Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review

Volume 9, Issue 27 - July 9 2005

Spaink update

Karin Spaink posted the following to the news group:

"The Supreme Court was to rule today - Friday, July 8 - on CoS vs XS4all & me. Two weeks ago, we first received notice that CoS was planning to drop their appeal, which they proceeded to do. We have objected to that move, thinking that CoS only did so because of the very negative advise the Supreme Court received from its attorney-general regarding Scientolgy's claims.

By now, we can't predict what will happen. There are several scenarios.

  1. The Supreme Court accepts the withdrawal of the appeal. In that case, the previous ruiling (Sept. 4, 2003) still stands and we end up being victorious. All cheer (except CoS).
  2. The Supreme Court might need to take time to decide whether they will still rule, in which case we will get a date for their decision on whether they rule or not. To be continued.
  3. The Supreme Court has decided to rule upon the case, despite CoS's retraction.
    a) but they need more time -- postponement of ruling.
    b) and they rule now.

Spaink then followed up and said scenario #2 was the one she ended up with,

"...albeit slightly more complicated.

The Supreme Court needs time to decide whether they will rule on the case or accept Scientology's withdrawal. Their decision on that will take a few months. On August 12 they will decide who will write an advice on that; two/three months afterwards that advice will be delivered and a date for the decision on the matter will be set. We expect the Supreme Court's ruling on whether to proceed with the case to be taken circa December."


Henson update

Keith Henson posted several updates to his situation in Canada.


"The [Brantford] Expositor, July 2, 2005

(Posted with permission, may put up in HTML if the newspaper does not. [Front page, below fold]

Scientology foe seeks refugee status here

Keith Henson talks about his years-long battle with controversial organization


He's accused of being a convicted hate criminal, a child molester, an Internet terrorist, a self-proclaimed bomb expert and a fugitive from justice.

Well, that last part is true, says Keith Henson, a mild-mannered 63 year-old with a boisterous laugh and thinning hair.

The fugitive living in Brantford doesn't exactly fit the part written for him on the Internet by the Church of Scientology as a hate filled terrorist bomber, but he is somewhat peeved that his quiet life in Brantford has been disturbed.

Once, Henson was in the forefront as a critic of Scientology, posting the organization's secrets on the Internet, protesting outside the group's film studio in California and fighting its lawyers in court.

In a bitter legal battle, Scientology spent $1.4 million to pursue a conviction against Henson for copyright infringement. Henson responded against the $150,000 judgment and costs, by declaring bankruptcy and further picketing Scientology facilities.

The organization accused Henson of stalking members and compared him to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Eventually, Henson was convicted of interfering with a religion. Rather than take his jail time in Riverside County, Calif., where, Henson believed, Scientologists had infiltrated the system, the critic came to Canada in 2001.

'They warned that 'child molesters' are killed in jail all the time,' says Henson. 'Over the years, they've accused me of having sex with boys, girls and goats.'

In fact, Henson is on the Scientologist's Religious Freedom Watch Web site as an anti-religious extremist.

'In their top ten list of people they hate, I'm probably in the low third. here are other people they hate more than me, but really, Tom Cruise has done more damage to Scientology in the last two months than I've ever done.'


Henson added:

"BTW, if anyone wants to thank Susan Gamble for the nice article, you could probably figure out her email. Or you can send it to me and I will forward."


Henson also posted some correspondence he sent to John Wesolowski, Attorney, United States Trustee, Region 17, United States Department of Justice, 280 South First Street, Room 268, San Jose, CA 95113 on h is continued harassment by Scientology:

"Dear Mr. Wesolowski:

This letter is being sent to you at the suggestion of Judge Weissbrodt.

In a hearing June 20, 2005 I described two recent attacks by the objecting creditor (Scientology) and asked him where I should report these incidents. Judge Weissbrodt told me the US Trustee. He did not indicate exactly where within the US Trustee's office I should write, but he did mention that wherever I started my complaint could go as high as needed for an effective response from the Justice Department.

Since you are somewhat familiar with this case, I am starting with you. If you are the wrong person, please let me know to whom I should address these concerns.

One of these attacks (criminal harassment and assault with a motor vehicle) occurred on April 29, 2005. It was by Robert Del Bianco, a private investigator. Besides calling the local police to the scene, I reported the matter to the Canadian authorities who license private investigators. An Ontario Provincial Police officer, Gino.Tatascxxxx[zot], (416) 236-0xxx, interviewed the owner of the PI’s agency. Officer Tatascxxx was not satisfied that the agency had a reason to investigate me. It turned out they were subcontracted to another agency. So the officer talked to that agency. The second agency was not able provide a satisfactory reason either. So the second agency was forced to disclose who their client was. The officer then contacted the client.

The client is in the US. When Officer Tatascxxxx talked to him he stated they were engaged in litigation against me.

Scientology (RTC and Dezotell) in this bankruptcy case is the only litigation in which I am involved.

There was no excuse for an investigation much less the blatant harassment (openly videotaping me and a co-worker and then hitting me with his rented van). However, there is a Scientology policy of harassing people with 'Noisy Investigation.' This is the fourth time I have been physically attacked by a private investigator working for Scientology, second time with a vehicle.



Washington Post discussion

"Frank K. Flinn, adjunct professor of religious studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., will be online Tuesday, July 5, at 2 p.m. ET to provide you with answers to questions you may have about Scientology."


