Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 3, Issue 44
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 Orange County Weekly reported this week on protests of the California
branch of Scientology's Citizen's Commission on Human Rights against
"Speaking on Jan. 29 to a group of about 25 at Garden Grove Medical Center, CCHR organizer Jacki Panzik said, 'Something devastating has happened to American education.' Her evidence: 'a sharp decline in literacy and morality in our schools.' For the next 90 harrowing minutes, a slide show and video presentation provided terrifying proof of a several-hundred-year-old plot by psychologists to undermine public education. Attendees listened slack-jawed as CCHR volunteers described the creation of such 'fictitious' afflictions as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), psychology-based classroom programs such as 'Death Education' and 'Indoctrination into the Gay Lifestyle,' and forcible drugging of students by school officials.
"Meanwhile, the trio of CCHR volunteers seated randomly throughout the room acted as a sort of Greek chorus, peppering the presentation with additional shocking details, as audience members - mostly gruff old-schoolers and citizen-watchdog types - grunted, gasped and vigorously shook their heads in horror. By the end of the meeting, audience members decried the schools as tyrannical vessels of evil, spawn of Hitler, and akin to homeowners associations.
"CCHR meeting organizer Clay Bock insisted that the organization does not endorse specific curriculum for use in the classroom, but Tulia Connan, director of the Los Angeles headquarters of CCHR, raved about Applied Scholastics. A few Garden Grove Unified officials interviewed by the Weekly said Bock has long since worn out his welcome there. He has appeared before the Board of Education numerous times over the past few years to complain about the district's math curriculum, charging that the program attempts to 'indoctrinate' and 'scare the hell out of' students. In October 1997, Bock organized a 'Back to Basics Education Crusade,' but support dwindled considerably when several key participants suspected the event was backed by Scientologists."
Robert Minton addressed a new cult awareness group this week, which has
changed its name from CULTinfo to the Leo J. Ryan Educational Foundation.
Excerpts from his talk "A Warning on the Evils of Scientology."
"One former member has told me of being imprisoned behind barbed wire and guarded by police dogs twenty-four hours a day. He tried to leave but was physically restrained and deprived of sleep and nourishment until he became compliant. Much later, he came to realize that he was being used by something narcissistic and utterly evil; his soul had been literally cracked. He came to feel that he had lost everything for the sake of Scientology, and that a life outside of the cult was not possible. However, because reincarnation is part of the Scientology cosmology, the only hope for escape from Scientology was death. He had conversations with others in the Rehabilitation Project Force, or RPF, Scientology's political prison. They agreed that when they died, and after they were reincarnated, they would wait a long time and have a chance to see what a real life was like for a while before reporting back to work in Scientology. They were condemned to return life after life, but they would put it off as long as they could. This was the level of psychological despair which these prisoners had reached.
"Several women have told of the heart-breaking series of abortions they were forced to undergo on orders of senior management. Because L. Ron Hubbard's view of children was that they are nothing but a distraction from production, these women were considered to be disobedient to have become pregnant and were not only ordered to have abortions but were given no financial assistance at all.
"It is difficult enough for someone coming out of the devastating experience of Scientology. From what these people have described to me -- and mind you, these are the lucky ones, the ones who found the strength within themselves to escape -- they come out of this nightmare terribly disoriented, psychologically and emotionally numb, and with no clear understanding of what has happened to them. This gives rise to a succinct definition of a Scientologist: an individual who has been subjected to the behavioral modification procedures of Scientology, but who doesn't have the slightest idea what has actually been done to them.
"For some of Scientology's victims, the stigma of being a Scientologist is so ingrained by the cult's indoctrination that it can never be erased. For others, only competent exit counseling, intense therapy and time can repair the damage associated with having been a Scientologist. A key purpose of the counseling and therapy is a greater understanding of the Scientology experience, one which is not simple for anyone I have ever known who has been in Scientology to verbalize.
"All of us here tonight know that our best source of truth on the nature of Scientology is former cult members. Yet, ironically, it has been my experience on the Internet that there is a prejudice against former cult members generally that interferes with hearing what they have to say. Internet critics must overcome this prejudice if they are ever to comprehend the evil that is germinating through the looking-glass of this nightmare world, happening right here in the United States. The global nature of the Internet clearly enhances our ability to change these attitudes, which seem to be primarily concentrated in the United States. In this way, we can hope that enough momentum will build, so that the United States will eventually take a stand against this evil cult. Scientology is both a menace to our society and to our way of life.
