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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
Scientology leader’s niece tells all in book – ‘Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and…
AFP – The Church of Scientology has lashed out at a new book by its leader’s niece, which recounts a stolen childhood and how she was brainwashed and cut off from her family before eventually escaping.
In “Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology And My Harrowing Escape,” Jenna Miscavige-Hill — whose uncle David Miscavige runs the secretive group — also claims she was forced to work as a child.
But a spokesman for the Church said her claims were “false” and denounced “efforts to exploit Mr Miscavige’s name.”
“The Church has long respected the family unit while accommodating and helping those raising children,” Karin Pouw, spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology International, told AFP.
“The Church does not engage in any activities that mistreat, neglect or force children to engage in manual labor. The Church follows all laws with respect to children,” she said, accusing Miscavige-Hill of “apostate behavior.”
In the book, published in February, the 29-year-old tells of hard labour she and other children were forced to do in the 1990s in the Ranch, in a remote part of the California desert.
The Ranch, near San Jacinto, 90 miles (150 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles, was “like a military boot camp, with grueling drills, endless musters, exhaustive inspections, and arduous physical labor that no child should have to do.”
The children saw their parents for only a few hours per week. They did not receive any education in the traditional sense, said Miscavige-Hill, who lived there for six years, until she was 12 years old.
Those interned there until 2000 were the children of the Sea Org, the elite of the Church founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. They worked 14 hours a day, seven days a week for a weekly wage of $45.
The details fit in with another book which came out in January in the United States, “Going Clear” by journalist Lawrence Wright, which the Church described as “so ludicrous it belongs in a supermarket tabloid.”
Among other back-breaking tasks the Scientologist children had to drag enormous rocks to build a wall, or dig irrigation channels under the blazing desert sun, said Miscavige-Hill.
“The conditions we worked under would have been tough for a grown man, and yet any complaints, backflashing (Scientology term for talking back), any kind of questioning was instantly met with disciplinary action,” she said.
The Church of Scientology’s celebrity members include Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Juliette Lewis and the singer Beck.
But the stars were shielded from the dark side of the shadowy organization. “There was never a risk that they would get exposed to child labor or something similar that the Church didn’t want them to see,” said Miscavige-Hill.
“Celebrities wouldn’t know from talking to them (to Sea Org members) or watching them whether they’d been paid their forty-five dollars that week, or if they missed their families.”
The ex-Scientologist, who like Wright and other ex-Church members including Canadian director and screenwriter Paul Haggis — who published an open letter when he left — also criticizes its reported “disconnection” policy.
The rule, which the Church denies having, allegedly bans all Scientologists from any contact with ex-members who criticize the organization.
Its spokeswoman cast doubt on the claims made in Miscavige-Hill’s book.
“Those who decide a religious order isn’t for them are free to move on with their lives, as Ms. Hill did. Every religion has its detractors; there is no faith that can satisfy everyone’s spiritual needs,” she said.
“Revisionist histories are typical of apostate behavior and tabloid tales should always be taken with an enormous grain of salt.”
Protected in the United States by the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion, the Church of Scientology is considered a sect in other countries.
Alberto Pizzoli/AFPWhite smoke rises from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel meaning that cardinals elected a new pope on the second day of their secret conclave on March 13, 2013 at the Vatican.WELCOME TO AFP’S LIVE REPORT on the election of a new pope after white smoke appears from the…
By Carla B.
Last night I had the opportunity to attend Author Lourdes Duque Baron, in conjunction with The Baron Publishing House Corporation and The Filipino American Press Club of California private press book signing for “Scripted in Heaven” at the Cafe Sierra, Universal Hilton, 555 Universal Hollywood Dr. in Universal City, CA.
Scripted in Heaven is a true journey of a families “awakening,” a story of courage, sacrifice, humility and triumph.
While suddenly having to navigate through a devastating illness the author makes it clear that we are never alone and that we can be lead to a life filled with miracles.
With over 50 media insiders in attendance, Lourdes Duque Baron, MHA, MSG, entertained her guests with performances by Cynthia Manley and Matthew Parry-Jones followed by live music and magic, while sipping on cocktails and enjoying a variety of seafood and other delicacies.