"Frank K. Flinn: Hi! My name is Frank K. Flinn. I teach religious studies at Washington University in St. Louis and have published a number of articles on Scientology. I have also appeared as an expert witness in a number of their court cases."

"Charlotte, NC: What are the basic principles or dogma of the church? Articles I've read indicate the church clergy exercise a great deal of control over the members' personal lives. Is this true?

Frank K. Flinn: Many people have asked whether Scientology is a religion. I answer that to be a religion a group has to have 1) beliefs in something transciendental or ultimate, 2) practices (rites and codes of behavior) that re-inforce those beliefs and 3) a community that is sustained by both the beliefs and practices.

Scientology has all three.


Frank K. Flinn: Because of abuses and the potential for abuse, the Church of Scientology discontinued the policy known as Fair Game in the early 80's.

That does not mean the church will not vigorously defend itself if it believes it has been attacked unfairly. It also vigorously defends the secrecy of its upper level auditing materials.



"Washington Post staff writer Richard Leiby will be online Thursday, July 7, at 1:30 p.m. ET to field questions about Scientology teachings and its celebrity adherents.

Leiby has covered the Church of Scientology for 26 years, on and off, ever since he was a young reporter in Clearwater, Fla., where Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard established an international headquarters in the 1970s. In 1979-80, he covered the criminal proceedings against 11 Scientology officials convicted of participating in plots to plant spies in federal agencies, break into government offices, steal documents and bug at least one IRS meeting. (Among those convicted was Hubbard's third wife, Mary Sue.) Over the years, Leiby has reviewed thousands of pages of Scientology internal policy documents and its uppermost teachings. In 1995, the church sued The Post, Leiby and another Post reporter in an attempt to prevent publication of its copyrighted, secret scriptures. The church lost the case."



Critical press abundant

An abundance of press critical of Scientology appeared in the past week.

From the Dallas Morning News editorial: [long link]

"'Dangerous and Dishonest:' Tom Cruise has had his say--and then some

12:02 AM CDT on Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum has had enough of Tom Cruise's wackadoodle public behavior and Scientology-inspired obnoxiousness. 'If the media stopped treating this like a bit of chuckleheaded fun and asked Cruise some real questions,' growls Mr. Drum, 'Americans might be a wee bit less tolerant of his dangerous and dishonest clown show.'

His point is well taken when considering the real harm to people struggling with mental illness that could be done by Mr. Cruise's assault on psychiatry.

The actor has been attacking actress Brooke Shields for using Paxil to treat severe postpartum depression, insisting that psychiatry is nonsense and that Ms. Shields ought to have relied on 'vitamins and exercise and various things.' The actor, who is not a doctor--nor does he play one on TV--also declared that there is 'no such thing as a chemical imbalance' in the brain.

That's absurd. The hormonal shift that occurs when a woman gives birth can spark chemically induced depression that can be severe and lasting. Many such patients have been helped by antidepressant drugs. Sadly--even tragically--some sufferers believe their medical condition is a sign of weak character and resist medication that could deliver them. Mr. Cruise's ravings only add to their burden.



From an Atlanta-based publication:

[long link] or

"It stars Tom Cruise, but this is no movie One Atlanta woman's Scientology adventure

By Jennifer Smith and Stephanie Ramage


Escape to Atlanta

Karen and Peter Schless were living in Los Angeles when Peter wrote the hit single 'On the Wings of Love' with Jeffrey Osborne in 1982. The success catapulted the Schlesses onto the radar of Hollywood's sizeable Scientology community and they became members of the religion that same year. The idea, according to Karen, was that they would recruit celebrities for the group. By 1989 they were living at the Church of Scientology's desert compound outside L.A., training others in its doctrines, taking courses themselves, and performing landscaping duties for $45 a week. Almost 10 years later, with the help of a friend, Karen 'escaped'-her word for it-from the compound and flew home to Atlanta. She never spoke with her husband again. Their divorce was executed via mail. She had been, in the terminology of Scientology, 'disconnected'-cut off because she had rebelled.

Today, Karen Schless runs a ministry called Wings of Love, which is aimed at sharing her story. She recently co-authored a book titled 'Seven Secrets to Timely Beauty,' published by Harvest House Books and due to be released in July at the Christian Booksellers Convention. Last week, she got a call from a magazine to write an article 'about the whole Tom Cruise thing' from her perspective as a former Scientologist.

'Tom Cruise's experiences are bringing Scientology into the forefront,' she says. 'I've been worried this would happen for almost 20 years. I was a member for 17 years. Tom is just a 'public Scientologist.' I worked there on the inside. I saw the other side that Tom doesn't see.'

Karen attempted to leave the desert compound-which she says was fenced in with chain link and barbed wire-in 1990 and again in 1993, before succeeding in 1998.

'It was a cult-like atmosphere,' she says. 'We were under a 24-hour security watch. I got there in 1989. I asked, 'Why the chain-link fence?' and was told it was to keep out intruders. I later discovered it was to keep in the staff.'

She says that staffers at the facility were not allowed to have telephones, cell phones or personal computers. They were not allowed to log onto the Internet. They had a television, but it was later confiscated by security. They were not allowed to receive telephone calls from family or friends unless it went through a security guard who listened in. Women could not get pregnant if they wished to remain on staff.

