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

Volume 7, Issue 49 - March 16 2003


The St. Petersburg Times reported on March 14th that a group of halfway houses in Clearwater with ties to Scientology has been closed by the city. "A network of Christian-themed halfway houses in North Greenwood will be forced to shut its doors after city officials ruled Thursday the operation is illegal in a residential neighborhood. Community Resurrection Inc., a haven for recovering drug addicts and alcoholics, got its start early last year in a small rental house. The mission soon spread up and down Garden Avenue to include 11 properties owned by three landlords. "One of those landlords is a real estate investor and a Scientologist, who, 23 years ago, was involved in one of the darkest chapters of Scientology history. Richard Weigand, 56, was one of nine Scientologists convicted of conspiring to conceal the theft of government documents related to the church. Weigand, who has assembled dozens of rental properties in Clearwater, said his ownership in the halfway houses is nothing more than a business investment. Community Resurrection founder Michael Cournaya confirms that, saying his program was not modeled on Scientology methods and has no ties to the Narconon drug treatment program, which is based on the techniques of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. "But Cournaya said he is open to sampling Narconon. He plans to undergo a Narconon program using a sauna meant to sweat out drug residues. He and Weigand have talked about installing a sauna for residents at Community Resurrection. 'I don't mind taking a little bit of whatever it takes to help people,' Cournaya said. 'Anything that I can do that will help people have a better chance to stay clean and sober.' "Weigand denied pushing Scientology or the Narconon program. He said he did not find work for Cournaya's clients. His real estate holdings have no relation to Scientology, now or in the future, he said. "Steve Kautz, head of This House, applauds Cournaya's intentions but said he has taken on too much, too soon. 'His is not a recovery house; it's more of a shelter,' Kautz said. 'It's a very dangerous recipe. What they're doing is winging it. It's scary.' Isay Gulley, executive director of Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services, said a proliferation of new halfway houses runs counter to her mission of trying to stabilize the neighborhood. She said she's all for people getting help but worries that transient population might discourage potential homeowners from investing in North Greenwood. "Weigands' properties in Clearwater have been purchased in the last three years and most are co-owned with Mark Nickels, a Seattle-based building contractor and major contributor to the Flag Service Building under construction in downtown Clearwater. Church spokesman Ben Shaw said Thursday Scientology has no ties, or interest in, Weigand's properties. 'Whatever he's doing is his business,' Shaw said." Letters to the editor of the St. Petersburg Times on March 10th discussed the growth of Scientology missions in the Clearwater area. "Gee, where can I sign up to give my $1,500 check to the Scientologist cult to walk on its treadmill, use its sauna and feel better with a spiritual awakening? The awakening? From a group of atheists who worship L. Ron Hubbard? This is a man who lived for years on boats so the U.S. government couldn't nail him for crimes and back taxes. "I worked as a volunteer at the Lisa McPherson Trust. I remember best the poor mother who came and asked if we could help her see her daughter. Twice at the door to their building downtown, she was turned away, told that 'her daughter was in audit and couldn't be seen.' The next time she was told that her daughter had left for California! Ah, such wonderful 'hope-for-man' people. - M.L. Fitzpatrick, Dunedin "I applaud your article covering the new missions in the Clearwater-St. Petersburg area. Given the amount of crime, illiteracy, drug use, economic strain and threat of war and terrorism we face, people need to know that something can be done about it. Only by knowing that a person can do something effective can you then increase the person's ability to hope for a decent future for their friends and family. "I have been successfully applying Scientology methods to my life for the past 12 years. The most important thing I have learned is that it is okay to improve your own life as long as you are also trying to improve the lives of others. My company supports a local literacy center, and we have helped hundreds of children learn to read. We also support effective drug rehabilitation methods that have saved many lives. "The fact that there are several missions that will be opened in the near future is proof that something effective can be done about improving conditions in a person's life. - Jim Mathers, Clearwater" Message-ID: 874ca.18267$ Message-ID: cekca.18279$

Volunteer Ministers

Chris Owen reported that a Volunteer Ministers event is currently running in London. "The Church of Scientology's 'Volunteer Ministers Cavalcade' has turned up in London. A traveling exhibition in a mustard-yellow tent is currently in Victoria Embankment Gardens. The exhibition runs from 7th-21st March 2003, 10am-6pm. This is part of Scientology's Europe-wide tour of the Volunteer Ministers. ED Int Guilliaume Lesevre described the Volunteer Ministers' activities in a presentation to Scientologists last year. "'Mr. Lesevre showed attendees a series of billboards to drive people into our cavalcade announcing that we are coming, saying 'NO MATTER THE PROBLEM IN LIFE, SOMETHING CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT, VOLUNTEER MINISTER CAVALCADE, Real help is coming' with the date and location. Explaining how each city will be plastered with newspaper ads and posters announcing the cavalcade and hug banners on the local org, the cavalcade will be transported to the next European city where we have an org. There it will stand, a full-blown Volunteer Minister pavilion, 3,000 square feet in size and the VM team accompanying the cavalcade will get into immediate production, delivering VM services, seminars, courses and workshops to hundreds of people at a time.'" Message-ID:


The Irish Times reported on March 12th that Scientology asked the court not to discriminate against Scientology by allowing testimony from a Psychologist on the practice of auditing. The case was brought by Mary Johnston against the Scientology org and several leaders for conspiracy, misrepresentation, breach of constitutional rights and negligence. "For the court to admit evidence from a psychologist which was critical of the practice of auditing - described as the core and single most important way in which Scientologists profess and practise their religious belief - would be akin to conducting a judicial inquiry into the legitimacy of the Sacrament of the Mass in Roman Catholicism, it was argued. This was impermissible under the constitutional guarantee of the free profession and practise of religion. "In submissions on behalf of the church, it was argued Scientology had been recognised as a religion by many governments worldwide, and must be treated the same as any other religion here. Mr Michael Collins SC, for the church, was objecting to the court hearing evidence from a psychologist, whom it sought to call on behalf of Ms Mary Johnston in her continuing action for damages. "Mr Collins said Ms Johnston was seeking to adduce evidence which would presumably be primarily directed to the effects of auditing and whether it involved some form of hypnosis and the consequences of auditing for Ms Johnston. Mr Michael Cush SC, for Ms Johnston, argued he was entitled to call the psychologist. He referred to a previous ruling by Mr Justice Peart in relation to such evidence and said Mr Collins was not entitled to reargue the point and 'blur' the issue. It was for the judge to decide whether Scientology was a religion and the judge might conclude it was entirely misguided. Mr Cush said it was Ms Johnston's case that Scientology was a pseudo-religious cult." From the Irish Times on March 13th: "A woman who is suing the Church of Scientology appeared to have been hypnotised while undergoing an auditing session by a member of the church, a psychologist told the High Court yesterday. Ms Mary Johnston appeared to have been subjected to 'very curious' and 'not very good' therapy. Dr Peter Naish, a chartered psychologist who has written extensively on hypnosis, said it was his view Ms Johnston was very susceptible to hypnosis. "Asked about hypnosis, he said there was nothing intrinsically harmful in the practice per se. However, when it was used as a vehicle for some kind of therapy, the person using it must be able to deal with the subject's reactions. There was a concern that if a subject became distressed, the hypnotist might retraumatise them. Not all people were susceptible to hypnosis. In his view, Ms Johnston was highly susceptible. "Mr Cush read extracts from Dianetics - The Modern Science of Mental Health, by the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, and also outlined extracts from Ms Johnston's evidence to the court. He said the extracts from Dianetics indicated that what was involved in auditing was hypnosis. It appeared hypnosis was being used as a vehicle and that material was being developed in an emotional context." RTE News reported on March 13th that the case was settled by the participants. "A High Court action for damages by a Dublin sports shop owner against the Church of Scientology has ended after out of court talks. No details of the settlement were disclosed but costs in the action are estimated to be around 2 million Euros. "Mary Johnston joined the Church of Scientology in 1992. In her legal proceedings against the Church and three members of the Dublin Mission, she claimed she suffered a personality charge after being sucked into the grasp of the church and subjected to mind control techniques. She claimed efforts were made to prevent her leaving the church and to silence, devalue and intimidate her and prevent her taking her legal proceedings. She claimed she suffered psychological and psychiatric injuries." Message-ID: Message-ID: iG3ca.18266$ Message-ID:

Kelly Preston

An article by MSNBC on March 13th questioned an appearance by Scientology celebrity Kelly Preston on a repeat airing of the Montel Williams show. "Was Kelly Preston providing a valuable public service on a Montel Williams show? Or was she merely touting some controversial policies of Scientology? Preston, who with hubby John Travolta is a devout Scientologist, appeared on the talk show Wednesday, discussing the health woes of their son. Then she told how his ailments were cured by following the detoxification procedures in 'Clear Body Clear Mind' a posthumously published book by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. "Also featured on the show, which was a rebroadcast, was Michael Wisner, who was introduced as 'Toxicologist to the Stars.' Wisner, too, is a Scientologist, who promotes Hubbard in his Sacramento, Calif., clinic, according to Rick Ross, whose Web site,, notes that the word 'Scientologist' was never used on the show. "Also not discussed, says Ross, were the potential risks and side effects of Hubbard's treatment. 'Montel's show was devoid of any meaningful critical balance that might help viewers develop a more informed understanding about this supposed process of 'purification.' Instead, Williams provides a platform for Kelly Preston to essentially use his show much like an infomercial to promote her Scientology beliefs.'" Message-ID: a_0ca.18264$

Camille Paglia

The gossip column of the New York Post on March 16th published the views of essayist Camille Paglia on Scientology. "The trendiest religion in Hollywood was founded on the teachings of a Satanist, a new essay by Camille Paglia claims. According to an article by Paglia in Boston University's Arion journal, Hubbard got many of his ideas from infamous devil worshipper Alistair Crowley. "'Hubbard had met Crowley in the latter's Los Angeles temple in 1945,' Paglia writes. 'Hubbard's son reveals that Hubbard claimed to be Crowley's successor: Hubbard told him that Scientology was born on the day that Crowley died.' According to the article, Scientologists perform some of the same rites that Crowley invented, all designed to free practitioners from human guilt. 'Drills used by Scientologists to cleanse and clarify the mind are evidently a reinterpretation of Crowley's singular fusion of Asian meditation and Satanic ritualism, which sharpens the all-conquering will. Guilt and remorse, in the Crowley way, are mere baggage to be jettisoned,' Paglia says." 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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