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

Volume 6, Issue 31 - November 25 2001

Buffalo Org

The Buffalo News reported on November 21st that the city may seize the Scientology org there to create a parking ramp. "The city has offered to buy the five-story building owned by the Church of Scientology for $425,000, City Real Estate Director John Hannon told the Common Council's Finance Committee. He said the figure was based on what he called two good appraisals. Except for space occupied on the first floor by the owner, most of the structure is vacant, city officials said. "Under powers of eminent domain, governments can initiate condemnation proceedings to obtain private property for public use. The Common Council is expected to authorize public hearings on the planned condemnation proceedings within the next couple weeks." Message-ID:

Al Buttnor

A letter from Al Buttnor of the Toronto org to the husband of "Yduzitmatter" was posted this week. "Dear Pastor Palmer: "I am sorry to tell you that your wife has become involved in a hate campaign against our religion in Toronto both by her regular postings to the internet on a newsgroup and by her recent participation in pickets at our Church. We are not sure why she is doing this. "We have discussed this matter with several of our Lutheran Friends and they suggested that we write to you in an effort to open a door communication and hopefully reconciliation. It was even suggested to us that a mediator from Conrad Grebel College may be of benefit to resolve the situation if necessary and we agree that this may be helpful. "Yours Sincerely, Al Buttnor Director" From the reply: "Dear Mr. Buttnor: "I am aware of my wife's activities in regard to Scientology both on the internet and her participation in peaceful pickets of the Toronto Org. I do not believe that we have anything to discuss in this regard either personally or with a mediator. I will be sending a copy of your letter and my reply to my Bishop's Office. Please do not contact me again as there is nothing for us to discuss. "Sincerely, Rev. William Palmer" Message-ID:


AAP reported on November 23rd that Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman have settled their divorce without a court battle. "Under the settlement, struck to avoid a courtroom showdown, Kidman, 34, and Cruise, 39, agreed to joint custody of their adopted children, Isabella, eight, and six-year-old Conor. She will keep their $US10 million five-bedroom mansion in Pacific Palisades, near Los Angeles, and their $US5 million eight-bedroom, three-storey villa on the Sydney harbour front. Cruise got their $US5 million 110-hectare estate in Telluride, Colorado's best skiing area, and kept control of his three aeroplanes. "The couple have agreed that they can continue to be educated in a private school in Australia, at home in Los Angeles, and with tutors when Cruise or Kidman are filming on location. Both parents will make joint decisions about their education and religious upbringing. There had been claims the couple had disagreed on whether the children should be brought up in Cruise's religion of Scientology or follow Kidman's Catholic upbringing." Message-ID: 9tlva0$


The Daily Mail published an article on November 25th on the Woodcraft family, the escape of several members from Scientology. "'I hated it. Mum and Dad did not get home until 10pm, and we had to do chores after school, under the supervision of a Scientology nanny,' says Astra. 'We had to clean the kitchen and mop the floors. After dinner we'd do homework and be given a bedtime drink called 'calmag.' This drink, others verify, is calcium, magnesium, vinegar and boiling water, which acts as a mild sedative on children. "For a year, Astra was in the cadets, a group for children of Sea Organisation members. 'My school teacher was not a trained, certified teacher but a Scientology 'supervisor'. We had no lessons but worked straight out of books and instruction sheets,' she says. Lawrence explains: 'Hubbard believed we had all lived before and attended school, so he didn't put too much emphasis on formal education.' Astra's life became even more grueling. After lessons, she had to do several hours' filing before falling asleep on a campbed, finally being collected by her parents at around 2am. "Astra began attending a Scientology course at the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood. There, she was invited into the Sea Organisation, aged 14. 'I knew it would make Mum and Gran happy and I thought I was going to earn good money.' Astra says she was told she would be working for a publishing offshoot and would earn 200 pounds a week. In fact, she found herself working long hours as a secretary for nominal pay (10 pounds a week plus board and lodgings). During this time she says she attended school for only six hours a week. One of my tasks was to persuade people who wanted to leave the Sea Organisation that they should stay. If they refused I had to order them to do hard labour and make them sign 'confessionals' saying it was all their fault they were leaving.' "At just 15 she wed fellow Sea Organisation employee Jason Merrill, in the Silver Bell chapel in Las Vegas. Astra became disillusioned with her limited life and the strict teachings of the religion. 'I couldn't tell anyone how I was feeling, not even my husband, because he would be obliged to report me and I'd be ostracised. You are taught to think there is something wrong with you if you are not happy in the organisation.' "Finally, Astra extricated herself from the movement in 1998, but not before she confessed to a list of petty crimes to avoid being declared a Suppressive Person. Her crimes included 'stealing' leftover food and a pair of tights, forgetting to return a borrowed shirt and trying marijuana at 13. 'I signed the confession because I didn't want to lose contact with Mum, Gran, my sister and brother,' she says. "Astra was pregnant when she left and Kate was born soon after. Free of the constraints of Scientology, she felt relief, tempered with sadness and fear. 'It took me a long time to fully break free because so many of my friends were in Scientology. It was like starting my life all over again. Her relationship with her mother has broken down since she denounced Scientology, and the church has sent Astra a bill for almost 60,000 pounds for the classes she was given. She refuses to pay. Two years later, Zoe followed her sister and left Scientology. Now 16, she is at an ordinary Los Angeles school and is struggling to keep up with her academic work. "How could any father allow his daughters to remain in such an organisation, even giving his consent for one to marry at 15? 'I feel really guilty about what happened and I'm trying to make it up to them,' he says, struggling to explain something he can barely comprehend himself. 'I had no idea Astra was unhappy. She used to tell me everything was fine, because that is what she was drilled to say. I let her marry because I didn't want to lose her. She needed only one parent's consent and Lesley had already agreed. As for Zoe, she lived in Florida and I rarely saw her. I had to be careful not to put too much pressure on her to leave or she would have been obliged to tell her mother and others, according to Scientology rules, and it could have pushed her further away." Message-ID:

Essay Contest

The Foundation for Religious Tolerance, a Scientology front group, announced an essay contest on the topic of human rights. "The Foundation for Religious Tolerance has formed a new group, Youth for Human Rights. Executive Director Mary Untiedt, a school principal and long-time educator, launched an educational program for children so they come to understand at an early age the importance of human rights and religious tolerance. "The first Youth for Human Rights project was done In coordination with Irving Sarnoff, Founder and Director of Friends of the United Nations, and the Human Rights Director for the Church of Scientology International, Leisa Goodman. The topic of the essay was 'What do Human Rights mean to me?' Mr. Sarnoff was the final judge of the essays and announced the winners from each country at events highlighting the 2001 European Marathon for Human Rights. The three winners of the contest were awarded a trip to Geneva, the European home of the United Nations and the European Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to receive their awards. "'Before I had read the Declaration, my opinion on human rights was very abstract, but thanks to this school work and my Internet connection I can say that human rights will become a very important part of my future interests.' - Vaclav Bolina (age: 17) Czech Republic "'Discrimination of any sort is not born in the children's hearts. I appeal to the good sense of the adults to let human rights prevail.' - Daniel Rupp (age:15) Austria "'If all people would really go for human rights, we would win against the bad and I'm sure, we would have peace not war.' - Manuel Lussi - Switzerland" Message-ID:

Hollywood Christmas Parade

Dilbert Perkins reported on the preparations for the Way to Happiness float in the Hollywood Christmas Parade. "They are still putting the 'Way to Happiness' float together. They have been working on 'L. Ron Hubbard's Winter Wonderland' for two weeks now. It's next to the Dianetics Testing Center." Message-ID:

Protest Summary

"Barb" reported a protest at Gold Base near Hemet, California on November 21st. "Kaeli, Zeratul, phr and I met Richard at Ida's place. When we arrived at Gold, we first did a photo op drive through so the Torontulas could get some pix. Kaeli was in her foot cast, so she stayed with the car. We went on up the road with our signs. It was pretty quiet behind the razor wire, I did spot a couple of uniformed Sea Ogres and a few other personnel wandering around while there. They have replaced the rotating camera by the guardhouse with a stationary one. "There's a driveway and gate there that leads to the base on the east side of the highway. Richard walked up to the gate, and the intercom came to life. 'Hey, Dick,' a disembodied voice said, 'You're trespassing! The sheriff is on his way!' We were going to leave when we got back to the car, but decided to stick around for the sheriff. He never showed." "Barb" also reported a protest on November 23rd in San Diego. "We had the Torontulas, Kaeli and Zeratul, phr, Barb, Richard, and a guest from the LA area who drove down the night before. I saw people milling about the front of the org when we were about 3 blocks down from it. They had all vanished by the time we arrived, save for a few hanging around outside the front door. They've redecorated their office again, and there's a big banner hanging outside offering services for those who are upset in these turbulent times. A big American flag hangs in their front window next to the Help Wanted sign. "We handed out a few fliers to passersby, including one Scieno who dragged them back to the nest. A Scientologist took a picture of Zeratul photographing him by the front door, but no one came out to us. Traffic into downtown was good, and many people were slowing down to read our 'Scientology, Bait and Switch Fraud' signs. We knocked off after 30 minutes or so." Tory Bezazian reported a protest in Los Angeles on November 23rd. "I had two friends visiting from Canada who are critics, we decided to give 'old Blue' a picket. The three of us parked on the street behind the Complex, and walked around to L Ron Hubbard Way with our picket signs. My sign says, 'Scientology: Stop Hurting Families,' and they other mentions families too, and they have on the back. "As we walked along, immediately the security guards began slowly riding near us, and others walking on the street. On this day there were about 5-6 kids skateboarding and walking around the complex. As we walked one young kid yelled from across the street, 'GET OFF OUR STREET!' To which I said, 'You don't own this street'. We quietly continued walking up one side to the Sunset end of the Complex. As we did, the kids followed us, as did the security guards. As we walked, one little girl (maybe 12 we figured) came up to us and said, 'We aren't hurting families.' I said back, 'Tell that to the kids who are dead.' She said, 'We didn't kill anyone' and I said, 'I didn't say YOU did,' hoping she might think about it. "The kids also continued to tell us to 'Get off of our street.' I told them, 'We actually have a legal right to be here and picket. Did you know that?' Her response? 'I don't care!' About this time we had curved around and were walking back down the side of LA Org and ASHO. LA ORG seemed it's usual totally empty look. My friend asked her, 'Do you realize you are being manipulated?' Her response: 'I don't care!' How sad to hear such a young person already SO shut down. About the time the security guards took the kids across the street and 'handled' them so they stopped talking with us. We decided to head over to Bridge, which is around the corner. "As we walked along side of AOLA I could see the Examiner I had gone to while Co-Auditing FPRD in the 80's. I could see the Reg's on the phone, busy calling people trying to get them to buy more of the 'Route to Total Freedom'." Christopher Wood reported on a protest in Toronto on November 24th. "Leaflets: 300, mixed between 200 of Gregg's Xenu Special and 100 of Keith Henson's flyer. Picketers: Me, Gregg Hagglund, Keith Henson, Arel Lucas, and an Unknown Picketer. Also, a special guest appearance by Nan McLean. "Dan Bryenton was there again. He showed us again that the cult facade of being utterly terrified of picketers is exactly that, a facade. He showed up, and snatched a flyer from the Unknown Picketer, and tried to snatch one from me. He then hung around near the org for a while staring at us picketers, and then went and stood about three metres away from Keith Henson and stared at him. Peter Ramsay was there, and tried a few words of the usual Scientology intimidation on me. I turned my back on him and he didn't bother me again. "The police were called, probably by Mario, the Dianetics franchise holder, who was on the phone for a while. This time it was two police officers, arriving separately in cars. One police officer talked to Gregg, and the other officer got names and addresses of picketers. The one who took my name asked if this was the extent of it, and I said signs, leaflets, Gregg with his voice, and then pointed out Keith Henson down the block. "I asked the older one why we only got two police officers this time (six came in response to the last cult whinge, two weeks ago). 'Aren't we as terrifying this time?' and I could almost swear that the police officer rolled his eyes at me. Then he said that whenever there was a complaint they had to investigate, and the two of them went into the org. "Nan showed up, and hugged all us SP's, and smiled a big smile at our signs and leaflets. She got shown off to a couple of passers-by, but Nan can't actually talk about Scientology due to a past legal settlement with the cult. We suspect that we were followed leaving the org's neighbourhood in Gregg's car. The same car followed us from the parking lot, to a lane-by-lane thing on the highway. We lost them at a highway exit in Mississauga." Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID:


The Austin-American Statesman reported on November 19th that Scientology participated in an interfaith Thanksgiving service. "The annual interreligious Thanksgiving service always carries a message of faith and understanding, but this year, it took on a new urgency in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes and subsequent war in Afghanistan. The 17th annual interfaith unity service was conducted Sunday at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Austin. About 1,000 people attended, from faiths as diverse as Baptist and Baha'i, Sufi and Scientologist. "It is the first year that the Church of Scientology has been a member of the interreligious organization, and the reason for participating was the same as for other faiths: better communication, said the Rev. Jeff Fischer of the Church of Scientology. 'We believe communication is the way to handle things in life, to understanding each other and pulling together,' Fischer said." Voice of America News reported on November 21st that Scientologists in Chicago will be celebrating Scientology with an emphasis on the September 11th tragedy. "Some Chicagoans will eat Thanksgiving dinner at their place of worship. Mary Strozewski will host members of her local Church of Scientology. She says the events of September 11 place a new emphasis on work with people to make a peaceful change in the world. 'We absolutely, positively believe that things can change if we all put the postulate there and find out what it is that puts man's savage instincts there and just simply get rid of it,' she said. Those attending the service will have made a small difference for some people. Money collected during the offering will be used to buy dinners for poor families in Chicago." Message-ID: Message-ID:

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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.

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