Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review
Volume 3, Issue 37
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
A St. Petersburg Times editorial this week questioned the legality of the
removal of ads protesting against Scientology from Clearwater buses during
the recent protest and memorial for Lisa McPherson.
"A group called Former Scientologists Speaking Out paid to place their ads on 11 county buses with routes that took them past the Scientologists' Fort Harrison Hotel in downtown Clearwater. The messages, including 'Why does Scientology lie to its members?' and 'Think for Yourself. Quit Scientology,' along with the group's Web address www.xenu.net, so offended church leaders that a couple tracked down Roger Sweeney, executive director of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, at his home earlier this month and pressured him to remove the buses from service. He did so the next day.
"By ceding to the Scientologists' demands, Sweeney probably thought he was making a problem go away, but he was buying himself a bigger one. Despite being offensive, those anti-Scientologist ads were constitutionally protected, and removing them probably violated the First Amendment.
"Sweeney says PSTA advertising policy prohibits the posting of campaign signs for or against candidates, political parties or referenda, but accepts other issue-oriented signs. That means the ad space has to be made available to all messages, even those that question the legitimacy of a religious order. Sweeney pulled the ads after he conferred with PSTA lawyer Alan Zimmet about a Scientology contention that the signs violated a state law. The law, which has been on the books since 1945, prohibits anonymous dissemination of any material that 'tends to expose any individual or any religious group to hatred, contempt, ridicule or obloquy.' But that law has never been successfully used to prosecute anyone. It is patently unconstitutional -- we have a fundamental First Amendment right to speak anonymously -- and shouldn't have been the basis of a decision to remove the ads from public view.
"Sweeney says he supports free speech on bus signs and ordered the buses back in service a day later, but by then the anti-Scientology ads had been removed. Before the next bad judgment call arises, the PSTA should get a legal opinion from a constitutional law expert. It's likely the PSTA will be told that if the county wants to use its buses as moving billboards, it will have to make them available to all who ante up, regardless of what the Scientologists think."
A Scientologist and dentist in Providence, Rhode Island has been sued by
his former receptionist for forcing her to study Scientology. From the
"Dentist Roger Carlsten was promoting religion in the workplace when he asked his receptionist to take a statistics course written by the founder of Scientology, according to a complaint filed in Superior Court. Susan Elizabeth Morgan, a Catholic, said she is suing her former boss because she was fired after she refused to take the course written by L. Ron Hubbard, the late science fiction writer and founder of the controversial Scientology religion. Morgan asserts that material in 'Hubbard Management Technology,' is based in Scientology, not statistics. Carlsten, 52, said although he practices Scientology, he did not try to impose his beliefs on his employees, and religion had nothing to do with firing 32-year-old Morgan of Johnston. 'There is no religious issue here,' said Carlsten's lawyer, Sandra Lanni. 'There's a perception that this is a lawsuit against Scientology and it's not. These courses are strictly business courses.' The complaint, brought under the Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act, alleges that Carlsten failed to accommodate Morgan's beliefs as a Catholic and the Carlsten fired her based on religion."
>From the Providence Journal:
"In early 1991, East Side dentist Roger N. Carlsten told his young receptionist, Susan Elizabeth Morgan, that he wanted to promote her to office manager and boost her salary. But first, according to Morgan's complaint, Carlsten insisted she take a special statistics course in 'Hubbard Management Technology' written by the late science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Because she knew Hubbard had founded a controversial religion known as Scientology, and because she also knew that Carlsten was a Scientologist, Morgan said in her court complaint and in sworn testimony that she worried that the course amounted to religion in disguise. She refused to take the course. Not long thereafter, Carlsten fired her.
"Now, Morgan's unusual employment-discrimination suit against Carlsten has begun playing out in Superior Court, with an evidentiary hearing last month on whether to dismiss or permit Morgan's claim for punitive damages to proceed to trial. A decision on that is pending.
