Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 3, Issue 32
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 State of Florida this week charged Scientology with crimes in
connection with the death of Lisa McPherson, who did in their care in
1995. From the Associated Press:
"The Church of Scientology was charged Friday in the 1995 death of a member whose family claimed the church held her against her will for 17 days. Prosecutor Bernie McCabe charged the church with abuse or neglect of a disabled adult and practicing medicine without a license, both felonies."
"The indictment presented by McCabe charges the Church of Scientology with abuse or neglect of a disabled adult and with practicing medicine without a license, but does not charge any individual church members. The indictment alleges that McPherson was psychotic. It says she was kept isolated, prevented from leaving the church building and given medicine without her consent."
>From Tampa Fox 13 television news program:
"DANDAR: They killed Lisa McPherson. She's dead. Her entire death was preventable. They chose to let her die.
"REPORTER: That's the family attorney talking. The family's blamed the Church of Scientology for years. Now there are criminal charges against the church, the state claiming the church engaged in unlicensed practice of medicine and knowingly abused and neglected Lisa McPherson. The charges are against the church, as a whole, and Scientologists were relieved no individuals were named. But the Clearwater police say the case is not closed.
"SHELOR: But understand, this is just another step in a long journey. This is by no means the end of the case."
>From the New York Times:
"The church's Flag Service Organization, its chief operating arm in Clearwater, Fla., was charged with abuse or neglect of a disabled adult and with the unauthorized practice of medicine in the death of the church member, Lisa McPherson, 36. Ms. McPherson's death has become a rallying point for critics of Scientology. They contend that her death reflects the coercive nature of the church, which has been a lightning rod for criticism since it was founded 48 years ago by L. Ron Hubbard, the late science fiction writer.
"Church officials and organizations have faced charges in foreign countries in recent years, but the charges in the McPherson case are believed to be the first criminal accusations against a Scientology entity in the United States since 11 of its leaders were imprisoned 20 years ago for breaking into Government offices. The Clearwater charges are similar to those brought against nursing homes accused of providing inadequate treatment to elderly patients who die in their care. The abuse or neglect charge accuses the church of knowingly or negligently causing harm to Ms. McPherson.
"Under Florida law, the maximum penalty is a $5,000 fine for each charge, but courts may impose additional penalties, including forfeiture of property. McCabe and Clearwater police officials declined to comment on the charges. But an affidavit by A. L. Strope, a special agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which was released with the charges, provided a chilling portrait of Ms. McPherson's final days.
"According to Strope's affidavit, Ms. McPherson was hyperactive, delusional and hallucinating. He said she tried to harm herself and others and was repeatedly restrained and prevented from leaving her room. After the first week, she routinely urinated and defecated on herself and rarely slept, Strope said. She had conversations with people who were not there, claimed to be people she was not, sang and danced around the room as if giving a performance, crawled around on the floor, stood on the toilet, got in the shower fully clothed, tried to walk out of the room in a state of undress and on at least one occasion drank her own urine. Strope said Scientology staff members administered injections of magnesium chloride in an effort to get her to sleep and gave her numerous doses of vitamins, herbal sleep remedies and prescription drugs."
"Lisa McPherson's aunt, Dell Liebreich, told CNN she was relieved charges had been filed against the church but wished more serious charges had been leveled, such as manslaughter. 'I feel like they killed Lisa,' she said. Liebreich added that if her niece had received medical attention earlier, 'it could have saved her life.' Jeffrey Weiner, former head of the Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, said if the church was found guilty, no one involved was likely to be jailed because the charges had not been made against individuals."
>From the St. Petersburg Times:
"Unlicensed Scientology staffers 'medicated her without her consent,' isolated her and took other measures to treat her physical and mental condition at Scientology's Fort Harrison Hotel, according to an affidavit filed Friday in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court. In addition, Scientology is accused of an 'inexcusable delay' in getting McPherson to a hospital after her health was in obvious decline. Church staffers took 4 1/2 hours to get her to a hospital after noticing she was seriously ill, the affidavit states.
"It is the first time a Scientology corporation has been charged with a criminal offense in the United States since the church was founded in 1954. The charges, both felonies, were filed by State Attorney Bernie McCabe. They ended a three-year investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Clearwater Police Department. Because the church was charged corporately, no individual was arrested.