"In closing I would like to quote from a review of the book Dianetics. It was written by Milton Sapirstein and published in 'The Nation' in 1950. I first noticed this quote in the Washington Post on December 6, 1998, when Richard Leiby wrote about Lisa McPherson's life and death in Scientology. I was very taken by Sapirstein's grasp of this evil forty-eight years ago:
"'The real, and, to me, inexcusable danger in dianetics lies in its conception of the amoral, detached, 100 per cent efficient mechanical man - superbly free-floating, unemotional, and unrelated to anything. This is the authoritarian dream, a population of zombies, free to be manipulated by the great brains of the founder, the leader of the inner manipulative clique.'
"The entire counter-cult community exists to ensure that this message continues to be heard. I personally am proud to be a part of this movement and to count you as my friends."
Church of Scientology International President Heber Jentzsch was
interviewed on the Danmarks Radio television network.
"Hostess: Scientology is accused of brainwashing and compulsion - but there is nothing to it, says the president who has just been visiting Denmark. The religious sect Scientology is constantly criticized because of its methods. The president of Scientology has just been visiting Denmark, and we asked him to relate to some of the criticism:
"Heber Jentzsch: Did you realize that LRH has more than 120 million copies of his work out there in the hands of the public, and that it is growing all the time. 'Dianetics' alone has sold over 18 million copies and has been translated into 34 languages. No - Scientology is here to stay.
"Telephone interview with ex-Scientologist Birgitta Dagnell, Malmo: 'First of all you are broken down by very little sleep and hardly any food. You are physically exhausted and very vulnerable in such a condition. All the time you are told you have no value. They have the so-called e-meter - a kind of lie detector that they use for interrogation. They scream at you that you have done worse things than you have told them. In the end you believe in it.'
"You say that people come by their own free will. I have read many reports from people who say they were held isolated there in starvation, living in the same clothes for months and so forth.
"Heber Jentzsch: Absolutely not true! Because the American Internal Revenue IRS did the most exhaustive investigation of all these points, and looked them over completely because they had heard the same things you're talking about, and found that Scientology definitely is a religion, that these things were unfounded.
"Reporter: But you tell me...why should all these people tell those horrible stories. What is their motive?
"Heber Jentzsch: Money! They are paid to do that. We have the affidavits to prove that. A number of them are paid to do that."
Jyllands Posten reported this week that approximately 500 Danish citizens are Scientologists.
"In spite of the fact that Scientology for years have been very visible on the streets in Copenhagen where they have been offering personality tests, books and courses, they have evidently not earned any greater successes on the market place for new religious movements. An ongoing research done by the University of Copenhagen shows that the number of members over the last 15 years is constantly around 500. This trend is acknowledged by other researchers who says that Scientology's expansion in Denmark is 'exceedingly small'. Scientology's PR chief in Denmark, Anette Refstrup does not agree and says that there is 2000-3000 members and that Scientology is prospering."
Schweriner Volkszeitung reported this week that Scientology is conducting
a campaign to have German companies eliminate the requirement that
employees state they are not Scientologists.
"The controversial Scientology organization is putting pressure on German companies, apparently with the goal of getting them to do away with so-called 'security statements.' In the statements, employees must affirm that they are neither Scientology members nor do they operate according to the teachings of Scientology founder Ron Hubbard. A Washington attorney's office has sent out letters of complaint which refer to practices and alleged 'religious discrimination' which are 'apparently illegal and violate international human rights conventions.' The addressees are American companies with German subsidiaries or German companies with American branches. According to findings by the German Constitutional Security authorities, the letters have gone to a total of 800 companies. Many enterprises have already given in to the pressure exerted upon them. For instance Compunet, which belongs to the US General Electric company, has done away with the security statements. The same goes for SerCon, the German subsidiary of IBM. Ford had already bowed to Scientology pressure by 1996."
>From Focus magazine:
"Requiring statements from employees that they are not Scientologists contradicted business politics, wrote Stanley Witkow, Manager of the world business General Electric on October 29, 1998 to William Walsh, the Washington attorney. For this reason he had told CompuNet, a German subsidiary 'to not make such a statement a condition of employment.' US attorney Walsh, lobbyist for the controversial Scientology organization, can be pleased with himself. He only had to make a reference to practices which were allegedly 'obviously illegal and in violation of international human rights conventions,' and GE gave in. Scientology's recent campaign against 'religious discrimination' in German companies is having an effect.