"Morgan's six-page complaint alleges that Carlsten: Integrated Scientology into work policy, insisting on its use by Morgan and coworkers. Continually pressured Morgan for months to take the Hubbard Management Technology course, eventually stating she needed to take it 'to remain qualified' for her job. Created a 'religiously intimidating workplace.' Failed to accommodate Morgan's religious beliefs by refusing her offer to take management courses 'unrelated to Scientology.'
"'Did individuals from Precision Management come to your office?' asked Morgan's lawyer, Rene Bushey, of Boston. 'I asked them if they were members of Scientology,' Morgan testified. 'They said they were, but they denied' that the courses Carlsten wanted them to take 'had any connection with Scientology. I found it upsetting. It did not help to ease my mind.' Bushey asked Morgan to read an excerpt from the course materials, which she said Carlsten had provided to her for review at the time. From the glossary, Morgan read an explanation of 'dynamics': 'The eighth dynamic is the urge toward existence as infinity. This is also identified as the Supreme Being. This is called the eighth dynamic, because the symbol of infinity stood upright makes the numeral '8.' This can be called the infinity or God dynamic.' '
"Several months later, Carlsten fired her. Morgan told the court: 'He asked to see me at the end of the day. He said that we were incompatible, that he was going to have to terminate me, and he said, quote, 'he needed someone who could be everything that he wanted them to be, and that included taking Precision Management courses.''
"Robert Boston, spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, of Washington, D.C., said in a telephone interview that 'the Scientologists often try and have it both ways. 'They spent a lot of time trying to convince the courts they are a legitimate religion,' Boston said. 'And they won that battle. They are now considered a bona fide, tax-exempt religious organization. But sometimes now they try and argue that they have this secular arm, when it suits their purposes.'"
Jukka Santala reported that the Finnish Ministry of Education has refused
to grant Scientology religious status.
"The news broke out in the morning, with a lead-in article in Finland's largest national newspaper, 'Helsigin Sanomat'. The lead-in/summary article specifically mentions that the main reason for rejection of the application was 'Because collecting money seems more important than practicing religion' to Scientology. It's also notes this is the first time an organization has been denied religious classification in Finland. This won't affect their operation in that religious classification in Finland is mostly a formality, that doesn't bring any additional tax-breaks for example. However, it does grant some sort of credibility, right to be taught as a religion in schools and less strict tax-monitoring. According to Finnish law, you may apparently only belong to one 'religion' at time. Thus religions 'compatible with other religions' haven't traditionally sought religious status.
"Scientology applied for the classification three years ago, with 20 signatories, which is the absolute minimum. However, when the Ministry of Education asked for clarification, Scientology church in Finland didn't give one because some of the signed members 'had moved' and the organization had 'better things to do'. Scientology's Finnish spokesman, Kari Koivisto said that the claims about courses costing from hundreds of dollars to over 20,000 dollars were false and the real costs were some tens of dollars, or a couple of hundred at most. The news-article goes on to mention the Finnish 1994 case where a woman was 'persuaded' to take a loan valued at $30,000."
Hamburger Abendblatt reported this week that Scientology has been mailing
letters to opponents this week.
"Companies and associations who do not want Scientology influence have begun receiving mail from the controversial organization. The letters state that they should withdraw 'security statements,' which, from the Scientologists' view, are discriminatory, and by which means employees, customers and business partners must state that they are neither Scientologists, nor do they use the technology of sect founder L. Ron Hubbard.
"In one of the first letters, the Scientology 'German Office for Human Rights' in Munich had sent questionnaires to companies all around the country (twelve of them in Hamburg), in which questions were asked such as whether, when, and at whose urging the 'security statements' had been introduced. In another letter, which, according to a statement by Hamburg Scientology speaker Gisela Hackenjos, was only sent to the German Brokers Group (RDM), Scientology stated that it would soon publish which companies, groups and associations continued to use a 'security statement.'
"The RDM stated, in response, that it did not intend 'to modify the regulations of the Hamburg state associations,' in spite of this threat. Ursula Caberta, Director of the Work Group on Scientology for the State, said that the addressees should 'not be afraid' and to call her in case of emergency."
Hamburger Abendblatt also reported that Scientology is behind in social security payments.