'I knew a lot of women who were manipulated into having abortions,' she says.

(Scientology literature states that the group believes that it is forbidden to destroy another human life, but there is some disagreement within its ranks, just as there is in other groups, regarding when a fetus is considered a living human being.)

So why don't people leave?

'When you first learn about Scientology you're taught that it is very helpful to you-increases communication, healthier living, a drug purification program that helped us get off drugs-all those things are helpful in the beginning,' Karen Schless says. 'But you start to question, 'Why in the world am I involved in this?'

By that time, members have often invested tens of thousands of dollars in Scientology's counseling program.

'When you've invested that much money you look at your wisdom and if you're not happy and you realize you've made a mistake, it's really hard to admit,' she says. 'You can kiss a couple hundred thousand dollars goodbye. Especially if your friends and families have been telling you it's a cult. It's very, very hard to bite the bullet and admit they were right. Many people stay in to protect their investment and not let people prove them wrong.'

Schless concurs with media speculation that has pegged Tom Cruise as a recently confirmed OT VII-the second highest level attainable in Scientology. She says that if he's paid for all his services, he's easily sunk $500,000 into the process. What's more, the Church of Scientology may have amassed voluminous records of everything he's ever done.

'Everything that he has disclosed in his counseling sessions, every personal detail in his life, every sin he's committed, is all documented in folders,' she says. 'As paying customers, we were told our files were confidential.'

But when Schless became part of the staff, she says she was shocked at the lack of confidentiality and the number of people who had access to the information in those files.

Aside from the financial embarrassment and the potential social embarrassment lurking in the files, she says the staff's tight schedule made it difficult to get away. The staffers were allowed to drive cars to apartments they rented about five miles away, and this five-minute drive was the only time of day when Schless says she and her husband could actually be alone. Although even that was relative: They shared an apartment with another Scientology couple.

But that August day in 1998, in the searing desert heat, the schedule had changed for some reason and a window of time between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. had opened.

When the Schlesses had finished their landscaping shift and returned to the apartment to shower, Karen did what she always did, making it look as though she were sticking to the routine-preparing to do laundry. Hiding her toiletries among the 'laundry,' she threw the basket in the backseat.

'A security guard was walking by and said 'getting an early start on laundry?' 'Yeah,' I said, and I drove away making it look like I was going back to base,' she recalls. 'I cut through the highway that went to the Santa Monica freeway. I took that road into L.A. I had no destination, $48 and the keys to my car. In order for me to leave I had to leave everything behind including my husband. I had talked to him for 9 months prior to leaving and told him we needed to leave. He was very brainwashed and I realized I had lost him. He chose not to leave with me.'

Karen was a clothes designer for Scientology, which meant that she had contact with outside vendors. She called one of them, with whom she'd been having talks about God, and he provided her with a plane ticket and a way to the airport.

She flew to Atlanta, to her family, from whom she had been separated for 16 years.

The day she arrived, either her husband Peter or some member of Scientology's security called every couple of hours. She chose not to answer the calls because, she says, she was afraid she would break down and go back.

Six months later she returned to L.A. to get permission to leave the group officially.

'If you leave Scientology unauthorized, they put you into a status called 'suppressive person.' You can't just walk out. If you're in a Christian church and you change your mind and you don't want to be in that religion anymore you walk out,' she explains. 'In Scientology they have such control and ownership over every aspect of your life that you believe you have to leave with their authority. I was still in that state of mind. I believed when I went out to L.A. I was going to talk sense into Peter. I have never spoken one word to Peter since the day I left Scientology. When he was calling my mother's house he didn't want to speak to me. He wanted to know about me, but he talked to her... In any case he refused to talk to me and he has never spoken to me. We got divorced by mail.'

It took her a month to get the permission she sought.

Schless says that she was contacted by a publisher to co-write a script in 2001 about her experience. It was in editorial production when an attorney contacted the publisher's legal department and told them if they produced the piece, there would be a major lawsuit.



From a Guardian (UK) Diary article 6 July 2005

"A dip into the strange but true files, next, with the exclusive revelation that Lord Chancellor Charlie Falconer's brother is a Scientologist. Seriously. Not sure what to add, really, other than to wonder how the PM can possibly think Fatty has the authority to persuade people he should be the only chap simultaneously part of the executive, the legislature and the judiciary when he can't even persuade his own sibling that he is not a thetan surrounded by invisible alien parasites sent to earth 75 million years ago by the alien tyrant Xenu, Still, live and let live."


Batchild posted:

"The July 11, 2005, issue of the National Enquirer has an article about TomKat--'Tom's threesome with Katie and Penelope!'. They mention Tom taking Katie to the Narconon Arrowhead facility and there's a quote from Dave Touretzky about Narconon. The article isn't online but the magazine is on sale now."


From The Lufkin Daily News [long link]

"BONNER: War of the Worlds: The Devil vs. Xenu?

By JESSIE L. BONNER, Contributing writer

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The sparkle in actress Katie Holmes' eyes says it all - she is deeply in love with Tom Cruise.

And who wouldn't be? Cruise, 42, embodies the concept of the All-American male. With his chiseled features he has mesmerized millions of moviegoers in roles ranging from high-school football player to fighter pilot flying into the 'danger-zone.'

It doesn't hurt that he's loaded. He banked $140 million for the first two 'Mission: Impossible' movies, which I still have a hard time following the complex plots.

