Something AwfulPopular web site somethingawful.com was the recipient of a complaint from Scientology for an article they ran comparing Scientology to the Taliban. "A guy known mysteriously as 'GST' e-mailed me about my article which compared the Taliban to Scientology. He wanted me to take it down because it was hateful and he whined about the fact that Scientology was helping the victims of the WTC attack put their lives back together - with 'E Meters' of course. "Today Lowtax notified me that The Church of Scientology was initiating some sassy legal action against us. They had contacted our web host CAIS and essentially threatened to sue them for over a hundred thousand dollars unless we removed a copyrighted photo of L. Ron Hubbard from Something Awful. The photo in question was of L. Ronnykins in some stupid captain's hat looking wistfully out at the piles of money he's raped out of people's bank accounts or something. "We took the photograph down and replaced it with a rendering of L. Ron Hubbard. It turns out that we were wrong. By unsheathing their mighty legal sword the not-at-all insane Church of Scientology has proven to us that they are in fact a benevolent religion. We've also decided to begin a campaign to show our support for the Church of Scientology, which really is looking out for the good of all mankind. I encourage all readers of Something Awful to try their hand at creating an exciting and uplifting work of art based on Scientology." Message-ID: email@example.com
Tom CruiseThe Sydney Morning Herald reported on November 8th that Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise is denying that he plans to marry actress Penelope Cruz soon. "Tabloids promoted the rumour that Cruise, 39, and Spanish actress Cruz, 27, were planning a wedding soon. That was denied by Cruise's publicist. But, when asked if the high-profile actor is engaged, Cruise spokesperson Jennifer Allen said 'I don't know my client's personal life.' "According to the tabloid reports, Scientologist Cruise doesn't want to have any kind of religious conflict with his new love who was raised Catholic. He doesn't want to make the same mistake that he did with ex-wife Nicole Kidman who didn't want to raise their children as Scientologists, according to reports. Also according to reports, the Spanish actress has already attended classes at the Church of Scientology in Hollywood to understand better this religion." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
John TravoltaThe New York Daily News reported on November 7th that Scientology celebrity John Travolta is proud of the work done by Scientologists at the World Trade Centers area. "When the longtime devotee of the religious group heard that his church was aiding rescue workers at the World Trade Center site, he told Rosie O'Donnell that 'Some of our volunteer ministers who are on Ground Zero along with the Red Cross are using these assists that are taking people out of shock. And they really work.' "The 'assists' to which Travolta refers are procedures used to get an individual to confront and handle physical difficulties by addressing spiritual trauma. It was 'these assists' that attracted Travolta to Scientology in the first place. "Travolta adds that Scientology even helps him know what role his own celebrity should play in the world - especially at a time like this. 'One of my favorite quotes from [Scientology founder] L. Ron Hubbard is, 'It's all right to think that you're the most important person in the world, as long as everyone else is equally important.'" Excerpts from the interview from the December 2001 issue of Rosie magazine: "RO: I wanted to ask you about Scientology, only from a good place, because you and Tom Cruise are the two men I admire most, and you have the most genuine connections with people, and you're both Scientologists. How did you get involved in it? "JT: Well, first of all, you gotta know that it's a nondenominational religion, so you don't have to give up your religion to be a Scientologist. What happened is that I was in Mexico, shooting a movie with an actress who was a Scientologist. I wasn't feeling well, and she gave me one of these assists, and I felt better immediately, and I thought, 'Hey, there has to be something to this.' So I said, 'You have to tell me more about this because this is too effective for me to ignore.' I was only 21. And the more I looked into it, the more interesting it was. So then I came back to L.A., and I signed up for a course to study it, and I signed up for some assisting to alleviate stresses that I had. And I've never been the same since. "RO: Why do you think Scientology is so publicly ridiculed or not understood? "JT: That is what I really find interesting. Whenever I've been challenged on it, I've said, 'Well, have you read anything on it?' So far, no one has. I say, 'I'll have this conversation with you at another time, but you've got to read something first.' And not once did anyone ever take the challenge. So my feeling is that it's easier to just accept rumor or bias than it is to actually read something. "RO: Has it helped you deal with fame? I could use some help dealing with fame. "JT: Rosie, it has helped me in every area of my life. Fame, friends, family. You have to decide who are friends in the real world and who are friends in the fantasy world and so on and so forth. Real friends, when something gets in the way, they work it out. You have to make an effort to fix it. That is one thing I love about Scientology - if you have an upset with a person, there are techniques that you can do with each other to work it out. "RO: I read 'How to Live With Children'. When you start to read it, you think, 'Why is everyone upset about this?' "JT: You have to understand that when Scientology first started, it was 1950, and lobotomies and shock treatment and all sorts of barbaric treatments were being used to cure mental health problems. Hubbard believed that this was barbaric and unacceptable - there were ways to help people without cutting them up. Now, in the 1950s, trying to compete with the medical profession and the mental health profession, it was tough. But at the end of the day, it's still here 50 years later, and it works. People are getting benefits from it every day." Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
