Presenting Rod Keller's
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review

Volume 8, Issue 14 - July 20 2003


An 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!! "Peter Dockx Governmental Affairs CCHR International" Message-ID:

Clearwater Academy

The 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 warm. "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." Message-ID:

Tom Cruise

Fox 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, Scientology. "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 Scientology itself.'" 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 dyslexia.'" Message-ID: Message-ID:

Health Med

MSNBC 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.'" Message-ID:


The 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." Message-ID:

Gold Base

The Riverside Press Enterprise reported on July 18th that Scientology's Gold Base has filming permits that will close for two weeks a road near the compound. "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 Transportation Department." Message-ID:

Los Angeles

The 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 that.' "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 District. "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." Message-ID:

Russia 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 among residents. "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." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1030716201428.111A-100000@darkstar.zippy Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1030719061114.114B-100000@darkstar.zippy


The 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.'" Message-ID:

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