Ugly Feud Erupts Among Scientologists
Organization 'obsessed with fundraising,' disgruntled member says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2012 3:59 AM CST
David Miscavige has led Scientology far from Hubbard's teaching, challenger Debra Cook claims.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A leading Scientologist is attempting to spark a revolt against chief David Miscavige, who has led the organization since the death of L. Ron Hubbard 26 years ago. Miscavige has ignored the teaching of L. Ron Hubbard and turned Scientology into a fundraising machine that bleeds wealthy members dry to construct lavish buildings and stockpile more than $1 billion in cash, Debra Cook wrote in an email to more than 12,000 current and former Scientologists. Cook was a top-ranking Scientology executive for decades before leaving the organization's payroll to start an Internet firm in 2008.

Cook, who insists that she is still committed to Scientology, urged members to hold back donations until the organization's authorities could produce a Hubbard teaching to say they were required, adding that no such teaching exists, the Guardian reports. The Scientology organization issued a statement calling Cook a "disgruntled defector" who represented a "small, ignorant and unenlightened view" of Scientology. "The church refers to individuals such as Ms. Cook as a squirrel," a spokeswoman said. "A squirrel is someone who alters the Scripture, a heretic."