Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 48
3/9/2003 by Rod Keller [rkeller@...
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.
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The letters to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times on March 4th
included two responses to last week's article on new Scientology missions
being established in the Clearwater area.
"Scientology is only about making money. Scientology is a cultic,
multilevel marketing enterprise where the merchandise is ostensibly
personal well-being rather than household products. At least with Amway,
you get some pretty good detergent. Scientology is religion as a pyramid
"If Scientology is truly about improving lives, why aren't its insights
free? Certainly at some point, organized religions get around to passing
the collection plate, but for the world's major faiths, salvation (of one
sort or another) comes first, and it comes free of charge. Scientologists
would consider Mother Teresa types dismal failures because such people
don't earn revenue for their church.
"Apart from the issue of proprietary information, there are other reasons
Scientology members don't share their beliefs freely. One is they haven't
had enough brainwashing to know the Scientology version of the Greatest
Story Every Told. They don't know about the evil galactic ruler Xenu who,
Hubbard said, exterminated hundreds of millions of space aliens on Earth
76-trillion years ago. They haven't paid Scientology enough cash for
indoctrination to learn suffering comes from the ghosts of those murdered
beings - called Body Thetans -- inhabiting humans and instilling false
memories, causing sickness and mental dysfunction.
"But if Scientologists are happy with their beliefs, who does it hurt? The
same might be asked about snake oil treatments desperately purchased from
avaricious charlatans. At least con artists simply rip you off and move
on. The Scientologists want you to become a salesperson too, ensnaring
those you can and disassociating yourself from all others. And Scientology
is quite able to destroy your ability to reason and thoroughly control all
aspects of your life so you'll be a willing drone in their cause. - Jim
"Scientology seems poised to have an effect on other cities with its
ever-expanding enterprise and tax-exempt status. The tax-exempt status is
the key, and this article shows exactly why Scientology should not be
exempt from paying taxes. The fees in this article are much like a fee
paid to a doctor. Are fees paid to doctors exempt from taxes? No. Are the
doctors' offices free from paying property tax, or do doctors' offices pay
employment tax and every other proper tax that other businesses pay? Yes,
and so should Scientology.
"With that tax exemption Scientology is allowed to make huge sums of money
and keep it all. This allows them the luxury to build multimillion-dollar
projects on property that should be generating taxes for the county and
state. This has ruined downtown Clearwater, without any question. The
immense presence of Scientology in Clearwater and expanding areas is bad
for the community. Scientology is a business and should be taxed as one. -
F. Charles Gordon, Clearwater"
The Irish Times reported on March 6th and 7th that the case of Mary
Johnston, a former Scientologist who is suing for conspiracy,
misrepresentation and breach of constitutional rights, continued this week
with testimony from Dr. Stephen Kent.
"A professor of sociology who has written books and articles critical of
the Church of Scientology and other organisations told the High Court
yesterday the church was attempting to isolate him within the academic
community. Prof. Stephen Kent, who is based in Canada, made the claim in
the ongoing action for damages by Ms Mary Johnston.
"Yesterday, during resumed cross-examination of Prof. Kent, Mr. Michael
Collins SC, for the defendants, referred to articles written by a number
of sociologists, psychologists and others dealing with the concepts of
brainwashing and coercive persuasion. Mr. Collins suggested the
conclusions of some of these writers were at variance with those of Prof.
Kent, particularly regarding the professor's view that a person's free
will can be overborne by certain coercive persuasion techniques to such an
extent they may undergo a significant personality change and truly convert
to whatever ideology it may be sought to persuade them of.
"Prof. Kent agreed there were some differences between his views and those
of some writers referred to but said he was in broad agreement with them
on many issues. He said one expert had not referred to religion in
discussing coercive persuasion and he believed it was vital to factor in
that people are motivated for purposive rewards. He agreed the term
brainwashing can be used in two different senses, involving an element of
physical force and no such physical element.
"Mr. Collins said one recognised expert had described as a myth the theory
that certain techniques could result in a person's psychiatric status
being transformed from normal to pathological. Prof. Kent said he believed
there could be a change in psychiatric status as a result of coercive
persuasion. He agreed hypnosis could be a factor but said there were other
"At one point, Prof. Kent told Mr. Justice Peart the defendants had put in
a critique of his work in an attempt to isolate him in the academic
community. Mr. Collins said Prof. Kent had responded to that critique and
he was indicating, in referring to certain articles, was that the
professor has been the subject of criticism by reputed scholars."
