Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 3, Issue 31
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 October 31st St. Petersburg Times reported that the lawsuit against
Clearwater by Scientology has been settled.
"The federal lawsuit was filed in 1994. It was preceded by another legal battle that stretched from 1983 to 1995 over an ordinance that could have allowed the city to examine the financial records of Scientology and other churches. The ordinance was ruled unconstitutional in 1993, but a fight lingered for two more years over legal fees. Meanwhile, Clearwater police revealed in 1994 that they had been gathering intelligence on Scientology for 13 years, and they released the records to the Times.
"Under the settlement, Clearwater police have agreed to conduct a 'good faith review' of their intelligence files on Scientology and destroy any they deem unnecessary, a routine exercise allowed under state law. City commissioners rejected the settlement last month because it also contained a paragraph that would have required police to notify the church's lawyers immediately by phone or fax when anyone requests the remaining records."
Arnie Lerma posted the announcement that Factnet won a victory in federal
court this week.
"Judge Kane denied cult's motion for summary judgment, ordered Scientology to prove ownership of every copyright claimed in FACTNet case. Motion by scientology to strike Jesse Prince declaration DENIED. All cults motions DENIED."
News summary from Germany this week. German moslems this week announced
that are considering the ouster of the community that supported
Scientology in its public relations campaign against Germany.
"At the meeting of representatives of the ZMD on November 1, 1998, the exclusion proceedings against the ZMD member 'Islamic Community of German-speaking Moslems & Friends of Islam Berlin' will be voted upon. The proceedings were initiated by the ZMD Board of Directors on September 13, 1998, after the ZMD member formed a coalition with the 'Scientology Church Germany', for the following reason: Contact with this organization, which is under observation for constitutionally hostile activities and the application of humanly despicable methods in the acquisition of and holding onto its members, adulterates the face of Islam, strengthens the prejudice against its own teachings and puts the ZMD into proximity with categories which are hostile to the state and to the constitution. That does not serve the interest of Islam or of the Moslems in Germany, and is contrary to our charter."
Die Welt reports that the Scientology org in Hamburg may be sold to a developer for a new office and apartment complex.
"The sect center will give way to a new twelve to 14 story building with 10,000 square meters floor space. That is said to be the seller Dirk Ohrendorf's plan, himself a former member of the sect organization. He also said the construction plans have already been presented to the appropriate offices: 'It's now in the works.' He envisions a combination office and apartment building for his property, which could contain up to 1,000 work places. As soon as the sale has been clinched, the Scientology Organization will be given notice. About nine years ago, Ohrendorf himself got the sect in the building, which he had acquired the year previous. For some time now the involvement of Scientology in the real estate market - which they at one point had heavily influenced by using a network of sect-related companies - has been ebbing strongly. 'The market here has collapsed for them,' the magazine cited Wilfried Lehmpfuhl, attorney at the Hamburg Renters Association. At the moment only one single real estate deal which involves Scientologists in Hansestadt is known to the Renters Association."
Saarbrucker Zeitung reports that interest was high in a recently held Scientology awareness talk by former member Norbert Potthoff .
"Additional seating had to be hurriedly arranged in the town hall because of the number of the people arriving at a lecture presentation which was held by the Community Culture Office in conjunction with the public high school of Illingen. The theme, which apparently was of interest to many people, was 'In the Labyrinth of Scientology.' The author of the book by the same name, Norbert Potthoff, reported very succinctly about his time as a Scientologist. He departed in 1988. 'I was not just a paying member, but a so-called 'officer,' that means that I was in the organization in a leading position,' he explained. He needed time to get over his shame and feelings of guilt. Now he considers warning his fellow man about this organization to be his duty. They use quite subtle methods to get their members. Various psychological tricks and even hypnosis is applied. The structure of the organization is rigidly hierarchical. Absolute obedience and discipline is expected of the Scientology disciples. They are promised success, power and money. Ethical values fall completely by the wayside. That means that no consideration is given to incapable, sick or weak people.
