Free speech & interview with Attorney Peter Skolnik

Hello Readers:

Recently, I posted about the International Cultic Studies Association’s study on free speech suppression via frivolous cultic litigation. Here’s a link to the article/interview with Attorney Peter Skolnik, who has been fighting cults for 15 years: ICSA Today Vol. 08 No. 01 2017 – Esther Article

This opposition brief by Counselor Skolnik drives the point home, if you’re interested. Mr. Skolnik’s briefs tend to be more entertaining than most legalese. He hits the mark quickly and accurately.

Thanks for visiting, GSR

About free speech and litigious cults….

In 2014, “school” tried to drag me into some ridiculous legal bullshit. Following Scientology’s Step-by-Step Guide to Frivolous Litigation, a plaintiff I’d never met filed papers in New York. A court server delivered the documents — a chronicle of boring and tedious fiction couched in legalese — to my home in Massachusetts.

You see, this woman wanted to sue someone, but didn’t know who. Another anonymous “evil” blogger had ruffled her feathers. Her problem was not mine to solve, but the-woman-I’d-never-met apparently decided  that was the “sole source” of the offending blogger’s identity ….did  “school’s” special  sauce make her psychic? … apparently not.  

The papers demanded that I attend a court date in New York City to provide the identity of someone I didn’t know to bolster her “meritorious lawsuit” (cough). The big case went nowhere. I did not cross state lines to say, “I don’t know who you should sue.” I did keep the documentation for posterity. I hope “school’s” counselor milked them for as much as he could get.

In hindsight, I can be snarky. But it’s stressful to be sued even by a complete stranger claiming a ridiculous fabrication, even for information that you don’t have, even from a state that holds no jurisdiction over you, even from a city you haven’t seen in almost a decade. Believe me, the New York courts didn’t care about the expense, the inconvenience, the cost to me, my sanity, or  (ironically) my free speech –free speech being a pillar of democracy, a civil right and necessary for sanity and good mental health — or due process. That’s the point. When cults sue, they don’t care if they win, they just want to stress your pocketbook and your sanity enough to get you to shut up. That’s the Scientology way. That’s the cult way, right Geoff C, Josh L? Perhaps you’d like to comment.

Thanks to a friend, who is a lawyer, who worked his network, I have lifelong, pro bono counsel, from well-regarded global firm. But cults know that most whistleblowers don’t get so lucky. They know how to abuse and manipulate the courts to muzzle critics. After my legal odyssey ended, I teamed up with the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) to conduct a study on frivolous cultic litigation. ICSA just published the following interview/article, with attorney Peter Skolnik, in its journal, ICSA, Today. The interview is one component of ICSA’s efforts to address cultic court abuse.

To learn more cultic court tactics and how to fight them, read: Free Speech and Cultic Litigation

You can also read the article here: Seeing Into the Heart of Things …. another blog exposing “school”.


Okay, that’s all for now, folks. Have “school”-free day! GSR


The Orthodox Cult

Fairly recently, a fellow disgruntled forwarded me a link to this New York Times article: The High Price of Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Life

It describes Footsteps, an organization that provides community, counseling, and support for young adults leaving strict Orthodox communities. It describes the struggle of leaving such cloistered sects — operating in comas of 19th century belief systems, think Fiddler on the Roof — without the 21st century survival skills. It reports the uptick in suicides in these communities by those who find they can’t fit into the prescriptions set forth and are thus rejected by friends, family and community because of it, but don’t have the education, skills or guidance to navigate in the world beyond.

Here’s a rhetorical question: what kind of a choice is you’ll be what I tell you to be, or you won’t exist to me? Answer: no choice at all. Cults do this. Cults attempt to flatten human beings into one-dimensional cogs. Cults strip individuals of person-hood & identity. Members exist for the “good of the group” – otherwise known as the top narcissist. It’s an odd phenomenon, but alive and well, as we can see by the orange narcissist occupying the White House, but that’s another post for another day.

It’s also damaging. Even as someone who only flirted with 5 years of cult-i-ness in my adult years (I always had a toe out the door and was never gonna make it into “school’s” elusive inner circle) — I am quite familiar with the feeling described in this quote:

“Even in my lucky circumstances I am left with flickers of superstition and magical thinking, no matter how long it has been since I’ve realized that most of what I was taught as a child is not something I agree with as an adult. And still, every night, I place my hand over my sleeping children’s eyes and I recite the Shema bedtime prayer on their behalf. Every year, I fast on Yom Kippur and apologize for the ways I can’t bring myself to be what I was told God wanted. I do it just in case, or because I’m a coward, or at least because I’m not as courageous as your garden-variety Footsteps member. All of which is to say that I don’t know if it will ever feel normal.”

I can’t imagine trying to grow up under the weight of such oppression.

I don’t know why humans are wired so strangely – control or be controlled. I do know that there are other and better ways to live.

Fishing from the pools of Hallowed halls …

In 2014, a Harvard grad student found this blog and contacted me.  “School” was courting and baiting him. The “making friends” (cough, recruitment) team met with him for many months, almost a year, if my memory serves me correctly.

He told me he enjoyed the people, the conversations, the ideas discussed, etc. But when they extended the super secret, it’s-very-important-that-you-don’t-tell-anyone -about-this-it’s-private … just-for-you invitation, he balked.

The required secrecy prompted a Web search and he found Cult Confessions. We batted a few emails back and forth and I suggested that he contact student affairs … he said, “good idea.”

I have no idea whether he followed up – but those of us trained in “school’s” art of  “making friends” know that Boston’s myriad of colleges and universities make for great cult fishing. A Harvard Graduate student would be quite an asset! Maybe I should contact Harvard’s student affairs office…