Ruth, on the other hand, is standing his ground. Without a good offer from the Scientologists, he's not budging until he finds a comparable spot in the same neighborhood, he says.

Or until deputies show up with a charge of forcible detainer and move his gym equipment to the curb.


Scott Ruth is getting forced to move from his small gym at 44th Street and Indianola Road.
Jamie Peachey
Scott Ruth is getting forced to move from his small gym at 44th Street and Indianola Road.
Inside Scott Ruth's FitLife gym, at 44th Street and Indianola Road.
Jamie Peachey
Inside Scott Ruth's FitLife gym, at 44th Street and Indianola Road.

This tale might have begun four quadrillion years ago, when Scientologists believe the first thetans created the universe, and possibly themselves, too.

Never mind that astronomers and physicists say the universe is no more than about 13 billion years old.

The thetan creation was "Incident One." Lower-level Scientologists aren't supposed to know about it. Others pay five- or even six-figure fees to learn about this and other important cosmological events based on the writings and lectures of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

Thetans, according to Hubbard, suffered all manner of abuse in countless other incidents over trillions of years while in the claws of various alien civilizations. Then came "Incident Two," the once-secretive story that's been leaked far and wide, becoming the butt of nationwide jokes and its own South Park episode:

Xenu, the overlord of the Galactic Confederacy, gathered up billions of thetans from overpopulated planets and brought them to Teegeeack, now Earth. The paralyzed thetans were blown up with nuclear bombs in or near volcanoes, for extra effect, and their dreary souls — the "body thetans" — wander the planet to this day, parasitically attaching themselves to the thetan souls of live humans.

Flash forward to 2011: Thetans — or, at least, the people who believe in them — struggle to survive in an ever-critical world.

This has been another tough year for Scientologists, press-wise. Two well-received, unflattering books about the church and its founder came out over the summer: Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion, by journalist Janet Reitman, and The Church of Scientology, a History of a New Religion, by Ohio State University professor Hugh Urban.

The church has a reputation for harassing critics and continued to live up to it this year. Scientologists who called themselves "squirrel-busters" (squirrels being the church's name for apostates) camped out near the Corpus Christi, Texas, home of former senior Scientologist Marty Rathbun for five months, stalking Rathbun and his wife while videotaping them whenever possible.

Decked out in camcorder hats and T-shirts with Rathbun's head superimposed on a squirrel's body, the Scientologists repeatedly peppered Rathbun with questions and rebukes. After Rathbun pulled the sunglasses off one of the harassers' heads, the Scientologists found a judge, ignorant that a siege was going on, to issue an arrest warrant. Rathbun spent a few hours in jail on September 16, but a prosecutor quickly announced that no charges would be forthcoming.

Also in September, the church was embarrassed by a major scandal in Australia, where it allegedly broke the country's labor laws by underpaying its workers.

A former top college rugby player, Chris Guider, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on September 22 that the church's leader for the past 25 years, David Miscavige, is a "toxic" and "violent" person. While working in the United States, he said, he witnessed Miscavige beat church member Mark Fisher; Fisher had talked about the beating in 2009 to Florida's St. Petersburg Times. Guider also related how Miscavige once ordered him to hit a church member with a stick for some offense. After Guider refused, he was sent to a punishment camp for 2 1/2 years in Sydney, where he was forced to wear black and do "hard labor" for $2 a week. The church noted that such stays are voluntary.

Guider is the latest church official to leave on sour terms, and Miscavige — who's ruled the church since before Hubbard died in 1986 — commonly is blamed for such disenchantment.

An independent Scientology movement fueled by the exodus of members such as Guider are disgusted with Miscavige's rigid rule, and it appears to be gaining strength. These splitters maintain their interest in Hubbard's teachings and, like Rathbun, sometimes make money putting on Scientology counseling sessions with others interested in the idea of independence.

Critics also point to various studies, surveys, and reports from ex-members who claim the number of the religion's adherents has been decreasing steeply. In a move apparently designed to shore up sagging enrollment, Miscavige announced a plan in 2003 to build "Ideal Orgs" in major cities around the world, to be used as recruitment centers, as well as local bases of operation.