UKThe Guardian reported on November 6th on the Cult Information Centre, a UK based group. "Are you young, of above average intelligence, from an economically advantaged background, well educated and idealistic? If you answered yes to the above, you may well be a student. But you also fit the bill for recruitment into a cult. 'To define a cult we use five characteristics, the most important of which is the use of mind-control techniques to recruit people,' says Ian Howorth of the Cult Information Centre. 'Although cults recruit people of all ages, students - who are intelligent and often intellectually or spiritually curious - are prime targets.' "Ian Howorth says that when the average person is recruited into a cult, they undergo a drastic personality change. 'With new students, it may take longer for family and friends to notice and fully understand the change. Parents may put the change down to leaving home and meeting a new crowd, and by the time they have realised what has happened, it's too late.' For those recruited into some groups, targeting others and 'fund-raising' for the cause can become a full-time activity. Reports of students being asked to apply for personal loans with banks or loan sharks are not uncommon. "Peter, 19 (not his real name), was recruited into the Church of Scientology aged 18 during his first year at Birmingham University. His mother gives her account. "'Peter was stopped in the street in his first term and asked to complete a so-called personality test which, as far as I can tell, seems to ask a lot about parental income and employment without actually mentioning Scientology. He had nothing better to do and I believe he felt lonely. He was vulnerable - he had barely turned 18, which is very young. As soon as he joined we noticed an enormous personality change. His language changed - he repeats what must be key group words. He dropped out at the end of his first year and says he is working for them. We have no idea what he does, or where he lives, except that he claims to earn 70 pounds for a full-time working week.' "Graeme Wilson, director of public affairs for the UK Church of Scientology, says: "'The personality test is an analysis of how you view yourself and simply establishes the areas in life a person wants to improve, if any. Scientologists do tell others about the benefits to be had from Scientology, for the simple reason that these solutions work. This is, after all, still a free country and Christians have been spreading the word for over 2,000 years, as have people of most religions. "'Many people are walking around asleep: Scientology wakes them up and puts them in control of their lives. It is a very practical religion and I believe it is better for students to get into religion - any religion - than drugs and excessive alcohol. There is a lot of inaccurate propaganda about Scientology, and some people make a living from stirring up fear and inciting religious hatred - fortunately this will soon become a criminal offence.'" Message-ID: email@example.com
Johnny DeppVibe magazine interviewed Johnny Depp in its December issue about why Hollywood is so involved in Scientology. "Awhile ago, I took over this little apartment on Hollywood Boulevard from a friend of mine. I was dead broke, scrounging. He'd go to Mexico all the time and leave all these pesos lying around. I'd change them at the corner check-cashing place so I could get a meal and some cigarettes. I did that until I found this Scientology place down the street. They'd give you $3 to take this weird fuckin' test. I'd answer all the questions under different names. I survived that way for quite awhile." Message-ID: cbEF7.23687$Tb.firstname.lastname@example.org
GermanyBadische Zeitung reported on November 8th that a discussion in Loerrach, Germany was held to discuss Scientology. "The spectators in a pointed discussion on the topic of 'Scientology: Church or Business Enterprise?' were very indignant, and by the end of the discussion, angered, in the 'Brauereigaststaette Lasser' hall on Tuesday. Meeting publicly for the first time in Loerrach were, surprisingly, only about thirty members representing both sides: Juerg Stettler, the public relations representative for Scientology Switzerland, and Hans-Juergen Schmidt, evangelical minister and director of the Beuggen Evangelical Conference. "A world without war, crime or insanity was the goal of Scientology, and man was basically good, said Stettler. He said Scientologists believed in reincarnation, and that the only thing that was true for Scientologists was what they observed. Hans-Juergen Schmidt described the 'Scientology Church' as 'false labeling.' He said he was very concerned about this issue because since the 11th of September, people had an 'increased need for religious reassurance' and now, of all times, false labeling was unnecessary. "He introduced the thesis that Scientology was a 'non-religious personality reform program that engulfed itself with a veil of religiosity' to gain tax advantages. In dispute were the origin of the word 'church,' the membership figures of Scientology, and court judgments both for and against Scientology. The two positions stood out in contrast by their extreme opposing views: Juerg Stettler with his claims that nothing was ever 'skimmed' from Scientologists, that everything in Scientology was 'pure idealism' and that Scientology was not operating as a commercial business. "The audience, which included former Scientologists, used words like 'all lies,' 'Mafia' and 'brainwashing' in their responses. Even religious scholar Christoph Peter Baumann, who moderated the discussion for the religiously unaffiliated 'Inforel' association from Basel, was not able to calm things down. The two fronts appeared to have solidified long ago: while Scientologist Stettler described evangelical minister Schmidt as a 'representative of Germany's largest cult,' Schmidt provocatively asked whether his statements had ever been the subject of charges by Scientology." Message-ID: Pine.LNX.3.96.1011109080829.114Aemail@example.com