"Also included in the affidavit are statements by Scientology's own members, who questioned the treatment McPherson, 36, received at the downtown Clearwater hotel. One of them, Dr. David I. Minkoff, described the condition of her body as 'horrific.' In another significant passage, two Scientologists involved in McPherson's care are said to have misled police when interviewed for the first time."
"Scientology critics from Copenhagen to San Francisco walk the streets carrying signs that question the Dec. 5, 1995, death of McPherson in Clearwater. Some of those critics will be in Clearwater on the anniversary of her death again this year to picket Scientology buildings. Some Web sites carry photographs of McPherson when she was alive as well as autopsy photos that show the bruises and wounds found on her hands. Other Web sites include the detailed notes written daily by Scientologists who cared for McPherson during her final days. The notes were disclosed in an ongoing civil suit filed against the Church of Scientology by McPherson's family.
"'Scientology Success Story?' asked a sign with a picture of McPherson that was carried in September by Salt Lake City critic Deana Holmes. 'Last 17 days of life spent at Scientology Spiritual Mecca, www.lisamcpherson.org.' In Copenhagen, critic Catarina Pamnell passed out fliers describing 'the real truth about what happened to Lisa McPherson.' In Riverside, Calif., Church of Scientology officials went to court to stop critic Keith Henson from picketing Scientology's movie studio with a sign protesting McPherson's death. A judge tossed the case out of court saying Henson had a right to picket on a public road.
"In several cities, Scientologists have mounted 'revenge pickets' at the homes of critics who carry signs protesting McPherson's death."
The St. Petersburg Times also reported on the reaction from Scientology to the charges.
"The Church of Scientology is drawing this weekend from a seldom-used page in its playbook. Faced with charges Friday that it neglected and unlawfully practiced medicine on one of its members, Scientology's outward response has been calm and measured. Church officials speak not of fighting, but of finally 'resolving' the 3-year-old fallout caused by Lisa McPherson's death and 'moving on.'
"There have been none of the verbal broadsides that public officials have come to expect of Scientology, as when one of its Los Angeles lawyers called the local medical examiner, Joan Wood, a 'hateful liar' in 1996, shortly after the police investigation into McPherson's death became public. At the time, Scientology officials also were accusing Clearwater police of discriminating against the church.
"What's different? 'These are different charges,' church attorney Laura Vaughn said Saturday. She said they do not accuse church staffers of intentionally harming McPherson. When the church responded angrily, she said, it was against those who seemed to say the church intended to hurt McPherson. It also was a reaction to statements by Dandar that attacked Scientology's core practices, she said. In those instances, she said, 'they will always get that kind of (aggressive) response' from Scientology.
"Clearwater City Manager Mike Roberto called the church's response 'very responsible.' He said, 'I think everyone is ready to move on as best they can.' Roberto said the charges would not change the city's relationship with the church, which has been working with City Hall on downtown redevelopment and planning for a mammoth Scientology building to be constructed in the downtown core. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for next Saturday.
"One test of Scientology's current posture will be how it reacts in coming weeks. The church has a Nov. 30 court date to answer the charges, and anti-Scientology critics are scheduled to picket the Fort Harrison Hotel on Dec. 5 in protest of McPherson's death. In past years, the church has responded to similar events with large, noisy counter-demonstrations. Responses like that are closer to the norm for Scientology, whose founder, L. Ron Hubbard, generally preached an aggressive approach to problems."
Mark Dallara posted a report on developments at Digital Lightwave, a
public company with significant investment from Scientologists.
"I've heard that Mr. Pritchett, the Director of Engineering, left with just three days notice. That comes on top of the departures, voluntary or involuntary, of reportedly very technically competent staff such as Mr. Gentile and Mr. Fox. And despite the best efforts of Digital's MIS department to monitor communications and block access to unfettered information sources (like the Yahoo board), I'd bet any money that the majority of the Digital staff are following all of this closely. Management probably suspects this, as well, or else why would Zwan need to hold morale-booster breakfasts and try to pass off Digital's Scientology connections as nothing more than his personal religious views?
"According to those who have suffered through a tenure at Digital, the company has on various occasions: required employees to read Scientology 'admin tech' publications such as 'Hats and Stats'; implemented other WI$E goodies such as the 'Communications Room', stat graphing, etc.; employed $cientologists who had no background or qualifications for their positions (e.g. Denise Licciardi, sister of cult leader David Miscavige, and Elizabeth Weigand, convicted felon); overpaid $cientology employees (one report said that $cientologist engineers received $10,000 more across the board than non-members); fired an employee for having anti-$cientology email on the system."