The Valley of the Sun, which until now has been home to an ordinary org, was slated early on to get one of the premier churches. Phoenix is dear to Scientology, in that Hubbard lived and lectured here for several years starting in 1952. Indeed, an online Scientologist site, www.phx-ideal-org.info, calls Phoenix the "birthplace of Scientology."

It's no coincidence that the church set its sights on the property on North 44th Street, which is about a mile from Hubbard's now-preserved former home at 5501 North 44th Street.

As reported by New Times in February 5, 2009 ("Recruitment Mecca"), Scientologists wanted to give tours of the Hubbard home as if it were a museum, but the plans were scuttled when neighbors complained about increased traffic. Scientology's reputation as a potentially dangerous cult didn't help.

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61 comments
Cal777
Cal777

Only a complete moron would buy into this bs.How can you turn a blind eye to the fact that L.Ron Hubbard himself once said that the best and quickest way to riches is to start your own religion. He wrote science fiction people! This should have been your first clue. You need to be as smart as Nicole Kidman these days, not as stupid as Katie Holmes.

Larry
Larry

Our office hired a scientology team to restructure it a few years ago. They promised the moon and delivered nothing. We paid them 10,000 and they visited our office exactly twice including the first visit. We had to sue them but they know all the loopholes so they kept us tied up in court for years. It took 5 years for us to get our money back. They were smug, arrogant and completely without ethics. They defended their lack of service and breech of contract to the end. Fortunately for us there is still justice in the world. But how many others never recovered their lost lives and monies to scientology?

Nhlfan1360
Nhlfan1360

L. Ron Hubbard was a mediocre science fiction writer. DIANETICS and SCIENTOLOGY are just more of his science fiction story telling. I can't believe so called intelligent people buy into this cultish crap.

JustAnotherYahoo'er
JustAnotherYahoo'er

This article has been highlighted on Yahoo's main page for 5 days now.Seriously?? There is no reason for it to be a main page highlight for THAT long. They bought a building, we get it. Move on to more important new now, ktnx.

Mark
Mark

It should be on Yahoo every day until they close the cult location. People need to know about this very dangerous cult. Another person just died last week as a result of the cult's Narconon front group. They took a young man off his meds, as they wish to crush psychology and psychiatry and utterly oppose them, and naturally the person went berserk and killed his father. They dumped the man on a bus without his meds, and he was meeting his parents who we to pick him up. One dead parent and you're bill was $10,000 for a week of nothing. Not the kind of cult you'd want to get mixed up in.

Jongota
Jongota

If ANY other business or group had purchased this property, it would not have raised an eyebrow, and this article would not have been written. Seems like the New Slimes newspaper is going out of its way to malign a group of people for no reason other than a misguided attempt at "informing" on a subject they are clueless and incorrect about. I feel sorry for the business owner, but if this article is correct (which is dubious) it sounds like the previous owner was in foreclosure. He might have had to move regardless of whomever the new owners were.

Johnwphx
Johnwphx

Just a simple question: Why do the words "church" and "religion" appear over and over again in this article (or any other) about this bunch of cosmic freaks? You might as well declare Star Trek episodes as "historical documentaries" and "I Love Lucy" episodes as scripture. Ridiculous!!

Jongota
Jongota

You might be right, but have you ever read a book on the subject by L. Ron Hubbard? There are many in the libraries around town. At least if you didn't like Scientology you would have made up your own mind about it instead of reading crap on the internet.

Cal777
Cal777

I have read alot about Hubbard and Scientology. I was born in Hemet California where they first started. These people are not religious or even sane. They are very dangerous to those they feel have maligned them, and are not above assassinating these people. Johngota, it is you that are misinformed about Scientologists. I studied them for about three months to get a good idea of what they are about, and I assure you that they are not about what they profess to be. Get back to the 'drawing board' and report back to us when you are actually informed, and not just ill-informed.

Dumoudan
Dumoudan

All Illegal aliens should be allowed by Obwama to apply for work permits but only while they are outside the United States in their home countries. This type of program (guest workers) has worked very well for many years in economically successful places such as Switzerland, Singapore to name a few. Once their work visa expires they must immediately leave the country. If the females become prgnant, they are immediately returned to their home country. commit any violation of ANY law (even "J" walking) and they are deported. If they attempt to re-enter the US illegaly, they are automatically placed on a list of permanently banned from entry into the US. Are you with us?Just enforce the Immigration Laws and treat all people who want to enter the US fairly. Don't show preference to those that entered illegally. Justice for all?

