Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 7
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
Die Presse reported on May 10th that Austria has decided against banning
Scientologists as government employees.
"'Applicants for the Lower Austria state civil service do not have to out themselves as to whether they are members of Scientology.' Peter Pitzinger, state sect commissioner, mentioned that while Scientology was not acknowledged as a church or a religious congregation in Austria, neither was it prohibited. He does not think that a professional ban on Scientologists would contribute to anything, since it would only create martyrs. Instead of that, people should be kept up to date on the activities of the organization which makes widespread use of anonymous operations."
German news wire epd reported on May 6th that the BBC World television has
suspended Scientology advertisements.
"After protests from German television viewers, BBC, the British broadcasting company suspended the worldwide broadcast of commercials for Scientology. Michael Kayser, the German representative from BBC World, related this to the epd in Munich. The commercial for the 1950 book 'Dianetics' by Scientology founder Ron Hubbard had been broadcast several times a day for about three weeks. The television spot had been released by the British Broadcasting Advertising Clearance Center.
"The Bavarian State Institute for New Media in Munich welcomed the decision. Spokesman Wolfgang Flieger indicated that according to German media laws, broadcast of commercials for religious organizations is not permitted. However, the Media Institute is also bound to the European Television Policy for Retransmission of Foreign Broadcasts, which guarantees free reception according to the so-called 'state transmission principle.'"
Cult Awareness Network
Jim Beebe posted an announcement to a.r.s this week that the files of the
original Cult Awareness Network have been turned over to Scientology.
"Scientology took over the CAN Files on May 3rd, last Monday. The storage Facility Mgr. gave me a brief report. The man who so skillfully used the Church of Scientology's tax-exempt money to destroy the Cult Awareness Network, Kendrick Moxon, flew in for this auspicious event and was taking pictures and beside himself with glee. I thanked the Storage facility who went out of their way for CAN and actually contacted their own attorneys in an attempt to prevent this."
>From Ed Lottick, a member of the CAN board:
"Gary Beeny agreed to accept the records as payment in full of the Jason Scott judgment if the board of CAN would give up the auction. This means that Scientology through Beeny's judgment cannot depose and otherwise harass CAN board members, former board members, members at large, CAN donors, and even CAN employees for payment of debt, because the judgment is settled in full. The board felt it best to go for a clean settlement, rather than leave near two million dollars in liability hanging over our collective heads which would have been the case had we gone to auction."
Czech News Agency reported on May 13th that Scientology is attempting to
change the law to allow small religions to be registered with the
"Jiri Voracek of the so-called Scientologist Church told CTK today that he hoped for a change to come with the new, more liberal law on churches and religious societies because the currently valid law did not allow registration of religious entities with less than 10,000 members. He said the law was criticized by the Czech Helsinki Committee in its report about the human rights situation in the Czech Republic in 1998. The new bill is being discussed by a government and an expert commissions."
The Associated Press reported that Scientologists held a rally in
Washington, DC this week, to protest at the meeting of the American
"About 1,000 protesters, dressed in black and many carrying black balloons, picketed a convention of psychiatrists Saturday to demand they stop prescribing mind-altering medications to young people. Such medicine leads to youth violence, said three protest leaders, actresses Kirstie Alley and Juliette Lewis and singer Lisa Marie Presley. 'They're making drug addicts out of our children,' said Alley, best known for her roles on the TV shows 'Cheers' and 'Veronica's Closet.' 'It's barbaric, and it's being promoted by psychiatrists.'
"The demonstration, organized by the Church of Scientology's Citizens Commission on Human Rights, targeted the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in downtown Washington. As they marched around the Washington Convention Center, the demonstrators chanted: 'Don't drug our kids. Don't shock our kids. Just leave our kids alone.'"
Scientology-affiliated Digital Lightwave reported that former
Scientologist Brian Haney charges that a recent lawsuit settlement is
"On October 20, 1998, the Company and Dr. Zwan entered into an agreement with Plaintiff to settle the action. The settlement agreement provided, among other things, for dismissal of the action with prejudice, for a $500,000 payment by the Company to Plaintiff for his attorneys' fees and granted Plaintiff an option, for 10 years, to purchase for $1 per share 2 million shares of Dr. Zwan's stock in the Company. On April 21, 1999, Plaintiff filed an action in the Court against the Company and Dr. Zwan alleging that the terms of the settlement agreement had been breached and requesting that the settlement agreement be specifically enforced and that damages in excess of $75,000 be awarded, or, alternatively, that the settlement agreement be set aside. The parties are currently in discussion regarding a possible settlement of this action."
