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

Volume 7, Issue 20 - August 18 2002

Greg Bashaw

On August 16th the Chicago Reader published an article on the suicide death of Scientologist Greg Bashaw. "While the shock and grief of his son's suicide were still fresh, Bob Bashaw read back through their decades-long correspondence, looking in particular for references to Scientology. 'I wanted to see what there was here I missed,' he says. His son Greg had been a member of the Church of Scientology for more than 20 years. Bob supported his son's choice, because he believed people should be free to practice their religion without getting hassled about it - and because he couldn't find a good enough reason not to. That changed in November 2000, when suddenly, he says, Greg broke into 'a hundred pieces.' He'd recently lost his job in advertising. And now, Greg told his father, his church had excommunicated him. Seven months later, more than $50,000 in debt, he ended his life on the shoulder of a Michigan road, leaving behind a wife of 20 years and a teenage son, to whom he'd written a brief, unemotional note. "Greg borrowed thousands of dollars from his father for Scientology-related endeavors. Bob says Greg used one of the loans to go with Laura to the church's Los Angeles complex for course work; he paid it back with interest, explaining that he'd felt pressured by the church to cough up the money. 'What happened,' he wrote Bob on January 21, 1981, 'is that our financial officer for the Church informed us we would need another $1700 to pay for the package we were securing. It was imperative to get it this past week; otherwise the annual price increase, which he had held off for us through administrative fancywork, would go into effect. Simply put, if we didn't send the money Wednesday, the prices would have gone up on us by $500.' "Mystery surrounds the upper-level teachings. Greg wrote to his father from Los Angeles, 'the data is confidential for good reason. But I can tell you that the Level deals with and resolves a great catastrophe that occurred on this planet 75 million years ago.' On this level Scientologists apparently are taught that 75 million years ago an evil galactic overlord named Xenu, faced with an overpopulation problem, rounded up and froze people, then banished them to earth, where they were blown to smithereens by hydrogen bombs and implanted with false memories. Hubbard said the people's spirits merged into clusters and are now attached to every living person. "In December 1985, shortly after learning the Scientology creation story, Greg flew to Clearwater, Florida, where the church has a large complex, the Flag Service Organization, that serves as the mecca of Scientology. Greg stayed at Flag through the holidays, straining his budget. His wife and son had planned to join him, he wrote to Bob the day after Christmas, 'but we decided we'd better not spend the money, which is now very tight. I'm economizing as much as possible while here - staying in a shared room, etc.' In a letter he sent after New Year's, Greg implied that the gains were worth the financial burden and time away from his family. 'Scientology has saved my ass, that's for sure,' he wrote. 'I was totally stuck in that thing from the past, not even knowing what it was. Now I'm unstuck, in the know, and working towards completion. It will be a new life when I get back.' "In the 1990s there was no bigger threat to Scientology than the Cult Awareness Network. CAN was a clearinghouse for information on groups it considered destructive cults, and the network had amassed a thick file on the church. CAN's headquarters were in Barrington, a stone's throw from Greg's house, and Greg did what he could to ensure the organization's demise. 'None of my encounters with Greg were pleasant,' says Reg Alev, a former executive director of CAN. He says Greg once confronted him on the way out of a rest room, bellowing something about CAN being a terrorist organization. 'Greg was the kind of guy we always wanted to help,' says Alev. 'But a normal dialogue would have been impossible with him at that time. He was extremely confrontational and loud, and he had an agenda that was anathema to the organization I represented at the time.' "According to Cynthia Kisser, who succeeded Alev as executive director of CAN, Greg's actions were part of a concerted effort by Scientologists to 'harass and disrupt' the network. Between 1991 and 1996 Scientologists across the country filed 50 nearly identical lawsuits and human rights complaints against it. Eventually many of them, including Greg's, were dismissed for lack of merit, but CAN sank into a financial crisis defending itself. In 1994 it counterattacked, suing the church, its law firm, and 11 Scientologists, including Greg, for inundating it with frivolous lawsuits. CAN buckled under the financial weight of all the lawsuits. At a bankruptcy auction a Scientologist acquired CAN's name, logo, and hot-line number. Lawyers tied to the church wound up with the network's archive - all of its confidential files containing information about callers and donors were now in the hands of Scientologists. Greg's efforts had paid off, and he was elated by CAN's demise. "In September 2000 Greg told his father he was returning to Clearwater. 'He'd always let me know when he was going, but he'd say, 'I'll be back in two weeks,' and it was always four, five weeks.' This time, Bob recalls, 'I said, 'Greg, you're spending a hell of a lot of time down there. I don't understand it. You're spending time away from your job, and you're spending time away from your family.' And his answer to me was, 'You're right, dad. You don't understand it.'' "Greg, who was now on OT7. the second-highest level, didn't return until November. When he did he told his father he'd been fired. On November 30 the phone woke Bob at 4:30 AM. Laura was on the other end, asking him to stop by to see Greg. Bob recalls, 'an all of a sudden he breaks down and says he was preparing to kill himself.' He'd even come up with a plan - to drive to the nearby forest preserve and drink a bottle of Drano. 