Cal777
Cal777

What does this have to do with Scientology? Wrong page? Or just an ignorant troll?

Ellie
Ellie

Just stop allowing a tax deductions for contributions to religious organizations. And while you are at it, stop giving people tax credits and deductions for having a dozen kids, often because their choice of superstitious religion is some guy wearing a funny hat who doesn't think people should stick a condom on their dick before having sex or the descendants of a flim-flam artist who started a cult so he could justify have a dozen young women having sex with him

Ellie
Ellie

One of the Phoenix chapter of Scientologists was recently seen on Craigslist soliciting people's help with getting an airline ticket for a female he met online who lives in Nigeria so she could come to the US.

Thetans have clearly damaged his common sense.

BeaverScroggins
BeaverScroggins

Are they any worse than all the other crazy religions out there? People do some crazy stuff in the name of religion.

Just Sayin'
Just Sayin'

To all you pro-active types, you can petiton to have Scientology abuses investigated by the Dept of Justice. Won't take but a sec: Go to http://wh.gov/40s to sign the petition.Some people have had trouble signing it, so here's some help:1. click the following link to sign up for a whitehouse account to register You DO NOT have to fill in the zip code You do not have to give your real name if you don't want to. People from all countries can sign.2. Check your email to confirm your registration.3. Then click the link (http://wh.gov.40s) and sign the petition.FYI" To get this petition looked atm there needs toi be 5,000 signatures. Time is up on Oct 24. There are currently 3,000.Go for it.

Dumoudan
Dumoudan

Let us resolve this issue once and for all by doing what is right.Should immigrants who chose to go through the normal immigration process and those who cross the border illegally be treated the same? How is that fair and just to one and all?

Braennvin2
Braennvin2

This doesn't create good will or a good image for Scientology. They can afford to pay him his $175,000 and they should do it.

Ellie
Ellie

Paying him means less money devoted to spreading the ideas of a bad science fiction writer.

dude
dude

Scientologists are FREAKS, I worked in a scientologists company, I thought who cares they wont push their "religion" on me, guess again. It was an insurance company in Newport Beach and they did involve everyone in the scientology courses. It was a very wierd business, boarder line unethical. Needless to say I didnt last long. They want the members to purchase very expensive clases to become better at life and go through clensing exercises where they do the sweat lodge type saunas for extended lengths of time while taking high doses of naicine. I think Tom Cruise has taken too many of these saunas, damaging his pea brain which explains his public outbursts on talk shows. They all think they are smarter that the general public since they "clear" words, more like a grammar school english class. The best advice is stay away from them and their loonatic antics. Lotter freak

Rhino
Rhino

This is a cult no doubt. I the 1970s in california they were there recruiting with young pretty women door to door preying on people who were having problems, divorce, financial, emotional, These recruiters would take people to there centers and say they were going to help them be more assured of themselves that entailed shouting at ashtrays and simoustanouly picking ash tray up , then talking into tin cans dont remember why, then the final was a course called dyanatics written by El Ronn Hubbard who no one at that time had seen for 20 years on a yacht in south seas OK what else you have for sale. This course at that time was 1500.00.Dont know what there core values are cannot believe that tom cruise and other actors support this. Surely there are better choices world hunger, phoenix homeless, St. Jude Society and a lot of others instead of getting colon flushes and whatever else .

Dumoudan
Dumoudan

What is racist about this law?Is this law Racist? Does it specify brown people?Are the people who agree with this law racist?Are those who want this law enforced racist?The law says nothing of little "brown" people but it explains what is illegal entry. It's not very hard to understand. Why is this law "broken"? Why can it be selectively ignored?Illegal alien includes all people who entered illegally, could be Croation, Russian, Chinese, Irish, Canadians and yes even Mexicans. No one single race or people is referenced in the law. Under Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code, "Improper Entry by Alien," any citizen of any country other than the United States who:Enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or Eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or Attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact; has committed a federal crime.Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison. Additional civil fines may be imposed at the discretion of immigration judges, but civil fines do not negate the criminal sanctions or nature of the offense.These people cost Pheonix and surrounding cities hundreds of millions to support the education, health and welfare of these illegal immigrants. A landscape worker paid by cash (no taxes) and his wife (a stay at home mom), have been here for 16 years and had 7 children born in the US. Who do you think paid for her medical bills???