"He told the audience to be critical when it came to attractive-sounding offers for courses or any new product. For instance, Scientologists are not averse to selling hand puppets in kindergarten along with their ideologically flavored stories. 'Watch for changes in family members or friends.' If somebody starts behaving in a regulated manner for no reason, that should get your attention. If there are doubts, consult the Church commissioners on Scientology, advised Potthoff."
Spiegel magazine reports that Scientology will continue to be under surveillance in Germany.
"The Constitutional Protection authority of States and Nation will continue the surveillance of the Scientology organization. This was the conclusion reached in a 102 page report which the security agents presented at the Interior Minister's Conference after a one year surveillance of the psycho-sect. In the report the officials found that the organization in Germany was far smaller and less dangerous than previously supposed, however they still requested further surveillance since far smaller extremist groups are also under observation. Moreover, the security agency wants to clear up the issue of whether the Scientologists have infiltrated the [political] parties. Findings to date are thought to be 'still too vague.'"
Keith Henson reported that Scientology has opposed his filing of a Jesse
Prince affidavit with a release Jesse signed when he left the organization
five years ago.
"While a member of the Sea organization, I have freely participated in the program of study and physical labor known as the Rehabilitation Project Force ('RPF') in order to redeem myself as a productive, contributing staff member and as a dedicated member of that religious order. I left the Rehabilitation Project Force program on March 31, 1987, prior to my completion of the program. I voluntarily left on my own decision, and no attempt was made by any Church staff member to physically prevent my departure or to was not in my best interest and decided voluntarily that I should return, which I did. I completed this RPF program and personally experienced spiritual gains and benefits from such voluntary participation.
"I have never observed any staff member or parishioner to have been required against their will to take any Church services or to undergo any Church regime or program, including auditing programs and/or the Rehabilitation Project Force Program. Further, I have never known or observed any staff member or parishioner to have been physically or emotionally harmed as a consequence of his or her involvement and participation in any Church of Scientology program.
"In exchange for the valuable consideration set forth herein, I agree never to create or publish or attempt to publish, and/or assist another to create for publication by means of magazine, article, book or other similar form, any writing, or to broadcast, or to assist another to create, write, film or video tape or audio tape, any show, program or movie, concerning my experiences with the Church of Scientology.
"I agree that I will not voluntarily assist or cooperate with any person adverse to the religion of Scientology in any proceeding against any Scientology organization. I agree not to testify or otherwise participate in any judicial, administrative or legislative proceeding adverse to Scientology unless compelled to do so by lawful subpoena or other lawful process. Unless required to do so by such subpoena, I agree not to discuss my experiences or personal or indirectly acquired knowledge or information concerning the organizations, individuals or entities listed herein with anyone other than members by my immediate family. I shall not make myself amenable to service of any such subpoena in a manner which invalidates the intent of this agreement. As provided hereinafter, the contents of this Agreement may not be disclosed.
"I further agree that in the event that I breach this promise of non-disclosure, I will pay Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) to the Church of scientology International for each breach and I will pay Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) to the individual whose privacy I breached. I understand that this amount is not a penalty, but an agreed sum for each breach of this Agreement.
"I agree to and do hereby release the Church of Scientology International, Religious Technology Center, all other Churches and Missions of Scientology, affiliated organizations, Author Services, Inc., and Author's Family Trust as well as L. Ron Hubbard's heirs, executors, successors and assigns (and for each organization or entity, its directors, officers, trustees, agents, employees, staff, volunteers, successors, predecessors, licensees, licensors, beneficiaries, representatives, members, assigns and legal counsel; and for each individual, his or her heirs, agents, representatives, successors, beneficiaries, executors, administrators, trustees, assigns and legal counsel) (collectively referred to as 'Releasees') from any liability, claim or cause of action, known or unknown, arising in any way whatsoever from my association to date with any of said releasees."
The Los Angeles Daily News published an article this week on Scientology
celebrity Nancy Cartwright.
"The longtime voice of Bart has a life-size statue of a black-and-white cow on the lawn of her Northridge home. As you walk through the multi-colored gates of her one-acre homestead, it doesn't take long to realize that Cartwright has at least one thing in common with the eternally 10-year old Bart - a sense of playfulness.