'I was in such shock,' Bob says. The contrast between the image Greg had been projecting and his emotional reality was stark. 'I'm holding him, and he's saying he failed everybody, he isn't worth anything, he's a total failure.' The trip to Clearwater had been a disaster. 'They threw him out,' Bob says. Greg told him the church staff had said he had some kind of medical or physical condition they couldn't help him with, then sent him away, telling him never to return. He urged Greg to check himself into a hospital, and he says Laura did too. "Greg reluctantly checked himself into the psychiatric ward of Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington. Greg tried to commit suicide twice by overdosing in the next couple of months. In January his 17-year-old son found him on the floor, barely alive. In February he E-mailed a suicide note to Jim Hanon. Hanon got it within 20 minutes and alerted Barrington police, who arrived in time to save Greg's life. "Desperate, Bob visited the now defunct Lisa McPherson Trust. Not far from Scientology's headquarters in Clearwater and staffed by high-level defectors, the trust had been founded to expose the church's 'abusive and deceptive' practices and to provide support to ex-Scientologists attempting to readjust to life outside the church. It put Bob in touch with former Scientologists who'd reached the same level as Greg, OT7. Greg Barnes remembers receiving a desperate call from Bob: 'He was a father who was lost. A distressed man going, 'What do I do?' - reaching out to everyone and anyone who could help his son.' "Greg told Barnes he'd been under extreme pressure during his last visit to Clearwater, and that church officials had said he couldn't leave until he completed certain regimens. 'He had to get back to work. He was stressed, and he communicated that he was stressed,' Barnes says. 'They took that to mean he was unstable.' He says Greg was then sent to an auditor, who made things worse. 'If you misapply this technology you can drive someone insane. You can cause someone to become psychotic.' "Bob found a retreat for cult survivors in Ohio called Wellspring. 'The setting is residential, home cooked meals, private rooms,' he wrote, trying to make it sound attractive. Greg wasn't interested. He said he wanted to work on getting better, but 'deprogramming' at Wellspring wouldn't work. 'I know I won't get better doing something I don't believe in at all. When you have a meltdown like I did, people then suggest their own beliefs as alternatives.' By the time you reached his age, he continued, 'you have a pretty good idea about what you believe and what you don't. And in my case, a pretty informed idea.' "Greg stayed home in Barrington Hills, his mental condition deteriorating. He owed his bank $27,000 and had racked up $29,000 on his credit cards. Bob says that in February Laura started talking about suing the church to recover money they'd paid in advance for auditing and course work. 'I had been told,' he says, 'they had a balance of nearly $200,000 in credit.' Greg adamantly objected to suing. After Laura started talking about trying to get their money back, Greg wrote to his father that he didn't want to be a 'poster boy' for the harmful effects of Scientology. 'It would subject me and my family to a great deal of shame and embarrassment, and additionally such a stance does not reflect what I believe to be true.' One day in early June, Hanon received a desperate call from Greg. 'He asked me, 'What can I do?' He was in torment. He felt like he was losing control. I asked him to come here right away. He arrived at my house, coherent but just barely hanging on,' he recalls. Greg was shaking, he says, and had all but lost the ability to function. Hanon and his wife prayed with Greg, and after a couple of days Greg agreed to check himself into Pine Rest, a nearby hospital. At first, according to Hanon, he refused to take drugs or undergo counseling; 'It appeared to me that he was conditioned, that part of his training was not to assign any value at all to what a psychiatrist would say.' "Greg wrote to Bob for the last time on June 20. 'I wanted to call on Father's Day but was hospitalized at Pine Rest here in GR, and had no calling card. My condition worsened dramatically three weeks ago. I have been in the hospital the last two weeks and am now moving to an intensive outpatient status.' He begged Bob to persuade Laura not to sue the church. 'They would put 50 lawyers on the case to the one Laura would hire. They would employ private investigators, and the like, to help win their case. And the stress on Laura would be enormous.' Greg went on to say that he would be checking out of the hospital that afternoon, though he felt his release would be premature. 'I told them this morning I still felt depressed and suicidal,' he wrote. 'They are hurrying me into the outpatient program because I only have two days of insurance left!' "Three days later Greg pulled onto the shoulder of a road in Montcalm County, northeast of Grand Rapids. Using duct tape, he attached a hose to the exhaust pipe of his Honda, then ran it through the passenger window, sealing off the opening with a towel. He reclined in the passenger's seat, folded his arms across his chest, and breathed in a lethal dose of carbon monoxide. Police found the suicide note to his son on the nightstand in his hotel room. It consisted of a single sentence: 'Goodbye [son], you were a good buddy. Love dad.' "Bob wrote a death notice for his son, which he published in the Chicago Tribune. 'In memory of a trained journalist, disciplined and hard-working, an honored writer of substance and creativity and imagination, loved by family and friends, respected by his contemporaries, who in the prime of life, because of his needs and naivete trusted wrongly an entity that crushed his sweet and sharing spirit. He found his journey through life too painful to continue and was blind and deaf to all of those who loved him. My God bless you Greg, and may God bless us all.'" Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID: Message-ID:

Nicholas Cage

MSNBC reported on August 13th that his marriage to Lisa Marie Presley may indicate that actor Nicolas Cage is becoming involved in Scientology. "Now that the moody star has married devout Scientologist Lisa Marie Presley, sources believe that Cage is becoming involved in the controversial religion. 'I strongly suspect that Nicolas Cage is either now taking some Scientology courses or planning to do so in the future,' cult and alternative religion expert Rick Ross tells The Scoop. 'It is very unlikely that any prominent celebrity who is a Scientologist would marry someone who is not involved with Scientology in some way, shape or form. That's not their history and someone as prominent and important to Scientology as Lisa Marie Presley has been would be an unlikely exception.'" Message-ID: hxq69.1851$


Scientology's Citizen's Commission on Human Rights issued a press release on August 11th, claiming that a government commission in the Netherlands has ruled that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder cannot be claimed to be a neurological disease. "The Netherlands Advertisement Code Commission has ruled that the country's Brain Foundation cannot claim that the controversial psychiatric condition Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disease or brain dysfunction. The Commission ordered the Foundation to cease such false claims in their advertising. The Advertisement Code Commission was responding to a complaint brought by the Dutch chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR). "On August 6th the Advertisement Code Commission found that the Brain Foundation had falsely advertised and solicited funding by publishing ads in newspapers, magazines, flyers and on TV that stated ADHD is an 'inherent brain dysfunction.'" Message-ID:


Et-sect-era Magazine reported on August 9th that a French former Scientology Sea Org member has died of malnutrition. "French Eric Rubio was found dead in his apartment in Roedby on January 15, 2002. When he was found, he had already been dead for a longer period of time, and his body was in an advanced state of decay. When he was found, the 36-year old man weighed 45 kilograms for his 167 centimetres. He died in his kitchen, allegedly while cooking. He had not consumed any food for several days, and had suffered from malnutrition. "When Erik Rubio came to Denmark in 1994, it was to join the Sea Organization. There he was later declared unfit and thrown out, but not without having to pay back a huge sum to the cult. Until his death, he made regular payments to Scientology. After having officially distanced himself from the cult in August of 2001, Eric began to interest himself in Hare Krishna and various Eastern teachings." Message-ID:

Digital Lightwave

The St. Petersburg Times reported on August 14th that Scientologist Bryan Zwan has resigned as President and CEO of Digital Lightwave. "Inheriting the top jobs will be James Green, an executive whom Zwan telegraphed as his heir apparent when he promoted him to chief operating officer in January. But in a statement, Zwan said he planned to stay involved in turnaround efforts, remaining as chairman. 'The board had asked me to return to an active role in driving sales of existing products and accelerating new product development,' Zwan said in a statement. Zwan said he would focus on potential merger opportunities and on developing the next wave of products for the maker of testing equipment for fiber-optic networks. Green will focus on daily business operations. "The popularity of Digital's testing equipment and a no-holds-barred tech boom in the late 1990s briefly turned Digital into one of the the hottest stocks in the country and made Zwan a megamillionaire. The stock plummeted and sales collapsed during the dot-com meltdown. The company also was dogged by concerns that it was a Scientology-run company because of Zwan's close affiliation with the church that has its spiritual headquarters in Clearwater." Light Reading reported on August 15th that Zwan may be involved in irregular sales of Digital Lightwave stock. "At the latest tally, it appears that Bryan Zwan, chairman and founder of Digital Lightwave Inc., has taken no less than $348 million out of the company. Meanwhile, Digital Lightwave's business has collapsed, it has a market capitalization of less than $40 million, and it's now almost trading as a penny stock, at $1.22. Zwan moved the money via arrangements to sell his stock at fixed prices across complex strings of transactions involving: a Nevada company he controls, ZG Partnership; investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston Corp.; and one of the bank's subsidiaries, CSFB SAILS Corp. This is according to a form 13D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in May of this year. "Zwan stepped out of the CEO post for the second time, moving back upstairs as the company's chairman. His tight control over the company, the company's falling fortunes, and his affiliation with the Church of Scientology has made his leadership a popular item of debate. Over the years, Zwan made arrangements to lock in gains for sales of millions of shares of stock at prices ranging from $31 to $121, raising $23.8 million in cash for himself and another $348.5 million in guaranteed purchase agreements for his company, ZG Partnership, of which he is the sole owner and president, according to the SEC filings. The sheer magnitude of Zwan's sales - which in dollar terms now amount to nearly ten times the current market capitalization of his company ($38 million) - are astounding, say experts. 'That's ridiculous,' said one investment banker, asking to remain unnamed. "So far, it's not clear whether there are any government investigations into these dealings. The SEC, has, however, already thrown out a March 2000 complaint that it filed against Zwan. All the same, Zwan's activities have grabbed the attention of Digital Lightwave's shareholders, who have filed numerous suits." Message-ID: sDq69.15$ Message-ID: mDq79.1927$