Trubludlvr
Trubludlvr

i only liked this comment because this idiot must have posted a comment to the wrong article. dumb ass...

F9F Panther
F9F Panther

What in the hell does your comment have to do with this article? Not everything in life revolves around immigration, legal or otherwise. You are showing classic signs of delusional paranoia and need help.

Dogbiter
Dogbiter

Again, dumbass, this has nothing to do with the story at hand. Get off your high horse; at least put such comments on stories about immigration, not on a story about Scientology. New Times, you should block this moron.

Signsoflight
Signsoflight

So the mormons can buy up half the east valley and nobody seems concerned, but the Scientologists buy an aging "gym" and people freak whats up with that.

asgspifs
asgspifs

Well, as crazy as the Mormons are, they are not a dangerous, abusive, cult like Scientology is.

I H8 Cults
I H8 Cults

Mr. Stern you did a great job writing this...one of the best on the Scion cult that I've read.

I H8 Cults
I H8 Cults

Great article on this manipulative cult that Ron the madman created. They blackmailed the IRS into gaining tax-exempt status...read about it. They do go after their detractors. If you hook up to an E meter and discuss upsetting things in your life over and over, eventually you won't get as upset about them...you get used to them and your heart won't beat as fast. It doesn't "work", It doesn't make you "clear" . It does make you an idiot if you think this wacked cult is doing anything positive for you. I never cease to be amazed at the otherwise very intelligent people who believe in this nonsense.

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

Terrific article here, Mr. Stern. You really did your research! I hope the good people of Phoenix let all this information soak in for the long term because this is just the beginning of issues the community is going to have with this organization and they need to be armed with these facts.

I also think Mr. Ruth needs to take Wilmot, Fairmount Square LLC, The Church of Scientology of Arizona and the bank to court for collusion and fraud. He also need to place a fixtures lien on the property.

This purchase took much advance planning and when Ruth's lease was signed, there is a good chance that the church was already in in the planning stage with the bank and Wilmot, who probably arranged to lease the property to Ruth to cover some of the months it was going to take to close the truth deal with the bank an the church. The fact that Wilmot is still a tenant and not under eviction shows that he was given a deal where he could stay once the deal was sealed. Where there is smoke, there's fire.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

Great article. I started Scientology in Phoenix in 1975. Wish you'd have done this article back then, so I could have saved myself the large detour. But the Scientology people who work in Phoenix, were always nice by me. Dianne Koel and her husband Les were both at the Phoenix "org" when I went to it as a parishioner back in 1975. Late in 1975 I went on myself, to join the lifetime Scientology staffer religious order, called the Sea Org, and then spent 27 years in all in the Sea Org. I know and worked as a subordinate to both Linda Martiniano and Tom Martiniano, during their years in the upper echelons of the movement also. Glad Tom is so candid about Scientology. Excellent overall article. Phoenix has several other even more senior ex Scientology officials. My thoughts are that if official Scientology would just listen to these long term wisened independent Scientologists! Official Scientology ought to listen and learn something! I'm a born again atheist, so Scientology isn't my choice of activity. But I'm hopeful, like the excommunicated Phoenix staff member who said he hopes the movement fixes itself, and lets him rejoin. I hope official Scientology does some kind of internal reform, and lets all these independent Scientologists rejoin without any fuss, IF they want! Official Scientology has an intense organizational structure, all covered in detail by Hubbard's staff policy writings. It'd be nice to see official Scientology lower their prices, stop their harassment, and stop the nasty disconnection excommunication. - Chuck Beatty, Pittsburgh

Cults Suck
Cults Suck

What a waste of so many years of your life! If you think the "independent scientologists" make any more sense than the official COS, then I'm sorry but your brain is still fried.

Chuck Beatty
Chuck Beatty

I am a born again atheist, and any soul centered group or individual practice I consider a wrong step today. I thought there was the possibility that "soul" abilities which multiple mystical groups profess can be improved, were legit, since they all try to sell the same product: a) out of the body experiences b) ESP powers, and minimally transcendent experiences, etc, etc.

The spiritual rackets will continue.

