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A.r.s Week in Review - 6/23/2002

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  • Rod Keller
    Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 12 6/23/2002 by Rod Keller [rkeller@voicenet.com] copyright 2002 Alt.religion.scientology Week in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 23, 2002
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      Alt.religion.scientology
      Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 12
      6/23/2002 by Rod Keller [rkeller@...]
      copyright 2002

      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. Subscriptions are
      also available on Yahoo. Email weekinreview-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or
      see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/weekinreview. PDA channel available at
      http://avantgo.com/channels/_add_channel.pl?cha_id=2900

      Week in Review is archived at:
      http://www.xenu.net/archive/WIR/
      http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~krasel/CoS/ars-summary.html
      http://www.uni-bonn.de/~uzs1dc/scientology/wir.html
      http://www.religio.de/publik/arsfaq.html

      #####

      > Clearwater

      The St. Petersburg Times published a letter to the editor on June 17th
      from Pat Harney, PR director for Scientology, on the opening of the Fort
      Harrison Hotel to the public.

      "In addition to the beautifully restored hotel, rich in the history of
      this city, visitors to the Fort Harrison learn about Scientology and meet
      the real people of Scientology, who come from all walks of life. The
      majority of our church parishioners are active in their communities,
      helping others to live better lives.

      "Visitors to the Fort Harrison learn that Scientologists in Tampa Bay
      contribute thousands of hours of volunteer time in teaching people to read
      and learn, helping people to get off drugs, as volunteer ministers during
      times of disaster and in the day-to-day business of living, with its
      upsets and problems.

      "What initially began as just three weeks of open house to celebrate the
      75th anniversary of the Fort Harrison stretched into four weeks and now,
      due to popular demand, is being done weekly on Sundays. I invite you all
      to come and see for yourselves. - Pat Harney"

      Message-ID: <XLjP8.552$1J6.613968@...>

      #####

      > Tom Cruise

      The Los Angeles Daily News published an article on Scientology celebrity
      Tom Cruise on June 16th to mark the release of his new movie Minority
      Report.

      "Either Tom Cruise is really working the charm, or he's just being
      himself. Whatever it is, the 39-year-old, $25-million-plus-a-picture star
      is opening up like never before. Perhaps he's doing it simply to promote
      his new sci-fi thriller, 'Minority Report.' It's a dark, thoughtful and
      dystopian meditation on a future where people are arrested for crimes
      before they commit them. "

      "'I don't believe in fate,' he points out. 'I believe that you make your
      own fate in terms of your own life. But if we were in a situation where we
      had precognitives and they were able to predict the future, I think that
      would be pretty cool. But then there's that whole thing of how accurate is
      it, that problem. But it would be pretty interesting to know what's going
      to happen in the future, and then you can have a choice. Of course, if
      somebody predicted 20 years ago that I'd be where I am today, I'd say they
      were out of their mind.'

      "Even those barely familiar with Scientology, the belief system that
      Cruise has followed since the mid-1980s, will detect its influence in the
      actor's previous statement. Once the most controversial aspect of Cruise's
      personal life, Scientology is now something he shares eagerly and with no
      trace of defensiveness when interest is expressed.

      "'People talk about stress, people talk about their lives being unhappy,'
      he notes. 'Literally, this is an applied religious philosophy that you use
      in your life to help you with those things. You don't have to live like
      that. It's something that helps an individual to find out who you are. For
      someone like me who went to 15 different schools it's really helped me to
      be able to know that I really can learn anything.'"

      From Time magazine on June 16th:

      "He can be as distant as he is pleasant, as guarded as he is engaged, his
      very politeness a kind of barrier. His steadfast allegiance to the
      controversial Church of Scientology, his surprising split a year ago from
      Nicole Kidman, the gay rumors (and his diligent litigation in response)
      serve to remind us that despite all the ink spilled and all the gossip
      milled over the past two decades, Cruise remains someone about whom we
      have never quite been able to connect the dots.