"Companies who were asked for their opinion by Focus magazine cautiously stated that they would not use security statements against Scientology. However, Harald Lindlar, spokesman for the General Electric subsidiary CompuNet, thought that openly Scientology applicants would have poorer chances at his company than others. Only a few companies have remained steadfast. For instance, the Bertelsmann Company, which belongs to BMG Entertainment, has not been influenced by the attorney's letters, 'when we do business in a country, we respect the culture of that country and obey the laws.' One does not act as though the laws of the USA apply worldwide."
Apogevmatini newspaper reports that documents seized from Scientology have
been found to include top secret military records. Other files seized are
now mysteriously missing.
"That KEFE (the dissolved Scientology Center of Applied Philosophy of Greece) was in possession of a Top Secret Military Air force document. It is a photocopy of the Airfare map depicting the major military area of the Hellikon Airport. It depicts: The 129 Military Airfare Support Wing, The State Aircraft Factory, The Research & Technology Unit, The Security Guard Squadron, The Supply Warehouses, The National Meteorological Agency and other military installations.
"The Air force's Military Intelligence A2 Unit has started an investigation (following orders from the Airfare Chief) to determine how such a Top Secret document could fall in the hands of a cult like Scientology. Another event that raises questions is the fact that this OSA folder and many others, should have been sent to the Appeals Court by December 1998, in the December 9th trial where 15 Scientologists were accused of systematically keeping files on politicians, journalists, judges, clergymen and other Greek leading personalities. The trial was postponed for February 12, 1999 and these folders were eventually sent to the Appeals Court. However, many of the folders WERE EMPTIED from incriminating data."
Frequent Scientology protester Gregg Hagglund reported a visit to his
elderly parents this week by representatives of Scientology.
"One Catherine Manning and one AL Buttnor attempted to trick my parents
into permitting them to enter their home."
"My parents are in their 80s and not in the best of health. I had extended the No Trespassing Notice I gave the Co$ to include my brothers home (which the Co$ had visited once before) and my parents home. It may be possible to bring charges of Criminal Assault by Trespass. My mother answered the door to a man and woman who identified themselves as Scientologists and wanted to come in and discuss 'your sons religious bigotry'. My mother told them to go away and closed the door on them.
"This was the purpose of the visit. To let me know Co$ can reach out and impose themselves on my family members, cause upset and lend family pressure for me to 'mind my own business'. Well while I love my parents and do not want them to suffer further upset I will not cease my open criticism of the Co$. I will not be intimidated or 'shuddered into silence' in this fashion."
Articles the Press-Enterprise newspaper of Riverside, California were
posted to a.r.s this week. The articles ran in the January 31st edition
of the paper.
"Getting a job at the Church of Scientology's movie-making complex in Gilman Hot Springs is no easy feat. The church says it takes years of hard work and dedication, and even then, only the most talented church members receive the call. Scientologists say the sprawling rural complex offers the ideal setting for professional and spiritual growth. Employees can focus on furthering the goals of Scientology, miles from the distractions of big-city life but not too far from the church's headquarters in Los Angeles.
"But church critics, including some who have left the church after working at Gilman Hot Springs, say life there is not what it's cracked up to be. In court documents and interviews, they paint images of a slave labor camp where employees work grueling hours for a pittance and have no life outside the church. Some say they believe the tranquil San Jacinto Valley location is really the world headquarters of the group that has been under attack in several countries for suspected civil-rights abuses and tax evasion. Others claim that a former church leader is being held captive at the church's Castile Canyon School a few miles from the main complex, although Riverside County investigators say they have found nothing illegal.
"Canyon School adjacent to the Soboba Indian Reservation east of San Jacinto. Church critics say it's the perfect place to imprison members who have misbehaved or gone astray. Deputy DA Alina Freer said she inspected the school and film studios and found no evidence that people were being held against their will. 'It appeared to be a private school and studio that is fully operational. I asked to see a lot of it. I saw the kids' dorm rooms.
"Mary Tabayoyon, a Scientologist for 23 years who lives in Mesa, Ariz., said she volunteered to go into the rehabilitation program at the school in 1988 so she could get out of her job as a cook at the Gilman Hot Springs complex. 'I was going insane. My mind was not functioning. Deep down inside I knew that this stuff wasn't working,' she said in an interview. 'I thought I would be better off. ' While in the program, she said she was barred from speaking to anyone unless addressed first and had to run everywhere. She said she typically slept six hours a night on bunk beds stacked three high in a crowded room. 'It was very degrading. There was constant yelling and constant accusations of what you were doing or feeling. There was no kind of rehabilitation for me. It was a nightmare,' said Tabayoyon, 48."
