Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review

Volume 9, Issue 28 - July 16 2005

Scientology debated in Parliament

On 14 July Andreas Heldal-Lund posted text cited from a United Kingdom Parliament debate to the newsgroup:

[long link]

"Charles Hendry (Wealden) (Con): I shall make a brief contribution on a particular aspect of amendment No. 9. In doing so, I commend my hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) for highlighting many of the flaws in a deeply inadequate Bill.

It would be hard to find a more graphic list of groups that would cause people concern. The amendment refers to

'Satanists; . . .

believers in the need for human sacrifice to propitiate a deity;

believers in female genital mutilation to live in accordance with the rules of a religion;

believers in violence as a means of proselytising a belief;

believers in the divinely ordained supremacy of one race over another.'

The one that I skipped over was a reference to Scientologists. Ihope my hon. Friend will understand that although Scientology may be very controversial, people who are Scientologists find it profoundly offensive to be included in that list. As he may be aware, Scientologists in this country are based in East

11 Jul 2005 : Column 643

Grinstead, which is just outside my constituency, and many hundreds of my constituents are Scientologists. They will be mystified by their inclusion in such a list, particularly as many other groups, such as those who practise voodoo, are not included.

This debate has already caused Scientologists offence. On Second Reading, my right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer) said that

'it is . . . a dangerous organisation that preys on people with mental illness'. -[Official Report, 21 June 2005; Vol. 435, c. 681.]
That is a characterisation that many people in my constituency would find peculiar and to which they would not relate.

I am not familiar with the details of Scientology as a religion or as a set of beliefs, and having heard the Minister's comments earlier, it would be hard to decide on which side of that boundary it would fall. Those who practise Scientology would say that it is a religion, but many others would contest that. Undoubtedly, as human beings they do a great deal of good. I have seen for myself their project to take people away from drug addiction and their work to encourage methods other than medical technology and medicine to deal with children with conditions such as hyperactivity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I have heard of the work that they do in New York to work with firemen with respiratory diseases as a result of their involvement in the terror attacks of 11 September 2001. Many of us have seen the good work that they do in those areas and find it peculiar that they have been singled out for inclusion in this list."

Heldal-Lund also commented that the parliamentarian might need some friendly education."


Cult conversion as entertainment

On July 13, text from a Salon article by Rebecca Traister about Katie Holmes' impending conversion to Scientology was posted about the moral questions of cult conversion as entertainment:

"Holy fem-bot, Batman!
Katie Holmes is turning into a zombie in front of our eyes. Pass the popcorn.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Rebecca Traister

July 12, 2005

"...In her interview with W's Robert Haskell, the 26-year-old Holmes -- a television star who's been speaking competently to the press for almost a decade now -- comes off as nothing less than a chilling fem-bot, repeating her Cruise-azy scripted shtick over and over and over again, all while being closely monitored by her omnipresent Scientology baby sitter, the skeevy Jessica Rodriguez.

'I've found the man of my dreams,' 'I've never met anyone like Tom,' 'Tom is the most incredible man in the world,' 'Meeting Tom -- I'm just exhilarated. He makes me laugh, we have fun, we understand each other, everything is so aligned. I feel so lucky and so -- like I've been given such a gift ... And it's just really amazing.' These are Holmes' non sequitur replies to Haskell's questions about everything and anything, including her recently dissolved five-year relationship with ex-fiancée Chris Klein.

In a 1,700-word piece, Haskell can't get Holmes to talk about anything else, and when he asks her reasonable questions about whether it's been hard to adjust to living with 'her man' after knowing him for just six weeks, she nonsensically replies, 'He's the man of my dreams.'


It's profoundly sad that Holmes seems not just to have drunk the Kool-Aid, but to be wearing the pitcher it was stirred in over her head. But it's just as sad that because we are celebrity imbibers first and human beings second, we can't bring ourselves to politely look the other way as she stumbles around.


But even venerable gossip Liz Smith -- a columnist who generally toes the Hollywood line and who has been giving the TomKat hoax an admittedly tepid stamp of approval until now -- finally broke down on Monday and called the W piece, 'the scariest piece of celebrity journalism in a long time.'


But it leaves readers in a moral gray area. We work up a lather about Elizabeth Smart or Shasta Groene or any of the other young white women whose abductions we fetishize and fret over. But whether Holmes has willingly entered into a business partnership that forces her to mask her cognitive abilities or whether she's been hoodwinked into believing what she's burbling, it's happening in plain sight, in front of all of us, and we only know how to process it as an awkward form of entertainment.

Haskell interviewed Holmes three days before the announcement of what he calls her conversion to Scientology, though the actress confessed to him that she'd already begun 'auditing' -- receiving spiritual counseling from L. Ron Hubbard's church. Thanks to Scientology, Holmes tells Haskell, she is 'learning' to celebrate her 'own spirit' and her 'own being.'

