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

Volume 7, Issue 12 - June 23 2002



Clearwater

The St. Petersburg Times published a letter to the editor on June 17th from Pat Harney, PR director for Scientology, on the opening of the Fort Harrison Hotel to the public. "In addition to the beautifully restored hotel, rich in the history of this city, visitors to the Fort Harrison learn about Scientology and meet the real people of Scientology, who come from all walks of life. The majority of our church parishioners are active in their communities, helping others to live better lives. "Visitors to the Fort Harrison learn that Scientologists in Tampa Bay contribute thousands of hours of volunteer time in teaching people to read and learn, helping people to get off drugs, as volunteer ministers during times of disaster and in the day-to-day business of living, with its upsets and problems. "What initially began as just three weeks of open house to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Fort Harrison stretched into four weeks and now, due to popular demand, is being done weekly on Sundays. I invite you all to come and see for yourselves. - Pat Harney" Message-ID: XLjP8.552$1J6.613968@monger.newsread.com

Tom Cruise

The Los Angeles Daily News published an article on Scientology celebrity Tom Cruise on June 16th to mark the release of his new movie Minority Report. "Either Tom Cruise is really working the charm, or he's just being himself. Whatever it is, the 39-year-old, $25-million-plus-a-picture star is opening up like never before. Perhaps he's doing it simply to promote his new sci-fi thriller, 'Minority Report.' It's a dark, thoughtful and dystopian meditation on a future where people are arrested for crimes before they commit them. " "'I don't believe in fate,' he points out. 'I believe that you make your own fate in terms of your own life. But if we were in a situation where we had precognitives and they were able to predict the future, I think that would be pretty cool. But then there's that whole thing of how accurate is it, that problem. But it would be pretty interesting to know what's going to happen in the future, and then you can have a choice. Of course, if somebody predicted 20 years ago that I'd be where I am today, I'd say they were out of their mind.' "Even those barely familiar with Scientology, the belief system that Cruise has followed since the mid-1980s, will detect its influence in the actor's previous statement. Once the most controversial aspect of Cruise's personal life, Scientology is now something he shares eagerly and with no trace of defensiveness when interest is expressed. "'People talk about stress, people talk about their lives being unhappy,' he notes. 'Literally, this is an applied religious philosophy that you use in your life to help you with those things. You don't have to live like that. It's something that helps an individual to find out who you are. For someone like me who went to 15 different schools it's really helped me to be able to know that I really can learn anything.'" From Time magazine on June 16th: "He can be as distant as he is pleasant, as guarded as he is engaged, his very politeness a kind of barrier. His steadfast allegiance to the controversial Church of Scientology, his surprising split a year ago from Nicole Kidman, the gay rumors (and his diligent litigation in response) serve to remind us that despite all the ink spilled and all the gossip milled over the past two decades, Cruise remains someone about whom we have never quite been able to connect the dots. "To begin to understand Cruise, you must understand his relationship with the Church of Scientology, an organization that advocates self-styled scientific methods as cures for ailments of the body, mind and spirit. Scientology has been accused of using coercion to keep its members in line and intimidation to squelch criticism of its tactics. Cruise is more than a defender of Scientology; he is a resolute advocate. 'It's something that has helped me to be able to live the kind of life that I'm living and work toward being the kind of person that I want to be,' he says. "Cruise says that Hubbard's teachings helped him put a hard-knocks childhood behind him. 'I went to 15 different schools growing up,' he says, 'because of parents divorcing, father losing jobs, transferring, trying to find another job.' Even today, Cruise, whose father died in 1984, often mentions the trauma of always being the new guy. 'I thought, I can't wait to grow up because it's got to be better than this,' he says. 'The politics and the fights and always wearing the wrong shoes and having the wrong accent.' "He also had a devil of a time learning in class. 'It was a real problem for me,' says Cruise. 'I was diagnosed as having dyslexia. I confused letters. I was a slow reader. I didn't know how to use a dictionary. I tried, but I didn't have a system where I could learn. I couldn't catch up.' In the 1980s, his first wife Mimi Rogers (they would divorce in 1990) introduced him to Scientology. Cruise credits Hubbard's 'study technology' with helping him overcome his learning disability. 'It really changed my life,' says Cruise, who in the past few years has given considerable time and money to the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project (H.E.L.P.). It is a secular organization but uses Hubbard's study technology to offer free tutoring to children and adults. "As Cruise walks through H.E.L.P.'s crowded headquarters on Hollywood Boulevard, none of the tutors or children seem to take special notice of him. He comes here often. 'Do I wish I'd had something like this when I was a kid?' asks Cruise. 'Absolutely. It would have saved me many hours and days and weeks of pain and embarrassment.' When asked if H.E.L.P. could be used as a recruiting tool for the church, he says, 'Listen, people who want to know about Scientology, they can read books. People may go in there and say, 'Who is this guy?' and start reading [Hubbard's] other books. Good for them. There are tools that he has that can improve their lives. But the purpose of H.E.L.P. is to help.'" Message-ID: k1eqgu0ngtbaf6p4pji2kc45sak1vgd4v7@4ax.com Message-ID: 4vdugu8cvpqjct63fjmbmg7uq4idi8slcl@4ax.com

