Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 47
3/2/2003 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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> Lisa Marie Presley
The Mirror reported on February 28th that one of the causes of the breakup
of Nicolas Cage and Scientology celebrity Lisa Marie Presley was her
involvement in Scientology.
"He may be a Hollywood hunk whose dark good looks and athletic build have
women swooning over him in such romantic hits as Captain Corelli's
Mandolin and City Of Angels. But when it comes to his own lovelife, Nic
Cage just can't seem to get it right. Nic blames the way he gets blinded
by love and obsessed with the object of his affection - so it certainly
can't be down to him not being romantic and attentive. Aspects of his past
relationships have been the stuff of love stories, although they have yet
to have a happy ending.
"A life-long Elvis fan, Nic chatted up the heir to Graceland and the
Presley estate at a party by raving about her father. Unimpressed, she
replied, 'Is that the best you can do?' It took her three months to
realise she may have been rude and called to apologise. They started
dating and tied the knot within six months with a Blue Hawaii-style
"It seemed like a match made in heaven, but he and Lisa Marie actually had
little in common. She objected to his drinking, cigar-smoking and
collection of lizards - none of which he was prepared to give up. He
disliked aspects of her Scientology religion and was said to be peeved at
being talked into selling his Venice Beach home after she complained of
sightseers. They went their separate ways three months later citing
The St. Petersburg Times reported on March 1st on the new Scientology
Mission of Belleair.
"Opened quietly more than a year ago, it is the first of five missions
Scientologists intend to establish in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties
within the year. Geared toward introducing newcomers to Scientology, the
missions mark the first time in the church's 27 years in Clearwater that
Scientology overtly will try to recruit Tampa Bay area residents.
"Scientology's commanding presence in downtown Clearwater - a collection
of hotel rooms and space for church services - mainly serves
Scientologists visiting from out of state or foreign countries. More than
12,000 journey each year to the church's spiritual headquarters in
Clearwater to receive some of the highest levels of Scientology training.
Missions, on the other hand, offer a starting point.
"Financed and staffed by private Scientologists rather than church
officials, missions offer introductory Scientology courses and services.
Until Feshbach opened hers in Belleair, the only local mission was on
Belcher Road near the church's stronghold in downtown Clearwater. A small
building marked only by a one-word sign saying 'Dianetics,' it has led a
mostly quiet existence. Twice in the last month, though, the Clearwater
mission paid for a four-page insert in the Suncoast News, promoting a
Scientology treatment and book to a North Pinellas audience.
"Missions will start popping up throughout the bay area, says church
spokesman Ben Shaw, because the church has forged a 'more stable'
relationship with the community. Also, Shaw said, 12,000 private
Scientologists now live in the bay area, and opening missions is regarded
as a core contribution for Scientologists. It's a 'natural occurrence,'
"Specific locations have not been selected, but missions are planned in
St. Petersburg, Largo, Hyde Park and West Tampa. The Scientologists who
will finance and operate those missions are in training. Two years ago,
Feshbach tried to open a mission in an 86-year-old church in downtown
Largo. Several city commissioners objected, pointing to the history of
strained relations between the church and the Clearwater community. She
dropped her bid to buy the church; a few months later, she found the
vacant quarters in the Belleair Bazaar center, on West Bay Drive near
Indian Rocks Road.
"So far, 300 to 400 have visited the mission, Feshbach said. Word of the
mission is spread by local Scientologists who urge the curious to take a
look. Others responded to Feshbach's advertisements. She recently paid for
an insert in the Pinellas edition of the Tampa Tribune, touting a
Scientology treatment called the purification rundown. It purports to
remove harmful toxins from the body through a program of vigorous exercise
followed by several hours in a sauna, in conjunction with a regimen of
vitamins, minerals and oils. She also has advertised in weekly shoppers,
but said she plans no direct mail, radio or TV advertising.
"Most newcomers begin with a course called 'Personal Efficiency.' The
cost: $35. Those who like what they see usually follow with a series of
life improvement courses such as 'Overcoming Ups and Downs in Life,' 'How
to Improve Relationships with Others' and 'How to be a Successful Parent.'
Each runs $82.50. Revenues from the mission's courses and religious
services offset operating costs, which include paying the 16 staffers.