Factnet won a significant victory in federal court this week, when Judge
Kane appointed a special master to review the status of Scientology's
copyrights. From Cnet news:
"The church, through its nonprofit subsidiary Bridge Publications, is suing Boulder-based FACTNet on charges that the group pirated more than 1,900 copyrighted church documents and distributing them on CD-ROMs. But FACTNet and its cofounder, former Scientology member Lawrence Wollersheim, contend that Bridge does not have legal copyrights to all--and possibly to any--of the documents in question.
"In a ruling last Wednesday, federal judge John Kane denied Scientology's request for summary judgment, saying that FACTNet successfully had cast doubt on the legal status of the documents. Kane's decision sends the case to a full trial, which will be supervised by a court 'special master' appointed to untangle the thorny copyright issues involved.
"Wollersheim and his attorneys say that they can prove many of the documents involved actually are in the public domain and that Scientology may have committed copyright registration fraud by claiming copyrights for them in the first place. But even if FACTNet does manage to have some of the 1,914 individual claims thrown out by the special master, it still will have to prove it didn't break the law by copying any of the other remaining documents to its own computers and to CD-ROMs. Leipold said Wollersheim had the right to a legal 'fair use' of the documents because he was involved in ongoing litigation with the church. 'He could not survive in litigation without them,' Leipold said. A first hearing before special master Charles Matheson, chief judge of Colorado's federal bankruptcy court, is scheduled for Monday."
>From Salon Magazine:
"FACTNet claims that the copyrighted material -- church documents by L. Ron Hubbard that reveal secrets Scientology members normally have to pay thousands of dollars to read, such as the origin of the mythical creature 'Xenu' -- isn't legally copyrighted at all. The judge is allowing FACTNet to argue its case; the case will now go to trial, where the Church of Scientology will have to prove copyrights to each of the 1,914 individual documents it claims were copied. FACTNet, in turn, is convinced that the documents are public domain, and that the Church of Scientology didn't even have the right to copyright them in the first place."
The Times of London published an article this week on accusations that
Scientology has infiltrated the legal system in order to affect a trial
being held in Paris.
"French justice will face accusations today that it has been manipulated by the Church of Scientology as the Paris Appeal Court rules on whether to continue a 15-year investigation into the organisation.
"The disappearance of some of the investigating magistrate's files has fueled the suspicions of anti-sect campaigners before the hearing. They believe Scientologists have infiltrated the upper echelons of the legal system, using their influence to put pressure on judges and block inquiries. Victims' associations point to unexplained burglaries that have hampered scrutiny. The judgment is a decisive stage in an inquiry that was launched after allegations that Scientologists had committed fraud and practised 'illegal medicine'."
The Associated Press reports that a former Scientologist has been refunded 100,000 FF in a case in Paris.
"A former member of the Church of Scientology, who requested anonymity, was awarded a refund of 100,000 francs on Thursday after having brought the cult (church) before the summary procedures court in Paris. Scientology's lawyer, Mourad Oussedik, gave the plaintiff refund checks in the presence of the magistrate. She joined the church last August after ordering books about the church's doctrines, for a grand total of 100,000 francs. The Church of Scientology had, for its part, a written statement from Anne-Claude M, renouncing any judicial proceeding. She refused, and immediately filed for a refund under emergency court procedures. After having won her case Thursday, Anne-Claud M. and her lawyer, Olivier Morice, are planning to sue for 'attempted extortion and fraud.'"
News from Germany this week on the continuing Scientology controversy
there. First, from Berliner Morgenpost on cults recruiting in german
"It is mostly relatives that seek advice from Markus Wende when he holds his weekly meetings for sect victims. Those wanting to leave a sect are more the exception. 'A large number of religious associations have been busy on campus for quite some time now,' said Wende. Groups historically active, such as the adherents of Bagwhan or Hare Krishna, have been on the decline, as have the Scientologists. The latter prefer to target the professors themselves.
"It is characteristic of such groups to gradually obtain absolute control over the consciousness of their members. 'Many people who are just beginning their studies are in Berlin for the first time and feel very lonesome and disoriented as a result. This is the optimal condition for the new religious associations,' said Markus Wende. More experienced students are also open to victimization during periods of stress or when suffering a personal crisis.