"Jesse Prince was a member and employee of the Church of Scientology for 16 years, working his way through the ranks and taking pride in his success. All that changed, he said, when his wife became pregnant while they were working at the church's movie-making complex in Gilman Hot Springs. Prince said she was ordered to have an abortion so they could remain members of the church's elite Sea Organization. 'The order devastated both my wife and me. Our dedication as Sea Org members clashed violently with our intentions as parents and we went through a personal nightmare,' he said in an affidavit filed in a court case in Colorado."
Scientology celebrity Jenna Elfman is the subject of a cover story in the
March 1999 issue of Us magazine.
"Her belief in Scientology, she says, has taught her that she is the cause, not the effect, of what happens in her life. And say what you will about Scientology--and you can bet people will--it certainly seems that she is the maker of her own destiny.
"Early on, Bodhi [Elfman] bet her $100 she couldn't quit smoking pot. 'I was like, I'll show you--I'll sell it back,' she recalls. 'And I haven't had it since.' He also introduced her to the Church of Scientology and the teachings of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, which changed her entire worldview. In contrast to such celebrity Scientologists as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, who discuss their religion rather warily, Elfman sees herself as something of an ambassador for it. 'All I know is that there were a lot of things that were holding me back and making me crazy,' she says. 'I used to be so confused. I knew I could achieve my dreams, but I wasn't doing it. And with Scientology, I could find what I was doing wrong. It's really simple, and the progress can be lightning fast.
"'I see people who are Scientologists get defensive when they're asked about it, and I go, 'Dude, why be defensive?'' she adds. 'I don't care. What, am I going to change what I believe? That's against my code of honor.' 'Here's the thing,' she says with a sober, here's-the-thing tone. 'I'm not looking to be anybody's friend, and I'm not looking for approval of my beingness. People can think I'm insane--I could give a s---. But if I don't touch people with my work, then I'm going to quit and go home.'"
A third amended complaint in the Michael Pattinson case was posted to
a.r.s this week. Pattinson is suing Scientology and individual leaders for
fraud, that they promised medical healing and a cure for homosexuality.
"Beginning in or about the Fall of 1973, agents and representatives of various of the Defendants herein, including Colette Byasson, Hank Laarhuis, Jean-Pierre Vogel and Cathy Vogel, at the Scientology enterprises' premises then at Rue de Londres, Paris, France, began a long-term series of misrepresentations, and non-disclosures, to Plaintiff concerning the nature and source of Scientology's 'technology', and the advantages to be derived therefrom. These misrepresentations and non-disclosures were, inter alia, set forth in the 'Keeping Scientology Working No. 1' Policy Letter, Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health, Handbook for Preclears, Hubbard Communications Office Policy Letters 'Safeguarding Technology' and other Scientology promotional materials and magazines. These misrepresentations included claims that Scientology was a science which had objectively been proven to be able to improve one's IQ, cure a person of his/her physical ailments and 'cure' a person of his/her homosexuality.
"The Scientology enterprise, through its agents, expressly reassured Plaintiff that Scientology was the answer to all of Plaintiff's personal problems that were 'ruining' his life, including his homosexuality which Plaintiff was then having difficulty accepting.
"At various times herein between Fall 1973 and the present day, the Defendants, and in particular Defendant Moxon, as part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice or otherwise control and silence dissenters and opponents such as the Plaintiff herein, practiced what is known as the 'Fair Game' policy. Pursuant to this practice, an enemy of Scientology 'may be deprived of property of injured by any means, by any Scientologist, without any discipline of a Scientologist. He may be tricked, sued or lied to, or destroyed.'"
Protest / Revenge Protest Report
Kristi Wachter, a frequent protester at the San Francisco org, reported a
revenge protest from Scientology this week.
"Craig (a/k/a 'Tall Black Guy') picketed my home late this afternoon. I'm not sure what time he arrived, but he left less than 15 minutes after I came out to chat with him. He was extremely non-confront - he frequently refused to meet my eye, he hid behind his picket sign when I tried to photograph him, and he refused to answer most of my questions. Am I shuddered into silence yet?"
Catarina Pamnell protested in Gothenburg, Sweden.
"Date: Tuesday, February 9, 1999. Start and End Times: 16.15 - 18.30 (and back at 20.30 for a few minutes). Location: Gothenburg, Sweden - org and Silhouet (a WISE company). Picketers: Catarina Pamnell, Ake Wiman, X, Y and Z from local anti-cult organization. Handlers: Anki Poulsen at Silhouet, Bo Eriksson at the org. Number of Handouts given away: about 100.
