A.r.s Week in Review - 7/20/2003
Week in Review Volume 8, Issue 14
7/20/2003 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
also available on Yahoo. Email email@example.com or
see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/weekinreview. PDA channel available at
Week in Review is archived at:
> CCHRAn email sent to Scientologists urged them to contact their U.S. Senators
in support of the Child Medication Safety Act.
"The U.S. House of Representatives passed the 'Child Medication Safety Act
of 2003,' by the overwhelming margin of 425-1, sending it to the Senate.
As written and if signed into law, school personnel would be legally
prohibited from requiring that a child take any psychotropic drug under
the Controlled Substances Act as a condition of attending school or
receiving school services.
"It is critical that each and every one of us contact our Senators and
urge them to support and co sponsor SB 1390 introduced by Senators Ensign
and Alexander. The best way is to call. The second best way is to fax. You
can also e mail, but it does not have the same impact as the first two.
"Just so you know, several psychiatric front groups have been fighting to
stop these pieces of legislation claiming the coercive situation in
schools relates to only a few. This is not true. Your help is needed NOW!!
> Clearwater AcademyThe St. Petersburg Times reported on July 15th that a teacher at the
Scientology-run Clearwater Academy has been arrested for leaving her son
in a locked SUV in a parking lot.
"A schoolteacher was arrested and accused of leaving her 3-year-old son in
her locked vehicle for up to a half-hour while she grocery-shopped. The
child was not hurt. Kimberly D. Pesch, 38, a teacher at Clearwater
Academy, was arrested on charges of child abuse and resisting arrest
without violence. She posted $5,250 bail and was released from the
Pinellas County Jail.
"A witness reported seeing a woman leave a young child in her black
Chevrolet Suburban when she went into the Publix, sheriff's reports state.
The Suburban was locked with the windows up. The child was asleep in a
safety seat in the back. Deputies reported the weather was overcast but
"Pesch told deputies she didn't do anything wrong. She came outside in the
middle of her shopping and turned on the air-conditioning for a time, she
told deputies. Deputies told her to call someone to pick up the child. She
pulled away from deputies during the arrest."
> Tom CruiseFox News reported on July 14th that the educational organization promoted
by Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise in a recent issue of People magazine
is a part of Scientology.
"The new issue of People magazine is out and contains a five-page spread
endorsing a program affiliated with the Church of Scientology. The program
is Hollywood Education Literacy Project, and in the feature story
superstar actor Tom Cruise credits it with curing his illiteracy. But what
is barely mentioned is that HELP, as it is known, has been roundly
criticized by mainstream educators as a propaganda tool of Scientology.
"Also not mentioned is that the not-for-profit Hollywood division of HELP
- which is based at Scientology's garish Celebrity Centre - dispensed in
2001 a mere $100 in grants and contributions. HELP had total expenses,
though, of $273,000 - more than half of which was for staff salaries. This
is according to the group's 2001 tax filing.
"Was People magazine so desperate to get a Cruise interview that they
didn't mind shilling for a cult organization? The answer, it seems, is
yes. Hidden in the story is the headline that Cruise was not able to read
until age 22. The first reading material he had, he claims, was a
Scientology picture book. That book led him to HELP and, consequently,
"People also gives little space to the many vociferous critics of
Scientology and of HELP, mentioning only briefly that they exist. This
came as a surprise to Carnegie Mellon University professor David S.
Touretzky. The professor, who has written an exhaustive analysis of HELP,
said, 'Fannie Weinstein, the reporter, called me and talked to me a lot.
She went out and got all the source materials and did a lot of research.
But I was cut out of the story.'
"Touretzky says that HELP is a rigid learning system full of Scientology
jargon, lingo and philosophy, and is designed to lead participants
straight into the science fiction-worshipping, pay-through-the-nose
'religion.' He writes that the HELP manual 'is no more a secular learning
methodology than wine and communion wafers are a Sunday morning snack.