Tony Bosnakoudis reported the outcome of a trial of 15 Scientologists in
"They were accused of keeping files on judges, journalists, clergymen, politicians and others and for monitoring their activities in order to gather these data. The Court ruled that there was factual insult, meaning that Scientology was indeed engaged in these activities, but it could not pass jail sentence because there had to be a suit filed by those being monitored and filed. The case was tried and the Court ACCEPTED that Scientology DID DO these acts. However, since it was the Supreme Court Prosecutor who filed the charges it was not according to the procedures and sentence could not be given. They were not found innocent."
Star magazine reported that Scientology Celebrity Kirstie Alley's fiancee
has backed out of an wedding in Las Vegas.
"Kirstie Alley and her fiancee James Wilder eloped to Las Vegas--but the groom got cold feet and spent their would-be wedding night gambling in a casino. 'James just isn't ready,' Kirstie confided to a friend. 'He doesn't want to rush into anything and I can't force him. This trip has turned into a big nightmare.' Kirstie, 48, got madder by the minute as Wilder, 35, played at the craps table until the wee hours of the morning. She paced up and down smoking cigarettes. Finally, figuring if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, she tried her hand at the roulette table. She was betting $1,000 a spin--and losing. 'I'm not surprised at my luck tonight,' she griped to a pal. 'I can't win at marriage and I can't win at roulette! I'm calling it a night.'
"Kirstie retreated to her suite at about 4 a.m. and ordered champagne and strawberries in hopes of convincing Wilder to come along--but he stayed in the casino and gambled until well after 5 a.m. 'James would rather spend the night at the blackjack table than be with me,' Kirstie sobbed to a pal. The 'Veronica's Closet' star was so eager to marry her hunky beau that she was willing to give up her dream of a ceremony at the Scientology Center in Clearwater, Fla. 'I wonder if he'll ever marry me,' she told her pal."
Hearings were held in Clearwater, Florida this week in the criminal case
against Scientology in the death of Lisa McPherson in 1995. From two
articles in the St. Petersburg Times, on May 12th and 13th:
"The Church of Scientology in Clearwater says it is immune from criminal prosecution in the death of Lisa McPherson and wants the felony charges against it dismissed. In lengthy motions filed this week, Scientology's lawyers argue that the charges filed against the church last November 'are both unnecessary and impermissible.' Church staffers gave 'spiritual assistance' to McPherson, a fellow Scientologist, in the days before she died, thus their actions were protected under the First Amendment and the state's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the motions state.
"The motions 'condemn' the actions of church staffers, calling them 'negligent acts' that were 'contrary to church scripture.' They referred to the delay in getting McPherson to a hospital as 'lamentable, even if it can be explained by the unfortunately stressful circumstances created by this entire episode.' The church's policy is to seek medical attention for its members where needed, the motions state. They also contended the church itself gave no orders concerning McPherson's care. While a Scientology case supervisor helped direct her care, he was following a 'religious practice,' not representing the church corporately, the motions contend.
"No individuals were charged with crimes in McPherson's death. McCabe's charges are against Scientology's Clearwater-based Flag Service Organization. The motions argue against charging the church as an entity, as opposed to individual members, saying a charge against a church is unprecedented in U.S. history."
"Filing criminal charges against the Church of Scientology in Clearwater was an unusual step, a top Pinellas prosecutor conceded Thursday. But he added the charges were made necessary by the unique circumstances surrounding the 1995 death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson while in the care of church staffers. 'This is the first time in my 23 years that I've seen anything quite as bizarre or disturbing as the way this decedent was treated,' Pinellas-Pasco Assistant State Attorney Doug Crow said. Crow was responding to statements by Scientology lawyer Sandy Weinberg, who suggested to Chief Judge Susan F. Schaeffer that the charges by Clearwater police were 'religiously motivated.' The department has investigated Scientology off and on since the church made Clearwater its spiritual headquarters in 1975.
"Weinberg called the 'introspection rundown' a religious practice that is protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But Crow argued there was nothing religious about some of the methods church staffers employed during the isolation, including forcing food and medicine down McPherson's throat, sometimes with a large syringe as they held her down. Crow also noted that she tried to fight her way out of isolation, that her non-Scientologist relatives were never notified, and that she was taken to a hospital too late.
"Judge Schaeffer signaled she would look favorably on the religious argument as both sides prepare for trial. Many religions believe in the laying on of hands to cure people, Schaeffer said. 'In fact, I grew up in one.' The judge said she was raised in the First Church of God. She said her mother claimed to have been spiritually cured several times.
"Crow countered, saying there were many ways to get McPherson the mental health care she needed without violating the Scientology's religious beliefs. One would have been to take her to a doctor sooner, he said. 'They are making diagnoses that they're not entitled to make,' Crow said. 'These are people who have no training to make those decisions.' But the judge cautioned that Crow's argument could run counter to the Constitution. 'I don't want to be trying a case that's going to involve stepping on someone's religious beliefs,' she said.