The private press event which was also Lourdes Duque Baron’s birthday celebration also featured red carpet arrivals of other VIP guests such as Reatha Grey, Canan Ayfer Fraser, Publisher Shahbod Noori, Recording artist Fawn, Record producer Andrew Lane, Actress Thushari Jayasekera amongst others.
Another highlight of the evening was witnessing Matthew Parry-Jones, 12, and his mother signing a new contract with producer Andrew Lane. The young lad will be taking his career to a whole a new journey, with the help of Lane.
The latter part of the evening each member of the press received a signed hard cover, special limited edition of Scripted in Heaven.
“Dear Carla, may you find all the happiness in this world, God Bless,” Baron signed.”
As I walked back to my table with book in tow, I began speed reading through the pages. Finding myself mesmerized, feeling deep in my heart that Baron’s writings, her words had the effect of bringing on a spiritual awakening, and how if one applied some of the caveats shared, it could quite possibly change lives. I couldn’t wait to get home and get started on my own journey.
Scripted in Heaven is a mind -altering world of spiritual comfort and clarity…. and it awaits you….and me. Thanks Lourdes!
“Somewhere in the process of putting this book together, I had a self realization: the lost soul that I desired to save belonged to me. And so, while I penned the simple truth of trials and tribulations, I found God speaking to me. I found myself in the middle of a transformation.”
Lourdes D. Baron
To learn more about the book or purchase a copy please visit www.scriptedinheaven.com
Pope urges end to hypocrisy at final mass (via AFP)
Pope Benedict XVI urged an end to “religious hypocrisy” and “rivalry” in the Catholic Church as he donned his papal mitre for the last time at an emotional mass in St Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday. Wearing the purple robes of Lent — a period of penitence for Christians before Easter — the pontiff…
Belgium Brings Charges Against Church of Scientology (via NewsLook)
Belgium is seeking to convict the Church of Scientology as a criminal organization for extortion, fraud and illegal practice of medicine.
Pope joins Twitter with @pontifex handle (via AFP)
Pope Benedict XVI is joining Twitter promising “pearls of wisdom” in eight languages under the handle @pontifex, the Vatican announced on Monday. Papally-approved tweets will begin next week just in time for Christmas celebrations, as the Catholic Church tries to reach a wider audience and harness…
UPDATED: 12:09 PM est
The shooting victim has died from gunshot wound according to Fulton County Police Department spokeswoman. The shooter is on the loose, Fulton County police Cpl. Kay Lester added. The victim’s identity hasn’t been released.
At least one person was shot Wednesday morning at the suburban Atlanta megachurch of pastor Creflo Dollar, and police are looking for the gunman.
The shooting happened at a chapel in the World Changers church in College Park, Georgia, a police spokeswoman said. CPR was being performed on the victim, whose identity wasn’t immediately released, according to CNN.
The church does have a morning service, but police said they did not know if the service was in progress at the time of the shooting.
‘Wife’ of Jesus theory attracts scepticism (via AFP)
A US professor has caused a sensation in Rome where she spoke about an ancient papyrus fragment that refers to the “wife” of Jesus, but the theory that Christ could have been married is seen with great scepticism in the Vatican and by historians. Professor Karen King, who teaches at Harvard Divinity…
Moroccans protest against film outside US consulate (via AFP)
Hundreds of Muslims protested on Wednesday outside the US consulate in Morocco’s largest city Casablanca to decry a film deemed insulting to Islam that already sparked deadly violence in Libya, an AFP photographer reported. The protesters, numbering between 300 and 400 mostly young activists, gathered…
Marc Headley, who wrote the Scientology expose “Blown for Good,” claimed Cruise watched several audition tapes. After an intensive screening process, the Church eventually chose British-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi, according to Vanity Fair. She was reportedly ordered to change her hair color, dump her boyfriend and swear to secrecy before dating Cruise from November 2004 until January 2005.
During the brief relationship, Orth wrote, Boniadi was reported to Scientology officials for any minor slight against Cruise or David Miscavige, and her only source of income was a credit card from Cruise’s production company.
Scientologists deny tailing Cruise’ wife, eyeing daughter (via AFP)
The Church of Scientology denied sending anyone to follow Katie Holmes after she filed for divorce from Tom Cruise, amid reports she feared her husband’s plans for their daughter. A lawyer for the church also dismissed reports that Cruise — a prominent Scientologist — wanted their six-year-old daughter…