It's definitely good to be Tom Cruise.

Cruise now seems to be on a Mission: Possible - to convert young starlets to Scientology. His love life reads like a 'who's who' of Scientology: Mimi Rogers (first wife) is a member, Nicole Kidman (second wife) supposedly left the sect, and Penelope Cruz (recent girlfriend) now praises it. Holmes, who is 26, is his new fiancée and is expressing interest in Scientology.

Cruise recently tried to recruit Scarlett Johansson, 21, to co-star in his upcoming 'Mission: Impossible III.' According to Radar, 'After two hours of proselytizing, Cruise opened a door to reveal a second room full of upper-level Scientologists who had been waiting to dine with the pair, at which point the cool-headed ingénue politely excused herself.'

Ms. Johansson's status just went up in my book.



Subject: Boston Herald: 4th revelers ridicule Scientology banner

Found at:

"4th revelers ridicule Scientology banner
By O’Ryan Johnson
Tuesday, July 5, 2005 - Updated: 01:43 AM EST

Two 20-foot banners blasting the use of psychiatric drugs on children were unfurled yesterday on the Church of Scientology's Beacon Street headquarters, aimed at the hundreds of thousands of holiday revelers on their way to the Hatch Shell.

But the crowds blasted back, using the Brooke Shields vs. Tom Cruise vs. Matt Lauer beef as ammunition.

With a banner that read, 'Is psychiatry junk science inventing illness for profit?' as a backdrop, Bill Walsh, 21, an MIT student called the church's message 'incredibly stupid.'

'You can't refute neuroscience,' he said. 'How can you say it's a zombie space alien making kids depressed, when you have CAT scans and blood tests that show a chemical imbalance? It kills me.'



Found at:

[long link]

What makes Tom Cruise tick, tick, tick?
Pati Poblete

Monday, July 4, 2005


[Speaking of Tom Cruise's recent public antics,] Critics say it's all a publicity stunt, but walking along San Francisco's Mission Street, I sought to find the real answer.

'Find out why Tom Cruise is so passionate about Scientology,' read a large white banner in front of the church.

Inside the two-story, plush space was a lithe twentysomething.

'I want to know what's up with Tom Cruise,' I said.

'It's a good question, isn't it?' she answered. 'It gives you the tools to deal with life.'

'Yes, but what is Scientology?' I asked.

She explained the word comes from the Latin root scio, which means 'know' and the Greek word logos meaning 'how a thought is expressed.'

Scientology, she said, meant 'knowing about knowing.' Ironically, that definition left me less in the know than ever.

She then suggested I take a personality test, after which a computer-generated analysis could identify areas in my life that could use some help.

The questionnaire included questions such as: 'Does an unexpected action cause your muscles to twitch?'

She took my answers and fed them into a computer, which then printed out my analysis.

I stared at the grid that charted the highs and lows of my personality. But other than offering to sell me a $20 book, no one at the branch had helped me understand why Tom Cruise was so passionate about Scientology.

I took my chart and headed over to the Church of Scientology of San Francisco on Montgomery Street, where spokesman Jeff Quiros was much more helpful.

There, Quiros took me through a tour of L. Ron Hubbard's life.

'Do you believe L. Ron Hubbard is a divine being?' I asked.

'No, he's just a man. A brilliant man,' he answered.


'What about people who say this is a cult?' I asked Quiros.

'Look around, do you see any dungeons?' he countered.

Shortly afterward, he brought me to a dungeon-like basement where people go to 'detoxify' in the 'purification program' (sauna). In addition, there were numerous rooms with E-meters and chairs set up.

At the end of the tour, Quiros explained that Scientology is a 'pan-denominational' religion that gives you tools to enhance your spiritual being.

'Everyone takes from it what they want, and uses it in a way that's best for them,' he said.

Maybe that's what you're doing, Tom, but on that point, we don't get it. "


Subject: Miami Herald: "Scientology: What's Behind the Hollywood Hype?"

Scientology: What's Behind the Hollywood Hype?

July 2, 2005

"When Peter Alexander joined the Church of Scientology at age 29 in 1977, he didn't view it as religion. Like many others, he started with the church's life-improvement courses and counseling sessions.

He saw results immediately. He quit smoking, a habit he'd kept for 10 years. His chronic bronchitis disappeared. He felt euphoric.

'I thought, Wow, this stuff really works,' said Alexander, now 58 and a theme park designer in Tampa. 'It seemed very high-minded. It was all about communication and freeing people.'

Nearly 20 years and $1 million later, Alexander wondered what he'd gotten into. The counseling sessions, which involved a Scientologist asking Alexander question after question in a hypnotic repetition, took a bizarre turn. As he progressed to the highest levels of Scientology, Alexander said he was trained to communicate with dead space aliens, called body thetans.

'The fact that I couldn't find any space aliens started to bother me,' Alexander said in a series of interviews with The Herald. 'That kind of broke the bubble.'

Even then, Alexander said it took three years for him to leave Scientology.


That's when Alexander first heard the story of Xenu. It goes something like this: 75 million years ago, the intergalactic overlord Xenu brought aliens from different planets to Earth, killed them with a hydrogen bomb and dispersed their bodies into the atmosphere. Their souls now afflict humanity with 'disconnected thoughts.'