"Wende estimates that there are at least 500 students actively working for sects in Berlin. However, the disguised operations have been identified. The number of legal proceedings combined with a bad reputation have slowed the direct recruitment efforts down to a trickle. In the past, entire dormitories were leafleted with [sect] information brochures, and one or another psycho-group member were even campaigning for student governments."
Berliner Morgenpost also reported that recruitment efforts at universities will be curtailed.
"A number of 'sects' and psycho-groups may not recruit or rent space at FU anymore. The groups affected are those documented in the booklet 'Information about new religious and total world view movements and so-called psycho-groups', distributed by the Senate for Youth, Family and Sport. A total of 25 organizations includes Scientology and the Unification Church, as well as Christian 'fundamentalists' and psycho-groups such as EST.
"Those studying the problem are coming out more in favor of a ban on totalitarian groups. They found that two phases of college life brought about ideal target conditions for destructive cults: the transition out of the community consisting of parents and school into the anonymity of a huge university, and at the half-way mark of their studies, when students are asking themselves what the professional chances are of finding a career after graduation. A study done in 1992 confirmed the hypothesis that there is a connection between the size of a college and the recruitment activity of destructive cult communities."
>From Stuttgarter Zeitung on the efforts of the Green party to suspend the investigation of Scientology:
"The Greens have appealed to the Ministry of Interior of states and country not to continue the surveillance of the controversial Scientology organization indefinitely, as planned. Last year the Minister decided to put Scientology under surveillance for one year's duration. The conference of Interior Ministers will decide as to whether the term of the surveillance will be extended this coming week. Further surveillance would be 'superfluous, expensive and potentially scandalous,' stated Green Representatives Hans-Christian Strobele and Angelika Koster-Lossack yesterday. The assumption that Scientology puts state order at risk has not been confirmed, said the Greens. The membership was clearly overstated. The consequences were said to be that tax money would be saved and additional embarrassment would be avoided."
Scientology unsuccessfully sued the city of Stuttgart this week in order to remove a ban on street recruiting, according to articles in Stuttgarter Nachrichten.
"Scientology tried to obtain one thing before the court: that the city administration cancel an order by which it had forbidden sect missionaries to sell books on the open street, distribute hand-outs, and invite people into their building for personality tests. If Scientology should disregard the ban, it is subject to a fine in the amount of 3,000 marks. The city codes office based the the ban on the street operations being a form of commercial activity, which constitutes an impermissible special use of the street."
"The Scientologists have lost a suit against the city in the Stuttgart Administrative Court. The city had forbid Dianetics Scientology Church Stuttgart, a registered association, on multiple occasions, from offering passersby personality tests on the public street, or offering their books for sale. That sort of activity, according to the city, is a special activity which requires a permit. The court agrees with this interpretation of the law. The complainant stated before the court, that members were only proselytizing for their own association. No accompanying pressure was said to have been used upon passersby in order to get them onto the premises for a meeting. The recruiter had worked for no pay and had not pursued any commercial interests. In order to prove this, the Scientology attorney had submitted 23 documents for consideration as evidence, which the court had refused."
Jesse Prince described recent efforts by Scientology agents to harass him,
including falsely reporting him for drunk driving.
"Monday morning, while I cleaned leaves out of my doorway a van pulled up. A rather portly man approached me with a new phone book in his hand. He asked if I had received a copy of the new phone book and that he was there to deliver a copy of the new phone book to the house. I became suspicious as I looked at all the phone books I had already and went back to my door to get a better look at him. As I approached I could see from my window that he was coming from the passenger side of his car headed to the drivers side. He seemed to be in a hurry as he quickly got in and drove away. I got in the car half an hour later to go to the store and by the time I arrived my back right tire was nearly flat. When I inspected the tire I found a well placed razor blade in the tire which was causing the flat tire. At this point I realized what the phone book was all about.
"This week end I was driving home with a friend after dinner and I was stopped by police one house away from my house. I asked them why was I stopped and the officer told me someone had called in and said I ran a stop sign about a mile back down the road. I asked if it was a police officer who reported me running a stop sign and he said no, it was someone else and he could not say who it was. My friend and I had drinks after dinner and I was not drunk but there was a smell of alcohol and I was asked to take a series of test. I did a breath test which was inconclusive and he told me it was the law to take a blood test which I agreed to. When the blood test was over the officer handed me the keys to my car and I drove home. I was not taken to jail and booked. Further action may or may not happen based on the blood test."