"A fundamental issue in the legal action by a woman against the Church of
Scientology is whether her free will was overborne or compromised in her
decision to take up certain courses run by the church, the High Court
heard yesterday. If the court finds Ms Mary Johnston's free will was
affected, it must then decide whether that has any legal consequences
entitling her to damages, Mr. Michael Collins, for the church said.
"The fundamental point was whether Ms Johnston's free will was compromised
to an extent that was unacceptable in law, counsel added. His side would
be arguing free will is a concept that cannot be measured.
"Yesterday, Prof. Kent said he had referred to free will in the context of
a sociological definition and not in the context of a philosophical
discussion. He agreed that man has a reasoning power that is unique. Mr.
Collins suggested that if a person exercises that power free of direction
by anyone else, that is an exercise of free will, irrespective of how
complete their information is. Prof. Kent said sociologists and
psychologists had identified the importance of deception as mitigating a
person's ability to make a decision."
> Juliette Lewis
The Washington Post reported on March 5th that Scientology celebrity
Juliette Lewis visited the U.S. Congress to push for restrictions of the
use of medicine for children with problem behavior.
"Actress Juliette Lewis visits Capitol Hill today to sell Congress on the
nationwide effort - spearheaded by the Church of Scientology - to stop
educational authorities from requiring 'problem' schoolchildren to take
"'This is not a Scientology thing, but there are Scientologists involved,'
said the 29-year-old Lewis, who joined the church seven years ago after
reading a Scientology text 'and it was really logical. I was 22, and at
the time I could really use it. We are against putting people on drugs to
help solve problems.' Lewis said she got involved in the
anti-pharmaceutical campaign in 1999. 'Everyone was really upset due to
Columbine and the other violent crimes that popped up afterward,' she
said. 'The media started looking at entertainment media and blaming them -
which was an oversimplified explanation. So I became curious.'
"Given Scientology's influence in Hollywood, has it helped her career?
'No. I don't look at it that way,' Lewis answered. 'It's helped me
personally, but not necessarily professionally. The two can go together
but that's not what I look to Scientology for.'"
> New Zealand
The Dominion Post published an article on March 1st on the state of
Scientology in New Zealand.
"'Be careful what you write about Scientology. They're very rich and very
litigious.' This warning comes from a psychiatrist - psychiatry is the
sworn enemy of Scientology - and shows that the scepticism about the
movement founded in the 1950s by L Ron Hubbard, who made his name as a
writer of science fiction, is alive and well. The heyday of fear of it as
a cult came in the late 1960s when hundreds of New Zealanders signed a
petition calling for legislative curbs on it and a government commission
of inquiry upheld a complaint that it was responsible for alienating two
young Scientologists from their family. There was no subsequent
legislation, but a handful of rules the cult said it had already embraced
were laid down. Times have changed. Mike Ferris, spokesman for the
Auckland-based church, says the family involved in the inquiry have long
been reconciled. Scientology bears the respectable title of a religion.
And a few weeks ago the Inland Revenue Department decided it qualified as
a charity and was thus tax exempt.
"The Scientologists - the church claims there are more than 6000 in New
Zealand - are over the moon. Only a scattering of countries of the 151 in
which they operate give them such fulsome recognition, notably Australia,
South Africa and Sweden. Britain does not, nor does France. So what
happened to make Scientology respectable, to align it with the mainstream
churches in New Zealand, and give it the same financial advantages? Mr.
Ferris says the possibility of recognition as a charity has been discussed
with Inland Revenue for years. 'You could say we were running in to fixed
ideas on what a religion might be.' He says a breakthrough came in the
form of a 2001 Inland Revenue paper in which the definition of religion
came from a 1983 Australian High Court case recognising Scientology as a
religion. Armed with this, the Scientologists applied for charity status
"Mr. Ferris laughs off the 'rich and litigious' label, unless litigious
can include a case in the 1970s when someone impugned Scientology on
talkback radio. 'He put forth a retraction.' He says Scientology is a
non-profit group and funds are used in the region from which they come.
