Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 18
by Rod Keller
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors, whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some of the most significant postings.
The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles in the newsgroup before expiring them.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available, just email me at
The New York Daily News reported that actor Steve Martin is downplaying
the similarities between Scientology and the cult in his new movie,
"In his latest film, 'Bowfinger,' Martin invents a religious cult called Mind Head, whose adherents in Hollywood wear white, pyramid-shaped hats. The group's popularity with movie stars, including the character played by Martin's co-star, Eddie Murphy, has some reviewers drawing comparisons to Scientology, which counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta as members. But Martin tell us he had many influences. 'I view it as a pastiche of things I've seen come and go through the years,' he said at the film's premiere party at Roseland Monday night. 'Scientology gets a lot of credit or blame right now, because they're the hottest one.'"
Canada's National Post newspaper reported on July 27th that a public
official participated in a Scientology event in Toronto this week.
"The controversial organization that claims to be a religion held a concert at Nathan Phillips Square yesterday selling a message of a drug-free world. The 'Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life' campaign sponsored by the Church of Scientology of Toronto, has been putting on concerts since 1992. Most of the 200 seats laid out were empty, but people in the area, whether on lunch break or just passing through, seemed to enjoy the music. They could have cared less that the group, whose practices have frequently been attacked, sponsored the event. 'Doesn't John Travolta belong to the church? Then it's OK,' said Lesley, who sat listening to the music.
"A booth provided lots of pamphlets on drug abuse, plus writings on the subject by Scientology's founder, sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard prescribed his own 'purification process' for drug abusers, which includes daily trips to the sauna to sweat out toxins. At yesterday's event, children could sign up and become a 'drug-free marshall' by taking a pledge that includes living a drug-free life, learning more about how drugs really harm people and telling people the truth about the harmful effects of drugs. City councilor Chris Korwin-Kuczynski, who chaired a major task force on drugs, took centre stage to compliment the organization's drug fighting efforts. 'I'm not into the religious side of the stuff. I'm not promoting that. I'm here because they are doing a job in a certain area that has been very 'proactive' regarding drug prevention and that's what counts here. It has nothing in my mind to do with the religious side of things,' he said."
ABC news reported this week that Scientology held a march to protest
lobotomies being performed at a Melbourne, Australia hospital.
"The establishment of a psycho-surgery centre at the Royal Melbourne Hospital is being attacked by members of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. More than 100 people have marched through central Melbourne to protest against the treatment of mental conditions through surgery. Spokeswoman Lyn Cottee says procedures such as lobotomies, which leave people permanently disabled, must not be allowed. 'The popular misconception is that lobotomy was banned, however it wasn't, it's now seeing something of a resurgence,' Ms Cottee said.
"A spokesperson for the Royal Melbourne Hospital says only a handful of psycho-surgery procedures are carried out each year. She says the hospital is not establishing a centre for psycho-surgery as such, as it would have to involve considerable research funding."
Worst of the Worst
The Chicago Tribune's included an L. Ron Hubbard's article among the "100
really band moments in 20th Century entertainment."
"December 1949: the Explorers Club Journal publishes hack sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard's 'Terra Incognita: The Mind,' the first work of Hubbard's soon-to-be religion, dianetics. Celebrities, storm troopers and the takeover of Clearwater, Fla., come later."
Weser Kurier reported on July 26th on a woman in Bremen feels threatened
by letters from Scientology.
"Geli von Allwoerden is not afraid. When the woman from Bremen thinks about the letter which she received from two Scientology members not long ago, though, she gets uneasy. That is because the former member of the organization and her spouse, Thomas Kling, from the viewpoint of the Scientologists, committed a 'high crime' when they made contact with our newspaper last May. According to Hamburg Constitutional Security, former members such as these are threatened with psycho-terrorism and libel from the side of the Scientologists.
"Geli von Allwoerden was an active member of the Bremen Scientologists for twelve years. When she dared depart the organization four years ago with her partner Thomas Kling, her friends from the sect kept in touch with her. The men and women from the Bremen 'Scientology Mission' continued to be required to undergo so-called 'security checks' at the Villa on Osterdeich. The interrogations were carried out with the 'E-meter,' a form of lie detector. 'At some point in time we got tired of this surveillance by the thought police,' said Thomas Kling. In early summer of this year, Geli von Allwoerden did something unthinkable for a former member: she marched directly to the 'Ethics Officer' in the Bremen 'Mission' on Osterdeich and told the perplexed woman that she finally wanted to be left alone, and to stop interrogating her friends.