'The first thing I thought was, this doesn't really apply to me,' Alexander said. 'But then I decided I'm here on this course, I paid a bunch of money, so I'm going to read this stuff and see if it works.'

For a while, it did. From 1993 to 1996, Alexander spent up to three hours a day on 'self auditing,' solo counseling which he said made him feel 'like you're floating on a cloud.'

During these sessions, he tried to communicate with the dead aliens to get them to leave his body. Using the E-meter, Alexander would sit in a room by himself and repeat the story of Xenu over and over in his mind.

He said he was told not to discuss the process with anyone, not even his wife or other Scientologists.

'You're sitting around all day for hours at a time,' he said. 'As a result you just don't connect with reality; you're basically talking to yourself all day.'

Melvin and Touretzky confirmed that the story of Xenu is part of Scientology's belief system, noting that it is only told to members at the organization's highest levels. Scientology officials say this protects people from being exposed to practices they are not ready for.

'You're not prepared as a spiritual being to understand that,' said Kathy Dillon, a spokeswoman at the Coral Gables Scientology center.

But now, much of the material is available on the Internet, leaked by former Scientologists.

One of the most publicized suits involved the 1995 death of a 36-year-old woman, Lisa McPherson, who died under the supervision of Scientologists in Clearwater. An autopsy revealed she had died from a blood clot due to 'severe dehydration' and 'bed rest,' according to news reports. Her family settled a wrongful death suit against the church for an undisclosed amount.

Touretzky, who published material about Xenu on the Internet, said the Web has made it harder for Scientologists to recruit new members. People who are curious can punch Scientology into a search engine and find scathing testimonies from ex-Scientologists, details about what Scientology teaches at the highest levels and accounts of the religion's legal troubles.

'It seems to be shrinking in part because of the Internet,' said Touretzky.


Tilman Hausherr posted that J. Gordon Melvin is really Melton, not Melvin.


From [long link]

Evans: 'Dr.' Cruise is a quack

The Boulder Daily Camera
July 3, 2005

"Did you catch the famous Dr. Tom Cruise raving about the evils of psychiatry while making the media rounds in support of his new movie, 'War of the Worlds'?

On 'Oprah,' he frolicked on a couch while declaring his love for his latest actress paramour before a rapt and cheering audience. He is handsome, after all. And famous.

Dr. Tom ranted against all use of psychiatric drugs - against psychiatry itself - and ripped actress Brooke Shields for using the drug Paxil to help with post-partum depression.

A few days later, the good doctor lectured 'Today' show host Matt Lauer: 'Here's the problem,' Cruise said, eyes narrowed as he leaned toward the mild-mannered Lauer. 'You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do. There's no such thing as a chemical imbalance.'

The overprescription of psychiatric drugs is a legitimate question for debate. But Lauer's simple point was that, for some people, drugs work. Dr. Tom demurred, and implied that all who seek psychiatric help wind up stoned or electro-convulsed against their will.

Here's the problem: Dr. Tom is not a doctor, but he is a student of the pay-to-play religion, Scientology. One of the central tenets of his belief system, invented by the late pulp sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard, is that people need Scientology - at the cost of thousands of dollars - not psychiatry.

Sure they do. This is a religion that claims all our problems are caused by ghosts of humans executed millions of years ago at the hands of the alien Xemu. Look it up.

Judy Eron knows all too well that psychiatric meds can be a lifesaver. Her late husband, Jim, had severe manic depression. When he took himself off lithium, he went into a mania that led to his 1997 suicide, a sad story she recounts in her new book, 'What Goes Up ...: Surviving the Manic Episode of a Loved One.'


Tom Cruise's science-fiction religion works for him. But medication works for other people, and his celebrity tantrums just might lead to avoidable tragedies."


Found at: [long link]

Controversy has dogged Scientology
Cruise's comments put church back in glare of public controversy

By Richard N. Ostling
Associated Press
Published July 8, 2005


The church charges that psychiatry 'does not meet any known definition of a science, what with its hodgepodge of unproven theories that have never produced any result.' It considers reliance on psychotropic drugs as dangerous as treatments like electric shock or lobotomies.

The American Psychiatric Association's president said last week that it was irresponsible for Cruise to 'deter people with mental illness from getting the care they need.' The association said 'rigorous, published, peer-reviewed research clearly demonstrates' that psychiatric treatment works.


To J. Gordon Melton, editor of the Encyclopedia of American Religions, a religion deals with ultimate life questions 'beyond the limits of science that we need answers to,' and Scientology qualifies -- but not, for example, Freemasonry or Werner Erhard's est training.

Melton categorizes Scientology as a 'psychic New Age' faith akin to Gnosticism. He says Gnostics see 'the soul trapped in the body and forgetting who it is' and offer tools for escape into 'divine status.'

Scientology is apparently also like Gnosticism in imparting secret knowledge to elites. Critics at and elsewhere say advanced Scientologists are taught that 75 million years ago, the cosmic ruler Xenu paralyzed billions of people in our galaxy, stacked them on Earth and destroyed their bodies with H-bombs, though the traumatized souls survived.

The church does not discuss these matters.