"The hearing ended with a minor legal victory for the church. Weinberg said the charges were vague and did not make clear how the alleged crimes were committed. Schaeffer asked Crow to craft a document that would clarify."
"At a pretrial hearing Thursday, defense attorney Morris Weinberg said charging a church with criminal conduct, the first time it has happened in Florida, raised serious constitutional issues. 'We're dealing with conduct that is protected conduct. We are dealing with a fundamental (Scientology) belief that mental problems are spiritual in nature and should be dealt with spiritually in a religious way,' Weinberg told Pinellas Circuit Court Judge Susan Schaeffer.
"But Assistant State Attorney Douglas Crow called McPherson's treatment 'bizarre and disturbing' and said she probably would not have died if she had been given proper medical treatment. 'There is nothing in the tenets of Scientology that authorizes this kind of conduct without the consent of the person involved,' Crow said.
"Weinberg asked prosecutors to provide more specific details about the alleged criminal conduct and Schaeffer agreed to the request. 'I don't want to be trying a case that is stepping on someone's religious beliefs. They have the right to know what conduct they are defending,' Schaeffer said. Schaeffer said McPherson, as a Scientologist, must have known the church opposes the use of psychiatrists to treat mental problems. Schaeffer said she would hear arguments on the church's motion to dismiss the charges on religious freedom grounds on July 22. If the charges are not dismissed, she said the trial would begin March 6, 2000."
Mark Dallara posted additional details on the hearings
"Also filed were affidavits by 'Reverend' Mike Rinder, 'Reverend' Richard Reiss, Mary Story, and Glen Stilo. Rinder's affidavit whines about the stigma that this case has brought upon $cientology in general. He cites the fact that news reporting agencies tend to indicate that 'Scientology was charged' rather than CoS FSO, and includes copies of articles to support this point from all over the world. He also complains at length about the protests that have occurred, the messages on the fliers and signs, and the fact that the Clearwater press conference was opened with 'welcome to occupied Clearwater'. Once again, they are pretending to miss the point of the phrase, twisting it to mean that the protesters were the ones 'occupying' Clearwater, rather than the cult that invaded in '75.
"Richard Reiss' affidavit goes on at length about religious services within Co$. Glen Stilo's seems to be there merely to enter some of the hospital logs into the public record that were omitted from Agent Strope's affidavit, such as the notes from the doctor who indicated that Lisa could not be held under the Baker Act. And Mary Story's described the cult's 'social programs'. There was a note in the file that a copy of 'What is Scientology?' had also been submitted to the court. There were policy letters, rather noticeable in their red-on-white and green-on-white. I didn't make note of all of them, but they included the Introspection Rundown, Criminals & Psychiatry, and The Anti-Social Personality."
Protest / Revenge Summary
Ted Mayett protested at the Las Vegas org this week.
"Quick-Pick, big org 3:45-4 PM, vehicles 7, uneventful. End of report."
Keith Henson protested at five orgs in the San Jose area.
"I did San Jose on Rosemary, Los Gatos (in Campbell), the San Jose mission at Winchester and Heading, San Jose again, Mt View, and Palo Alto. Half an hour at each except San Jose which got 45 minutes the first time and 30 the second. The guy I referred to as 'blue shirt' came out and started doing Heil Hitler's at me. I responded that scientology had made Lisa McPherson look like a concentration camp victim before she died. No reply to that one. It was a good day for flyers, I must have given away 50 of the Xenu flyers, including one to one of the guys who picketed my house last year.
"At first I thought the Campbell org was shut--there were no people in the offices which face out on the street. But two women came out and headed to the Pruneyard shopping center with stacks of pink personality tests. I wandered up that direction and supplied the people they gave personality tests a copy of the Xenu flyer.
"The mission on Winchester is near one of the highest traffic intersections in San Jose. I picketed mostly around the crosswalks. The clams called the cops but the cops didn't stop me and waved me away when I offered them a flyer.
"Once more to Rosemary. Blue shirt gave me another Heil Hitler as I started. About 15 minutes into the picket 3 cop cars showed up. They were quite professional about it, would not take a flyer, but did make note of the URL. I told them of the pickets in SF and San Pablo. They said that I really should not be loud, but that the clams should not be heckling me either.
"Off to Mt. View. Uneventful as usual. There were a few around, but that seems to be a relatively downstat org. Palo Alto was even worse, but I think one of the few at that location saw me.
"They are not picketing me, but are expending a lot of effort to attack me with flyers posted two blocks from my house on California Ave. Most of them don't identify who is behind the flyers."
Two Bay area protesters were again the target of several revenge actions by Scientology this week. From "Realpeach":
"They arrived at my house at a little before dusk, around 8:30 pm. There were three of them, the two older women, and some guy with dark curly hair and glasses. I snapped a few pictures, and they hid their faces. I think they might have been here about ten minutes."
