Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 4, Issue 29
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 Boston Globe reported this week that Scientology's Citizen's
Commission on Human Rights protested an event at a local high school.
"In Holliston, the high school took part in National Depression Screening Day last Thursday, an event sponsored yearly by a national mental health foundation to promote awareness of depression, and ways to identify and remedy it. The school was only one of 12 high schools in the nation to ask its students to take the depression screening test. But a small group affiliated with the Church of Scientology picketed outside the high school Wednesday. Leading the four protesters was Kevin Hall, director of the Boston chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which is financed by the church. The commission alleges that the depression screenings are part of a conspiracy to promote sales of antidepressant drugs, such as Prozac and its phamaceutical cousins. Hall, who said such drugs are contributing factors behind the rise in school shootings, and the other protesters held a banner that said, 'Psychiatric drugs make zombies out of school children.'"
The Miami Herald reported that Scientology is planning a CCHR event in Fort Lauderdale.
"A group with ties to the Church of Scientology has scheduled a public forum at Fort Lauderdale's Dillard High School next week to discuss the dangers of prescribing mood-altering drugs such as Ritalin to children. The planned Oct. 20 meeting comes amid a nationwide campaign by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights to oppose the use of behavior-controlling drugs on young people. A spokesman said the evening forum will be among the first conducted in any U.S. school. 'There are a lot of people in that community who are concerned about this,' said Matt Argall, a spokesman for the group's Florida chapter in Clearwater. 'There are severe side effects with this medication.'
"But its critics claim that Scientology, with such high-profile practitioners as John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, is more moneymaking enterprise than religion, and battles have raged between church leaders and their opponents in some communities. School Board Chairwoman Lois Wexler said she believes this is the first time a group related to the Church of Scientology has staged an event in a Broward school. 'They can lease the Dillard High School auditorium just like anybody else,' School Board attorney Ed Marko said. 'It's called equal access.'"
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The St. Petersburg Times published letters to the editor criticizing
Clearwater city manager Mike Roberto and his perceived ties to
"I think it's very wrong to annex people into a city when they do not want to be there. I hope Jack Alvord and his neighbors will fight Clearwater's annexation. I have lived in Pinellas County for over 40 years and, frankly, am looking forward to leaving. This is not the place it was years ago and not a good place for a middle-income family to reside anymore. I also do not understand City Manager Mike Roberto's alliance with the Church of Scientology, and I don't like what I am thinking. - Shelby J. Sabathe, Clearwater
"I was at the beach a few days ago and was appalled when I saw the roundabout and the millions of dollars that were poured into that unnecessary evil. Leave the beach alone -- and we certainly don't need condos to clutter it up! The City Commission, I sincerely hope, will fire Mike Roberto. We don't need him to tell us how to spend our tax dollars. Trust the residents of Clearwater and don't spend money on non-essentials. Roberto is getting too close for comfort with the Scientologists so they can manipulate him. - Ilene Foley, Clearwater"
Ritzau news service reported on October 9th that Scientology in Denmark is
having financial difficulties.
"Scientology in Denmark is deeply in debt. These financial records were sent to the Ecclesiastical Ministry at one step in the process of Scientology's application for recognition as a religious congregation in Denmark. Scientology in Denmark owes more than 11 million kroner [about $1.3 million], including 6.7 million kr which Danish members have pre-paid for their courses. The money has been transferred upwards in the worldwide Scientology hierarchy, primarily to the European main office, which is also located in Denmark.
"The financial records show, that in 1998 alone, staff bought training for 767.000 kr, even though the 25 employees altogether only recieved less than 500.000 kr in salaries. Last year, Scientology sold spiritual guidance and religious training for over 2.5 million kr. If the sales continue at this level, it will be two and a half years before the members will have recieved the courses that they have already paid for."
Reuters reported on October 15th that France is speaking out against a
U.S. State Department report on religious freedom.