"Just the opposite happened. Resigned, the couple finally turned to our newspaper and thereby committed, in the eyes of the Scientology teachings, a 'high crime.' Whispering campaigns and harassment continue to be used to cause former members or journalists to be silent. For this purpose, the Scientology organization utilizes its private secret service, 'OSA' (Office of Special Affairs)."
Sindelfinger Zeitung reported on July 27th that a Scientology spy is suspected in the Federal Intelligence Agency.
"Six years ago Scientology utilized a detective agency against a CDU federal representative from the Stuttgart district who had taken a determined stance against the sect organization in a television discussion. For four weeks his personal environment was intensely investigated; the results were forwarded on to the Scientology secret service in Munich. Stuttgart tax investigators happened across the case while they were doing their own investigation at the time. 'My family feels very threatened,' said the representative, 'one must take the activities by Scientology seriously.' Out of concern for his family he does not want his name mentioned.
"Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has accumulated other problems in connection with Scientology: apparently a mole is operating from his office. At least one case was able to be reconstructed by our newspaper in which confidential documents from the Foreign Office appeared at the Scientology secret service headquarters in Los Angeles.
"On November 20, 1997, the director of the political department in Bonn held a confidential department meeting. The theme was 'Scientology in the scope of German-American relationships.' The background of the meeting was that the Scientologists had taken out full page advertisements in U.S. newspapers to flaunt their supposed discrimination of Scientologists in Germany, even trying to equate the Federal Republic with the Third Reich. An internal strategy paper resulted which was not meant for publication. In the summer of 1998, Kinkel's office became aware that the document had appeared at Scientology's OSA intelligence agency in Los Angeles, where it had been forwarded to a representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"When the Bavarian State Office for Constitutional Security was asked about Scientology, there was plenty more information at first: politicians, even Bavaria's Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein, had whispering campaigns spread about them by Scientology in 1998. Besides that the sect spied on Peter Gauweiler for the purpose of trying to discredit him in the 1980s. According to information our newspaper has received, the Munich Constitutional Security agents have been aware for two years that representatives of Scientology and its cover organizations have been trying to establish close contact with leading politicians in the CSU. And, from the view of the sect organization, they succeeded in two prominent cases."
Hamburger Abendblatt carried an article on July 26th concerning Mattias Knothe, the new sect commissioner in the state of Schleswig-Holstein.
"The new Schleswig-Holstein Sect Commissioner gives an impression in the Kiel state chancellory as being outspoken and liberal. His area of expertise is actually media politics. For seven years the industrious top lawyer has been leading the media office in the state chancellory. He became sect commissioner more as a matter of coincidence and as a collateral duty. 'It's good for a diversion, and now I have a second full-time job.'
"Things have been calm in Schleswig-Holstein as concerns Scientology, according to Knothe. He is especially glad about that, because sect hunters often name northern Germany as a possible refuge for Scientology. The reason: the only place the association is not under surveillance by Constitutional Security is in Schleswig-Holstein.
"Knothe believes that is fitting, and thereby conflicts with the belief of his predecessor, Bartels. The political scientist had always spoken out in favor of observing the sect. 'As a lawyer one sees things a little differently,' said Knothe casually, and gave his reasons for that. If Scientology were to operate a company, that would be subject to monitoring by the Commerce Oversight Office. If the association were to announce a demonstration, the codes office is responsible for that. Therefore Scientology is already effectively under standard observation by the state. For the time being there is no need for a change to the Constitutional Security law, according to Knothe."
Business Wire reported on July 27th that participants in the Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power's "Green Power" program were honored at an
awards event. Among them, Scientology.
"Featured speaker at the awards event was famed consumer activist Ralph Nader, who indicated his support for the DWP Green Power for a Green L.A. program. Nader said he supports the DWP program because it seeks to bring new clean renewable resources to the city, provides energy efficiency products and services including compact fluorescent light bulbs to lower energy usage, and is also open to low income customers.
"Other leaders honoring the companies and large non-profit customers included Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, Councilman Michael Feuer, DWP Commissioners Judy Miller and Dominick Rubalcava and DWP General Manager David Freeman. Organizations recognized included the Church of Scientology, Park LaBrea Apartments, DirecTV, Occidental College and Bunker Hill Tower Condominium Association. Three health organizations were honored: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and White Memorial Medical Center.
"The Green Power for a Green L.A. program is DWP's flagship effort to encourage its customers, including residential, commercial, industrial and low income, to volunteer to sign up for green power so that the utility will over a number of years convert its power mix from conventional polluting sources such as coal to clean new resources such as solar, wind and geothermal."
The Los Angeles Business Journal published a profile on July 19 concerning
Heber Jentzsch, President of the Church of Scientology International.