"...I'm sure Scientology just loves brain-dead celebrities like Cruise, because they bring attention to their teachings. The Church of Scientology Web site is all full of touchy feely stuff, but no mention of aliens of the captivity, torture and death of many members. Anyone interested in the truth can do a quick Google of Scientology or go to If Mr. Cruise wants to live his life as a mindless, brainwashed moron, that's his right, but a BIG GRRR! to him for pushing it on unsuspecting people."


Found at:

KFMB News, San Diego

The Secret World Of Scientology



But Scientology isn't without controversy. Several websites claim this is hubbard's account, in his own handwriting:

'75 million years ago, there was a galactic shake-up. Xenu, an alien ruler sent billions of his subjects to earth...the 'thetan' souls invaded humans...'

A high ranking Los Angeles church official told LOCAL 8 this is just a small part of the church's doctrine and only revealed at higher levels.

To reach upper levels and enlightenment, members pass through levels of teachings called 'The Bridge'. But this comes at a price -- the higher the level, the more expensive the course.



Several articles mentioned Scientology convert-to-be Katie Holmes and her cult minder, Jessica Rodriguez.



Anyone who has seen photos from the couple's June tour of European capitals in support of their summer movies will recognize the tall, cold-eyed Jessica Rodriguez, a third wheel at all of Holmes's recent public appearances. Rodriguez, 29, was described to me as Holmes's 'Scientologist chaperone,' and it was clear that she would be on hand during our interview despite my protests. Polite and restrained but alert to troublesome questions, Rodriguez chimes in only to offer an amen following one of Holmes's rhapsodies. ('You adore him,' Rodriguez says after the actress explains that she can't keep her hands off Cruise.) But she rises from her chair when Holmes is asked how she feels about the widespread disbelief in her new union.

'The truth is, we don't read that stuff because it's just rude,' Rodriguez says-referring to rumors that Cruise made a financial arrangement with Holmes (after auditioning a field of other young starlets, including Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba and Kate Bosworth). When I suggest that the televised hyperbolizing of their happiness may have undercut its credibility, Rodriguez asks, 'Have you ever been in love? You just want to share it with the world.' I suggest that many couples prefer to cherish the feeling privately, especially in the delicate first months. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, whatever the nature of their relationship, come to mind.

'But why can't they go public, you know what I mean?' Rodriguez continues. 'Like, Brad and Angelina-that's just a shame for them. Right, Katie?'

'Yeah. I mean, I'm just so happy,' Holmes says in reply as a makeup artist begins to powder her cheeks. (Holmes's skin, in contrast to the evidence of a recent barrage of embarrassing tabloid photos, is perfect.) 'And I love celebrating our happiness. I can't keep it in.'


Cruise may not be imposing his will on Holmes's career, but, with Rodriguez's help, he appears to have made a strong bid for her soul. After the interview, when I ask Rodriguez how long she's worked with Holmes-reports call her a longtime employee of the Church of Scientology-she waves her hand and says, 'Oh, no, we're just best friends.... Well, Katie has a lot of friends.' And how long have you been friends? 'Oh, a while,' Rodriguez answers. 'I don't know.'

It turns out the two women were introduced only six weeks earlier-right around the time when Holmes met Cruise. (Holmes prefers to keep the details of the couple's first date to herself, but Cruise is said to have invited her to a sushi dinner on his plane.) Rodriguez comes from a family of wealthy Bay area Scientologists; she attended a boarding school in Oregon linked to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, then went to work for the church, reportedly attaining membership in the Sea Org-Scientology's elite religious order, whose members commit to the church for one billion years-in 1998. No one close to Holmes will venture to say exactly what Rodriguez's role in the actress's life is these days.


No pressure from Cruise, she swears: 'That's really ludicrous because, I mean, you have to know Tom. He is the most loving, generous man who... first of all, he wants to help people. He doesn't put pressure on people. He is the kindest, smartest, most adoring man. It's a pleasure and a privilege to be with him.'

As if that weren't already perfectly clear, just then a security guard lumbers into the dressing room and presents Holmes with a giant silver box tied in a thick purple ribbon. A small crowd gathers to watch her gleefully tear open the package and pluck out a Chanel diamond necklace-a gift, naturally, from Cruise. 'He's my man! He's my man!' she screams, then jumps up on her chair to do an impression of her fiancé's now-famous sofa shtick from Oprah.

People begin to cheer. 'This is your moment!' cries the manicurist.

'I can do splits too,' Holmes says, jumping down and splaying herself across the floor.


'Holmes Sweet Holmes' by Robert Haskell has been edited for; the complete story appears in the August 2005 issue of W."



"Katie Holmes Poses in Wedding Dress

Friday, July 08, 2005


Katie Holmes appears in the August issue of W magazine posing in a Commes des Garcons wedding dress and continuing to gush about her fiance. The couple, who went public with their relationship in April, haven't announced a date for their marriage.

'Tom and I will always be in our honeymoon phase,' Holmes says in W, on newsstands July 22. In the interview, a theme emerges with many similar comments, including 'Tom is the most incredible man in the world.'


During the W interview, the actress wouldn't part from Jessica Rodriguez, who is described as her 'Scientologist chaperone.' Rodriguez's role in Holmes' life remains vague, though Rodriguez says they're 'just best friends' since meeting around the time Holmes met Cruise.

'You adore him,' Rodriguez told Holmes when the actress was at a loss for words to describe her love.

Not to forget their day jobs, Holmes says she wants to make a movie with Cruise.

'That would be such an honor,' she says. 'Such an honor.'"