"The French position was outlined by foreign ministry officials to visiting United States Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Robert Seiple, author of a report published last month containing criticism of Paris on the issue. 'This report contained regrettable accusations against France's official Mission for the Fight Against Sects,' ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau told reporters. Rivasseau said Seiple 'recognised the unfortunate character of the accusations and took note of the strong French protests on the subject,' Rivasseau said.
"French Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou last month raised the prospect of banning the Church of Scientology in France. Officials here view the body with extreme suspicion after three cases where legal documents that could have been used as evidence against the movement in trials for fraud and other offences vanished from courts. The Church of Scientology has denied any responsibility. It said its opponents were waging a slander campaign by trying to blame administrative blunders on the Church."
Stuttgarter Nachrichten reported on October 11th that an unemployment
agency in Germany has refered clients to jobs with Scientology.
"Alfred Sorg, press spokesman for the Goeppingen employment office, has apologized for the procedure and called it a 'slip' by the technical staff in the Leinfelden-Echterdingen placement office. The woman from Filderstadt had reported to unemployment in the summer, and her professional profile was fed by the employment office into the AIS program. She was more than a little surprised to receive in the mail from Leinfelden-Echterdingen a 'Notice to Applicant' which told her that she should telephone the 'Dianetics Stuttgart' company for a sales position.
"'Technical training is not absolutely necessary,' it said, 'since you can get training with us.' There were several conditions, though: that the applicant 'liked to complete new assignments,' and would like to 'increase her abilities.' This phrasing alone, for sect chaser Eberhard Kleinmann, is more than just a clue as to what kind of employer this is from. The staff at the employment office would have had to have noticed it, in his opinion."
Passauer Neue Presse published an article on October 13th on a Catholic community group session in Ettling on the dangers of Scientology and other cults. "Ursula Hoefl first talked about the work group which she founded. The group includes mostly concerned parents whose children belong to a sect. The goal of the organization is to inform the public of sect practices, and to support people who want to leave sects. The victims first recognize the true goals of the sect, which often operates under guise of a cover organization, only after a mental dependency exists. Among the most dangerous of these sects is the 'Scientology Church.' Ursula Hoefl could contribute very personal experience and extensive knowledge about Scientology. One of her daughters, formerly a theology student, became a Scientologist and broke off contact with her parents. This decision hit the family 'like a bomb,' she recalled. Within the shortest time, her friendly, highly intelligent, life-loving, curious girl changed. The speaker compared her daughter to a wilted flower.
"Scientology is a psycho-organization and a commercial business which which deals exclusively with power and money, and which camouflages its operations under the cloak of religion. Scientology is also active in the social area. The sect is even involved in old folks' homes, because money is there to be inherited. In another segment, the speaker explained how contact with Scientology comes about. There is a survey with 200 questions, the so-called 'Oxford Analysis.' It grades abilities, but also weaknesses of the individual. If one fills out and returns such a survey, Scientologists call up. They talk you into believing that you are depressed and need help. The speaker urged caution with the organization, whose stated goal is world domination. She said it was not just a couple of wheelers and dealers, that it should definitely not be underestimated."
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The India Tribune reported that the Toronto Scientology org honored a
Canadian government official in a ceremony this week.
"A top civil servant of Indian origin here was honoured on Sunday by the Church of Scientology of Toronto for his outstanding contribution towards human rights, particularly race relations. The award, which carries a citation and a plaque, was presented to Mr Surinder Singh Gill, a civil servant with the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation, by the church president Ms Janet Laveau, at a function attended by top politicians and distinguished community leaders."
The Scientology jazz band, the Jive Aces is performing in Chicago,
according to a Scientology press release.
"It's the Jive Aces, UK's top jump jive band, swinging across the country to wind up their 20-city tour with an encore performance at Daley Plaza in Chicago on the 18th of October, when Norma Miller, the 'Queen of Swing' and one of the original Lindy Hoppers, will join them with a special guest appearance. The band has been rockin' cities across the country with their energetic -- at times gymnastic -- musical performances. The Jive Aces, all Scientologists, are also known for promoting the works of L. Ron Hubbard to which they attribute their phenomenal success. This tour which highlights the book What Is Scientology?, also keeps their audiences jumpin' to songs from their latest CD, 'Planet Jive.'"