"Today as I drove into town for domestics, I was followed. The car was a sporty late model Pontiac light green sedan. The license plate number is ACP1171, Colorado state. The driver was a late aged graying man. He looked like he was 5.8' tall, about 190 lbs and looked portly. As I cornered him he talked into a hand held radio."
Keith Henson had a hearing in his bankruptcy case this week.
"It was about motions to keep scn from deposing (abusing) my wife in the bankruptcy business and to keep them from completely disrupting my clients lives. No luck on the first, the judge said they get to rake her over the coals all they want. On the second, the judge recognized that scientology has already cost me a client by picketing his home and business location and told Hogan and Seid that they can depose my current clients but not tell RTC who they are. Seid had to stick in a comment about what if they find out who my clients are outside of deposition, such as by using PIs. This should trash my work prospects because why use a consultant who causes you to spend a lot of time in depositions?
"Hogan defended the cult's members picketing my home and clients by saying that I picket scientology and disrupt their worship. Unless they worship on the public sidewalk, I can hardly disrupt whatever they consider 'worship.' Of course he is getting paid by the cult to assure that I have no income. If they were really concerned with collecting on the judgment, they would not be trying to ruin my ability to make a living."
Picket / Revenge Picket Summary
A summary of pickets at Scientology orgs this week and pickets by
Scientologists taking revenge. First from Bruce Pettycrew in Mesa,
"We picketed this AM from about 10:00 to 11:00. There were only 4 cars at the culthouse, no arrivals or departures. Scientology is shrinking. The passing traffic was light, but very appreciative. By 'light', I mean that only (about) 800 cars passed by during the picket, so around 1500 people had a chance to read our signs."
"I was in and out of work early today, so I dropped by the bOrg in Mesa at 4:00 PM, for a 45 minute picket. There were 7 cars in the lot at the start, 2 left and 3 arrived during the picket. I gave out two Xenu leaflets, and got numerous honks and thumbs-up signs from the rush hour traffic. The new sign in front of the culthouse is still just a metal pole."
"I picketed from 5:00 to 5:30 PM today, and got pictures of the new sign at the bOrg. The sign is about 5' by 4', white plastic with painted blue letters: Church of Scientology and in a small band underneath: Think For Yourself.' Under the 'Church of Scientology' is a small (about 1 foot high) scieno cross in thin black line outline."
>From Keith Henson:
"I was sleeping in when two scientologists came up on my front porch and banged on the door to wake me and let me know I was being picketed. Got some good photos of both of them in spite of one trying to shield his face with his sign. They split before I found a copy of the Jesse Prince interview and Charlotte Kates' affidavit and headed out to read to them. Someone had called the cops again and they showed up. (The cops are *not* pleased, but I don't think they are mad at me.)
"On the way down to San Jose I stopped in for a short picket 11:55 to 12:05 at the Mt View org. I walked back on the property next door to get a better look, and two freshly scrubbed high school age kids came out of one door and after a *very* long look at my signs (which included the OT8 cog) went in another door. They stared at OT8 cog sign long enough to have memorized it.
"On to the San Jose org, 11:20-12:20. When I got there there were 24 cars, at the time we left there were 38. About 10 minutes after I got there I spotted an Indian couple walking toward the org from the light rail line. Sure enough, they had been called a dozen time to get them to come in. A few minutes talking to them and a few leaflets convinced them that scn was an ugly scam and not for them. They turned around and *left.* They are on the net and said they would check out www.xenu.net, and would warn their friends."
"I made up a new sign with the indictment wording, Count 1 on one side and Count 2 on the other. Arrived at the San Jose org at 10:40. 30 cars. About ten minutes into the picket a van turned onto Rosemary from the north, saw my sign, and rather than turn in, they stopped on the roadway to talk to me. Turned out they were coming in to see the scn movie. A very few minutes of talking about my sign and the rip off of scientology and they took a Xenu flyer and left. Blue shirt (wearing a white shirt today) came boiling out with a camera and said if I interfered with another customer he would call the cops. I said go for it, bud.