Scientology missions also tithe 10 percent of their profits to the church,
said church spokeswoman Pat Harney.
"The facilities for the purification rundowns are at the opposite end of
the strip center, in an even more nondescript space behind an awning that
says 'Bookstore.' Inside are a sauna, treadmill, stationary bike and men's
and women's locker rooms. The cost of a purification rundown: $1,500. The
mission has administered 55 rundowns, Feshbach said.
"Many in the scientific community challenge the purification program's
success at removing harmful toxins. 'There is no data that that kind of
experience reduces the level of toxins,' said Dr. Raymond Harbison, a
professor in the College of Public Health at the University of South
> Digital Lightwave
The St. Petersburg Times reported on March 1st that Scientologist Bryan
Zwan is lending money to the company he founded, Digital Lightwave, and
that the company is appealing an arbitration award to a former employee
who had complained about the use of Scientology policies at work.
"Scrambling for cash to keep afloat, Digital Lightwave took out
$2.4-million in high-interest loans from its chairman over the last two
weeks. Digital, a maker of portable testing equipment for fiber-optic
networks, will pay an annual interest rate of 10 percent to Optel LLC, an
entity controlled by founder and majority shareholder Bryan Zwan.
"The disclosure comes one month after Digital said it might borrow up to
$10-million from Zwan and that it had recently cut 83 staff positions,
reducing its payroll to 106. Digital Lightwave's fortunes have tumbled
since the telecom boom of the late 1990s, when its stock surged and put
Zwan on Forbes magazine's list of the 400 richest Americans. The company
was later dogged by legal problems, a federal investigation and investor
concerns about Zwan's close ties to the Church of Scientology.
"A Tampa appeals court is reviewing Digital's appeal of an arbitration
award of $3.8-million plus lawyers' fees to former executive Seth Joseph,
a Miami attorney the company let go in 1998."
> Org News
The Auditor magazine reported news from Scientology orgs around the world.
"Many local dignitaries attended the opened of the new Chinatown Mission
in Sydney recently and they were received by Mission Holder and new OT V
Shimmy Harris and her husband Kevin, both SHSBC students at AOSH ANZO.
Among the guests were the Mayor of Burwood, Mr. Ernest Wong, and the
Taipei Economic and Cultural Director, Mr. Carl Shen, who both validated
the mission's drug free activities in the local Chinese community,
expressing their thanks and promising support for the mission Mr. Shen
also announced that the Overseas Chinese Committee would be providing
funding in support of the Drug-Free Ambassadors' activities in Chinatown,
noting that Dianetics had helped ease lives and that he expected it would
benefit the community at large.
"The Drug-Free Marshals anti-drug campaign was featured at an event
attended by over 3,000 held recently by LA County Sheriff Baca's Clergy
Council. At the Church booth thousands of anti-drug booklets were given
out and several local school principals and religious leaders requested
that the Drug-Free Marshals visit their organizations to enlighten
students and parishioners on the campaign.
"At the Austin Area Interreligious Ministries annual meeting, attended by
135 religious leaders, the Austin Church of Scientology was officially
thanked for its active role in the community. Due to the effectiveness
shown by Church staff and Volunteer Ministers in the local community, the
Church's Director of Special Affairs was voted Vice President for Social
"Renovations on the New York Org building have begun which will result in
greatly expanded capability to deliver Scientology services to the
metropolitan New York area. The building, ideally located near Times
Square, is being fully restored from top to bottom, so that each floor is
perfectly set up for delivery. This will include 23 auditing rooms, course
rooms to service 120 into course students and 180 Academy students, two
Purif saunas as well as a spacious and beautiful reception area, all to
become a reality before the end of 2003.
"To facilitate these extensive renovations being completed as swiftly as
possible, New York Org has moved to a temporary location near Grand
Central Station, where training, auditing and all Dn and Scientology
services and activities are continuing at a high roar. This temporary home
features plenty of spacious course rooms, auditing rooms, a chapel and
Purif areas for FSM activities, lectures and group functions. Delivery is
in fact expanding with staff and public reaching out to the 21 million
citizens of NY to bring them the priceless freedom and abilities of
Dianetics and Scientology."