An affidavit filed in the Lisa McPherson civil case was posted to a.r.s
this week. The declaration by Robert Vaughn Young supports Jesse Prince's
declaration that high level Scientology officials would have been informed
about Lisa's treatment, which led to her death in 1995. Some excerpts:
"At issue in this case is the command structure of Scientology and the issue of who might have known what or issued orders regarding the incarceration of Lisa McPherson. The organization is seeking to keep the controversy isolated to the Clearwater organizations, but this is not how Scientology has ever operated.
"The current corporate structure of the Scientology organization was created (starting in 1981) to prevent the intrusion of the courts and the authorities, by throwing up what appeared to be distinct corporations. This structure came about after the FBI raid of Scientology in 1977, which produced considerable evidence that the organization had been burglarizing federal (and other) offices as well as conducting other illegal activities. For these activities Mary Sue Hubbard, the wife of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and ten of her executive staff were jailed. Hubbard, himself, was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.
"With the raid, Hubbard went hiding to avoid being served. Meanwhile, despite the screams and protestations about 'religious persecution' that the GO was issuing, Mary Sue Hubbard and the 10 named aides signed a 'Stipulation of Evidence' and accepted the charges and went to jail. A 'corporate sortout' project had already been underway to restructure the organization to allow Hubbard to return and take command and to give him new protection. This was augmented by a 'Special Project' headed by David Miscavige that went to Los Angeles in 1981 to take command. Amongst their tasks, was the secret creation of several corporations, including Author Services, Inc. (ASI) and Religious Technology Center (RTC).
"It was decided to beef up the Religious Technology Center (RTC) to take some of the functions from ASI, thus reducing the threats. Until then, RTC had been junior to ASI only because the most senior organization was where Miscavige was working. Miscavige began to spend more time at RTC, which was taking on the function of running Dept. 20, which was renamed as the 'Office of Special Affairs.'
"In my nearly 21 years in various Scientology organizations and echelon, from when Hubbard was in charge to after he was dead, the basic structure and operation of the organization never really changed all that much. The manner in which orders were issued or situations reported remained on a military model. Whether the orders came from Hubbard or Miscavige, the manner that they were issued and enforced never changed even when the organization name (the GO or RTC or ASI) changed. Nor was compliance and reporting ever changed. Corporate entities were merely ways of giving the impression that there was a different structure when there wasn't one. We didn't pay attention to corporate structure before the 1977 raid and we didn't pay attention to it after the reorganization of 1980-81. The only difference was the power of the Sea Org and the Guardian's Office was consolidated. The task of executives remained the same: forward orders from 'command' while ensuring that the senior not implicated if anything goes wrong. If this meant hiding or destroying documents or shifting personnel or even lying, it was done. That is an unchanging pattern that the organization developed with Hubbard and then Miscavige. Just as an army protects its general or command central, so does Scientology (working on the military model) protect those who are in command.
"I have seen the protests of the higher level organization that they knew nothing of Lisa McPherson, from the time of her initial automobile accident to her isolation to her death. To those who know how the organization works, this is ludicrous. That excuse has been conjured up by the organization for every flap to protect the hierarchy. Sea Org members (as it was true for GO members) deem it their duty to 'take responsibility' and let the buck end with them when 'senior command' is threatened. Only the most fanatically loyal who are willing to sacrifice themselves to protect the courts or the authorities from reaching 'command' are brought forward. Those who claim to have inside knowledge are denounced as frauds. But those of us who do speak out have more than our own experiences to show the courts and the authorities. We have the long, unchanging pattern of behavior of this organization not only in the US but in other countries where it has been documented that the organization will lie and cheat and defraud the government and the courts to protect itself.