Tampa OlympicsThe St. Petersburg Times reported on November 5th that Scientology was among the top donors to the failed effort to bring the Olympics to Tampa. "The $11-million raised by Florida 2012 for crafting and promoting its Tampa bid to host the 2012 Summer Games far exceeded amounts amassed by any of the seven other competing cities. Publicly available tax documents paint a broad picture, and Florida 2012 officials filled in some of the gaps, providing highlights of their expenditures. "Turanchik has placed the total amount raised through four years at about $11-million. About $2-million of that represents in-kind donations, such as food, equipment and space for events, he said. It also includes part of the $50,000 cost of a single, three-dimensional architectural rendering of downtown that depicted proposed Olympic venues. "About 15 percent came from public sources, mainly hotel tax dollars, such as the $150,000 that Hillsborough's Tourist Development Council provided as an application fee signaling Tampa's intention four years ago to seek the bid. The rest came from private donors. "Florida 2012 is not required to list specific amounts given by donors. But the group has touted its list of 30 'gold level' contributors that pledged at least $200,000, including Walt Disney World, Publix Super Markets, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Church of Scientology. John Sykes, the philanthropic businessman and original chairman of Florida 2012, extended a $500,000 line of credit to the bid committee that is still being paid off." Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
In MemoriamAnti-Scientology activist Rose Paul died this week in Florida. "Rose Paul lost a daughter to Scientology in the mid 1970's. Rose Paul was an anti-scientology activist for many years. She was a long time fighter, At the University of Miami they gave her a table and she handed out materials to new students for many years, telling them about the dangers of cults, of course she stressed the most killer cult of all - Scientology. "Rose Paul's daughter is on staff in Scientology in Clearwater. Rose Paul's daughter is Nina Palmer stationed in Clearwater. Nina disconnected from her mother in 1976. She did not show up when Rose died nor did she ever visit her in the past 25 years. Rose Paul was a wonderful woman as many of us know and felt her love and care. Rose Paul participated in the picket Clearwater in march '96, she was 85 years of age at that time." From the St. Petersburg Times on November 7th: "BANKS, FAITH, 71, of Clearwater, died Monday (Nov. 5, 2001) at Sabal Palms Health Care Center, Largo. She was born in Winter Haven, and came here in 1989 from Miami. She retired after 27 years as a minister in the Church of Scientology and was a member of the church in Clearwater. She was a practical philosopher and an artist working in stained glass and sketches and she enjoyed gardening. Survivors include a daughter, Rebecca Eisenman; a son, Nicholas Mellon; and a granddaughter, Sara Eisenman." Message-ID: email@example.com Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Protest SummaryBruce Pettycrew reported a protest in Mesa, AZ on November 11th. "We picketed from 10 to 11 AM today, beautiful weather. There were 8 cars in the org parking lot, 2 left during the picket. One carried just the driver, the other has two people, so I estimate that there were less than a dozen people in the building wasting their time and money. The local org seems to have steady changeover without any growth." "Kaeli" reported a protest in Toronto on November 10th. "Picketers: Gregg, Android Cat, Zeratul. 110 ft away: Keith and two other picketers. Observer: Kaeli. "I mentioned to Keith that there was a woman following me with a camera. There was a group of young boys with skateboards surrounding Keith at the time, and they heard me complaining about her as well. As she snuck up behind me with the camera, I saw her and she began laughing. I was quite short tempered, and told her off in no uncertain terms. She walked off very quickly towards Keith. I'm quite sure her mother would be proud of her for deliberately terrorizing and laughing at a disabled woman. I turned back towards Keith and called out, 'Hey, Keith, that's the lady who was following me.' She was less than 10 ft away from Keith and brandishing her camera. The crowd of boys, who were still surrounding Keith, jumped in front of her camera and started calling her 'Xenu lover' She then left again, further up the street. "When I thought she was gone, I continued walking towards the store, but then saw her again standing across the street, holding her camera up at Gregg. The crowd of boys at this point were at the Org itself, and they again, started calling her 'Xenu lover.' She left rather quickly again and went inside the Org." Message-ID: 1dmH7.123167$B72.email@example.com Message-ID: 3BEE11B8.3B3C6E16@klis.com
Cult WorkshopTom Padgett reported on a workshop held on November 8th at Holy Cross College in Worchester, Massachusetts. "'TOO SCARED TO CRY: Children Raised In High Control, Destructive Religious & Secular Environments.' The attendees were case workers and supervisors for the State's Department of Social Services. The facilitator for the seminar was Robert Pardon, Director of the New England Institute for Religious Research. Some of the groups addressed were the 12 Tribes, the Attleboro Cult, Scientology, and many others. The focus was primarily on psychological and physical abuse, lack of medical attention, family unit destruction, and behavioral issues that allows governments to intervene without compromising individual's rights to believe in whatever they wish separating the 'religion' aspect. "Day-glow yellow fliers were used as handouts for the participants as homework assignments with the following on them: SAVE THE CHILDREN www.taxexemptchildabuse.net, www.xenu.net, www.lermanet.com, www.lisatrust.net, www.scientology-lies.com, www.xenu-city.net, www.xenutv.com, www.entheta.net, www.freedomofmind.org" Message-ID: 10673-3BEBE812firstname.lastname@example.org
A.r.s. Week in Review is put together by Rod Keller ©
This collection is organised for WWW by Andreas Heldal-Lund.
Only edits done by me is replacing word encapsuled in * or _ with bold and underscore, and made links into HTML.