A.r.s Week in Review - 3/16/2003
Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 49
3/16/2003 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.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available. Subscriptions are
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Week in Review is archived at:
> ClearwaterThe St. Petersburg Times reported on March 14th that a group of halfway
houses in Clearwater with ties to Scientology has been closed by the city.
"A network of Christian-themed halfway houses in North Greenwood will be
forced to shut its doors after city officials ruled Thursday the operation
is illegal in a residential neighborhood. Community Resurrection Inc., a
haven for recovering drug addicts and alcoholics, got its start early last
year in a small rental house. The mission soon spread up and down Garden
Avenue to include 11 properties owned by three landlords.
"One of those landlords is a real estate investor and a Scientologist,
who, 23 years ago, was involved in one of the darkest chapters of
Scientology history. Richard Weigand, 56, was one of nine Scientologists
convicted of conspiring to conceal the theft of government documents
related to the church. Weigand, who has assembled dozens of rental
properties in Clearwater, said his ownership in the halfway houses is
nothing more than a business investment. Community Resurrection founder
Michael Cournaya confirms that, saying his program was not modeled on
Scientology methods and has no ties to the Narconon drug treatment
program, which is based on the techniques of Scientology founder L. Ron
"But Cournaya said he is open to sampling Narconon. He plans to undergo a
Narconon program using a sauna meant to sweat out drug residues. He and
Weigand have talked about installing a sauna for residents at Community
Resurrection. 'I don't mind taking a little bit of whatever it takes to
help people,' Cournaya said. 'Anything that I can do that will help people
have a better chance to stay clean and sober.'
"Weigand denied pushing Scientology or the Narconon program. He said he
did not find work for Cournaya's clients. His real estate holdings have no
relation to Scientology, now or in the future, he said.
"Steve Kautz, head of This House, applauds Cournaya's intentions but said
he has taken on too much, too soon. 'His is not a recovery house; it's
more of a shelter,' Kautz said. 'It's a very dangerous recipe. What
they're doing is winging it. It's scary.' Isay Gulley, executive director
of Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services, said a proliferation of new
halfway houses runs counter to her mission of trying to stabilize the
neighborhood. She said she's all for people getting help but worries that
transient population might discourage potential homeowners from investing
in North Greenwood.
"Weigands' properties in Clearwater have been purchased in the last three
years and most are co-owned with Mark Nickels, a Seattle-based building
contractor and major contributor to the Flag Service Building under
construction in downtown Clearwater. Church spokesman Ben Shaw said
Thursday Scientology has no ties, or interest in, Weigand's properties.
'Whatever he's doing is his business,' Shaw said."
Letters to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times on March 10th discussed
the growth of Scientology missions in the Clearwater area.
"Gee, where can I sign up to give my $1,500 check to the Scientologist
cult to walk on its treadmill, use its sauna and feel better with a
spiritual awakening? The awakening? From a group of atheists who worship
L. Ron Hubbard? This is a man who lived for years on boats so the U.S.
government couldn't nail him for crimes and back taxes.
"I worked as a volunteer at the Lisa McPherson Trust. I remember best the
poor mother who came and asked if we could help her see her daughter.
Twice at the door to their building downtown, she was turned away, told
that 'her daughter was in audit and couldn't be seen.' The next time she
was told that her daughter had left for California! Ah, such wonderful
'hope-for-man' people. - M.L. Fitzpatrick, Dunedin
"I applaud your article covering the new missions in the Clearwater-St.
Petersburg area. Given the amount of crime, illiteracy, drug use, economic
strain and threat of war and terrorism we face, people need to know that
something can be done about it. Only by knowing that a person can do
something effective can you then increase the person's ability to hope for
a decent future for their friends and family.
"I have been successfully applying Scientology methods to my life for the
past 12 years. The most important thing I have learned is that it is okay
to improve your own life as long as you are also trying to improve the
lives of others. My company supports a local literacy center, and we have
helped hundreds of children learn to read. We also support effective drug
rehabilitation methods that have saved many lives.
"The fact that there are several missions that will be opened in the near
future is proof that something effective can be done about improving
conditions in a person's life. - Jim Mathers, Clearwater"
> Volunteer MinistersChris Owen reported that a Volunteer Ministers event is currently running
"The Church of Scientology's 'Volunteer Ministers Cavalcade' has turned up
in London. A traveling exhibition in a mustard-yellow tent is currently in
Victoria Embankment Gardens. The exhibition runs from 7th-21st March 2003,
10am-6pm. This is part of Scientology's Europe-wide tour of the Volunteer
Ministers. ED Int Guilliaume Lesevre described the Volunteer Ministers'
activities in a presentation to Scientologists last year.
"'Mr. Lesevre showed attendees a series of billboards to drive people into
our cavalcade announcing that we are coming, saying 'NO MATTER THE PROBLEM
IN LIFE, SOMETHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT, VOLUNTEER MINISTER CAVALCADE,
Real help is coming' with the date and location. Explaining how each city
will be plastered with newspaper ads and posters announcing the cavalcade
and hug banners on the local org, the cavalcade will be transported to the
next European city where we have an org. There it will stand, a full-blown
Volunteer Minister pavilion, 3,000 square feet in size and the VM team
accompanying the cavalcade will get into immediate production, delivering
VM services, seminars, courses and workshops to hundreds of people at a
> IrelandThe Irish Times reported on March 12th that Scientology asked the court
not to discriminate against Scientology by allowing testimony from a
Psychologist on the practice of auditing. The case was brought by Mary
Johnston against the Scientology org and several leaders for conspiracy,
misrepresentation, breach of constitutional rights and negligence.