Business as usual for Scientology


"July 11 issue - [...]

Cruise is getting blockbuster numbers for Scientology, too. First-time visitors to Scientology centers have more than doubled since this time last year, the church reports. Sales of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's book 'Dianetics' increased by more than 300 percent in June at Barnes & Noble stores. 'Scientology' is one of the fastest-growing Web searches, according to Google and Lycos.

'It's nice that he's talking,' says Marc Cosentino, chaplain of the Church of Scientology of New York, who's seen an influx of curious visitors at his center. 'People hear him on TV and want to know what we're all about.' Getting info is fine. Just please stay off the furniture."


Found at:

(includes photos of two Scieno properties--W. 48th St., Manhattan and E. 125th St., Harlem)

Originally published on July 3, 2005

"An expanding universe

Scientology believes in aliens--& in buying lots


Tom Cruise's leap of faith into Scientology is a visible example of the religion's hold on its followers - but the Church of Scientology already has a multimillion-dollar grip on Manhattan. The controversial group, now blitzing the media after Cruise became its most outspoken advocate, has a massive city empire used by tens of thousands of devotees.

And New York's church president the Rev. John Carmichael said, 'Interest is increasing markedly.'

Its huge seven-story city headquarters was opened last year at W. 46th St. and Eighth Ave. More than 10,700 supporters marked the event.

They also have a Harlem church in a Third Ave. storefront, which will soon to move to a six-story building on E. 125th St., now undergoing major renovation.

In addition, the group has a seven-story townhouse on W. 48th St., houses offices that control Scientology's reach across the Northeast.

And on E. 82nd St., a plush six-story townhouse off Park Ave. is used as a Celebrity Center, catering specifically for wealthy, famous Scientologists.

The church is reportedly eying new premises for its celebrity home, now that a deal for a $12.4 million, 16,000-square-foot E. 69th St. townhouse recently fell apart - apparently because it was too small.

The property portfolio is worth tens of millions of dollars - and is tax exempt because of the church's status as a religious institution.


Scientology's reach expanded after high-profile work following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Carmichael said, 'We got some good press, but it was the interaction we had, the fact we were there trying to make things better, that people noticed.

'The renovation of the 46th St. building was funded largely by friends around the world who heard about what was going on here after 9/11.'

Hundreds of volunteer ministers passed out food and supplies and offered counseling during the first days following the tragedy.

About 120 firefighters took part in a detoxification program at a Fulton St. clinic called Downtown Medical, bankrolled by Cruise and, though not officially part of the church, dedicated to Scientology's teachings.

The church's help was praised by many, including New York Police Chief Joseph Esposito and Dr. Stephan Hittman, CEO of the 9/11 Foundation.

But others voiced suspicion assistance was given as part of a church recruitment drive. 'It was a promotional ploy, in my opinion,' said Rick Ross, founder of the New Jersey-based Ross Institute which monitors fringe religious groups.

The church has long been subject to accusations that it is a dangerous group that uses brainwashing techniques and extortion.

Ross said, 'I get weekly calls from people concerned about Scientology. '[Auditing] paralyzes critical thinking and replaces it with a type of group mind-set, which can be likened to brainwashing.' Carmichael countered: 'Scientology frees people. It helps them see things for themselves. It wakes people up, unhypnotizes people. That's what it's designed to do.'

Ross said he also gets complaints about the church's constant demands for money - courses taken by members eager to 'clear' their souls cost up to $12,000.

'We have to pay the rent,' Carmichael said.

'We do have things that cost substantial amounts of money. If you want to receive all the counseling, it might cost as much as a college education.

'I would say it is worth far more than that.'"


Critical press in Toledo

Critical press was noted from Toledo, home to Scientology celebrity Tom Cruises new conquest, movie star Katie Holmes.

[long link]

July 6, 2005

How about 'Cruise control'?

"BROOKE Shields is right: Tom Cruise hasn't the faintest idea what he's talking about in his ramblings about postpartum depression and psychiatry. The movie star's criticism of the profession and a Hollywood peer for taking treatment for the disease shows about as much maturity as he displayed jumping up and down on a sofa on Oprah Winfrey's show in May.

Cruise's puerile remarks about Shields, depression, and treatment recall a time when it was normal to spurn psychiatry and ignore mental illness.

Shields suffered postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter two years ago, and like many women who do, she was confused about what was happening to her, surprised at the diagnosis, and leery about taking medication. Now, she credits treatment and therapy for saving her and her family.

But Tom Cruise, who practices Scientology, can't see the good in that. He dismisses women's gratitude to Shields for telling her experiences in a book, Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression.



[long link] Article published July 2, 2005

Scientology story sparks heated response


"One thing that quickly becomes clear to journalists who cover religion is that every faith has its strong supporters as well as its fervent critics.


One of the more diligent and informed critics is Arnie Lerma, a self-described 'old hippie' living near Washington.

Mr. Lerma, now 54, had been a Scientologist until the church broke his heart and, he says, threatened to break erents are pressured to abandon other faiths.

One of the more diligent and informed critics is Arnie Lerma, a self-described 'old hippie' living near Washington.

Mr. Lerma, now 54, had been a Scientologist until the church broke his heart and, he says, threatened to break even more.

