A.r.s Week in Review - 7/14/2002
Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 15
7/14/2002 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.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available. Subscriptions are
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Week in Review is archived at:
> Buffalo OrgThe Buffalo News reported on July 3rd that religious and community groups
have joined Scientology in their opposition to a city plan to replace the
Buffalo Scientology org with a parking ramp.
"Religious leaders from various denominations expressed strong opposition
Tuesday to the city's plan to tear down a building occupied by the Church
of Scientology to expand a downtown parking ramp. 'This is something that
must stop here,' said G. Stanford Bratton of the Network of Religious
Communities, a region-wide interreligious and ecumenical group.
"Thomas A. Gallagher, a parking board consultant, said the additional 850
parking spaces would help revitalize downtown. 'The building owners
downtown cannot rent their space. If we could provide them with adequate
parking, they could fill that space,' he said.
"But Church of Scientology members, religious leaders from other
denominations and community advocates challenged the assertion. 'I find it
hard to believe that a parking ramp is going to revitalize this city,'
said Anne Marie Dunning, a Church of Scientology member who questioned the
need for more downtown parking.
"Similar views were voiced by Patrick McNichol, a member of the New
Millennium Group, which represents young professionals who strive to
advance 'positive change.' McNichol said his group hasn't taken a position
on the Hurst Building, but members are convinced any development must be
done in the context of a long-term strategic plan.
"Some Council members want to see church leaders and parking officials
reach a compromise that might involve relocating the church to another
downtown building. Randolph C. Oppenheimer, a church attorney,
acknowledged 'room to negotiate,' but only if the city withdraws its
condemnation plans. 'All we ask is that you take this sword from over our
head,' Oppenheimer said.
"'We'll be opposed to this all the way to the end,' said Merle E. Showers,
a United Methodist Church community minister. A regional official from the
Presbyterian Church sent lawmakers a letter expressing 'extreme dismay and
strong opposition' to the plan and describing the condemnation as a gross
misuse of powers."
> CCHRThe Citizen's Commission on Human Rights announced a seminar and book
signing by Dr. Mary Ann Block
"Saturday, August 10th, 2002 from 2-4 PM. Admission is Free.
"Dr. Block will be in Los Angeles for a free back-to-school seminar on
non-drug solutions to so-called 'Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder'
(ADHD) and 'Learning Disorders.' Dr. Block, author of No More ADHD, is an
international expert and healthcare leader on the treatment of attention
and behavior problems without drugs. Her book provides a natural and
practical approach to children's health and debunks theories that 'ADHD'
is a 'chemical imbalance in the brain' or a 'mental disorder.' She exposes
the dangers of psychiatric drugs frequently prescribed for this condition
and summarizes the most common causes of attention and behavior symptoms."
> Chick CoreaThe St. Petersburg Times reported on July 11th that Scientology celebrity
Chick Corea will perform at Clearwater's annual Jazz Holiday event.
"With sponsorships off by at least $20,000, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday
Foundation Board cut executive director Karen Vann's $35,000-plus position
Monday, eliminating its only paid employee. The Jazz Holiday will spend
about $300,000 to produce this year's event, Oct. 17-20 at Coachman Park,
Garcia said. Add to that jazz education programs, sponsor parties and
"But attracting big-name sponsors this year has been tough. Garcia
admitted 'we're a little short of where we'd like to be.' Vann's
resignation comes just as this year's headliners are being announced.
Blues pianist/vocalist Deanna Bogart will perform on opening night.
Pianist Chick Corea will be the featured act on Saturday, and Lou Rawls
will close the show on Sunday."
> GermanySuedkurier reported on July 8th that a speaker at the mourning ceremony
for vicitms of a plane crash in Owingen, Germany criticized Scientology
for opportunism at the crash site.
"Led by Mayor Gunther Former and his wife, by Catholic reverend Reinhard
Schacht, his Evangelical colleagues Hartmut Dietrich and the theologian
staff member of the Mennonites, Cathrin van Sintern, several hundred of
the faithful proceed to the area where countless victims of the airline
catastrophe have been found. Schacht's words towards all the Scientology
members who went about their unholy work in Owingen were also extremely
clear, 'Where there is carrion, the vultures gather.'
"Mayor Gunther Former thanked the rescue workers for their service,
thanked the Lord for the wholeness of the local people, and communicated
the thanks of the volunteers to the citizens, who supported the rescue
workers according to their abilities. Herbe rt Dreiseitl also paid his
respect to the rescue workers; he said they had made possible an 'internal
constitution of serenity and security' for the citizens by their diligent
> Dan GarvinThe James Randi Educational Foundation newsletter published a letter from
former Scientologist Dan Garvin, describing some of his experiences and
the cash prize that Randi offers for demonstrations of paranormal
"In 1974, when I was 17, I got interested in Scientology as a 'scientific'
way to attain mystical super-powers, which I had already believed in
before that. Within two years I had joined their Sea Organization, the
elite group of top Scientologists. Sea Org members have to sign a
billion-year contract in order to join. Since Scientologists believe in
past lives extending for more than 76 trillion years, and the ability to
recall these lives fully, there is nothing symbolic about this contract.
They really mean a billion years, and their motto is, 'We come back.'
"Sea Org members are the most dedicated Scientologists of all. In addition
to their long-term commitment, they live and eat in communal quarters,
have almost no freedoms, or time off in which to exercise freedoms if they
had some, or money to enable them to afford those freedoms. They work and
study the works of Hubbard, and occasionally are rewarded with bits of
'auditing,' the Scientology technology for making people better, happier,
healthier, more powerful, and ultimately giving them TOTAL SPIRITUAL
"I signed my billion-year contract and was in there with the best of them.