But what about her 'own career,' which is in free fall, now that she's giving up plum lead roles, like that of Andy Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick in 'Factory Girl,' reportedly because Sedgwick took drugs that Scientologists frown upon? When asked about Cruise's influence over her 'Factory Girl' choice, Holmes tells Haskell, 'Tom's so supportive and he's such an inspiration.'

Holmes tells Haskell that people from her hometown in Ohio who are worried about her 'aren't my friends.' Then, when an obviously timed diamond necklace arrives from Cruise, she does an ecstatic split (in reference to her beloved's Oprah couch-jump) and announces once again that she's in love. It's the kind of brainwashed confusion -- that those who express concern are not your friends, but those who send gifts in the middle of press ops love you -- that is best explored by a therapist, within a family and with friends. Readers can't do anything to help her. So what are we supposed to feel when we read about it?

I don't know. But it may be time to reconsider the ways we're ingesting our culture. We are so used to seeing 'real people' do surreal and insane things -- eating bugs and getting dropped off on dangerous islands and making and breaking engagements like they're first dates -- that nothing makes a dent anymore.

But sometimes people need real help -- like in life, not on television.

Katie Holmes may be one of those people. And while my concern for her does not exceed my concern for all the anonymous women who are manipulated or mistreated by organizations or individuals who seek to profit from their mental, emotional or physical weaknesses, it's disquieting to see it unfold on a national stage. Of course there are greater tragedies. People die in unnecessary wars and on subways. But the Holmes story is supposed to fall into the category of things that distract us from all that. That's how it's being fed to us; that's how we're consuming it. What are we supposed to do when our fluff becomes deeply troubling, but remains fluff?"


More cult recruitment by Scientology Tom Cruise was reported in Radaronline.

"July 08, 2005

Keri Russell buys books on Scientology
By Editor

Ever since Keri Russell scored the supporting role in Mission Impossible III, the ex- Felicity Star has 'suddenly become very interested' in co-star Tom Cruise's religion - and is excited to learn more from the master Radar Magazine hears.

She's even been spotted buying books on Scientology and visiting the sect's L.A. Celebrity Center, sources tell Radar Magazine.


As for her brother's onset demands, De Vette said that during the shooting of WOTW, Cruise didn't ask for the 'assist' tents to be set up - 'they were already there' when he arrived. Furthermore, she said that although Cruise invited Scientology volunteers onto the set to man the tents, no one felt pressured to use them:

'Tom received a lot of letters from people who had assists thanking him, and there are a lot of people who didn't have them, too. If you don't want them, don't have them! It's like the coffee he brings onset. If you don't want coffee, don't have the coffee!'

De Vette added that, in addition to coffee and Scientology volunteers, another perk of working with Cruise is complementary foodstuffs from Coldstone Creamery and In N' Out Burger. Asked whether these types of amenities will be on the set of MI III, De Vette said 'absolutely.' Mmmm ... delicious!"


Controversy dogging Scientology

"Controversy has dogged Scientology" by Richard N. Ostling of July 8, 2005 was posted to the news group from the "religion" section of the AP/Chicago Tribune:

[long link]

"Cruise's comments put church back in glare of public controversy

There's nothing unusual about celebrities promoting their faith--think Madonna and Kabbalah, Richard Gere and Buddhism, Muhammad Ali and Islam--but the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centers have been unusually adept at cultivating entertainers such as actor Tom Cruise.

It was no ordinary celebrity feud when Cruise criticized Brooke Shields for taking anti-depression drugs, then berated 'Today' host Matt Lauer for suggesting that psychiatric treatment might help some patients.

This was, rather, the latest round in a long-running campaign against psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry by this expanding, Los Angeles-based religion, which has been immersed in controversies over its 51 years of existence. v Scientology and psychiatry offer directly competing explanations of the source for mental problems and techniques to deal with them.


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.

Hubbard died in 1986, but his church has continued to find believers and court controversy.

Over the decades, Scientology has been the target of -- and initiator of -- legal and rhetorical assaults. These have involved not only psychiatrists but disgruntled dropouts and government agencies, first in the United States and then overseas as the church's missions expanded.

In recent years, conflict with Germany's government has been particularly heated, though the church reports recent court victories.

An epic struggle with America's Internal Revenue Service ran 39 years and ended with a 1993 grant of tax exemption.


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.



Tory on Inside Edition

On July 9, 2005, Mark Bunker posted:

A great appearance by Tory and footage of Tom Cruise being asked about the role of aliens in Scientology; who could ask for anything more?

Message-ID: 4v3Ae.30759$ro.5186@fed1read02

Dr. Wood and McPherson case

A July 9, 2005 article by Susan Taylor Martin appeared in the St. Petersburg Times. was posted about Dr. Joan Wood giving up her medical license after a report strongly criticized her handling of Lisa McPherson's death.