Lisa McPherson

A closing argument filed by Scientology on August 9th argue that the Lisa McPherson wrongful death lawsuit should be dismissed, and attorney Ken Dandar be disqualified from representing the estate. The estate will have an opportunity to respond to the conclusions reached in the filing. "The record of this hearing shows, first, that plaintiffs contrived claim that the senior ecclesiastical leader of a worldwide religion ordered the 'murder' of a parishioner during a religious rite for public relations purposes is a sham pleading without a shred of evidentiary support or truth. Mr. Dandar's multiple, self-conflicting versions of the 'truth' figuratively ricochet across the record. Mr. Dandar has changed his testimony to meet his perception of the exigencies of the moment with such frequency that the notion of the truth has been completely obscured. "In trying to deny the transparent influence that Mr. Minton exerted on the prosecution of this case by virtue of his more than $2 million dollars invested and his ubiquitous participation along with that of his agents (the Lisa McPherson Trust, Ms. Brooks and Jesse Prince), Mr. Dandar has variously testified that despite over 500 telephone calls between Mr. Dandar and Mr. Minton or LMT, despite 2 1/2 months when Mr. Dandar and LMT shared offices, and despite Mr. Dandar's recollection of being with Mr. Minton at five restaurants, three hotels, two private residences, two locations of Dandar & Dandar, the LMT building, and at a 'vigil,' Mr. Minton had 'zero involvement' in the 'shape, manner or activities in this suit,' and that Mr. Dandar '[doesn't] think [he] ever had a meeting with Mr. Minton.' "In trying to find a way to avoid the undeniable truth that he knew Mr. Minton was the source of a $500,000 Swiss bank check handed to him by Mr. Minton, Mr. Dandar has testified that the identity of his benefactor was 'friends in Europe,' 'the Fat Man,' 'anonymous,' 'I have no idea,' and perhaps even some guy named 'Fred.' Beyond that, Mr. Dandar has changed his story of the purpose, beneficiary, and intended use of the millions he received from Mr. Minton so many times that it is impossible to extract the truth from his self-contradictory morass of assertions that it was 'donations,' loans to defray litigation costs, donations to cover litigation costs, or personal loans to him which he could use to buy 'estates, cars, yachts, planes' or whatever else he wished. Mr. Dandar has also orchestrated systematic perjury so that Mr. Minton's and Dell Liebreich's testimony and affidavits addressing the distribution of any recovery in this case shifted 180 degrees in unison to corroborate Mr. Dandar's idea of what 'truth' was needed at a particular moment in time and to help, him conceal both Mr. Minton s interference with this case and Mr. Dandar's own effort to pocket Mr. Minton s money with no strings attached. "In the end, what emerges from this lengthy process is a wrongful death lawsuit taken over from a willing plaintiff by a lawyer inextricably bound to an anti-Scientologist millionaire and the like-minded zealots he employed, who changed this case from a lawsuit into a crusade against a religion and its ecclesiastical leader. To accomplish that improper purpose, they fabricated and pursued a sham complaint, supported it with perjury and subornation, subjected defendants to enormous legal costs and an exhaustive evidentiary proceeding which only proved, with more certainty than set forth in defendants opening brief, that the defendants are entitled to the following relief both cumulatively, and in the alternative: (1) The striking of plaintiff s Fifth Amended Complaint; (2) An order precluding plaintiff from answering the counterclaim; (3) The dismissal of plaintiff s claims with prejudice; (4) The disqualification of plaintiffs counsel from representing plaintiff in any matter in this case; and (5) Sanctions substantial sanctions including attorneys fees, in an amount to be determined, against both plaintiff and her counsel. "In no event and under no circumstances should the Court permit Mr. Dandar or his firm to remain in this case. The activities of Mr. Dandar set forth above constitute, violations of the Florida Rule of Professional Conduct - A lawyer shall not knowingly permit any witness to offer testimony or other evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer has offered material evidence and thereafter comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. Here, Mr. Dandar himself engaged in false testimony and subornation of false testimony, and made repeated false statements to the court." Message-ID: Message-ID:

Protest Summary

Keith Henson and Christopher Wood reported a protest at the Toronto Scientology org on August 11th. "As usual I was 100 feet away on the far side of Yonge St., where I could watch out for Chris and he could see me. No encounters with the police at all. I was giving out 'Parsonage' flyers today. Gave out about 130 of them, and several of the people who took them said they were going to call the number of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation and complain about a non-religious, non-charity getting a tax break by calling an 8 story office building a 'parsonage.' "A very high fraction of the people who pass by that location already know about the cult. One woman who had been to was just boggled by it all. There were two scns who came by headed for the org. The first was a tall woman in her 30s, long dark hair, slightly curly. She broke in on me talking to some citizens and insisted they should ignore me, that I was full of shit. I asked her to say Xenu and of course she could not. An scn with a crew cut came by and warned me that I had to be back 100 meters when the actual order is 30 meters. "A guy came by who told me the most astonishing story of being a neighbour of the house at 451 Clinton St. where the Toronto staff used to live up to late December of last year. According to him, some new staff members from out of town showed up and sat on the porch for about two hours. It was during the day, but they about froze before someone from the org showed up to let them in. It seems they thawed out huddled over an electric heater for some time before everyone left for the org and left the heater on. After a while a bed or couch in the living room caught on fire. The fire department put out the fire with no more than a lot of smoke damage to the place and a hole burned in the floor. The neighbours told the fire marshal there were about 30 people living there, the fire marshal counted 47 beds being used! It's a fair sized house, but they were stacked at least 6 to a room. The fire marshal found a couple of smoke detectors, but no batteries in them. No fire extinguishers. Once the situation in this house came to the attention of the fire marshal, there was no way they could stay there. All their stuff was dumped out in the street. The locals picked through it, but found very little of value. This person told us the house was still the way it was when the staff's meager possessions were tossed out in the street because the landlord and the scns were in some kind of legal battle about who should pay for fixing the damage. At one point the landlord told him the org was at least 8 months behind in paying the $2000 a month rent, but it seems to be about impossible to evict people from a house in Canada. There were kids who were not in school, and in some cases were being kept up all night." "A number of the Toronto OT's were there, but nobody actually came and got in my face like the Scientologists do to Gregg Hagglund when he pickets. I could do with more pickets like this - picketing quietly and giving out leaflets. Isn't that what it's all about? "When I started picketing, first Mario (Dianetics Missionholder), then Andy Hill (OT Committee person) and a Scientologist I didn't recognize started making like airport ground technicians and directing Scientologists down Saint Mary Street. The guy who herded the Scientologists who picketed me in 1998 is still a Scientologist - I saw him passing into the org. "A young couple stopped and actually thanked me for picketing. I offered them a leaflet anyway, and the young lady said they had already been to the website, and no thanks. The cult has put up large all-black posters in their Yonge-facing windows, each with a Dianetics ad in the middle and the copyright fine print at the bottom. Before the break, I had given out 21 leaflets. After the break, I said to Keith that I would picket for an hour, or until all 50 of my leaflets were gone. Just as I was trying to give the last one out, an old guy who had parked his bike and gone into the org came back out. I offered a leaflet in his general direction, and to my surprise he took the leaflet and read it, then passed it back. He then asked me some questions, and as it turned out he had bought one book and had just been inside the org watching a film. I pointed out that while the book may have been only a few dollars, and the film was free, he was certainly headed towards the costlier cult courses. We discussed this and that, and in the meantime Mario came out of the org and stood listening to what I was saying. "When I was done talking to the guy it was obvious I hadn't convinced him of anything right out. I said that he shouldn't feel obliged to spend any money, and wandered off to find an eager set of hands for this last leaflet. Mario rushed over, and I heard the snippets 'drugs' and 'twenty billion dollar industry.'" Message-ID: Message-ID:

Tory Christman

The Door Magazine published an interview in its July/August 2002 issue with Tory Christman, formerly Tory Bezazian. "In 1969 Tory hitchhiked from Chicago to L.A. to become a disciple of Dianetics. She invested untold tens of thousands of hours and dollars in it. In time, she rose to the level of OT VII, Scientology's all-powerful 'auditors' said the evil alien thetas still clung to her body. Oh yeah, and she had epilepsy. "Still, Tory joined the Scientology Parishioners League (sort of a Scientology Anti-Defamation League) where she spearheaded ferocious attacks against any imagined media slight of L. Ron or Dianetics. She became the indefatigable 'Magoo,' nemesis of the Internet newsgroups at.religion.scientology and Eventually, Tory was an ordained 'minister' and worked as a trainer of new Scientology initiates, like John Travolta. "Today Ms. Bezazian spends her time informing as many people as possible that the abuses of Scientology can destroy lives and that it is built on lies told solely for the purpose of enriching a small elite group who run the organization. "THE DOOR MAGAZINE: Exactly what is Scientology? "TORY BEZAZIAN: What Scientology says it is, a study of knowing how to know. They say they're a religion and they're there to basically help people get free. L. Ron Hubbard wrote a book called Dianetics. And from Dianetics, you can erase painful moments or moments of loss. Originally, that's what Dianetics was and then he came up with a state of mind called clear, which was supposedly where you had a perfect memory and a perfect I.Q. However, the truth is, through his own definition, there isn't a clear. "DOOR: So he realized that he was wrong and recanted and gave everyone back their money? "BEZAZIAN: No, he found out it'll make money and as he says in his own words, in order to make money you've got to start a religion. So that's what he did. He started Scientology. "DOOR: When you originally got involved in Scientology what drew you to it? "BEZAZIAN: I was really looking for a higher state of consciousness and a way of helping people. And I read Dianetics and I felt 'Wow this is it!' You know, 'I can help people go clear.' And I literally hitchhiked from Chicago to Los Angeles to study Scientology. "DOOR: The website calls Scientology 'the most expensive religion on earth.' Why? "BEZAZIAN: Because Hubbard was trying to make money and the execs in it basically live very well. "DOOR: But how would that be any different than some televangelist who is balking people out of their welfare and Social Security checks? "BEZAZIAN: There's definitely a similarity. The difference in those religions and Scientology is (that) you have a choice. In Roman Catholicism, for example, you don't have to go to church. You're welcome in their church at any point. In Scientology, you cannot do most of their stuff without paying a definite price. It's already pre-planned. They call it a donation. It's basically a service they're selling. They call it a religion so they don't have to pay taxes. "DOOR: So how much is the total sum a person must pay to achieve clear? "BEZAZIAN: It's in the tens of thousands. Probably would be $100,000 at this point. I attested to clear, but they ended up invalidating it while I was on OT VII. OT VII is the highest level. I'd been on OT VII for seven years and then an auditor said: 'Well, you're not really clear.' Basically the truth of the matter is that their beginning levels are empty and they can't get a lot of new people because they read the Internet and find out what's going on. So I think they ran out of money and decided, 'Well, we'll just make all the OT VII's redo OT VII.' And all the auditors redo their training. "DOOR: So was that when you first began to see holes in their philosophy? "BEZAZIAN: The beginning of the holes was getting on OT VII, because I really thought it was going to be this real neat level. And it was just more of what they call OT III - which has to do with these alien beings that you're supposedly surrounded by called BTs and Clusters. They say seventy-five million years ago, this real evil dude called Xenu decided to handle the galactic overpopulation problem that existed by putting these excess people into volcanoes and blowing them up with hydrogen bombs, and their spirits were stuck on these electronic strips. I think that somehow he put the strips in these DC 8s, which is really weird. "DOOR: During the 30 years you were in. Scientology must've done some good things for you, or you wouldn't have stayed with it. "BEZAZIAN: There's a lot of nifty people in it. And that's probably more than anything what I stayed in it for. And there's a huge hope factor. And once you get to OT, you will be able to do X, Y and Z. And a lot of people stay for that very reason. "DOOR: Um, yeah. Thanks for reminding us. You worked for Scientology's Office of Special Affairs. What exactly did you do for them? "BEZAZIAN: Mostly public relations stuff. They asked me to be in charge of the Scientology Parishioners League, which handles 'Black PR' in the media. Black PR is anything critical of Scientology. I was a volunteer for them for 20 years, but I was only in Scientology Parishioners League for four months. Shortly after that, I left. I mainly organized it and we had an A & E special on cults and we asked them to take us out of that, saying 'Scientology isn't a cult.' "DOOR: You left the church July 18, 2000. And you have no regrets about leaving? "BEZAZIAN: None. Are you kidding me? When people do that kind of *** to you? "DOOR: So, where are you today as far as religion or anything of that nature goes? "BEZAZIAN: I believe very much in religion. I believe in faith, and I believe in people believing in whatever they believe in that makes their lives better. Whatever that is. I don't have any particular group that I'm a part of. If that's what you mean, no. I do believe in higher spirits, yes." Message-ID: YbV59.776$

In Memoriam

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on August 17th that Andre La Chambre has passed away. "Andre La Chambre, 45, died Aug. 6 at home. He was born March 15, 1957, in Los Angeles. A musician, he was a 15-year resident of Las Vegas. Services will be at 9 a.m. Sunday at Church of Scientology, 846 E. Sahara Ave. The family requests memorial donations be made to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation." Message-ID:

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