"According to information from the 'Abendblatt' the amount is around three million marks. One year ago, the sect was presented with a demand for payment for retirement, unemployment and health insurance contributions. This money is now due. The organization, according to a statement by its speaker, Gisela Hackenjos, has filed an objection and agreed to a payment plan. It will also take action against the anticipated second request for money.
"The additional payments are based on a Federal Administrative Court decision confirmed in 1995 by the Hamburg Superior Administrative Court, whereby the Scientology Center on Steindamm does business as a book seller and as a provider of courses and seminars. The Federal Labor Court found in 1995 that Scientology is not a religious congregation, and that its staff workers are therefore employees for whom social security payments are due."
OTS reported on a Scientology anti-drug event in Austria.
"On December 10 at 4 p.m., the 'Say No to Drugs' campaign held a big concert against drugs in front of the Haas building on Stephansplatz. The concert was supposed to kick off a grandly designed information campaign. Mark Janicello, the renowned American opera tenor and Elvis imitator, sang at this special event. The newly published brochure, 'Ecstasy: traitor exposed,' which was sponsored by the Scientology Church Austria, was also distributed at the concert.
"The 'Say No to Drugs' campaign has been running successfully for many years in countries such as Switzerland, Germany and America, where stars such as John Travolta and Isaac Hayes, Chick Corea, the Beach Boys and many others have supported it. The 'honor roll' has been signed by personalities such as Michael Palin, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cliff Richard, Princess Christina from Sweden and many others."
"All told, over 4,000 leaflets as well as 1,900 copies of the booklet, 'Ecstasy - Traitor Exposed' were distributed. The President of the Scientology Church Vienna, Andrea Westhof, said, 'The great success of today's concert has convinced us to support and promote the campaign and the association 'Say No to Drugs' even more.'"
An editorial in the UK newspaper The Guardian urged support for
Scientology and other cults in Germany.
"Freedom of belief is second only to freedom of speech in the Declaration, but in the secular West, people of minority faiths - most prominently, muslims - passionately argue that it is in this area, that Western liberalism reveals its own blind intolerance. How many human rights experts have been prepared to champion the Scientologists' struggle in Germany, where they are discriminated against in jobs, hiring public buildings, conducting their businesses and banned from political parties.
"What is a cult to one man is a peaceful search for utopia to the next. In the hysterical panic which swept through Francophone Europe in the wake of the Solar Temple in 1994, freedom of belief has been an easy sacrifice in several liberal democracies. There is no shortage of anti-cult groups happy to supply allegations. When politicians seize the opportunity of some cheap credit, a cycle of misinformation and harassment prompts persecution complexes which can turn a movement into a paranoid cult."
The editorial may have been related to a lawsuit won against The Guardian by an anti-cult activist in November, 1998. From The Guardian:
"One of the country's highest profile campaigners against cults was defamed by a Guardian article which portrayed him as a 'self promoting, self-aggrandising and obsessive individual', a jury at the High Court in London decided yesterday. Graham Baldwin, aged 44, director of the Catalyst charity which helps the victims of cults, was awarded 15,000 pounds in damages for an article published in January last year which looked at the case of three children who were returned to the UK from Portugal where they had been staying with an alleged cult.
"The jury decided by a 10-2 majority that Mr. Baldwin had been libeled by the Guardian. They had been told that they would enter 'a shadowy and, some would say, sinister world' of cults. They heard that the story centred on a community in Portugal, the International Saturday Group, also known as the ISG or the Family, which Mr. Baldwin alleged was a cult. Mr. Baldwin's counsel, Jonathan Crystal, told the jury that the Guardian had done a hatchet job - a serious attack on 'somebody who's a good man'."
Protest / Revenge Summary
Jeff Jacobsen and Bruce Pettycrew reported a protest at the Mesa org this
week, which was followed by a revenge leaflet from Scientology. From Jeff
"My neighborhood got papered with one of those generic 'The Face of Religious Bigotry' flyers today, after a few of us picketed the church from 11 am to noon today. Since my neighbors know me, they kindly brought me copies of the flyers."