"Cartwright, a Scientologist for the past decade, has adopted L. Ron Hubbard's administrative techniques, and points are accessed for any forward motion. For instance, booking an on-camera acting job is worth 1,000 points. 'It is misunderstood like all new religions,' Cartwright said of Scientology. 'Critics just need to read a book to find out what it really is. I wanted something very practical to give me stability. Certainly being an artist in Hollywood is an unstable profession,' she said. 'Scientology gives me a basis for which to operate.'"
Redbook magazine published a cover story on John Travolta this week. An excerpt:
"'What helped me to get that machine working is the organizational skills of Hubbard,' referring to his adherence since 1974 to the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology. Over the years Travolta has credited the controversial religion--which has been criticized by skeptics for cultlike tendencies--for steering him clear of drugs, keeping his career on track, and even mending an occasional broken heart. 'I think Scientology is a lot of the foundation of what allows me to produce so much.'"
The rumors of former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell joining Scientology seem to have been a hoax, according to an interview in Allure magazine.
"And then there's the story of her handing over part of her estimated $25 million to the Church of Scientology. 'That was a joke,' she says. There she was in L.A., the Spice bomb had just dropped, and she was being followed everywhere. 'I really had nothing to say, so I got this idea.' With reporters in hot pursuit, she pulled up to the Scientology headquarters, went in, and came out clutching L. Ron Hubbard's 'Scientology Handbook.' 'I wanted to go to a synagogue next,' she says in her low, scratchy voice, 'but I couldn't find one. I'm always coming up with harebrained schemes.'"
Picket activity at Scientology orgs this week. First from a series of
reports by Keith Henson:
"5:00 to 5:30. 34 cars, but at least ten of them were poll workers or voters. Scn's building is used as a polling place! Next time there is an election, I suggest all day pickets."
"3:30-4:00 29 cars. Little interaction with the inmates, little traffic in or out. One likely new guy drives a tractor. It seems that the org has been recruiting from the shelter next door, because there is some traffic between them. Seems unlikely that they will do all that well on homeless women."
>From Bruce Pettycrew in Mesa, Arizona:
"I picketed from 11:00 to 11:45 today. My estimate is that 90% of the people driving by have an unfavorable opinion of Hubbard's spawn. The sign is just a metal pole about 10 feet high, at this time. I will report back this weekend, when it should be completed. There were just 4 cars in the lot, and during the picket a UPS truck delivered about 8 boxes of lies."
>From "Wulfen" in Toronto:
"1800 to 1830 hrs Wednesday November 4th. SP's: Wulfen and Artemis. Sign: Only one, Wulfen's - 'WWW.XENU.NET' on one side and '$cientology Costs A Mint' on the other side. Leaflets: About 15 of Gregg's Xenu/Crimes leaflet, about the same number of my $CAM/Human Cost leaflet.
"Mario body routed by shouting 'Prozac and electroshock! These people stand for prozac and electroshock!' Mario was saying that we get paid time and a half for a Wednesday picket. To Mario: Yes, we do get time and a half of our Saturday pay rate. We also get a percentage bonus of a day's pay based on how many flyers we give out."
>From Catarina Pamnell in Copenhagen:
"We got Danish PR spokeswoman Anette Refstrup keeping us company most of the evening. After handing out all of our 360 Danish leaflets, we went for dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. It was lovely to get warm again after several hours in the compulsory Danish picket rain and a temperature of 4-5 degrees above freezing point. I, Ake, Ole and Karsten went back out at 10 pm for a final round with some left-over fliers in English. Took a few minutes to scramble the troups, but soon 8-10 people were out there again, mostly public it seems. A couple of those who were told to go out were not that enthusiastic. My man from Sardinia came out again with an expressive pantomime of how ridiculous it was to be out in the cold Danish night, instead of heading home for bed. Another of their brave warriors had a very thin pair of shoes on, and asked Ake if he would consider to take them in exchange for Ake's sturdier pair. I think they should have just asked him to leave instead. That's what I did at 10.30 and he left."