"In 1967, Heber Jentzsch was singing in front of an unusually rowdy crowd in Las Vegas. In the middle of his set, a man stood up and began demanding that Jentzsch get off the stage and that the showgirls be brought in to replace him. It was at that very moment the then-32-year-old Jentzsch realized his life was heading in the wrong direction. He got in his car and headed west to Los Angeles. He went downtown to the Church of Scientology - an institution he had read about while in the Army - and turned over his life.
"Jentzsch, now 63, has become the president of the Church of Scientology International, which reportedly has 8 million members. As an ordained minister of the religion, he performs weddings and funerals and keeps up his study of Scientology's tenets several hours each week. Jentzsch also helps to direct the church's volunteer ministries and community outreach programs, a task that placed him on the front lines of the L.A. riots and Northridge earthquake.
"Jentzsch blames ongoing animosity toward the church on a fear of changing the status quo. He argues that nay new religion is going to be met with disapproval. 'I guess I would have to say to the naysayers that if you have a better program and you can save people, then do it,' he said. Spurred by the involvement of famous celebrities including John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, the church now claims 250,000 members in Southern California - more than any other region of the world. 'Celebrities are more spiritual in nature,' Jentzsch said. 'L. Ron Hubbard said, 'A culture is as great as its dreams, and dreams are dreamed by artists.'"
"Barb" reported protesting at the org and distributing leaflets at a gay
pride parade in San Diego this week.
"When I heard Thursday that the San Diego parade was scheduled for Saturday the 24th, I contacted the handful of Suppressive Persons in my area and arranged a field exercise. Benwog happened to be in town and free that day, so XenuTV was on the scene. The omnipresent Zinjifar also agreed to come on down.
"Using parts of Arnie Lerma's Victoria flyer, and parts of text from Dave Bird, I put together a piece targeting the gay community. One side had Arnie's graphic and some tasty quotes by L. Ron Hubbard; 'Societies that permit homosexuality don't deserve to survive.' - L. Ron Hubbard, Founder, $cientology. The other side had a brief description of the 'Church' and it's admitted goal of 'clearing the planet,' as well as a paragraph about Hubbard's gay sons and Quentin Hubbard's suicide. The title was, 'SCIENTOLOGY HATES GAYS, BUT LOVES THEIR MONEY.'
"We made two circuits of the main street where the crowds were heaviest, and I would say we had about a 50/50 response from people who were offered flyers. My approach, as I offered a flyer, was, 'Care to find out how Scientology abuses the gay community?' Of the negative, some people thought we were Scientologists, even though Zinj was wearing a 'Scientology Kills' tee shirt! After explaining our position, they'd take one.
"San Diego org was bringing in drywall with a skiploader, so the sidewalk was blocked off out front. Zinj had a sign that said, 'Quit Hurting People,' and mine said, 'Omigod, Scientology Killed Kenny!. Zinj handed one flyer to a passerby. It was a short picket. Benwog got to chase a clam with the Mintoncam, but he scuttled back to the org, and all was peaceful, so we left before OSA could show up. Overall, we handed out around 250 fliers total, and spent two hours working the crowd."
Mark Bunker reported a protest at the Celebrity Center in Los Angeles.
"When I arrived, I met up with Jeff and his party and almost immediately a motorcycle cop came up to us. 'Are you Mr. Bunker?' he asked. Seems the cops were told all about me. He wanted to know what our plans were. Jeff and I assured him we were going to simply walk back and forth on the streets which weren't closed to us. The cop was fine with this and went on his way.
"I had a handler assigned to me for most of the night who was very camera shy. He continued to follow me but constantly put his hand in front of the camera whenever I pointed it at him. I saw no celebrities but Garry Scarff told me that kid from 'The 70's Show' was sitting across the street. J.R. and my handler also joined us at Sizzler for dinner. I thought it would be nice to get a shot of them dining with us but my handler freaked out and leapt out of his seat. J.R. had no problem at all. During dinner J.R. was polite as the conversation ranged across the board on many topics unrelated to Scientology but my handler simply wanted to pump me for information. 'How much did that camera cost?' he demanded. I gave him the model number and told him to look it up.
"Lots of enturbulation ensued as the picket continued. It was rather low key. The clams brought out signs to block our signs. Jeff proved how he was at cause over one well dressed woman as he would lower his sign and make her lower her sign. Then he would raise his and she would have to raise hers. As we were leaving, a person who lives across the street from the CC invited us up onto the roof of the apartment building for some nice shots into the event. We went up onto the roof and got a lovely view. I spotted one security head in a tux down below on the sidewalk. I have a nice shot of him looking up and seeing the red light on my camera. He freaks out and makes a mad dash to the corner to report the news.