The only New Zealand church, on the Ellerslie Panmure Highway, is rented.
'Collecting real estate is absolutely not what we're about.'
"The New Zealand Church of Scientology was the the first to be established
outside of the United States. Paul Morris, professor of religious studies
at Victoria University, says New Zealand is historically hospitable to new
religious movements. 'Scientologists' view of themselves has greater
continuity than it once had. Scientology has a series of different levels
in many ways, a kind of inner circle with a shop-front version. Like many
New Age movements, self-improvement is important.' The idea of auditing,
he says, is 'like a pop-version of psychoanalytic theory, memory as a
release. The aim is to become clear and fully functioning'.
"Auckland University emeritus professor of psychiatry John Werry says any
truth in Scientology's attacks on the psychiatric profession is 'highly
overblown'. Scientology, he says, is supposed to be a religion with a
scientific basis. Scientologists have a science for understanding human
behaviour and see psychiatrists as competitors.
"'It's about feeling good about yourself and your community,' says Tim
Perkins, 33, of Wellington, who has been a Scientologist for seven years.
Mr. Perkins was introduced to Scientology by his brother, who encountered
it travelling with mates in the United States. He has done several
Scientology courses, including a purification course in London in 2001.
The aim was to clear toxins and radiation from his body. Vitamin and
mineral supplements and exercise were part of that. 'After five or six
weeks, I felt 10 years younger,' he says. 'Do I think it was expensive?
Definitely not. I know I was pretty filled up with different toxins.' On
other courses, he has learned communication skills, including 'dealing
with the ups and downs of life and how to recognise people who have been
harmful and are holding you back'. 'The whole ethics programme is amazing
and gets back to doing unto others what you would have done to yourself.'
"Bernard Roundhill, an early, acclaimed graphic artist, has been a
Scientologist for almost as long as the movement has been in existence. He
is 91 and lives with his third wife, Peggy, in Auckland. She, too, has
been a Scientologist for decades. Mr. Roundhill discovered it in 1953.
Mrs Roundhill says he learned, through Scientology, to create art that
could communicate to people. 'With Scientology, he received validation and
learned to do it better and better.'"
> Protest Summary
Dave Bird reported a protest on March 8th at the Birmingham, England
"Present were Dave, Damian, Tony, and Katie, plus Jens and Martin who
rolled in at the end of lunch. David and John arrived during the demo
because of delayed trains from London, and also Neil. We were short of
leaflets, but John had some and Martin did an extra hundred at the
stationers. We set up the boom-box, first with Martin and later with John
on the Mic, also the cylinder for helium balloons: we have two sorts,
white with a single red and blue design or transparent with the same print
on each of 4 sides in blue, and we had long-float coating in for the tiny
tots who kept them rather than sucked the gas.
"There were a fair number of clams counter-leafleting. One guy came past
me and said 'are you protesting against that bunch on the second floor?
Well done, they conned me into there six months ago, and wouldn't let me
out. I hadn't got any money, so she kept saying I'd seen now how valuable
the courses were and why didn't I borrow a few hundred quid off my mother
to buy them with?' By popular request I went on the Mic at the end and did
a few spirited choruses of Do The ElRon-Ron, Little Ghosties, the Xemu
Rap, and so forth."
> In Memoriam
The Ocean County Register reported that a teenager was struck and killed
by a truck in his way to the Scientology org.
"Clint Coleman had crossed Red Hill Avenue hundreds of times on his way to
weekly youth meetings at the Church of Scientology. But Tuesday night, the
Tustin 14-year-old never made it. A Dodge pickup hit Coleman and a friend
while they were crossing Red Hill at Olwyn Drive at 6:50 p.m. Coleman died
instantly, police said. His friend, Sam Crabtree, 19, also of Tustin, was
recovering from major injuries Wednesday at Western Medical Center in
"The accident was the second involving teens at a crosswalk in the past
week. Saturday, two 14-year-olds were injured when they were hit by a
minivan in an unincorporated area near Tustin. Danielle Genzen, 14, a
friend of Coleman's, is collecting signatures on a petition asking the
city to add more streetlights and a stop sign or traffic light at the
"Friends and family at the Church of Scientology remembered Coleman as a
fun-loving guy with a witty sense of humor and a crooked smile. He could
raise anyone's spirits with a mean Clint Eastwood impression and he
rattled off movie lines like a tape recorder, said Andra Clark, 23.