Edmonton

See magazine from Edmonton, Canada published a report on the What is Scientology exhibit in that city. "The International Exhibit of the Church of Scientology rolled into town last week. The traveling road show was set up at the church's new headquarters on 97 St. and was expected to attract 1,000 visitors. The official purpose of the exhibit was not to vie for new recruits. But 'Anyone can come in and find out what it's all about,' explained Deborah Jurt, president of Edmonton's church. "Before the Church's ribbon-cutting ceremony, Canadian Scientology President Reverend Yvette Shank announced that Canada's social problems need Scientology solutions. The now-dead L. Ron is said to have devised 'technologies' that cure drug addiction, criminal behaviour and learning difficulties. All these are available to our governments for a price. The truth is that many of these programs are already widely used in Canada and the U.S. Montreal's Narconon program, for drug rehabilitation, is already the largest drug rehab program in North America. Criminon, which teaches errant criminals to be law-abiding citizens, is used in the U.S. prison system. And Applied Scholastics, an educational program, is used in the California school system and Glenora's own Progressive Academy. "There are currently 400 Scientologists in Edmonton and close to 1,000 in Alberta. Jurt assured SEE that the Church of Scientology does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation gay people are OK, according to L. Ron, and so are minors. Kids are welcome to join the ranks of the Church's Drug-Free Marshals program. 'They're a youth group who go out and promote a drug-free life,' explains Jurt. "There are 12 to 15 marshals between the ages of six and 14 currently at work in the Edmonton area. Jurt says they promote clean living by providing entertainment in seniors' homes and doing street cleanups. A photo from the exhibit pictured a troupe of marshals in front of a freshly scrubbed mail box in downtown Toronto. What does cleaning up graffiti have to do with promoting drug-free living? 'If it's cleaner, it's more likely to be safe,' said Jurt. "Anyone still not convinced of the here-and-now advantages of Scientology can heed the words of recent convert Mariann Bordeau: 'What's really cool is that you don't have to die in order to get the benefits.'" "One nice lady at the meeting was moved to Toronto through a CoS promotion. She hates the city. But unlike a job, you can't just quit your belief system, especially if it's been proven tenticular, as the $8.6-million church settlement to a disgruntled former L.A. cultist last month admits. Lawrence Wollersheim was locked up in a ship-based 'thought reform gulag,' 18 hours a day, to the point of near suicide, then denied access to medical attention. "I am going to defend Scientology exactly once in this article, right now. You either choose to get into it or you choose to walk away into the world of such sins as coffee consumption. Scientologists are up front with their odd ideas, some of them, anyway, as I learned during an hour talking to various smilers this week. They are amicable, positive people; indeed, there's even a tone chart of human emotions which shows enthusiasm and zest to be the ultimate place to evolve from conservatism, anger and the dreaded apathy. "Kevin and I talked about the emotional tone chart, and he told me something I already knew. After pegging a stranger into one of the categories, you can, as he put it, 'predict exactly how that person is going to react in any given situation.' There's that control thing again, and it's no coincidence that, like many churches, Scientologists always set up recruiting offices on the borders between the right and wrong side of the tracks, on Hastings in Vancouver, just south of Boyle Street in our own town. Control in the ghettos, you may have heard, is a fleeting thing. Control of the galaxy, well, hold onto your hats. "There was no mention of Xenu at the exhibit. Xenu is Hubbard's high-level secret space-alien, galactic ruler responsible for brainwashing the souls, called 'thetans,' of millions that he'd purposefully atomically massacred under a volcano. Seriously. Xenu then showed the souls 3-D images of God, the devil and Christ, confusing the thetans, who to this day drift through space, polluting us, making us sick and sad and otherwise immune from our true utopian destiny as omnipotent gods." Message-ID: B9380A11.1F60%swilson@everythingalberta.com