Indoctrinating students into Study Tech's unconventional language and
world view, with its implied acceptance of L. Ron Hubbard as authority
figure, would do much to soften them up for future recruitment into
The Internet Movie Database reported on July 19th that Cruise is being
criticized by a Dyslexia charity for his statements in People.
"Tom Cruise has been criticized for speaking about how Church of
Scientology teachings helped him overcome his learning difficulties. The
movie star spoke exclusively to America's People magazine last week about
his involvement with Scientology's learning programs. But the
International Dyslexia Association has hit back at his claims, insisting
his statements are unscientific. Executive director J. Thomas Viall says,
'When an individual of the prominence of Tom Cruise makes statements that
are difficult to replicate in terms of what science tells us, the issue
becomes what other individuals who are dyslexic do in response to such a
quote-unquote success story. There is not a lot of science to support the
claims that the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard are appropriate to overcoming
> Health MedMSNBC reported on July 17th that Scientology has established Health Med, a
detox program in New York to assist rescue workers who were part of the
rescue efforts after the World Trade Center disaster.
"A center has been set up in Lower Manhattan to 'detoxify' Ground Zero
workers with techniques developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
'The tragedy of 9/11 left hundreds of members of the New York Fire
Department and other rescue workers at the World Trade Center site,
severely debilitated from the toxins they were exposed to during the
tragedy,' notes an article on a Scientology Web site. 'To get rid of the
toxins a group of the rescue personnel recently began L. Ron Hubbard's
Purification detoxification program at Health Med, a medical clinic that
delivers the program.'
"But critics of the group say that Hubbard's 'detoxification' process has
been called into question, and may even present health risks. 'And the
firefighters may get more than they bargained for since Scientology often
recruits new members from Hubbard-inspired programs,' says Rick Ross, who
wrote about it on his Web site. Nevertheless, the program seems to have
found favor among at least some 9/11 rescuers. The Scientology article
quotes one firefighter as saying: 'From the very first day on the program,
I had three times more energy and felt so great.'"
> FranceThe Associated Press reported on July 17th that a judge has ruled that a
French teenager may not leave home to join the Sea Org in Copenhagen.
"A judge for children in Nantes prohibited a teenager from leaving. The 14
year old girl who lives in Nantes was to join a center of Scientology of
Copenhagen. An aunt who, by discovering a mail which the girl had
addressed to her grandmother, alerted the authorities in Nantes.
"Her parents, a couple of teachers, are followers of Scientology, an
organization classified among the sects by a national parliamentary
report. According to them, their daughter made this choice freely. The
judge for children must determine which protection it can consider if it
estimates that the teenager is in danger."
> Gold BaseThe Riverside Press Enterprise reported on July 18th that Scientology's
Gold Base has filming permits that will close for two weeks a road near
"Gilman Springs Road east of Highway 79 will be closed for two weeks
beginning Saturday because of a film production at Golden Era Productions.
Golden Era makes educational and training films for the Church of
Scientology at a studio along Gilman Springs Road. The studio needs to use
the road for time-lapse exterior photography on a film about the adverse
effects of drugs on youth, spokeswoman Muriel Dufresne said. The road will
be closed between Highway 79 and Soboba Road from Saturday through August
2, said Mojahed Salama, permit engineer for Riverside County's
> Los AngelesThe Los Angeles Independent reported on July 16th that Scientology is
behind on property taxes in Los Angeles.
"The Church of Scientology has failed to pay more than $94,000 in property
taxes for the last fiscal year on four of its Hollywood properties,
marking the second time in recent years that the religious group has had
an outsize tax delinquency.