      "To begin to understand Cruise, you must understand his relationship with
      the Church of Scientology, an organization that advocates self-styled
      scientific methods as cures for ailments of the body, mind and spirit.
      Scientology has been accused of using coercion to keep its members in line
      and intimidation to squelch criticism of its tactics. Cruise is more than
      a defender of Scientology; he is a resolute advocate. 'It's something that
      has helped me to be able to live the kind of life that I'm living and work
      toward being the kind of person that I want to be,' he says.

      "Cruise says that Hubbard's teachings helped him put a hard-knocks
      childhood behind him. 'I went to 15 different schools growing up,' he
      says, 'because of parents divorcing, father losing jobs, transferring,
      trying to find another job.' Even today, Cruise, whose father died in
      1984, often mentions the trauma of always being the new guy. 'I thought, I
      can't wait to grow up because it's got to be better than this,' he says.
      'The politics and the fights and always wearing the wrong shoes and having
      the wrong accent.'

      "He also had a devil of a time learning in class. 'It was a real problem
      for me,' says Cruise. 'I was diagnosed as having dyslexia. I confused
      letters. I was a slow reader. I didn't know how to use a dictionary. I
      tried, but I didn't have a system where I could learn. I couldn't catch
      up.' In the 1980s, his first wife Mimi Rogers (they would divorce in 1990)
      introduced him to Scientology. Cruise credits Hubbard's 'study technology'
      with helping him overcome his learning disability. 'It really changed my
      life,' says Cruise, who in the past few years has given considerable time
      and money to the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project (H.E.L.P.). It
      is a secular organization but uses Hubbard's study technology to offer
      free tutoring to children and adults.

      "As Cruise walks through H.E.L.P.'s crowded headquarters on Hollywood
      Boulevard, none of the tutors or children seem to take special notice of
      him. He comes here often. 'Do I wish I'd had something like this when I
      was a kid?' asks Cruise. 'Absolutely. It would have saved me many hours
      and days and weeks of pain and embarrassment.' When asked if H.E.L.P.
      could be used as a recruiting tool for the church, he says, 'Listen,
      people who want to know about Scientology, they can read books. People may
      go in there and say, 'Who is this guy?' and start reading [Hubbard's]
      other books. Good for them. There are tools that he has that can improve
      their lives. But the purpose of H.E.L.P. is to help.'"

      Message-ID: <k1eqgu0ngtbaf6p4pji2kc45sak1vgd4v7@...>
      Message-ID: <4vdugu8cvpqjct63fjmbmg7uq4idi8slcl@...>

      #####

      > Edmonton

      See magazine from Edmonton, Canada published a report on the What is
      Scientology exhibit in that city.

      "The International Exhibit of the Church of Scientology rolled into town
      last week. The traveling road show was set up at the church's new
      headquarters on 97 St. and was expected to attract 1,000 visitors. The
      official purpose of the exhibit was not to vie for new recruits. But
      'Anyone can come in and find out what it's all about,' explained Deborah
      Jurt, president of Edmonton's church.

      "Before the Church's ribbon-cutting ceremony, Canadian Scientology
      President Reverend Yvette Shank announced that Canada's social problems
      need Scientology solutions. The now-dead L. Ron is said to have devised
      'technologies' that cure drug addiction, criminal behaviour and learning
      difficulties. All these are available to our governments ­ for a price.
      The truth is that many of these programs are already widely used in Canada
      and the U.S. Montreal's Narconon program, for drug rehabilitation, is
      already the largest drug rehab program in North America. Criminon, which
      teaches errant criminals to be law-abiding citizens, is used in the U.S.
      prison system. And Applied Scholastics, an educational program, is used in
      the California school system and Glenora's own Progressive Academy.

      "There are currently 400 Scientologists in Edmonton and close to 1,000 in
      Alberta. Jurt assured SEE that the Church of Scientology does not
      discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation ­ gay people are OK,
      according to L. Ron, and so are minors. Kids are welcome to join the ranks
      of the Church's Drug-Free Marshals program. 'They're a youth group who go
      out and promote a drug-free life,' explains Jurt.