France

The Washington Times reported on June 23rd that Scientology has been fined in France for defamation in articles published against a cult awareness group. "A Paris court ordered the head of France's Church of Scientology to pay $19,400 in damages Friday after the group published articles comparing the practices of an anti-sect group to those 'practiced under the [Nazi] Third Reich.' Daniele Gounord, president of the church, was found guilty of defamation and ordered to pay damages and court costs to the National Union of Associations for the Defense of the Family and the Individual." Message-ID: 4YjR8.245$mp2.87373@newshog.newsread.com

Diane Feinstein

U.S. Senator replied in a letter to Ida Camburn regarding the IRS policies on Scientology deductions for religious schooling. "Dear Ms. Camburn "Thank you for writing to express your concern regarding IRS policy and more specifically, deductions allowed for costs at religious studies and services. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond. "On January 9, 2002 in the case of Michael Sklar v. Tax Court the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the Sklars did not show that their payments for the secular and religious private education of their children exceeded the market value of other secular private school education available. Therefore the Sklars were ineligible for the deductions that they took on the tax returns in question. "The Court's opinion states that the sole issue in question was whether the Sklars' claimed deduction was valid. and 'not whether the members of The Church of Scientology have become the IRS's chosen people.' The opinion also states that if the IRS is guilty of providing preferential treatment, the proper course of action is not to allow the IRS to expand its allowances for improper deductions, but rather a lawsuit to stop the policy of what the court may see as preferential treatment. "In a closing agreement between the IRS and the Church of Scientology, the IRS formally recognized the Church of Scientology International as a charitable organization. In its decision, the Court comments that the IRS's refusal to reveal this agreement with the Church of Scientology is questionable. The IRS insists that its closing agreement with the Church cannot be disclosed because it contains tax return information. "I value and respect your opinion and hope that you will continue to share your concerns and ideas with me. If I can he of further assistance, please do not hesitate to call my staff. "With warmest personal regards. Dianne Feinstein United States Senator" Message-ID: 3d0ddb8b.80760310@news2.lightlink.com

Digital Lightwave

Forbes published a profile on Digital Lightwave and its founder, Bryan Zwan, on June 20th. "Bryan Zwan just made the cut last fall when we compiled our annual list of The Forbes Four Hundred Richest in America. This year, the Digital Lightwave founder may fall short, since the value of his 60% stake has shrunk dramatically. But the controversial Zwan is not cutting his losses - he has reclaimed operational control of the fiber-optics firm he founded and vows to shepherd it back to prosperity. "Zwan is a former academic researcher who founded Digital in 1990 and took it public in 1997. He stepped down as chief executive in late 1998, after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had begun probing allegations that the firm had filed false financial statements. Without admitting any wrongdoing, Zwan reached a settlement with the SEC last October, and within a few months he had returned as Digital's chairman and CEO. "Clearwater also is home to a major facility of the Church of Scientology, and that has exposed Zwan, himself a Scientologist, to criticism that church members have been too involved with his firm. Zwan says his religion 'has never been a factor with Digital Lightwave.' Currently the firm employs 'only two or three people' who share his faith, he says, so any suggestion that the church has too much influence over his firm 'is just ridiculous.'" Message-ID: 90mQ8.846$1J6.989545@monger.newsread.com

Tom Padgett

Tom Padgett posted an update to his ongoing dispute with his ex-wife, who is a Scientologist, over child visitation and support. "On June 20, 2002, Scientologist Laura Vannoy Padgett, filed a document in the Hopkins Circuit Court civil court proceedings, titled 'MOTION TO TEMPORARILY SUSPEND VISITATION.' The motion acknowledges her son's court ordered extended visitation with his father during the summer. However, she goes on to argue that she's 'been informed that there is a bench warrant for his arrest in criminal proceedings (under the SAME judge that she is the complaining witness in that criminal action.) "Her argument was 'that she was fearful of sending her 17 year old son to Massachusetts to visit with the Respondent (his Dad) since he may be arrested and the child would be stranded in Massachusetts until further arrangements could be made.' Laura Vannoy's private civil attorney Bill Whitledge, asserted all contact with the father in respect to visitation be severed until the arrest issues are resolved in criminal court matters. "This motion is to be heard in court on July 1, 2002. Although she acknowledges that prior court orders for her to produce her son to his father on June 21st for 5 weeks, it appears she will not follow those prior Orders in hopes that Judge Boteler will rule in her favor as a personal friend of her parents' and sister's former employer - all sympathetic to Hubbard scripture." Message-ID: af7713bf.0206211313.4732ad78@posting.google.com


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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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