"Around 7pm I was making dinner, when there was a knock on my door. I looked to see that once again I was being picketed by Scientologists. This time it was the sixtyish blonde woman, and some woman with curly dark hair who had run at my car shouting the Saturday before last. And the kids were back, the crowd of little boys. They jeered at me, and informed me that my being picketed was only fair because I picketed the Scientologists' 'church.' 'Well how do you know?' I asked them. Ah, the nice lady had told them all about me!"
"Late yesterday evening, when I went to put out the garbage, I found 'Religious Bigot' flyer twist-tied to the chain link fence next to my house. This evening, three fresh 'Bigot Flyers' inserted into the fence."
>From Kristi Wachter:
"They were back - my own personal trio of revenge picketers, Joanna, Mick, and Craig - with the usual picket signs and camcorder. They were here from 1:55 - 2:10. As they were leaving, Joanna called up to me, 'Bye, Kristi - see you tomorrow!'"
"My revenge picketers came by again today from about 3:30 until around 4:10. It was just Mick, Joanna, and Bob to begin with (Bob had the video camera today, while Mick held both a pre-lettered sign and a handmade sign). Craig showed up at around 3:55 and commandeered Joanna's sign. This makes ten days in a row - unless they picketed me on 4/30, 5/1, and/or 5/2 (my records show a gap between 4/29 and 5/3)."
Lisa Marie Presley
South China Morning Post reported on May 11th that Scientology celebrity
Lisa Marie Presley has married her former Scientology-assigned bodyguard.
"Lisa Marie Presley and her new love, former bodyguard Luke Watson, are said to have exchanged rings. Watson, 30, whose best friend is Lisa's first husband, Danny Keough, gave her a $900 gold ring. In return, Presley, 31, presented him with a diamond ring she inherited from her father, Elvis Presley.
"'For the record, when Lisa married Michael Jackson he begged her for a piece of Elvis memorabilia but she never volunteered any.' Presley fell for Watson when the controversial Church of Scientology assigned him as a bodyguard for her and her two children, Danielle, nine, and Benjamin, six, last summer."
Metro newspaper reported on May 11th that Scientology has asked the
Supreme Court in Sweden to seize parliament's copy of the secret NOTs
"The scriptures legally became public documents according to the 'offentlighetsprincip' (a kind of wide freedom of information act) when Zenon Panoussis in 1996 handed over copies to the parliament. Scientology sued Panoussis, who lost the case in the District Court and was ordered to stop spreading the material. The problem for Scientology remained, as the material was still publicly available through the parliament. After heavy pressure from the US, the Swedish government did seal the material for a while. That decision was quickly overturned by the Supreme Administrative Court.
"The Scientology movement turned to the bailiff, and demanded the confiscation of all copies of the material, but the bailiff denied their request. Scientology appealed the decision to the District Court, and then to the Court of Appeals, but lost in both. In a final attempt to keep the material secret, Scientology has appealed to the Supreme Court. They state that RTC owns the copyright to the material, and that the District Court has actually sentenced Panoussis for spreading it.
And from Ergo, a student magazine at Uppsala University:
"Uppsala university library 'Carolina Rediviva' has received two copies of the 'secret scriptures' from anonymous donors. The material will however not be kept available to the public, since the library has no legal obligation to do so, or even to keep them. The library archives whatever is judged to be useful for scientific research purposes. 'There will certainly be research done regarding scientology 200 years from now', says Lennart Lundstrom, head of the lending department of Carolina Rediviva. He also says that the material is kept locked up, but will be made public in 70 years' time when the copyrights expire."
Tages-Anzeiger reported on May 15th that Scientology has opened an exhibit
"The exhibition which will be held in Zurich for one week, opened yesterday in the 'Schutzenhaus Albisguetli' with alpenhorns and Dixieland jazz. One intends 'to inform on neutral territory,' said Juerg Stettler, President of Scientology Zurich, 'so that everyone can make his own picture for himself.' Until May 21 the sect will present itself with hundreds of blown-up pictures and video clips. Founder L. Ron Hubbard will be presented as philosopher, pedagogue, author, artist and researcher - in short, as a universal genius, with his doctrines propagated as spiritual salvation for humankind. He who is not timid can test the famous electrometer, e-meter for short, whose movements are meant to isolate spiritual obstacles.
"Nowhere in the displayed pictures does it show that the commercial sect is under constant fire from the law and the media. The presentation, part of a large-scale information and advertisement campaign, would even like to address 'officials, politicians and representatives of other religions.' In the jam-packed viewing of yesterday however, the members kept to themselves. 'This event is for the members themselves, and is supposed to relieve public pressure on the sect,' Otto Schmid, member of the Evangelical orientation center staff, evaluated the situation."