"Shortly before I left my OT 5 John who I had not seen for quite a while came in. Seems he is no longer 'handling' me, but he read both sides of my new sign carefully. Lot of action for 20 minutes.
"I hit the Mt. View org on the way back for ten minutes. The scientology door was open, the dianetics place has the shades down. One carload of scientologists stopped on their way out and stared at both sides of sign, but they would not take a Xenu flyer."
>From Stacy Young:
"This afternoon at 4:30 I made a trip to the hardware store and there were several pickets on the side of the road next to the sanctuary driveway. One of the picketers ran over to the van and thrust a flier at the window.
"CREATING HATRED AND BIGOTRY. WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR MONEY TO SOMEONE WHO IS: an accused child molester? a wife beater? a former pornography editor? a member of an anti-Semitic group run by the most influential neo-NAZI in the world? a group which had been involved in kidnapping for hire and which went bankrupt following a multimillion dollar verdict for civil rights violations under the anti-KKK laws?
"We support religious freedom and tolerance and call for an end to the lies and hate. Free Speech & Religious Freedom Committee of the Church of Scientology of Washington State."
>From Kristi Wachter in San Francisco:
"Picket Report, Saturday, November 7, 1998; Suppressives: phr and me; Handouts: fliers (mint/law, 'Why I Picket', criminal allegations, Lisa, Xenu, mini-fliers), suckers, mints, Attorney General postcards. There were no body-routers and no stress-test table. I saw three of the regulars I usually see there, including Burly Guy and OSA-Boy, who was sporting a smart new beard. Shortly after I arrived, one of the Scientologists standing around talking outside the org noticed my sign ('Is $cientology breaking the law? There's evidence that they are') She called over to me, 'The answer is 'no'!'
"One of the highlights of this picket was a conversation with a very nice, polite Scientologist. She approached me and told me she was a student at the org and wanted to know more about why I was protesting. I told her about my concerns over Scn's illegal activities and mentioned Lisa McPherson. She said she'd never heard about anything like that happening in Scn, and I gave her my (mostly) complete list of alleged crimes. I mentioned the LRH quote about how, if a manager tries to suppress or pervert a reality, he's working for the destruction of the group."
"On Sunday, coming home from lunch, I spotted my very own personal revenge picketer, Ben, slowly walking laps in front of my apartment. As I approached, I greeted him, 'Hey, Ben, how ya doing?' and he said hi back. I asked him for one of the fliers he had, and he said they were the same as the ones he was giving out before. As I snapped my first few photos, I asked him how life had been treating him. He replied to the effect that he didn't want to engage in any phony conversations. I assured him that I was sincere and asked him why he thought I was being phony. He said, 'observation.' I asked what he had observed, but he decided not to answer, so for the rest of the time he was there, I did all the talking.
"He glanced at his watch and decided he'd put in his time, so he said good-bye and 'I'm sure I'll be seeing you again.' I snapped a few more photos as he left, and he said, 'talk about intimidating.'"
"Picket Report, Tuesday, November 10, 1998; Mountain View; Suppressives: Keith, Elvis, and me. The lone pedestrian who came by declined a flier and went into the franchise. However, one of the gentlemen from the restaurant asked what the picket was about, and I spent a few minutes with him explaining Lisa, the criminal allegations, the high prices, the coerced abortions, and the upcoming December protests."
>From Dave Bird on the first picket in Birmingham, England.
"Present were Dave, Roland, Jens, Hartley, John, Peter, MartinP, the Big Fellah, and two local women with relatives in the culy. There were perhaps a dozen people, staff and students combined. One or two of them were quite snappy and came over to confront us. At 12:55 through 15:05 we resumed the demo. Charges had been brought against CoS over the death of Lisa McPherson the day before and we weren't slow to announce it. We had some hassles over the sound system, after it had been on for an hour, but we simply made up for it with big lungs."
>From "nukewaster" in Washington, DC:
"I met up with Arnie Lerma in front of the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C. Arnie was toting a sign with 'Doubt is not a crime' 'Scientology Criminal Indictments Nov 13, 1998' I stopped enroute from the subway station to give the local bike cop on duty a flier, and to let him know I'd be picketing. The policeman was tickled pink, snickering at the news of the indictments. DuPont Circle is his regular weekend beat, he knows me fairly well now, and has followed the Scientology saga with great interest.