      "There are 12 to 15 marshals between the ages of six and 14 currently at
      work in the Edmonton area. Jurt says they promote clean living by
      providing entertainment in seniors' homes and doing street cleanups. A
      photo from the exhibit pictured a troupe of marshals in front of a freshly
      scrubbed mail box in downtown Toronto. What does cleaning up graffiti have
      to do with promoting drug-free living? 'If it's cleaner, it's more likely
      to be safe,' said Jurt.

      "Anyone still not convinced of the here-and-now advantages of Scientology
      can heed the words of recent convert Mariann Bordeau: 'What's really cool
      is that you don't have to die in order to get the benefits.'"

      "One nice lady at the meeting was moved to Toronto through a CoS
      promotion. She hates the city. But unlike a job, you can't just quit your
      belief system, especially if it's been proven tenticular, as the
      $8.6-million church settlement to a disgruntled former L.A. cultist last
      month admits. Lawrence Wollersheim was locked up in a ship-based 'thought
      reform gulag,' 18 hours a day, to the point of near suicide, then denied
      access to medical attention.

      "I am going to defend Scientology exactly once in this article, right now.
      You either choose to get into it or you choose to walk away into the world
      of such sins as coffee consumption. Scientologists are up front with their
      odd ideas, some of them, anyway, as I learned during an hour talking to
      various smilers this week. They are amicable, positive people; indeed,
      there's even a tone chart of human emotions which shows enthusiasm and
      zest to be the ultimate place to evolve from conservatism, anger and the
      dreaded apathy.

      "Kevin and I talked about the emotional tone chart, and he told me
      something I already knew. After pegging a stranger into one of the
      categories, you can, as he put it, 'predict exactly how that person is
      going to react in any given situation.' There's that control thing again,
      and it's no coincidence that, like many churches, Scientologists always
      set up recruiting offices on the borders between the right and wrong side
      of the tracks, on Hastings in Vancouver, just south of Boyle Street in our
      own town. Control in the ghettos, you may have heard, is a fleeting thing.
      Control of the galaxy, well, hold onto your hats.

      "There was no mention of Xenu at the exhibit. Xenu is Hubbard's high-level
      secret space-alien, galactic ruler responsible for brainwashing the souls,
      called 'thetans,' of millions that he'd purposefully atomically massacred
      under a volcano. Seriously. Xenu then showed the souls 3-D images of God,
      the devil and Christ, confusing the thetans, who to this day drift through
      space, polluting us, making us sick and sad and otherwise immune from our
      true utopian destiny as omnipotent gods."

      Message-ID: <B9380A11.1F60%swilson@...>

      #####

      > France

      The Washington Times reported on June 23rd that Scientology has been fined
      in France for defamation in articles published against a cult awareness
      group.

      "A Paris court ordered the head of France's Church of Scientology to pay
      $19,400 in damages Friday after the group published articles comparing the
      practices of an anti-sect group to those 'practiced under the [Nazi] Third
      Reich.' Daniele Gounord, president of the church, was found guilty of
      defamation and ordered to pay damages and court costs to the National
      Union of Associations for the Defense of the Family and the Individual."

      Message-ID: <4YjR8.245$mp2.87373@...>

      #####

      > Diane Feinstein

      U.S. Senator replied in a letter to Ida Camburn regarding the IRS policies
      on Scientology deductions for religious schooling.

      "Dear Ms. Camburn

      "Thank you for writing to express your concern regarding IRS policy and
      more specifically, deductions allowed for costs at religious studies and
      services. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to
      respond.

      "On January 9, 2002 in the case of Michael Sklar v. Tax Court the U.S.
      Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the Sklars did not show that their
      payments for the secular and religious private education of their children
      exceeded the market value of other secular private school education
      available. Therefore the Sklars were ineligible for the deductions that
      they took on the tax returns in question.

