This is the text of the full page USA Today ad that appeared last Thursday.
Back in the good old days, USA Today required DETAILED proof of the claims made in church ads.
Today, pretty much anything goes….
A global movement more than 200,000 strong.
Active in better than 120 nations.
Based on the rest of the scientology demographics, more than half of the total activities occur in the United States. So, ballparking it means there are more than 100,000 VMs in the US.
So, where were they when the massive tornadoes rolled through Oklahoma? They tried to round up people from all over the US and could muster a grand total of 20 people. Gold flew in a film crew. They handed out yellow T shirts. And yet there were a couple of stills of a few VM’s and that was it. The closest org — and an ideal one at that — was Dallas. They couldn’t muster up much of anything at all, though the pleading emails went out, including the call to arms that all scientologists are expected to respond to “a Gold Shoot crew will be there.”
Where were the VM’s when Sandy devastated the North Eastern US?
The mudslide in Washington?
I already commented on the lack of anyone appearing on the scene in the Philippines.
Why are the photos of VM’s STILL being used (even in USA Today) from Indonesia in 2004 (which seems to be the height of VM activity).
Every church of scientology in the US was forced to buy a yellow Ford Econoline “VM Van.” If you can spot one these days it is usually parked in the farthest corner of the parking lot with expired plates and flat ties.
The VM program is one of the few things that scientology does that could be classified as real humanitarian work — minus the proselytizing. People volunteer their time and don’t ask for money for their “assists.” Much of it is useless, often its a distraction to real relief efforts, but its given freely by well intentioned people. But, like all else in scientology, it’s value for PR is seen as far more important than its value in actually helping people. So, it is supported and pushed to the degree that it can be used to generate “goodwill” (like in the ad above), and otherwise, it is seen as a distraction and a drain of resources that could be invested in property purchases.
Try to find the much hyped boat on the Amazon, or the safari crossing Africa or the flying doctor VMs in Australia. They were video props once (or merely CGI images).
Now, for comparison, here is the latest Impact mag, a publication not known for its reserved claims or concern for the truth.
Check out the cover:
The Greatest Humanitarian Force on Earth. Why be shy?
But then here is the entirety of the chapter about the activities of Volunteer Ministers around the world. Note the lack of specifics — just broad, huge claims about “helping 6.1 million” at “228 disasters.” There is ONE specific (though unverifiable as you will note the pictures that show one or two VMs “in action”) — 80 VMs in Mexico. In Australia it is how many fires there were and how many acres of land they consumed and “VMs were there.”.
Once again, recounting how many provinces the flooding hit in Thailand. And then another “specific” of “90 VMs” in the Philippines. But we know this is a lie, and they have never shown a photo of more than 5 VMs there, and you KNOW they were video’ing everything possible. But again, it’s the speed of the winds and how many people died and were left homeless. Come to think of it, with 200,000 VMs around the world and the IAS standing ready to pay for everything (“this is what your donations buy”), 80 was all they could come up with??
And here is the final page:
Having established their “factual basis” for the story, now they really go to town.
Those 80 VMs somehow sort of possibly gave assists to 500,000 people. They apparently don’t realize that this is more than 5,000 people each. Must have really strong fingers.
And then it spirals into “disaster stories” — how much rain fell, how many died etc. And then 120 VMs “poured forth” for a little known gas pipe explosion.
And that is the end of the report on the greatest humanitarian force on earth as embodied by the VM’s.
Should be lots of fun today. The world premiere is this afternoon….