"For the court to admit evidence from a psychologist which was critical of
the practice of auditing - described as the core and single most important
way in which Scientologists profess and practise their religious belief -
would be akin to conducting a judicial inquiry into the legitimacy of the
Sacrament of the Mass in Roman Catholicism, it was argued. This was
impermissible under the constitutional guarantee of the free profession
and practise of religion.
"In submissions on behalf of the church, it was argued Scientology had
been recognised as a religion by many governments worldwide, and must be
treated the same as any other religion here. Mr Michael Collins SC, for
the church, was objecting to the court hearing evidence from a
psychologist, whom it sought to call on behalf of Ms Mary Johnston in her
continuing action for damages.
"Mr Collins said Ms Johnston was seeking to adduce evidence which would
presumably be primarily directed to the effects of auditing and whether it
involved some form of hypnosis and the consequences of auditing for Ms
Johnston. Mr Michael Cush SC, for Ms Johnston, argued he was entitled to
call the psychologist. He referred to a previous ruling by Mr Justice
Peart in relation to such evidence and said Mr Collins was not entitled to
reargue the point and 'blur' the issue. It was for the judge to decide
whether Scientology was a religion and the judge might conclude it was
entirely misguided. Mr Cush said it was Ms Johnston's case that
Scientology was a pseudo-religious cult."
From the Irish Times on March 13th:
"A woman who is suing the Church of Scientology appeared to have been
hypnotised while undergoing an auditing session by a member of the church,
a psychologist told the High Court yesterday. Ms Mary Johnston appeared to
have been subjected to 'very curious' and 'not very good' therapy. Dr
Peter Naish, a chartered psychologist who has written extensively on
hypnosis, said it was his view Ms Johnston was very susceptible to
"Asked about hypnosis, he said there was nothing intrinsically harmful in
the practice per se. However, when it was used as a vehicle for some kind
of therapy, the person using it must be able to deal with the subject's
reactions. There was a concern that if a subject became distressed, the
hypnotist might retraumatise them. Not all people were susceptible to
hypnosis. In his view, Ms Johnston was highly susceptible.
"Mr Cush read extracts from Dianetics - The Modern Science of Mental
Health, by the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, and also outlined
extracts from Ms Johnston's evidence to the court. He said the extracts
from Dianetics indicated that what was involved in auditing was hypnosis.
It appeared hypnosis was being used as a vehicle and that material was
being developed in an emotional context."
RTE News reported on March 13th that the case was settled by the
"A High Court action for damages by a Dublin sports shop owner against the
Church of Scientology has ended after out of court talks. No details of
the settlement were disclosed but costs in the action are estimated to be
around 2 million Euros.
"Mary Johnston joined the Church of Scientology in 1992. In her legal
proceedings against the Church and three members of the Dublin Mission,
she claimed she suffered a personality charge after being sucked into the
grasp of the church and subjected to mind control techniques. She claimed
efforts were made to prevent her leaving the church and to silence,
devalue and intimidate her and prevent her taking her legal proceedings.
She claimed she suffered psychological and psychiatric injuries."
> Kelly PrestonAn article by MSNBC on March 13th questioned an appearance by Scientology
celebrity Kelly Preston on a repeat airing of the Montel Williams show.
"Was Kelly Preston providing a valuable public service on a Montel
Williams show? Or was she merely touting some controversial policies of
Scientology? Preston, who with hubby John Travolta is a devout
Scientologist, appeared on the talk show Wednesday, discussing the health
woes of their son. Then she told how his ailments were cured by following
the detoxification procedures in 'Clear Body Clear Mind' a posthumously
published book by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.
"Also featured on the show, which was a rebroadcast, was Michael Wisner,
who was introduced as 'Toxicologist to the Stars.' Wisner, too, is a
Scientologist, who promotes Hubbard in his Sacramento, Calif., clinic,
according to Rick Ross, whose Web site, www.cultnews.com, notes that the
word 'Scientologist' was never used on the show.
"Also not discussed, says Ross, were the potential risks and side effects
of Hubbard's treatment. 'Montel's show was devoid of any meaningful
critical balance that might help viewers develop a more informed
understanding about this supposed process of 'purification.' Instead,
Williams provides a platform for Kelly Preston to essentially use his show
much like an infomercial to promote her Scientology beliefs.'"
> Camille PagliaThe gossip column of the New York Post on March 16th published the views
of essayist Camille Paglia on Scientology.
"The trendiest religion in Hollywood was founded on the teachings of a
Satanist, a new essay by Camille Paglia claims. According to an article
by Paglia in Boston University's Arion journal, Hubbard got many of his
ideas from infamous devil worshipper Alistair Crowley.
"'Hubbard had met Crowley in the latter's Los Angeles temple in 1945,'
Paglia writes. 'Hubbard's son reveals that Hubbard claimed to be Crowley's
successor: Hubbard told him that Scientology was born on the day that
Crowley died.' According to the article, Scientologists perform some of
the same rites that Crowley invented, all designed to free practitioners
from human guilt. 'Drills used by Scientologists to cleanse and clarify
the mind are evidently a reinterpretation of Crowley's singular fusion of
Asian meditation and Satanic ritualism, which sharpens the all-conquering
will. Guilt and remorse, in the Crowley way, are mere baggage to be
jettisoned,' Paglia says."