      "The Court's opinion states that the sole issue in question was whether
      the Sklars' claimed deduction was valid. and 'not whether the members of
      The Church of Scientology have become the IRS's chosen people.' The
      opinion also states that if the IRS is guilty of providing preferential
      treatment, the proper course of action is not to allow the IRS to expand
      its allowances for improper deductions, but rather a lawsuit to stop the
      policy of what the court may see as preferential treatment.

      "In a closing agreement between the IRS and the Church of Scientology, the
      IRS formally recognized the Church of Scientology International as a
      charitable organization. In its decision, the Court comments that the
      IRS's refusal to reveal this agreement with the Church of Scientology is
      questionable. The IRS insists that its closing agreement with the Church
      cannot be disclosed because it contains tax return information.

      "I value and respect your opinion and hope that you will continue to share
      your concerns and ideas with me. If I can he of further assistance, please
      do not hesitate to call my staff.

      "With warmest personal regards.
      Dianne Feinstein
      United States Senator"

      Message-ID: <3d0ddb8b.80760310@...>

      #####

      > Digital Lightwave

      Forbes published a profile on Digital Lightwave and its founder, Bryan
      Zwan, on June 20th.

      "Bryan Zwan just made the cut last fall when we compiled our annual list
      of The Forbes Four Hundred Richest in America. This year, the Digital
      Lightwave founder may fall short, since the value of his 60% stake has
      shrunk dramatically. But the controversial Zwan is not cutting his losses
      - he has reclaimed operational control of the fiber-optics firm he founded
      and vows to shepherd it back to prosperity.

      "Zwan is a former academic researcher who founded Digital in 1990 and took
      it public in 1997. He stepped down as chief executive in late 1998, after
      the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had begun probing allegations
      that the firm had filed false financial statements. Without admitting any
      wrongdoing, Zwan reached a settlement with the SEC last October, and
      within a few months he had returned as Digital's chairman and CEO.

      "Clearwater also is home to a major facility of the Church of Scientology,
      and that has exposed Zwan, himself a Scientologist, to criticism that
      church members have been too involved with his firm. Zwan says his
      religion 'has never been a factor with Digital Lightwave.' Currently the
      firm employs 'only two or three people' who share his faith, he says, so
      any suggestion that the church has too much influence over his firm 'is
      just ridiculous.'"

      Message-ID: <90mQ8.846$1J6.989545@...>

      #####

      > Tom Padgett

      Tom Padgett posted an update to his ongoing dispute with his ex-wife, who
      is a Scientologist, over child visitation and support.

      "On June 20, 2002, Scientologist Laura Vannoy Padgett, filed a document in
      the Hopkins Circuit Court civil court proceedings, titled 'MOTION TO
      TEMPORARILY SUSPEND VISITATION.' The motion acknowledges her son's court
      ordered extended visitation with his father during the summer. However,
      she goes on to argue that she's 'been informed that there is a bench
      warrant for his arrest in criminal proceedings (under the SAME judge that
      she is the complaining witness in that criminal action.)

      "Her argument was 'that she was fearful of sending her 17 year old son to
      Massachusetts to visit with the Respondent (his Dad) since he may be
      arrested and the child would be stranded in Massachusetts until further
      arrangements could be made.' Laura Vannoy's private civil attorney Bill
      Whitledge, asserted all contact with the father in respect to visitation
      be severed until the arrest issues are resolved in criminal court matters.

      "This motion is to be heard in court on July 1, 2002. Although she
      acknowledges that prior court orders for her to produce her son to his
      father on June 21st for 5 weeks, it appears she will not follow those
      prior Orders in hopes that Judge Boteler will rule in her favor as a
      personal friend of her parents' and sister's former employer - all
      sympathetic to Hubbard scripture."

      Message-ID: <af7713bf.0206211313.4732ad78@...>

      -end-
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