Arts and Culture Politics

Scientology Chief David Miscavige Is a Coronavirus Denier, Says Top Critic

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the planet—with the global toll on Tuesday surpassing 400,000 cases and 18,000 deaths—the Church of Scientology is officially scoffing at the pandemic and encouraging followers to continue normal religious activities while treating traditional science and governmental authority with skepticism.

In a March 13 eyes-only memo to his estimated 25,000 to 55,000 members in the United States, Scientology leader David Miscavige called the international public-health crisis “the current hysteria, whether you believe in it or not (and the only thing you can be certain of is that it is hysteria)…”

Miscavige—who has led the church since Jan. 24, 1986, when founder L. Ron Hubbard “dropped his body to continue his research on another planet,” as Scientologists describe his death—continued: “Have no doubt, there is no slowing down for us…So once this current situation passes—and it will pass—you are going to need a seatbelt for when the rocket boosters fire for liftoff.”

Noted Scientology critic Tony Ortega, who posted Miscavige’s memo on his Underground Bunker website Tuesday morning, told Headline News: “For the last 11 days, all Scientologists have been getting calls to come down and read it in person. They didn’t want to email it because they didn’t want anybody else to see it. It’s supposed to be secret, but I managed to get a copy.”

Ortega said Miscavige’s memo—titled “Inspector General Network Bulletin No. 88”—is especially significant because it was issued on L. Ron Hubbard’s birthday, a day that would have featured a massive celebration, Scientology’s most important observance.

Noting that Scientology “protocol mandates against a mass gathering in times of illness and disease,” Miscavige lamented in his memo that “our event hall in Clearwater has cancelled all public events until at least April,” including “our annual Weekend of all Weekends.”

“They shut it down and he was very angry about it, so he put out that briefing that day,” Ortega said. “They’re trying to get people to come in. They’re saying you gotta stay with the courses and auditing, and they’re worrying about the money drying up. Scientology was not set up to be done over the Internet. It really requires person-to-person contact.”

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