"Thus based on my nearly 21 years experience in doing just that (my task was to manipulate the media and the membership), I fully concur with Jesse Prince's conclusion that there is no way that the highest echelon of this organization did not know about Lisa McPherson. From the time that she took off her clothes in the street, she presented herself as at least a PR danger, if not a legal one. Those reports are instantly sent to the top of the command channel with recommended handlings and the lowest echelon knows that it cannot admit to it because it would involve 'command.' They must 'make it their own' (to quote a Scientology communications drill called TR1) even if it wasn't theirs to begin with. Every staff member learns this very early on. 'Make it your own' means that it is yours, even if it isn't. Thus the staff member who gets an order from Miscavige must 'make it their own' which means that if asked whose idea it is, the staff member is capable of saying in all honestly, 'It was my idea,' even if it wasn't. That is TR-1, one of the most basic instincts drilled into every staff member for years.
"Like Mr. Prince, I too have seen records kept on Lisa McPherson and I concur that she was held against her will with the knowledge and consent and direct orders of Scientology executives that would come directly from the Religious Technology Center (RTC.) RTC would have been the first to be told and be kept updated, as Mr. Prince states. The saddest part is that the organization demands such information not for the benefit of the person involved or hurt but to protect the image of the organization. The Scientology maxim is, 'The greatest good for the greatest number.' When it comes to protecting the organization itself, that determines the morality of the act. It is 'the end justifies the means.' That is why she was isolated and that is why there are records missing. The organization and its 'command' must be protected at all costs. That is why Lisa McPherson died.
"In conclusion, let me say that any attempt to say that these various Scientology organizations are distinct and separate is like saying the kidneys and lungs are separate organs of the body. They are but they are connected and controlled by a blood, endocrine and nervous system and in Scientology that nexus is the Sea Org. It connects and commands the entire Scientology empire and has since Miscavige took control in 1982."
Maryland Task Force
Andreas Heldal-Lund posted a directive to Maryland Scientologists to
oppose a commission holding hearings on cult influences on college
"We are working on handling a situation in Maryland regarding potential religious discrimination against new religious movements in Maryland, being fostered by known anti religous movement members. A resolution was passed which mandates the creation of a 'fact finding' Task Force who are to determine whether or not there should be legislation enacted to prevent 'cult' activities on college campuses. The hearings have been very biased and I am concerned about this situation.
"I would appreciate it if you would please call Sue Taylor, our Director of Special Affairs Public Relations Officer in Washington D.C. who is working with me to handle this threat to religious freedom.
"ARC Lee Kemp, Secretary for Heber Jentzsch President CSI"
"Fier" reported a protest this week at the Canberra, Australia org.
"A small and quiet picket outside the Canberra Org today, from 12:30 til 1:45pm. We handed out around 90 flyers (space alien scam and insane cult). Goombaj and I took control of the street corner with our signs and flyers. My mum and sister came along again, and gave out flyers, and waved the signs around. There were NO handlers for the very first time. I was talking to a nice young lady whom I knew from within the cult, she agreed that all they want is your money, and said she hadn't been into the org for a long time. Her parents are scientologists. I was just explaining the space cooties to her incredulous and interested self and friends, when a clam came out to say 'Hemi is guilty of more than enough crimes to put him behind bars for a very long time' to me. I quickly demanded him name just one, which he couldn't do.
"Canberra is a small city, no more than 400,000 people, and the word is spreading quickly. More and more people at the recent pickets are saying 'I have already read that one' as we offer flyers, and many flyers are being showed to their friends, or talked about."
"Jodyz" reported a protest at the Toronto org this week.
"The Scientologists were out in large numbers, buzzing enturbulatedly, no doubt owing to the celebrity guest picketers, who we were all delighted to have join us. I finally got the chance to meet Gerry Armstrong, having read so much about him on the net. I also was honoured to meet Nan McLean, who I was told played a role in the RCMP's raid of the Toronto Org some years back. There was Gregg, Wulfen, Gorilla, also the aforementioned Mr. Armstrong and Ms. McLean, and three other gentlemen, whose names escape my non-clear mind at the moment. I picked up my fliers and proceeded across the street. One thing I did notice is that the people are Yonge Street are becoming more informed. I'm having trouble handing out as many fliers because everyone seems to have already read them. The number of thumbs up signs, and positive comments I receive are on the increase, along with the lower flier hand-out rate."
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