>From Bruce Pettycrew:
"Today we had 5 picketers! Deana Holmes joined me and Kathy, Jeff Jacobsen and Steve W. in a picket from 11:00 to 12:00 today. There were 2 handlers (welcome Jim and Kathy Bennet to the Mesa bOrg staff) and a new punk-type goon to take down our license plate numbers. The license plate taker asked me what crimes against the Co$."
A transcript of the 20/20 news program was posted this week. Some
"A young nurse named Hana Whitfield was one of Hubbard's original Sea Org members. But instead of a magnanimous leader, Whitfield says she found in Hubbard a man increasingly prone to violent fits of temper. 'He would whine and cry out and, and express outrage at this or that or the other. Um, that would go on for days.'
"According to Whitfield and others, Hubbard ordered rule-breakers confined to the ship's chain locker for days at a time, including once a 4-year-old boy. On another occasion, witnesses say, Hubbard ordered wayward crew members to be shoved overboard while the Apollo was docked in port. A Scientology magazine at the time depicted the ceremony.
"HANA WHITFIELD: 'And those who were wailing or prostrate with fear were just grabbed and shoved over the ship into the harbor.'
"MIKE RINDER: 'There was a, like a, a little ceremony that grew up that was like a, um,--I dunno, a joke, like a fun thing--'OK, I commit my sins to the deep and I arise a better man!' and he would jump off the side.'
"TOM JARRIEL: After wandering the seas for more than five years, Hubbard finally came ashore here, in the sleepy retirement town of Clearwater, Florida. His goal was to establish an international mecca for Scientology. But according to many insiders, Hubbard was growing more and more vindictive toward those who stood in his way. He created what he called 'The Rehabilitation Project Force.'
"HANA WHITFIELD: 'The people who are assigned to this camp are the worst of the worst. They're the--they're criminals in Scientology. I had two big men on either side of me who pretty much manhandled me into this room with no windows. And there was just a mattress on the floor. And I was locked in this room in the dark for however long it was. My crime was, in a Scientology sense, a very serious one. I was accused of having negative thoughts about Mr. Hubbard.'
"Stacy Young says she was assigned to the RPF for disobeying an order to interrogate a fellow staff member. For part of the time, Young says she was in a room on the seventh floor of the Los Angeles church. Her husband admits he stood by and did nothing to try to get her out.
"STACY YOUNG: 'I didn't see Vaughn for several months. I didn't hear from him. I didn't have any correspondence with him whatsoever. He did nothing to try and rescue me. (starts crying) I felt that my husband should have rescued me.'
"VAUGHN YOUNG: 'I didn't take her out. I look back at that--that's--I should have just picked her up. I should have just picked her up. And I should have just said, 'If anybody touches me, you're dead.' You go through interrogations hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month. Breaking you down, breaking you down, breaking you down. Hubbard's policy was, 'As long as you're with us, we'll leave you alone. But if you speak out against us, we're gonna dog you and ruin you and destroy you.' And that's exactly what they keep trying to do.'
"FRANK OLIVER: 'They can send private investigators out to your home or to your place of work, talk to your neighbors. They will illicitly try and obtain copies of your phone bills or credit rating. They will try and create problems for you at your place of employment. They will try and sue you. They'll do everything they can try and do to stop you or to silence you.'
"TOM JARRIEL: 'How do you know?'
"FRANK OLIVER: 'I know because that's what I used to do. I remember having to make the phone calls to all the phone numbers on someone's phone bill to find out where they had called. These were enemies of the church. You shut them down. You find out what you can about them. You find their weak spot and you expose it. You make it so that they cannot survive or exist. You literally destroy them. I think that when we were chasing around Hana Whitfield that she was very intimidated by this, very disturbed by it. We followed this woman out of her house. We chased her around. We followed her to the airport.'
"KIRSTIE ALLEY: 'If you divorce a woman, and you, she gives me her version of why she left you, how valid do you think it is? If you've got a group standing over here of millions of Scientologists telling you daily the successes that they have, the wins that they have, the way they're helping people, and you can examine the statistics for yourself, and you have a handful of dissatisfied customers over here, then that's life. You're never going to have a group of anyone without some dissatisfied customers. So say, fine, you don't want to be a Scientologist, go.'"