"Soon we grew weary and went into a nice little coffee shop across from the org and sat to rest. It wasn't too long before one of the handlers came in and found us. Minutes later, another police officer came in to us and asked for Mr. Bunker. He invited me outside to chat. Seems the church called and complained about me stalking them. Not stalking anyone in particular but 'them.' I explained what was happening and why we were here and asked how on earth I could stalk a whole religion. The cop was concerned about the roof situation but I explained we had the permission of a resident and the manager and he thought that was fine. I got to explain to the cops and the people around me all about Xenu, Lisa McPherson, Operation Snow White and many other things."
Sally Jessy Raphael
The Michigan Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for an ex-Scientologist
who sued the Sally Jessy Raphael show over recorded conversations used in
"A Washtenaw County Circuit Court jury received improper instructions before it ruled against Dorothy Jean Dickerson, the high court said in partially reversing a 1997 ruling by a state Court of Appeals panel. The Albion woman in 1992 sued Raphael, her show's producer and those involved in recording a conversation with one of her daughters, alleging they violated Michigan's laws against eavesdropping.
"Ms. Dickerson claimed her daughter, Valda Gratias, came to talk to her about involvement in Scientology as part of an effort to expose it. The women talked in an Ann Arbor park while Ms. Gratias wore a transmitting device that allowed their conversation and images to be recorded on equipment in a van nearby. Audio and video portions of the women's' meeting were broadcast later on the Sally Jessy Raphael show, Januszewski said. Ms. Dickerson is no longer involved with the Church of Scientology, Januszewski said."
News on the John Travolta project, Battlefield Earth, based on a book by
L. Ron Hubbard. From Fox News:
"John Travolta is reportedly agreeing to star in Nora Ephron's next directing effort. The movie, which sounds like a riff on Fargo, starts shooting in the early fall, right after Travolta finishes making the ill-advised Battlestar Earth, written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Where does that leave Standing Room Only, the movie that will tell the tale of Jimmy Rosselli? 'We're on for the spring,' says producer Beverly Camhe. Travolta could make this his Raging Bull, a real tour de force that can feature his singing as well as swagger in a serious setting.
"Battlefield Earth, I can tell you now, will not be the movie to follow."
"John Travolta is talking up his big screen adaptation of L. Ron Hubbard's book Battlefield Earth confirming rumors of potential sequels. While talking to the Canadian Press, the actor revealed that the film project doesn't really have anything to do with his Scientology beliefs insisting that the reason he chose to make a film version was because it's 'a great science-fiction book.' Travolta also spoke of the role he's playing in the film, saying, 'He's nine feet tall. He's got talons for hands, long hair, an extended head. But you'll still recognize me.'
"The film's story is about an alien species that has control of the Earth and humanity as well as attempting to thwart or crush any potential resistance. Travolta plays the part of the alien chief of security. The actor also compares what he sees as being the book's theme with modern day society saying, 'It's kind of about what's happening on Planet Earth. You've got your criminal elements, your good guys, the search for gold - when you see it, you're going to see some parallels.'"
>From the Montreal Gazette:
"John Travolta plays a bad-guy alien in the movie Battlefield Earth, but he was anything but at a jam-packed press conference at a downtown hotel yesterday. Even when the loaded question of Scientology reared its head in the final seconds of the press conference, Travolta didn't miss a beat, politely explaining that Battlefield Earth is not a defence of the controversial faith. 'I'm very interested in (Scientology), but that's personal,' said Travolta, one of the best-known supporters of the religion. 'This is different. This has nothing to do with Scientology One is a very successful science-fiction book and the other is a religious philosophy. But I have tremendous interest in the subject of Scientology and love talking about it. It's helped me be who I am today. So I have tremendous pride in it.'"
The Telegraph published an article on the Scientology E-meter, and its
patent status in the U.K.
"One of the organisation's key tools is the mysterious E-meter, invented by founder Lafayette Ron Hubbard. When Hubbard invented the E-Meter he claimed legal monopoly on the idea by filing a British patent (943 012). The document lay largely unnoticed among millions of other patents on library shelves. In 1975 it was due to expire of old age, and the church took the unusual step of petitioning the High Court.
"Under British law at the time, the court was able to grant extensions, but only in very exceptional circumstances. The invention had to be of extraordinary cleverness, with the inventor not adequately remunerated and through no fault of his own. The E-meter invention did not seem particularly clever. It looked a lot like an ordinary galvanic skin response lie detector. To fight the case the organisation had to show detailed accounts to prove it had tried hard to exploit the invention but had failed. In 1976 the Treasury Solicitors, who were instructed by the Patent Office to protect the public interest by contesting extensions of monopoly, confirmed that the church had withdrawn the petition instead of providing the accounts. The patent died that July, leaving DIYers free to read the circuit diagram and build their own."