"The Church of Scientology expects to pay the taxes this year, but has not
done so yet because other financial priorities must first be taken care
of, said Linda Simmons Hight, church spokeswoman. 'It's a question of
priorities,' she said. 'You know, we have an enormous amount of community
activity in Hollywood, and we'll always put the funds there first. It's
strictly a question of priorities. It's not a protest or anything like
"Last year, The Independent reported that the church owed back taxes in
the millions of dollars and was in danger of having at least one of its
properties, at Hollywood Boulevard and McCadden Place, seized by the
county. The church recently paid off those back taxes. But now it once
again is in arrears, having failed to pay taxes for the fiscal year
spanning July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003.
"The local BID was counting on receiving those assessments from the church
to help fund its security services, trash cleanup and graffiti removal,
said Kerry Morrison, executive director of the Hollywood Entertainment
"Hight says the church is not in the habit of being late on its property
taxes. Last year, when it owed millions, the church decided not to pay
because it was still seeking tax exemptions from the county. 'That was a
completely different set of circumstances,' she said. 'At that time, we
were in negotiations, long-term discussion, with the county tax collector
in establishing [tax] exempt and non-exempt portions of each of our
properties.' Hight says the church will pay all taxes but adds that it
doesn't believe nonprofits should be obligated to pay into the BID because
they already contribute to the community.
"But other property owners disagree. Non-profits benefit just as much
from district services, such as street cleaning and security, as
for-profit groups do, says Sheila Holincheck, general manager of 6253
Hollywood and Vine, formerly known as the Hollywood Equitable Building.
'All those services are still received no matter if you are making a lot
of money or [are] a non-profit,' she said.
"In response to non-profits' concerns, the Hollywood Entertainment
District will give nonprofits a credit of up to $1,000 per square-ft. on
their property assessments starting next year, Morrison said. Church
officials have asked the district to give them a future credit on taxes
owed, and so for the next few years, the church will owe the district
nothing on that property, she added."
> RussiaRegions.ru reported on July 14th that the Russian Orthodox Church in
Yekaterinburg is protesting Scientology's Say No to Drugs campaign there.
"A representative of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed outrage that
while the Yekaterinburg administration was sanctioning numerous actions
being carried out by totalitarian cults in the city, the police were
interfering with religious ministers in performing informational work
"Last Friday near TsUM, where a Scientology 'Say No to Drugs' operation
was being carried out, employees of the Leninski ROVD Yekaterinburg
detained two representatives of the diocese missionary department who were
passing out booklets that warned about religious fraud. 'First sergeant
Martynov, sergeant Mitkin and Major Pidzhakov compelled the religious
ministers to sign a statement saying they allegedly arranged an
unsanctioned picket. Particularly disgraceful was the remark in the
official statement, that the police confiscated 75 booklets.'"
Isvestia reported on June 22nd that three residents of Volgograd have
apparently left their families to become involved in Scientology.
"Vera ran a home business, raised the sons and in the evening sang in the
church choir. They enjoyed the outdoors and spent free time in their dacha
doing honest work. And all this would have been fine if Vera had not been
bothered by the pain in her back. A friend offered to introduce her to a
specialist to help her recover. A special physician performed a massage
and stuck her with needles. The pain stopped but Vera had nightmares, the
cause of which Sergei still cannot understand. Vera had a constant dream
with the 'Savior' appearing in a vision. A friend advised going to a
wonderful woman, Natalia Simonova. At that first meeting, Natalia Simonova
explained to Vera that this fell into the realm of black magic, that there
was a black spot that remained on her soul, which urgently needed to be
removed. The cleansing of the soul would be carried out according to the
methods of Scientology founder Ron Hubbard. Natalia Simonova provided her
ward with literature for home study. Vera became completely immersed in
the doctrine by the name of Dianetics, which promised her deliverance from
sickness, from failure, and from the suffering of this world.