I remained wholly convinced of Scientology's effectiveness for almost the
entire twenty-five years I remained in the Sea Org. In about 1999 or
2000, I was still a believer and still a Sea Org member, but I was
gradually growing more disgusted with the way the church and the Sea Org
were run. I was in that frame of mind when I heard James Randi as a guest
on Al Rantell's talk show in LA. You were advocating mandatory licensing
for people claiming psychic abilities -they would have to demonstrate
their abilities to a licensing board, which of course none of them would
be able to do.
"I was thinking 'How come some Scientologist doesn't claim this prize?
After all, we are the ones who really can do these things. There are
prohibitions against showing off in public, but that came from back when
New Age wasn't cool.' You'd think at least one of those would claim the
prize, not being encumbered by the church's regulations.
"It took a year or two, but I finally had to decide that the reason nobody
claimed the prize was probably that nobody could, not even top
Scientologists. I certainly had never observed any paranormal phenomena
that couldn't be explained conventionally. My heretical thinking
eventually led me to leave the Sea Org. I didn't leave Scientology yet,
but I knew that before I invested any more of my life into it, I was going
to have to see some actual evidence, not just more glowing success stories
or PR from the church itself. Sea Org members are utterly forbidden to
access the internet, and all Scientologists are forbidden to look at
information critical of Scientology.
"One of the first places I looked, after I got out, was the JREF website.
There wasn't much about Scientology, but it was clear that no
Scientologist had won or even tried to win the challenge money. Within a
couple weeks I got up the resolve to look at Scientology's secret
upper-level materials, posted in part on www.xenu.net. They're supposed to
kill you if you read them without the proper preliminary Scientology
levels, but they've been out there for quite a few years and nobody has
died, so I looked. It made specific claims about Earth's history that
could be disproven. And since it was wrong, it meant all of Scientology's
top levels, where you get your magical superpowers, were based on a lie, a
mistake, or a delusion.
"That was what took me from doubter to full-blown ex-Scientologist. Once I
was out from under the spell, I learned a tremendous amount that had never
made it past Scientology's censors: criminal behavior, horrible abuses,
vicious reprisals against critics and especially against plaintiffs.
"Scientology's lies and practices cost me my marriage and well over half
my life. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have escaped with my
mind intact. Others have been driven to acute or permanent mental illness,
and some to suicide.
> RussiaRadio Free Europe reported on July 9th that members of the Russian
Orthodox church planned a rally to protest Scientology in Yekaterinburg.
"Russian Orthodox believers are expected to hold a rally in Yekaterinburg
on 13 July to protest the activities of nontraditional religious
organizations, such as the Church of Scientology. Father Vladimir Zaitsev
told the agency that the rally will be held outside of the local Kosmos
movie theater where Scientologists will celebrate the birthday of the
organization's founder, Ron Hubbard. Zaitsev, who called Hubbard a
'Satanist, paranoiac, and drug abuser,' said that there are several
thousand Scientologists in the city.
From the Interfax on July 9th:
"The demonstrators would like to give a clear picture to people about the
nature of Scientology and its dangers, Zaitsev noted. In order to achieve
this goal, officials of the diocese's missionary department have made
leaflets and posters featuring exposing slogans. 'This organization is
extremely dangerous to society. Scientologists read books written by L.
Ron Hubbard, and try to imitate him in everything. Hubbard himself is
known as a Satanist, a paranoiac and a drug abuser,' Zaitsev said.
"He noted that in Yekaterinburg, Scientologists act under the guise of a
number of organizations, including the Urals Dianetics center, the Studen
school, a public youth union and the Narkonon rehabilitation center for
> SpainScientology's Impact magazine reported on a What is Scientology? exhibit
that was held in Madrid in March, 2002 to celebrate the dropping of
charges against top Scientologists there. The magazine also described some
legal cases in which Scientology was involved.
"The first day, a record 2,700 people visited the exposition, surpassing
all previous daily attendance records for the exposition. The following
day 4,560 people toured the Exposition.
"The ribbon was cut by Luz Almeida Castro, one of the Church's attorneys
who played a key role in bringing about the win in Spain. She was
accompanied by Juan Garces, well know Spanish human rights attorney,
Joaquin Atuna, President of the organization Peace and Cooperation: Rafael
Burgos Perez, another Church attorney who played a key role in the Spanish
victory: Luis Gonzalez from the Office of Special Affairs International:
and Faustino Gomez, Director of Public Affairs for the Church of
"By the time the Exposition completed its stay in Madrid, more that 23,000
people had visited it, more than in any other city in Europe.
"In 2001, the Supreme Court ended tax cases against Churches and Narconon
Centers. In the United Kingdom, full VAT (Value Added Tax) exemption has
been given by Her Majesty's Custom and Excise to all churches and missions
in the UK. In Sweden where the right to perform legal marriages is part of
religious recognition, this right to marry has been granted to Scientology
ministers. And the tax exempt status of Narconon centers was recognized by
the Danish government this last year.
"Fearing the widespread Scientology expansion of the late 1980's, German
SP's conceived at the time a plan whereby they accused the Church of
attempting to infiltrate society and the government - while they
themselves were attempting to infiltrate the Church. In a landmark victory
this year, a Berlin court not only issued a ruling in favor of the Church,
but also gave the correct interpretation of the Church's activities which
ended the SP's plan with finality: 'The action of bringing about a
pro-Scientology government means resolving the personal problems of
government officials so they can do their jobs better and clearing the
planet means bringing about a world of heightened awareness and reason for
everyone on earth.'"