I'm a Martin Gardner fan, his "Fads and Fallacies" book is what fully debunked Hubbard for me, but that was unfortunately too late, I know.

I was sitting in the RPF "co-audit" room one morning, in LA, at the "complex", and I suddenly had a large brain fart, and realized that all the "past lives" memories that I'd been making up for years, were indeed likely all just my imagination. 27 years too late, alas. Better late than never.

I think independents are good in that they tend to strip out the most foul and abusive features of Scientology, but agreed, they do stick to what they believe about the soul, and about "body thetans" and about the soul's supposed powers, which on that score, they're not much different from other mystical and religious groups who believe in soul or God like ESP powers.

Wazik
Wazik

Scientology reminds me of a Family Guy clip on Joesph Smith: "Oh, hey an old Con Ed bill. I mean, a new testament of Jesus Christ"

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

It's funny, the religion of the Mormons and the Scientologists are similar in that BOTH believe in the myth that a space ship will come and bring them away from this planet to another at the "end of times." How did that happen? Only the Ancient Sumerians have a similar belief but they're all dead and must have missed the boat, errr I mean spaceship.

Cal777
Cal777

Close ExpertShot, but Mormons don't believe in any spaceship hauling people off. They believe that those not going to heaven, i.e. you and I, will burn like "the stubble in the fields" come judgement day. No space ship. I was a Mormon by birth, and lived the religion for the first 15 years of my life. I have read the book of Mormon and the Bible, cover to cover, dozens of times. I have a better understanding of Mormon religion than nine tenths of the people that profess to be Mormon. But don't feel like you have to pray for me as I am fully recovered from Mormonism and Christianity and enjoy thinking for myself instead.

Swampy
Swampy

If you want to stop this lron nonsense, boycott all scientologist owned busineses. If they don't have money, they can't afford lrons 'religion' and you get a nice building that can be converted to other uses....

JohnWinter
JohnWinter

Lunatic Ron Hubbard said "Never fear to hurt another in a just cause" and the brainwashed cult members consider their activities a "just cause", even if it means a breach of contract. I had a scientologist landlord who cut off the air conditioning to my office a couple months after I moved in, effectively breaking our lease. When I hired an attorney to settle up with him, he went beserk, even though he had attained scientology's highest level, OT 8. I put several thousand dollars into renovations, but he did not care because cutting off my air conditioning was a "just cause". These people are conmen and fraudsters.

mirele
mirele

At least the new Idle Org has sidewalks all around it, the better to raid with.

Dumoudan
Dumoudan

All Illegal aliens should be allowed to apply for work permits but only while they are outside the United States in their home countries. This type of program (guest workers) has worked very well for many years in economically successful places such as Switzerland, Singapore to name a few. Once their work visa expires they must immediately leave the country. If the females become prgnant, they are immediately returned to their home country. commit any violation of ANY law (even "J" walking) and they are deported. If they attempt to re-enter the US illegaly, they are automatically placed on a list of permanently banned from entry into the US. Are you with us?Just enforce the Immigration Laws and treat all people who want to enter the US fairly. Don't show preference to those that entered illegally. Justice for all?

F9F Panther
F9F Panther

Please get a life and quit boring us with all the diatribe in reference to immigration.

Dogbiter
Dogbiter

WTF has this got to do with the Scientology story. New Times, please, block this racist idiot!

Exitwoundz
Exitwoundz

Um, I believe racist idiots are allowed here. Sieg Heil, lol.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Just what Arizona needs, another crackpot religion.

mirele
mirele

Interestingly, this crackpottery has been here since Phoenix was a small city, before it grew to the metropolis it is now.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Yeah, and along with the MORmON crackpots, have made Phoenix a haven of hate.

Igs
Igs

The author of this story has a very low IQ.Pretty much everything he says here is a lie.In reality Scientology is awesome and amazing and will make all your dreams come true. And lucky for the author Scientology does increase IQ.

IC

Dingo Dongo
Dingo Dongo

Follow-up question: what can you tell us about the author's foot odor?

Dandruff?

Clarkle
Clarkle

Spoken like a true scientologist. Which part of the story is a lie? To have such a high IQ, your statement sounds like a line out of Napoleon Dynamite.

George
George

I've only known one Scientologist is my life. He was a neighborhood guy we called "Simpy" because he was very simple-minded.

 
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