"Sergei felt a wall of alienation growing between him and his wife. She
suddenly began to hate the older son - only because he refused to go to
the sessions with Natalia Simonova. Sergei tried to explain to his wife
that her enthusiasm was starting to be dangerous, but she neither listened
nor wanted to listen to him. More than that, she also tried to get him to
go to the 'purification' with Natalia Simonova. 'You are the person
nearest and dearest to me, and if you want to be with me, do it. But if
not then don't interfere with me, you're holding up my development.' For
the sake of saving the family, Sergei went for a session to the spiritual
instructor. He paid her a thousand rubles for twelve hours of 'auditing' -
two sessions of six hours.
"Vera demanded money to conduct her home business. For her it was like the
children no longer existed. No warmth, no kindness, no ordinary
politeness. At the first call, she'd report to her spiritual instructor.
When Sergei was not home, Vera collected her things and, without saying a
word to the children, left for parts unknown. The neighbors said that a
blue Zhiguli arrived for her and two women loaded her things.
"In one of the local papers there was published an interview with a
certain Olga S., who related good things about 'Dianetics' and about the
'heavenly' woman Natalia Simonova. Sergei found Olga's telephone number on
a note pad left behind by Vera. We called and a woman picked up who said
she was Olga's mother. She said that her daughter had left home at the
same time Vera had. And the blue Zhiguli - that was her car. The next day
the woman, Anna Ilinichna, arrived at the editor's department and told how
back in 1997 spiritual instructor Natalia Simonova had turned her daughter
into a novice.
"We found out the name of a third victim of Natalia Simonov, Svetlana K.
Her husband told us where to find the three women and the blue Zhiguli.
The next day we drove to the area where the dachas were, to the dacha of
the spiritual instructor. With the help of the bookkeeping cooperative we
quickly found the dacha in question. At the gate was wound a thick rusty
chain, which had not been taken off for a minimum of two years. Not a
blade of grass was on the lot. The neighbors said the owner and three
other women lived here. Only the gate was not used here; they climbed over
the fence. And they also entered the house strangely - not through the
door, but through the window.
"We didn't get to storm the dacha. Everything was written in a statement
to the district attorney. The old assistant to the district attorney Yurii
Panchishkin promised to see to the matter him self. The families are very
hopeful that he will keep his promise."
> ChaplainsThe New York Journal News reported on July 20th that a group of clergy
would like chaplains who respond to disasters such as the World Trade
Center to be screened and have credentials.
"The group aims to weed out clergy prone to proselytize at disaster sites,
those not trained to refer survivors and rescue workers for counseling or
other services, and those who are simply not up to the taxing work of
disaster relief. It is an unprecedented and potentially controversial
effort that organizers hope will become a national model for providing
spiritual care in the face of tragedy.
"'A lot of people managed to get to Ground Zero who did not go through any
channels,' said Rabbi Zahara Davidowitz, a veteran New York chaplain who
is leading Disaster Spiritual Care Services. 'Anyone who goes through us
will have to demonstrate that they can do nonsectarian, nonproselytizing
work. And they will be bound by an agreement that says so.'
"Disaster Spiritual Care Services intends to screen would-be chaplains,
including those recommended by religious denominations, to make sure they
are willing to offer spiritual care to people of all faiths - or those who
have none. Chaplains who pass will be trained in disaster relief, entered
into a database and given ID cards. It remains to be seen who will be
rejected and whether religious freedom issues will be raised.
"The Church of Scientology had dozens of 'volunteer ministers' on hand to
offer counseling, and their involvement was criticized by the mental
health establishment. It is unclear whether Scientologists can meet
Disaster Spiritual Care Services' standards, which will likely ask that
chaplains be prepared to refer people for psychological services.
Scientology rejects traditional mental health treatment.
"The Rev. John Carmichael, Scientology's president for the state, was
skeptical when told of Disaster Spiritual Care Services' goals. 'I don't
think they'll be able to define who can help at a disaster site,' he said.
'If they have a way to smooth things out and ensure that proper care is
given, that's tremendous. But as far as involving mental health people, my
observation at Ground Zero is that they were not in great evidence, and
when they were, they did not help.'"