtime, public holiday rates and penalties.”
The employees were informed that this decision was taken for ‘the good of the church’.
Prosecutors are saying, “These long serving employees have been treated with disdain and disrespect by their employer”
Ring a bell??
Ammo Alamo says
Of course any abuse or underpayment of staff by a religious organization brings Scientology to mind as the charter member of that lot. But they got smart, or so they think, some time back. They hired lawyers to make contracts with lots of fine print that both staff and /Sea Org and public members must sign, giving over any rights to any legal remedy other than a Scientology kangaroo court, of which there have been a total of one in the church’s entire history.
Scientology has a good name? People, regardless of their political orientation, should get as far from Scientology as possible.
I’ll drink to that!
Is it okay if I do it with a 20 ounce Coca Cola?
WWW : Wisdom of the Wog World says
Dwarf Vader says
That’s just it. Most politicians regardless of party won’t touch Scientology with a barge pole. Not just because of its sinister nature, but also because in pure cold political terms they’re completely useless to politicians.
Catholics, Evangelicals, Mormons, Jews and Muslims… they’re all useful voting blocs and can deliver you results. Not Scientologists.