He began working for the Church of Scientology at age 16 in 1967, carrying folders and filing documents at its D.C. offices, and moved up in rank to become a member of Scientology's elite Sea Organization.

While working for the church in New York City in 1976, Mr. Lerma said, he met Suzette Hubbard, daughter of the church's founder.

'We had fallen in love and wanted to get married and live together for the rest of our lives,' he said.

Somebody in the organization apparently didn't like that plan, however, and Suzette was transferred to Clearwater, Fla.

Mr. Lerma and Miss Hubbard maintained a long-distance relationship until he decided to make a surprise visit to Clearwater.

'We were going to elope, so I flew down there,' he said. 'Suzette and I got blood tests and a marriage license.'

Miss Hubbard was going through an audit at the time and revealed to her Scientology auditor that she and Mr. Lerma were planning to elope.

'She spilled the beans, and I got arrested - well, detained,' Mr. Lerma said. 'I remember being in a room with a chair and a light bulb and two guys outside the door. I was interrogated for several hours. I was not struck, hit, or physically abused. However, what I do remember is the deal I was offered: 'We will give you a guarantee of safe passage out of the state of Florida with all body parts attached if you tell Suzette Hubbard the marriage is off.' '

He said he took the threat seriously.

'I told Suzette the marriage is off, and I watched her start crying,' Mr. Lerma said.

He fled Florida and the Church of Scientology, but he never lost his love for Suzette. She later married a church member and moved to California, Mr. Lerma said, and is now divorced. He said he's tried to contact her over the years but has not been able to penetrate the circle of Scientologists that surrounds her.

Mr. Lerma said he considers Scientology to be a cult, not a religion, because 'it controls its membership by lying to them.' He has devoted tremendous effort to share his views on his Web site,, which he subtitles: 'Exposing the Con.' ..."


Critical wave reached France as well

Roger Gonnet posted:

"Salon Magazine excellent 4 parts series has been partly translated in one of our best mags, Courrier International.

That mag proposes a number of foreign newspapers articles translated every week; having received it for long, I can say it's great.

Besides, Le Nouvel Obs has also criticized Tom Cruise's recent crappy utterances about psychiatry etc.

Charlie Hebdo has done a comics on TC . Bad time for hollywood scieno star."

Message-ID: 42cd4d8b$0$14240$

Scientologist selling in K-Mart Parking Lot

Ida Camburn posted that she

"... recently learned K-Mart has had a 'sales person' in their parking lot on June 26.

This is the K-Mart on Stetson and State St. in Hemet. She was selling rugs. When asked by my friend she told him she was from the 'Celebrity Center' in Hollywood. She said that l5% of the profits from the sales was given to 'NarCONon'. I called the K'Mart today and asked to speak to the manager. She verified there was a person there and said they were told to help 'children on drugs'. She did not know about the NarCONon organization. We had a lengthy conversation and she was happy to recieve urls so that she can learn about the truth. She advised me that she will contact the area manager.

I did not learn of this til recently --Perhaps other chain market parking lots should be checked. I am always appalled at the failure of so many to know about this destructive organization who posed as a 'production center' for the past 25 years."


Scientology in Botswana

Roger Gonnet posted an article on "Scientology holds goodwill tour in Gaborone" from the Botswana Press Agency (BOPA) 05 July, 2005, frm [long link]

"GABORONE - The Ministry of Scientology - will hold an international goodwill tour in Gaborone throughout July at the Gaborone Secondary School sports grounds. Scientology is a religious group, which was formed in the United States in 1954.

Philippa Sondergaard, a scientology volunteer minister, told BOPA that the purpose of the tour would be to bring the technology used by the volunteer ministers to the people.

She said the task of volunteer ministers is to help restore the purpose of human existence by preaching the virtue of truth and spiritual values.

'We do not close our eyes to the pain and suffering that is around,' she said. 'Volunteer ministers have the ability to do something about this.

Our motto is something can be done about it.' Sondergaard said the volunteer ministers programme was launched in response to rising crime and violence in society.

She said there are currently four international goodwill tours that have been launched. These include India, the United States, Europe and Africa.

She said the scientology volunteer ministers have decided to launch the African tour in Gaborone because they have already introduced some of the basics to the people in Gaborone.

'The African tour will take a year and we will be travelling through the southern African countries except Zimbabwe and South Africa where the scientology ministry already has churches.' The tour, which started in Gaborone, will go to Namibia, come back to Botswana in Francistown, and then to Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

This would not be the first time scientology has visited Botswana. The scientologists visited Gaborone in April last year to introduce dianetics, a science of the mind concept developed by author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.


Message-ID: 42ca87b5$0$31258$

Valuable Sea Org paraphernalia

Chuck Betty posted a "Clambake Ladybird post" which included

"They have some paranoia about that you can not take anything with you that has the Sea Org symbol on it, 'as it might come in the wrong hands'. I was laughing one time when I saw a bum in Hollywood wearing a leather jacket with the Sea Org symbol on it. He had obviously found in the trash.

All they would have had to do was to take a knife and cut off the damn Sea Org star from on top of the trunk - but instead they had to make the cab wait and make Russ pay probably another $10, while he was being accused of being a thief, traitor etc. "

Phil Scott commented on one clambake re-posting:

"the clambake boards are hard for some of us to navigate and find what we are looking for ... I recommend that anything you want seen broadly be posted also to ARS. [alt.religion.scientology]"


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