Las VegasLas Vegas Weekly visited the Scientology Celebrity Center in Las Vegas and published a report on the visit on December 26th. "Distinguishing features: Heard of Tom Cruise? Kirstie Alley? John Travolta? They and others pay good money for the freedom and direction this church gives them. Scientology's basic tenet is that man is good, but is marred by sin, which reduces awareness and power. "The place: Storefront with big back room with couches, a table and chairs and a videocassette player with lots of instructional tapes you can buy. Service was held in a rectangular room, about 8 feet by 15 feet, with 15 chairs and a framed picture of beloved church founder, science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. "My experience: 'OK, then,' the leader says to his congregation of four. 'Now, I'm going to ask you a question: Where is your chair?' "We look around, some people visibly grab the chair so the speaker sees the recognition of the seat. "'Great, great! Where is the floor?' "Several stomp the floor. "'Terrrrrific! So, where are you?' "Puzzled looks. 'Here,' someone finally says. "'Faaaaantastic! OK, then. So, where are you?' "A brave soul puzzles over the question, wants to impress Leader and utters, 'In Las Vegas.' "'Great, great!' Leader says. Long pause. 'So, where are you?' "'In a storefront in Las Vegas.' "Leader later tells us that instead of trying to figure out why he kept asking these questions for the better part of an hour, we should have simply kept answering in order to get the experience of thinking less egocentrically. (It's called 'processing.') I was just trying to keep my cool, certain that the entire sermon was an attempt to drive us to homicidal frustration, then use Scientology to save our souls. Ninety minutes after I arrived, I leave, slightly dazed. "Rating: 1 (out of five)" Message-ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
CincinnatiThe Kentucky Herald-Leader reported on December 30th that Scientologists attended the destruction of Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium. "Thirty-seven seconds after the first boom, the place where Johnny Bench and-Pete Rose once played, the former home of the Bengals, the site of several huge rock concerts and an annual rhythm and blues gathering, had been reduced to 135,000 tons of rubble. "There were people handing out flyers selling stadium seats (four for $349, singles for $199), and trying to draw people in to the Church of Scientology." Message-ID: email@example.com
New Year's Eve"Cerridwen" reported on Scientology's annual New Year's Eve event in Los Angeles. "Every year the New Years Event is held at the Shrine Auditorium in LA. The event is always held a few days before the New Year so that the videos can then be edited and sent to the outer orgs to be shown on New Years Eve. "The event started as always with DM making his way to Center Stage from Stage Left. As always there was tons of applause and DM had to keep giving Acks to the audience to get them to stop. There was a video recapping the 2002 accomplishments narrated by Jeff Pomerantz. DM tells us that the 'Wake Up Call' that occurred as a result of 911 was not just for Scientologists but also for the whole world and that some people got it and others didn't. As an example of how screwed up things are, DM tells us that the reason George W. Bush wants to go to war with Iraq is that Saddam is 'the guy who went after my Daddy.' "DM goes on to say that we are living in a time in which we are experiencing a 'morality crisis' and cited Enron and other scandals of corporate American. I noticed he failed to mention the Reed Slatkin/Tony Hitchman Ponzi scheme but then I really didn't think he would bring it up. What he did mention was the Roman Catholic Church and the pedophile stuff. DM 'invalidating' the RCC is definitely out Way To Happiness. DM tells us that 'we' are the future because we do not lack certainty. "Then he gave some stats on religious groups websites. Now he didn't say if these stats were weekly, monthly or whatever. 168,000 hits to Jewish sites, 633,000 hits to ALL Christian sites combined and 1.2 hits to all of 'our' Scientology sites combined. So this means that Scientology gets more hits than all Jewish and Christian sites combined. "The WIS Exhibition went to 33 cities around the world. It seems that in Zurich, the C of S has had difficulty in the past getting permits to hand out leaflets in public places and the C of S was in some litigation there for several years. Due to the WIS Exhibition, someone spoke with some official who got on the cans and found Scientology to be extremely interesting and told them they could have whatever permits they wanted. In Munich, they met with VIPs and got allies for CCHR to work against the psychs in Germany. In Madrid, they managed to get study tech into a Catholic school that was having difficulty of some kind. In Milan, they briefed the President of the City council on Narconon after which the President said that the City wanted to form a partnership with any effective group and the C of S was certainly an effective group. In Toronto, some official from the Jamaican Community received auditing and a Sikh leader in that city is opening up a Narconon Center in Peterborough. In total there were 200,000 that went through the WIS Exhibition and 50,000 got an intro Service. "DM says we now have a total of 15,000 VM's and in Hungary, the only people allowed in to handle the big Flood they had in the summer was the military, the Red Cross and the VM's. DM even read a statement from a letter sent by the Vice General of Civil Defense in Hungary who said 'thank you to the Church of Scientology for saving us from the flood.' "The VM's had a big win in Johannesburg. It seems this past summer there was some big international conference and things were very tense. At one point a cop shot an employee of the hotel where all