"We started out at Silhouet Profil-analys, a WISE consultant company selling tests, courses for businesses, etc. Their office is in the tall, red-and-white office building commonly known as 'the lipstick', down by the waterfront in the center beside the new opera house.
"We went to say hello to the bodyrouters. They were on their usual corner, one guy and a dark haired woman I seem to recognize. The guy went inside the org to sound the alarm, presumably. Ake exchanged one of his fliers for one of Ms Bodyrouter's promo pieces, which turned out to be a copy of their local magazine ('local' as in 'printed in Denmark').
"We got company - not a 'real' handler, he did not talk all that much with us, but he was sent out to keep an eye on things. More specifically, he was checking that no scientologist entering or leaving the org read our fliers. When some poor scieno grabbed one, he shouted 'hey, xxxxx, stop! throw that away! leave it!' etc., which naturally prompted us to call out: 'Think for yourself!' This seemed to blow the fuse of our 'guard', Bo, who grabbed Ake's bunch of fliers out of his hands, threw them on the ground and stepped on them. Ake: Are you going to hit me, too? Bo: No, but I really hope you'll hit me, and then you're going to f****** get it! As a seasoned picketer, Ake simply picked up his fliers, and when a police car came by a few minutes later he went to speak with them. The two police officers got out, and proceeded to lecture Bo on freedom of speech, and that no matter how badly he might dislike our opinions, he had no right to use physical means to stop us from protesting. We had no more problems from him."
Arbetet Nyheterna reports that the Levi Strauss company supports a
Scientology anti-drug effort in Sweden.
"The clothes company Levi Strauss Norden last year donated 600,000 SEK [$75,000] to the organization RDS, Riksorganisationen for ett drogfritt Sverige. Levi Strauss pays no regard to the fact that several other organizations distance themselves from RDS because of their suspected connection to the Church of Scientology.
"Last October, we told about a number of associations and organizations that RDS claim to be supporting financially - IOGT-NTO, Hassela, FMN and Lions. All of these organizations firmly dissociated themselves from RDS in that article. 'We dislike the connection between RDS and the Church of Scientology, and therefore do not wish to be involved with that organization', Henry Karlsson of Lions said.
"The organization RDS has a sales pamphlet, where the organization claims to be supporting other organizations that prefer to dissociate themselves from RDS. And during the athletics world championships in Gothenburg, they collected names for a petition. In connection to this they distributed fliers from the Hassela association [another anti-drug group] - who do not wish to be connected to RDS.
"Lars Sandberg is administrative director at SFI, Stiftelsen for insamlingskontroll ['Foundation for charity control']. SFI checks that the approximately 300 organizations who have a '90-post giro account' [a special kind of account for charities, number starting with 90, where people can send their donations] obey the rules. RDS has a '90-account', which Lars Sandberg questions after hearing about the sales pamphlet. Some years ago SFI scrutinized RDS, among other things because of the claimed connection to the Church of Scientology. But when he hears about the sales pamphlet and the petition, he says: 'From a marketing ethics point of view, these kind of things must not happen.'
"Kent Andersson is manager at Hassela Solidaritet in Gothenburg. He got angry when RDS used their fliers during the athletics WC. 'We asked them what they were doing. The representatives of RDS answered that we and them had the same goal, to fight drugs. But we definitely do not want anything to do with them, Kent Andersson says firmly.' According to Kent Andersson, RDS also used the name of Hassela during a door-to-door campaign in Kungalv."
Dave Touretzky reported that a new movie is being made with similarities
"Hollywood is about to take a bigger thwack at our favorite nut cult. Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., and Christine Baranski star in a soon-to-be-released movie, 'Bowfinger's Big Thing', about an evil cult known as 'MindHead'. The cult has a celebrity center -- and helicopters! At a recent sneak preview, the audience was reportedly snickering and telling each other 'It's about Scientology.' Someone who personally saw a preview version told me the film is very funny, and obviously mocks the Scientology cult. Steve Martin co-wrote the screenplay."
Cinescape-Online reported on the progress of John Travolta's film project Battlefield Earth, based on a novel by L. Ron Hubbard.
"John Travolta's participation in bringing L. Ron Hubbard's science fiction book Battlefield Earth to the big screen seems to be a very hands-on operation for the actor. According to the Canadian Press, Travolta himself flew to Montreal this week to scout possible shooting locations for the film. Travolta is expected to return next week for additional scouting work. One of the film's producers, Don Carmody, is quoted as saying that 'There are still some details to work out. Still, it would surprise me if we couldn't overcome what I would categorize as minor problems.' Plans are for initial filming to start in Montreal in July that would take three months."