Debbie Cook, a former executive of the Church of Scientology, shocked the world when she blasted the church's leader for fundraising practices in an email which has gone public and sparked controversy internally within the Church.
Just minutes into the new year, 50-year-old Cook sent an email to condemn chairman David Miscavige to more than 12,000 current and former Scientologists, which has seen been published publically. The email, in short, delineates how the Church has lost focus within guidelines established by founder L. Ron Hubbard since Miscavige became chairman 26 years ago and turned it into a money-making machine-like organization.
In the email entitled Keep Scientology Working which was published by The Village Voice, Cook undermines Miscavige for hoarding well in excess of a billion dollars in fundraising and his spending of that money thanks to celebrity supporters like Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
Cook, a former executive at the Scientology headquarters in Clearwater, Fla., also wrote that members should not donate any more money until the church becomes more transparent about funds and stops threatening followers that their spiritual progress will be slowed if they do not donate.
Currently, membership monies are held as Int reserves and have grown to well in excess of a billion dollars. Only a tiny fraction has ever been spent, in violation of the policy above. Only the interest earned from the holdings have been used very sparingly to fund projects through grants.
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Since the email was published publically, people wondered if it was indeed written by Cook herself, because in the email she asked that people keep quiet.
No one will be able to produce any references because there aren't any, she wrote. The other thing you can do is to send this email to as many others as you can, even if you do it anonymously. Please keep this email among us, the Scientologists. The media have no place in this.
However, on Sunday, Cook fessed up about the email through Facebook after a watchdog for The Village Voice received word of the leak.
Dear Friends, Yes, the email was written by me, Cook posted on Facebook on Sunday. No I am not connected to anyone not in good standing. I did it because of my love and respect for LRH and the desire to see us correct situations that need correcting within our group.
The email has garnered attention not just in terms of its validity, but for the direct assault from an internal, not to mention high profile, member of the community.
In response, a spokesman dismissed cook as a disgruntled defector.
Ms. Cook's opinions reflect a small, ignorant and unenlightened view of the world of Scientology today, spokeswoman Karin Pouw wrote to On Deadline. They are not shared by the thousands of Scientologists who are overjoyed by our 27 new Churches and what they mean to the communities they serve.
Pouw also added that calling Cook a prominent Scientology insider is inaccurate, as she is merely 'a disgruntled defector' who has not had any position in the Church for several years, having left in 2007 for medical reasons.
Karin Pouw told IBTimes that the Church refers to individuals such as Ms. Cook as a squirrel. A squirrel is someone who alters the Scripture; a heretic.