Coleman attended Brighten School in Orange and spent many hours on Church
of Scientology youth projects, including cleaning the shoreline at Doheny
> Reed Slatkin
Slatkinfraud.com reported on March 2nd and 7th that the trustee in the
Reed Slatkin bankruptcy case is involving several Scientology
organizations that may have benefited from the Slatkin Ponzi scheme.
"Despite its best efforts to disassociate itself from its disgraced former
minister, the Church of Scientology is being dragged into the Reed Slatkin
bankruptcy investigation once again - and this time, trustee Todd Neilson
and the Creditors' Committee want documents. The Trustee has demanded that
seven separate Scientology organizations produce documents related to any
donations or gifts that the church has received from Slatkin since 1985.
Church officials from each of the seven corporations will also have to
appear for a videotaped examination.
"In addition to records related to money transfers, the trustee also wants
any and all documents or correspondence related to the Slatkin bankruptcy,
pre-bankruptcy investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission
and the ongoing criminal investigation. Neilson is also demanding all
documents related to communication or correspondence between church
officials and any other individual or entity regarding investments with
Slatkin from 1985 until the present."
"Two more Scientology organizations have been added to the list - the
World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, the quasi-independent network
of Scientologist businesses, and the Church of Scientology Religious
Trust, one of the strongholds of cash within the labyrinth of the
Scientology corporate empire. Both organizations have the potential to
provide the trustee with a wealth of information related to Slatkin's
activities in the years before his Ponzi scheme was uncovered.
"According to Church of Scientology International spokesman Aron Mason,
Slatkin was ejected from WISE precisely because of a failure to meet
unspecified 'ethical standards.' A Knowledge Report, prepared by Slatkin
business associate and net profiteer Richard Levine in 1988, is likely
just one example of the correspondence that WISE and other
Scientology-related entices would have received from puzzled and angry
Slatkin investors over the years about Slatkin's shifty and deceptive
"Many Scientology-related payments and donations are made directly to the
Church of Scientology Religious Trust, which serves as a repository for
virtually all of the cash collected from within the United States.
"Scientologist attorney Helena Kobrin, long-time counsel to the Church of
Scientology International and Religious Technology Center, two of the
Scientology entities currently facing Slatkin-related Rule 2004
examinations, lost no time in filing an objection to the examination on
behalf of net-gainers named in adversary proceedings related the Slatkin
case. Ms. Kobrin's motion, filed on behalf of Elvira Morgan, Yvonne
Kellerhals, Alex Guevera, and the Fair family (Virginia, Whitney, Joshua
and Jana), argues that the Rule 2004 examinations into the
Scientology-related entities, which will scrutinize not only money
received from Slatkin, but also from adversary defendants, would
improperly deprive defendants of discovery rights.
"Ms. Kobrin and her husband, Michael D. Kobrin, are also facing adversary
proceedings based on the Trustee's claim that they netted $268,000 in
The News and Star newspaper from Carlisle, England reported on March 7th
that the Scientology affiliated Citizen's Commission on Human Rights is
asking a hospital to stop using Electroconvulsive Therapy to treat
"The Citizen's Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), set up by the Church of
Scientology in America, said the West Cumberland Hospital's Yewdale Ward
carries out Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT), which involves sending
between 180 and 460 volts of electricity through the brain.
"The procedure has been used since the Sixties and cannot be carried out
unless a consent form is signed. It is practiced in hospitals all over the
UK. But the CCHR is calling for the treatment to be stopped altogether.
CCHR spokesman Brian Daniels said: 'Electroshock should not be available
as a choice. After 50 years of practising this, psychiatrists are not
likely to suddenly agree that it is harmful.'
"Lindsay Varty, spokeswoman for North Cumbria Acute Health Trust,
confirmed: 'It is a proven form of safe and effective treatment for people
suffering from severe depression. The treatment is the subject of an