There's more intrigue surrounding the debate over who won the latest battle in the three-year war between San Francisco's Church of Scientology and Anonymous - the Internet-born movement of masked protesters outside the Columbus Street church who warn people it's a money-hungry cult.
Anonymous has been toasting "ethicstrouble," a purported Scientologist who wrote on
a local Anonymous message board that the group's protests convinced
him or her that "something is really wrong" with the church, and that he or she now
wants to leave. Meanwhile, Jeff Quiros, the president of the San Francisco church, said in our story yesterday he believes Anonymous itself is behind the defector.
Wait, it gets better.
Quiros' theory continues: Anonymous was shamed by a graph (in the picture above) that a
Scientologist showed the protesters last week indicating the number of
visitors coming in off the street was skyrocketing. So, he says, Anonymous had to
fight back by creating an apostate.
Obviously, there's no
verifying the amount of people the church claims are coming in its door. There's also no verifying that the defector isn't just
an Anonymous member. So we're left with a spin war highlighting the hilarious
culture clash between oh-so-serious Scientologists and irreverent Anons. It's sort
of the equivalent of righteous Christ Boy taking on the video gamer
playing Magic in your lunchroom.
First check out the following
video posted on anonymoog's YouTube channel.
To sum up, Jerry, a Scientologist, comes out in his mustache, suit and tie
and puts his hands on his hips looking at the protesters dancing like fools on the
corner. He calls them over to look at a graph on a piece of paper
that he claims shows the number of people coming into the church since
Anonymous has been protesting is flying off the charts. The tone
from both parties is shrouded in a heavy dose of sarcasm.
Jerry: "You oughta get pictures of this, look at this graph! That's the number of
people who've come in since you guys have been protesting. So I need
you guys to be out here more often."
Moog: "So what's the bottom line?"
Jerry: "This is the number of people that
are coming into the organization." [He follows the upward-trending line with his finger.]
Moog: "That's cool, because you're the only org [Scientology church] that's expanding."
Jerry: "I know, it's amazing. So you guys need to be out here more!"
posted the video, with a caption drenched in faux enthusiasm: "San
Francisco Scientology Jerry OTVIII brings out a fancy graph showing how
Anonymous protesting has actually helped Scientology increase business!!
Looks totally legit!!"
Well, Quiros says Moog's incredulous reaction to the graph made Anonymous have to eat crow and create the fake defector. "It looks to me like an attempt to
cover over the booboo made by Anonymoog, saying that these statistics
look correct and congratulating [Jerry] on the expansion."
Anonymous thinks it's the Scientologists that are lying about their numbers increasing. "They've been saying that for the last three
years as part of their party line," says one protester. He
said Anonymous members think it's "pathetic" that the Scientologists would go to such lengths to
try to dispirit them. "That was really surprising, like why are they
sending out this high-powered guy? ... Like is it that bad that you have
to do this?"
Moog tells SF Weekly they will continue to protest with their quirky tactics. "I'm doing this for them, though they absolutely can't see that. In 'The Yellow Submarine' from 1969, the heroes not only neutralize the bullies,