Catarina Pamnell posted the story of Gitte Mogensen this week. Gitte was
held in isolation by Scientology in 1996.
"Gitte was not doing well and fell behind, so she was sent to Ethics. This was the last time the other Danish students saw her. At Ethics she broke down Four people were assigned as 'nannies' to watch her, one of them was Flag OSA staff Valerie. Gitte was put on a special diet: fruit, bread, water, juice, Cal-Mag and vitamins. She was upset and out of control. She grabbed a knife and slashed both her wrists. Luckily, the people watching her were able to stop the blood flow. They had to wrestle with her to get her under control, and during this her face got scratched. She got checked up by a male medical doctor at Flag (Karsten did not know his name, 'the one they usually go to'.)
"Then she was sent back to Denmark the day before the other Danes came back. Valerie went with Gitte on the plane, maybe because she had formerly worked in Copenhagen. She was very thin, just skin and bones, had scratches in her face and bandages around both wrists. She asked to go to the bathroom. Karsten went in there to first remove anything he thought could possibly be dangerous, before letting her in. Then Gitte went back to sleep. She was to have 2 slices of white bread, 1 glass of juice, 1 banana and vitamins. Karsten prepared this on a tray, which Valerie brought to Gitte.
"Now Karsten wanted to catch some sleep, but Valerie told him her seniors at AOSH (that would have been OSA though, she was Flag OSA staff) had told her they needed to take Gitte to a doctor in Aarhus (in Jutland, about 350 kilometres from Copenhagen). The doctor wanted to make some tests: he had taken some samples of Gitte's hair, skin and blood, and gave them containers to take urine/stool samples. She was going to be put on a vitamin treatment - this doctor did not work with drugs. They had to wait another two hours before getting the ferry at 9 p.m., so they got something to eat. Gitte had 2 potatoes, a very small piece of meat and a few beans. She was quiet, waiting for orders from her watchers.
"Karsten was called into the org and told to go back to Birkeroed, so Valerie could get some sleep. He went into her room with a tray and called 'Gitte, here's your breakfast'. There was no response. He went to Valerie and asked her to wake Gitte up. Valerie yelled, but Gitte didn't move. Valerie told Karsten to check if there were any reactions at all, while she called the org. Karsten found that her heart was beating and that she was still breathing, but when he shook her there was no reactions. He told Valerie that Gitte was alive, but he still could not wake her up. Not even when he poured water on her did she respond. Valerie said she had been told by her senior to put food in Gitte's mouth, make sure she chewed and swallowed it, and then leave her and they would send an auditor over to handle her. Karsten held Gitte's head, while Valerie pushed food into her. She was coughing, spit running from her mouth, but Valerie kept pushing food in her. Then they stopped the feeding attempt and left her alone, like they had been told.
"The auditor, a woman, arrived. She went in to work with Gitte, then came out and said 'she's fine now, her eyes are open'. Karsten went to check her - her eyes were open, but there was no response, nobody there - it was like looking into the eyes of a dead person. The auditor told them to keep her on the diet, and for Karsten to come into the org later, she had to teach him something. Karsten went to the DK org later that night, and learned how to do the body comm assist. This was to be done if that situation ever happened again.
"Gitte's parents now knew that she was back in Denmark and wanted to see her. Karsten said they could not see her in this condition, they had to invent something to say to the parents. The org told them that Gitte was on a top secret program preparing for the Dianetics Day event, and could not talk to them for a few days. The parents were calmed for a moment, but they must have sensed that something was wrong, and kept calling for her. Gitte did come to talk to her sister. They were both crying. Gitte didn't say much to her sister, Karsten and Valerie were standing beside her. Her sister wanted to see her, but they said it was impossible. The parents eventually convinced the org to let them go to see Gitte. The two nurses were present to give a better impression. Gitte was crying. The parents wanted to take her home, and after some discussion they finally were allowed to take her for one night. She never came back. Karsten went to the apartment to be there if she would show up, but she never did.
"The following week, Gitte's parents came to get her things from the org. Karsten helped them to carry the stuff upstairs, and asked them how Gitte was doing. They just said she was fine now. He has not heard anything more about her since."