"I had prepped a new flier, big 22 point headline 'Church of Scientology Criminally Indicted!' with text extracted from Tom Tobin's excellent article in Saturday's St. Petersburg Times. I put a few URLs at the bottom, including Op Clambake and www.lisamcpherson.org. I had made 300 copies. I distributed about 100 of those on the Metro subway while enroute downtown--my picket sign was not mounted to my chair at that point, but many folks inquired about it and took a flier. Arnie helped mount my picket sign. Lisa McPherson 1959-1995 with picture. Scientology hurts people. I took up position at the corner of the org with the highest foot traffic. My 'town crier' routine went 'Two felony indictments against Scientology in the death of Lisa McPherson' and 'Criminal indictments brought against Scientology.' Within 1 hour, all our fliers were gone. Many folks stopped to talk about these latest developments.
"The staffers try very hard to make absolutely no contact with me. However, they feel free to cuss Arnie out and otherwise be obnoxious to him. I reckon that someone in the org has determined that it wouldn't be good PR to publicly confront me in that manner. Amazing what a simple wheelchair can do."
Chris Owen posted portions of an autobiography by L. Ron Hubbard this
week, written in 1972 in Morocco. Some excerpts:
"This was also a mining area and when I was very tiny there were still mining pans, picks and sluices of the old gold rush days of Montana, strewn up and down the gulches and gullies. One time I found a human skull with an arrow through it and was promptly told by my parents that it was a buffalo skull and, I must say, I thought they were a bit touched in the head themselves. I used to pan in these streams for pocket money and on Saturdays when I went to town to see my pals in Helena, we used to remove the dirt from between the bricks in the gutters of Main Street of Helena which had been old 'Last Chance Gulch'. We would wash these scrapings and obtain enough gold dust to pay our way into The Antlers Theater and buy ourselves an ice-cream cone afterwards.
"I became very thoroughly acclimated to Montana ranch life and the very rough and tough atmosphere and could hold my own in it - much to the horror of both my mother and grandmother who had their own ideas of civilization, which did not happen to agree with the environment. They made an excellent fighter out of me by dressing me perfectly and neatly, including white stockings, and then sending me off to school through the Irish District. I would get beaten up by one or another members of the O'Connell family which consisted of seventeen boys, and arrive at school very much the worse for wear. My grandfather tired of this and I tired also of being scolded. It was a little bit much to get beat up and then go home and be berated for fighting and getting sent to bed without any supper. My grandfather taught me lumberjack fighting and I went out on the prowl to find the youngest and smallest O'Connell kid alone. I licked him, then took on the next one and the next one and the next one, and by the time I had worked up four sizes, the rest of them decided that I was an inevitable part of the scenery and left me alone."
The Daily Telegraph reports that the trend among celebrities to join
Scientology may be over.
"Over the past few years, Scientology has been 'in', sported by the likes of Tom Cruise and John Travolta. Recently, however, it has given way to Kabbalah, the mystical stripe of Judaism worn by Madonna. But now, rather like duffle coats making a comeback, Christianity is taking over Hollywood. 'I've given up my life to God,' style leader Sharon Stone has told US reporters, 'and that's why I'm okay and at peace.'"
MSNBC reported that congresswoman Mary Bono has ties with Scientology from
courses taken as recently as 1990.
"California Congresswoman Mary Bono has long had ties with the Church of Scientology and is still linked with the organization, according to several sources. Bono has taken at least six courses in the religion, according to Celebrity, a Scientology publication that chronicles activities of prominent members. One course, which she took in 1990, was on family counseling.
"'I think [Congresswoman Bono's] only relationship with Scientology was through Sonny,' says Frank Cullen, a spokesman for Mary Bono, although he acknowledges that members of the church, which has several centers in Bono's district, have met with the congresswoman. 'She indicated that they would get a fair hearing just like any of our constituents.'
"'One of the long-standing issues with Scientology critics is a debate whether Scientology has political aspirations,' noted Stephen Kent, an expert of the sociology of religion at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. 'Mary Bono's ties to the church, while not definitive, suggest that the church is gaining political influence through connections in high places.' Scientology critic Rick Ross was more blunt. 'Sonny Bono long carried water for the Scientologists in Washington,' said Ross, a consultant who has long done battle with Scientology and other controversial religions and cults. 'Now it looks like Mary is Scientology's lady on the Hill.'"