the international representatives were staying and the tension really got bad. So the VM's arrived and went into action and started passing out the Way to Happiness and Cal Mag to calm everyone's nerves! According to DM it worked so well that the Dir of Police Services contacted the Church after and the Church is now delivering some kind of VM workshop thingie to police stations in Johannesburg. "Next up is Karen Hollander. The Way to Happiness has some campaign going on with the LAPD. After passing out the WTH booklets in one neighborhood there was a 30% reduction in crime. It seems that the LAPD was so happy and pleased that during a parade, their motorcycle cops stopped in front of the LRH Exhibit in Hollywood and saluted LRH. In Bali there are a bunch of people working in the Ministry of Justice who are running the Way to Happiness/Criminon Program in 350 prisons in Indonesia. This program is now in 28 countries and 1800 prisons worldwide. "Then we get a description of the drug scene in Australia and a history of Narconon there. It started with relatives of addicts treating them in their homes. Later 2 public Scientologists provided Narconon with a center. But the big news was that then Narconon got from the government full charity status and 14 acres of land with 6 buildings on it making it the biggest drug rehab center in Australia. "A video is shown of a woman who went to Rwanda and she goes to see the Mayor of Kigali. In her first contact with the Mayor she gives him a Book I session and the Mayor goes exterior and decides that he must get Dn and Scientology in his area. So he gets a bunch of other mayors and city admin people on the bandwagon. Three years later how many people in his part of Rwanda are now using Dn and Scientology? 60,000 according to Mark. "Guillaume Lesevre told us that The President of Rwanda was contacted about Scientology and he was sold on it and introduced his entire cabinet to Scientology. This contact happened about 3 years ago and now, three years later there are 3000 groups in 30 different cities making up 400,000 Scientologists in Central Africa. ED Int said that in 2000 there were 1.5 million Well Done Auditing Hours. In 2001 there were 2.2 million and in 2002 there were a total of 3.8 million WDAH worldwide. There were over 120 OT 7 comps in 2002. "DM said that in 2003 they were going to put more money into the org buildings than they had in the past 10 years combined. Also there was going to be a tech release that would speed up progress on the Bridge. He wrapped up with a plea that everyone should put their shoulder to the wheel to get LRH's tech to the planet. 'For God Sakes, help us bring it to all of man.' "The last part of the event was a tape play of some LRH doom and gloom about how easily the planet could be wiped out by massive weapons and how much it depends on Scientologists for its salvation. At the end of that, everybody jumped up to applaud but the Hip Hip Hooray wasn't very enthusiastic. The event ended in sort of a Rush and then we had Doug E. Fresh to entertain us." Message-ID: 3RQR0VI737624.firstname.lastname@example.org
New ZealandReligion News Blog reported on January 4th that a Christian group in New Zealand is protesting the newly granted charity status Scientology has in New Zealand "A Christian group is outraged a controversial church has been granted charity status by Inland Revenue. Cultwatch spokesman Mark Vrankovich warns people to be wary of Scientology. "He says closer examination of the religion sheds light on why it took so long to get charity status. He likens Scientology to a cult, where followers pay money to advance through the levels of the religion. Mr Vrankovich says people need to thoroughly research what religious groups stand for, before joining." Message-ID: email@example.com
Protest SummaryChristopher Wood reported a protest on December 7th at the Toronto Scientology org. "Picketers: Me, Keith Henson (up the road), Arel Lucas, Android Cat. David Palter spotting me early on. Granfalloon walking by to say hi. Leaflets: Is this Hubbard's Science?/What Judges Say, Arel had some Xenu leaflets, and whatever Keith had. "The cult was doing its 'good roads and fair weather' bit - their open house was on, and the cult's Drug Free Marshals front group had a display outside. They had a popcorn cart, body routers, and had blocked off a bit of Saint Mary Street with a stage and some kids stuff at the back. The inside of the org was an open house. "I picketed for a while, with David Palter handing out the odd leaflet behind me. Arel decided to picket down the sidewalk closest to the org - which the cult obviously didn't like. She got 'asked' by the off-duty police officer the cult had hired not to picket on the org side of Saint Mary - was saying something about how Scientology had a permit, and they could exercise some modicum of control over who walked there. Arel pointed out that other people were walking there, and the police officer said yes, but they didn't have signs. Obviously there's some problem here in realizing that people with signs have the same rights as people who don't have signs. "I noticed that finally there was somebody who had a worse time than picketers with the wind - the Scientologists with the popcorn and balloons. Whenever a gust of wind and the generosity of the popcorn server coincided, invariably a puff or two would leak out. They kept sweeping, so the sidewalk remained largely clean. The Scientologists with the balloons were nice enough to attempt to restrain the balloons from blowing against our signs - not that it always worked, though. "I heard one of the Drug Free Marshals saying 'cigarettes aren't included - they're not a drug' to a passerby. I actually heard one of the Drug Free Marshals use the term 'body routing,' as he took over leafleting duties." Message-Id: firstname.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.