"Former Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner Joan Wood has relinquished her Florida medical license in the wake of a state health department claim that she 'became an advocate for the Church of Scientology' in a bitter dispute over the 1995 death of Scientology member Lisa McPherson.

Wood changed the probable cause of death from 'severe dehydration' to 'accident' based on 'factors other than objective anatomic findings,' according to an administrative complaint. She also let 'personal bias or prejudice' affect her decision to amend the original ruling.

In her handling of the McPherson case, the department's complaint said, Wood 'failed to practice medicine with that level of care, skill and treatment which is recognized . . . as being acceptable under similar conditions and circumstances.'

Wood, 60, termed the state's claims 'baloney.'

'I have never been nor will ever be an advocate for the Church of Scientology,' she said in an interview Friday. 'I am very proud of my 25-year record, and I've been ethical and moral and honest in all of my dealings. I resent any implication to the opposite.'

In voluntarily surrendering her license, Wood agreed to never again practice medicine in Florida. The move also forestalled further state administrative action.

Wood, who retired under fire in 2000, said she has been unable to practice since then because of medical problems. She decided to relinquish her license, she said, instead of paying the 'very expensive' costs of keeping it active, such as attending conferences and continuing education courses.

Ben Shaw, a Church of Scientology spokesman, said he found it 'unbelievable' that the health department considered Wood an advocate for the church in the McPherson controversy.

'Anybody who knows anything about the facts of that case knows that would be ridiculous,' he said. 'If you look at some of the e-mails she wrote prior to changing the death certificate, it was clear that was the last thing she wanted to do. . . . She was desperate, she was trying to find any way she could to support her original position when there was not any scientific basis for it.'

The case, which spawned criminal charges and a wrongful death suit, stems from a minor traffic accident McPherson had in 1995 near the church's spiritual headquarters in Clearwater. The 36-year-old McPherson got out of her vehicle, took off her clothes, and told a paramedic, 'I need help. I need to talk to someone.'


Wood originally listed the cause of death as 'bed rest and severe dehydration.' Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe charged the church with two felonies: practicing medicine without a license, and abuse of an adult.

In 2000, four years after McPherson died, Wood amended the death certificate to show the probable manner of death was an accident, based on a 'review of all case materials and consultation with other experts.' McCabe's office dropped the criminal charges against the church, blaming Wood for scuttling its case.


The wrongful death suit was settled last year; the terms were kept confidential."

Message-ID: ydQze.2753$

Disconnection case

On July 14, 2005, "Feisty" posted text from

about the Feshbach disconnection from Creed Pearson, commenting that the Feshbachs could be related to the Katie Holmes sitter Jessica Feshbach Rodriguez.

"Once a suppressive Person declare is issued, people who have been friends for years, run away and cease all ties. It is amazing, but true. My SP declare was issued without any of the intermittent steps being applied that are supposed to be standard practice. I had no trial, no hearing, and no chance to dispute any reports. Someone wanted me shut down and silenced right away. So it came to pass.

In Part I, I mentioned that I was silenced, after the organization received a 'Knowledge Report' and it had issued a 'Non-Interbulation order'....As you can see, I was looking for answers and had good intentions.

Here is how I was treated before and after. It was left on my answering machine (voice mail) in Belleair, Florida at the time of the city elections.

Answering Machine Tape in MP3 1.24 Meg and WMA 2.0 meg

This is the text of the answering machine messages:

Before she found out (March 2):

'Hi Cupie and Creed. This is Kathy Feshback It is Wednesday. It's about a 10:00. Ah, George Mariani is running for mayor again in Belleair, called us. Wants us to have a get together Sunday at 4:00 for him to talk. Uh, it's really important because he is reaching for us, the Scientologists. So that's really a good indicator. Ah, So I really want to have a big showing for him. Also, just so you know, Fuller, the Congressman Fuller and the Congressman a Katica they are very good friends of the church. So I really want us all to support these guys. So, anyway, it is a big deal that the mayor called us so I really want you guys to come over. 946-15xx.'
After she found out (March 6):
Hi Creed this is Kathy Feshback. And, uh Sunday morning . And I just wanted you to know; that I understand I just heard you were under some kind of ethics cycle. So, you are not invited to our house today. I am sure you understand. So, a, thank you very much for understanding. Please do not attend the event. Thank you very much for understanding

Message-ID: hDmBe.1260$

Critic's radio debut

Text cited by "Feisty" from a referred post by Mark Bunker gave a url on Valerie's radio debut:

"[MB] Here's is Valerie's appearance on a Toronto station from two days back. Have no fear, Valerie, you did great!

Many thanks to Android Cat for the recording which I've tweaked the best I can:

[F] Thanks for the audio Mark and Android, and it was a good interview Valerie! ..."

References: 3LfBe.31431$ro.24316@fed1read02
Message-ID: H1gBe.651$

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