187A.r.s Week in Review - 7/6/2003
- Jul 6, 2003Alt.religion.scientology
Week in Review Volume 8, Issue 12
7/6/2003 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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> ClearwaterLetters to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times on June 30th again
discussed the role of Scientology in downtown Clearwater.
"I am incensed over the Times' pointless attacks on my religion. I have
been a Scientologist for over 20 years. I do not understand why you
continually print editorials or articles which portray Scientology in such
a negative light. I do not see any such treatment of Christianity or
"The Times has a constitutional right to print whatever it sees fit, just
as its readers have their right to express their opinions. As a practical
matter, however, we see all around us examples of how exercise of these
rights can lead to prejudice, bigotry and even war. I feel it is the
responsibility of the Times in its exercise of its rights to be careful
not to promote an atmosphere where discrimination and mistrust can grow.
"Religious intolerance has been part of man's history since the dawn of
civilization. Your contribution to it by publishing inflammatory articles
and editorials on Scientology is irresponsible and brings your motives
into question. - John J. Beachy, Belleair
"Although I agree that past errors should not be a basis on which to judge
an organization for eternity, in this instance it is wise to remember.
When the FBI raided Scientology offices, some of the documents that they
recovered included plans to set up then-Clearwater mayor Gabe Cazares for
a staged hit-and-run accident; to infiltrate local newspaper offices; and
to set up a former Scientologist who had written a book on her
experiences. In fact, Scientology so successfully accused her of crimes
which she had never committed, that she was arrested until the truth came
out in those seized documents.
"This very paper ran a story in March of this year that included
information on Richard Weigand, who is still a very active member of the
church and who was convicted of one of those 'past mistakes.' The mistake
was conspiring to conceal theft of government documents. Mary Sue Hubbard,
wife of Scientology's founder, was also convicted. Has she been purged
from the church?
"I was a member of Scientology for 20 years. I have lived in the
Clearwater area since 1995 and have no intentions of leaving. I want to
say: Do not forget what happened in the past. Do not forget that all of
Scientology's activities are, per their own policies, geared only toward
forwarding their own aims and purposes.
"The people of Clearwater can see with their own eyes what Scientology has
contributed to them; we are not led by the nose by the St. Petersburg
Times. However, it is by remembering the past and keeping a keen eye on
the present that we will be able to embrace the future from a fully
educated viewpoint. - Teresa S. Summers, Dunedin
> Protest SummaryDave Bird reported a protest at the London Scientology org on June 28th.
I arrived at the venue early before the others, but we soon had a good
crowd crowd comprising Dave, Jens, Hartley, Katie, Tony, SteveCT, plus
Andy and Pam. The clams were quite snappy, but I was in remarkably good
voice and spirits. I did the mic 95% of the time. Tony went on the mic for
a few minutes too, and a guy came past who laid into the clams based on 20
or 30 years of experiencing them. We just gave him the mic and let him
The police were there at the start of the start of the demo. They were
particularly concerned that the sidewalk south of the Org, which was
already narrowed by scaffolding, should not be further obstructed by
leafleters and we carefully complied with this by staying at least 5
meters north of there.
"The most notable feature for me was that I acquired a barnacle, who
persistently stood in front of me with his back to me. I responded by
using him as an example 'this is your mind on Scientology, staring with a
googly-eyed look and parroting his few set phrases. I couldn't see the
reaction on his face, but others tell me he was becoming a bit of a
> Tax ExemptionThe St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on June 30th that Scientology is
appealing a decision by St. Louis County in Missouri that it is not
entitled to a tax exemption on the org building
"The Church of Scientology is fighting the decision by St. Louis County
to deny tax-exempt status to the group's property at 6901 Delmar Boulevard
in U. City. Armstrong Teasdale's Donald Beimdiek filed an appeal on
behalf of the Scientologists. The county Board of Equalization denied the
group's exemption, saying the property was not 'regularly used exclusively
for religious (or) charitable' purposes, as required. The Scientologists
have an identical appeal pending before the St. Louis County Council. The
county billed the building's former owner $10,277 in 2000, the last year
taxes were assessed on the building."
> TampaThe St. Petersburg Times reported on July 6th that Scientology has bought
another cigar factory building in Tampa, Florida, and plans more expansion
in the area.
"A group of high-ranking Scientologists, concerned the church's Tampa
facilities aren't up to snuff, is investing more than $2.5 million to buy
a second cigar factory in West Tampa and to lease and renovate a two-story
building on one of the hottest corners in Ybor City. The church's three
properties, staffed by nearly 100 people, will be the base for
Scientology's most aggressive appeal for members to the Tampa Bay
"This 'dissemination' campaign, primarily focused on Tampa, often comes in
the form of an invitation to take a personality or aptitude test. It will
be bolstered by television advertising and taking to the street to spread
"The remarkable growth spurt for the Church of Scientology in Tampa began
this spring with the grand opening of the newly renovated Andres Diaz
building. It was purchased last year for $1.2-million. The church then
moved to acquire a smaller cigar factory next door, for use as a community
center. Now under lease, the church plans to buy the building in September
for $425,000. The church spent $500,000 renovating this second cigar
factory and its newly opened Life Improvement Center in a leased brick
building on Eighth Avenue, in the heart of the Ybor entertainment
district. Well-dressed staff members fan out in the crowded streets
nightly to offer free 'Scientometric Testing.'
"'We want to make ourselves more known,' said Wayne Fuller, a
Scientologist for 31 years and executive director of the Tampa church.
Fuller is one of an elite group of Scientologists who have completed the
highest levels of Scientology training, called OT ambassadors. The OT
ambassadors living in the Clearwater area had talked for years about
upgrading the Tampa church, he said.
"Clearwater Scientologists played a key role. Fuller, the Tampa church's
executive director, Louise Cournoyer, who runs the community center in the
recently opened second cigar factory, and Peggy Guigon, who runs the Life
Improvement Center in Ybor, all commute to the Tampa church from
"The church estimates it has 12,000 members in the Tampa Bay area; 5,000
in Tampa. Fuller said about 800 of the Tampa parishioners are active
members, who are taking courses or participating in church services.
"Personality tests, a popular tool used by the church to introduce
Scientology to the uninitiated, are showing up on windshields at hockey
games. Cards inviting residents to Scientology Sunday services can be
found on countertops of diners and delis around town. Newspaper
advertisements tout the benefits of the church's 'purification rundowns.'
What's more, the publishers of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's book
Dianetics have begun making an area push with television ads and a
campaign to place Dianetics books in prominent displays at local
large-chain bookstores, Shaw said.
"A team of some 200 field staff members of the church also spreads the
word about Scientology at flea markets and other events throughout the
region. Field staff members are not employees of the church, but make
commissions on what the people they bring to the church spend on
materials, courses and services. Some make a living out of it.
"The Tampa church also plans to add another 20 to 30 employees. The 93
employees of the church are paid based on a percentage of what the church
collects in fees for services during a given week. General, full-time
staffers typically earn about $200 per week, Fuller said. Unlike
employees at Clearwater's Flag, called Sea Org members, Tampa staffers pay
for their own living arrangements.
"The church has also begun reaching out to its neighbors in West Tampa.
During walks around the predominantly Hispanic West Tampa neighborhood,
church spokeswoman Ana Tirabassi said she was told by many that they would
like help learning English. So the church offers English as a Second
Language courses on Monday and Tuesday nights in its community center. 'We
want to be part of the community,' Tirabassi said."