Joe Lynn reported his experiences in a Los Angeles jail last week.
Scientology agents were involved in having him jailed for outstanding
warrants. Joe has been a protester against Scientology in Los Angeles,
and was visited by a Scientology agent while serving time.
"I was called out for an 'attorney visit' went to the office and was told 'Mr. Richardson is around the corner.' This was of course kind of a shock to me since I was well aware who he was having seen him dancing a little jig when I got busted and at each of the court appearances I made thereafter. I also know him from my picket with Kristi where he tried to follow us.. and did for a while block my truck in at Celebrity Centre. I told the deputy 'That's not my attorney. That's a PI from the Church of Scientology,' which didn't seem to surprise him either. He just asked if I wanted to talk to him. Having a sense of humor I said yes of course. Richardson claimed that he didn't claim to be representing my attorney.
"He was there (and there is about an hour's drive out of the way from downtown LA) to show me a printout of an IRC log from wgert obviously where Dennis supposedly takes credit for getting me busted. Standard slimo-clam tactic and no surprise. I just shook my head sadly and said that'd be silly of Dennis since both Richardson and I knew it was his credit. The whole rest of the story is just the concerned Edwin commiserating with my unemployment and suggesting I might work for them when I got out. In retrospect I kind of doubt the offer was serious.
"And many thanks to Graham Berry who went far beyond anything he needed to do and got results that I'm perfectly happy with. Or at least as happy as anybody whose dealt with the justice system would be."
Mark Dallara posted the minutes of a 1997 phone call between
representatives of Scientology-affiliated American Technologies Group and
the defunct Scientology company Tradenet. The participants in the
discussion of the controversial IE crystals and laundry ball products were
John Collins, Bill Cooper, Erwin Annau and Harold Rapp. Some excerpts:
"It is ATG's position that both our firms are in danger unless ATG completes this cycle immediately because the calls, letters, and complaints we are receiving will continue unless we complete the science to support your claims. With the laundry solution, which is not our product, we are behind the '8 ball'. We would normally have come-up with the idea, gotten sample globes, filled them with Ie, run them through the washing machines, document tests and results, write a paper on the invention, independently confirm our invention through peer review, and then publish our results. The product would have become sellable and defensible, unassailable by authorities or suppressives in the environment. We are going ahead and purchasing the scientific equipment because we believe both our firms are in danger unless we move quickly and effectively to validate your product.
"While it has been stated that TradeNet does not want all of its products to contain ATG's Ie crystal, it must be fully understood that it is ATG's job to get the Ie crystal into as many products as possible. Therefore, it is our intention to create cosmetic and toiletry products which contain Ie crystals. We will also prove in our laboratory that these products are superior to other products in the marketplace which do not contain Ie crystals, and ATG will ensure the public realizes that products containing Ie crystals are more desirable and effective.
"ATG is proceeding quickly with developing a super globe for your Laundry System (globe plus a consumable comprised of liquid Ie for softening) and the Dishwasher System (non-consumable plus consumable enzyme-based product). It must be understood that whatever products are finally offered to TradeNet by ATG will undoubtedly work as advertised consistently and predictably they will be based solely on science and proven efficacy so no attacks can be directed at either TradeNet or ATG.
"While watching a business news channel last week, I found an interesting discussion on Amway's financials. Amway's largest business today by far is educational materials-books, videos, and tapes. Dr. Lo has written 3 books on the subjects of physics, quantum mechanics, and mathematics in cartoon form similar to KTL (Key to Life Course). Other books are being written on electricity, Ie crystals, and science. These books are vital to understanding these subjects. Most parents have a concern for the education of their children. These books can correct the wrong information in our colleges and universities while applying the study tech and being entertaining, easily understood. These books can be made available exclusively to TradeNet to broaden your scope I am delighted that TradeNet's stats are up, and I am pleased and proud to be working with TradeNet."