Transcript of a local radio talkshow in Phoenix, Arizona, which featured Jeff Jacobsen as guest.
Jeff Jacobsen was a guest on a local talk radio show in Phoenix, Arizona,
January 30, 1997, to discuss the Lisa McPherson case and Scientology. I
found it a fascinating show. What follows is the complete transcript
(minus about 10 minutes, which I lost when one of the tapes ran out),
broken into five parts, of the three-hour program.
Bill Straus is the host.
Bill Straus: And welcome to my little portion of your Thursday evening.
Tonight weıre going to get into a case of the death of a 36-year-old woman
in Clearwater, Florida. And what makes the case interesting -- the case is
by the way about a year old -- is that my guest was -- you were the first
or one of the first people to make the connection, in your mind, between
the death of Lisa McPherson and members of the Church of Scientology?
Jeff Jacobsen: Well, the Clearwater police had --
Straus: I should introduce you. Jeff Jacobsen is a gentleman that I have
talked to on the phone a number of times. I think we probably go back two
or three years. We have never gotten together to do a show, but I find
what he sends me or what he feeds me over the telephone always
interesting, and in this case, the death of Lisa McPherson, I was
extremely interested, and interested by the attention that itıs already
gotten from some national media also. Now, with that said, why donıt you
just capsulize the situation for us?
Jacobsen: OK. The way the story came out essentially was I was getting
ready for the next picket. Weıre going to picket again in March in
Clearwater, Florida, the Church of Scientology, which we did last year. So
I was on the City of Clearwaterıs web page. And the police have a section
where thereıs three deaths that theyıre investigating. Number three was
Lisa McPherson. I never heard of any of these people or anything, but I
noticed that 210 S. Ft. Harrison was her last address, and that is a
church property -- Church of Scientology property. I knew that address
because we picketed there before.
Straus: And I want to point out at this point, I invited the local
spokesperson for the Church of Scientology onto the show, and she
declined. Talked to her again, and reinvited her. She declined again.
Today I got a phone call from her, and she asked me to not go on with the
show. That piqued my interest in the subject even more, in all honesty.
So, with that said -- and I even reiterated to her at that time, as I have
over the air when Iıve promoıd the show, I would love to have somebody
from the Church of Scientology on in case they feel that they want to
counter something Jeff says. And if we have any Scientologists listening,
and I am most certain that we do, particularly after a phone call I got
later this afternoon that Iıll get into a little later, I would invite you
to call us if you find that, you know, if you find that you disagree with
something thatıs said. The number remains 277-KTAR as always here. Now.
210 South Harrison.
Jacobsen: South Fort Harrison.
Straus: South Fort Harrison.
Jacobsen: Yeah, the Fort Harrison Hotel, which is the largest building in
downtown Clearwater. The church owns that, and many other buildings in
downtown Clearwater. So I just posted about it onto our newsgroup, which
is called alt.religion.scientology on the Internet. Actually I was also
looking for another case regarding another person who was a church member,
and there was supposedly -- the church was trying to prevent the mother of
the children from going to the police with a child molestation case
involving a Scientologist. I was kind of looking for that on the police
page too, but instead I see this address.
Straus: Weıre going to have to get into your thing with Scientology at
some point, but right now I want to stick with Lisa McPherson.
Straus: And you and I just watched a tape of Inside Editionıs coverage of
Straus: And quite honestly, in such a short period of time, there was a
lot of information, and Iıve also had an opportunity to review the
transcript that you sent me of the show. OK. Getting now down to the
specifics. Lisa McPherson was 36 years old. And this was December of a
Jacobsen: She died December 5, 1995. And thatıs the thing. I think the
reason the police put her case on their web page is because theyıre sort
of stuck. Theyıre looking for three -- at that time -- Scientologists, who
they want to interview, I guess. The names of those three people are on
that web page. But then, Lisaıs name. So then, I posted about it, I sent
-- I was starting to talk to some media in Tampa/Clearwater area because
of our picket coming up, and I sent just a bunch of stuff to Cheryl
Waldrop at the Tampa Tribune, and she picked up on the Lisa segment of
what I sent, which I didnıt -- you know -- all I knew was just what was on
the Clearwater web page--
Straus: Just the address.
Jacobsen: Thatıs it. And she started to investigate, and then came out I
think December 15th with a front-page story about Lisaıs death. So thatıs
where the story started.
Straus: I believe I also read an editorial by her, or was it an editorial
that was quoting her possibly from the Tampa paper?
Jacobsen: Yeah, both the St. Pete Times and the Tampa paper have many
articles about Lisaıs case.
Straus: Thereıs so many things that I want to ask you, but I want to give
people the basic background of the death. Lisa McPherson was -- the reason
she went to the hospital initially was...?
Jacobsen: Well, let me give you, like, I can give you maybe two or three
Straus: Thatıs what Iım looking for.
Jacobsen: OK. Lisa was 18 when she joined the church. I donıt know when,
but she moved to Clearwater, Florida, a few years before she died, I
guess, which is like the spiritual world headquarters of the church of
Scientology. She had a high-paying job there with a Scientologist
business, and she donated apparently a lot of her money to the church, was
very active in the church. November, or sometime in late '95, she called a
friend of hers that she grew up with, and the friend says she had stated
that Lisa was thinking, was planning to come home, or go back to Texas, in
other words, where sheıs from. And she couldnıt talk about things on the
phone, but she had a lot to talk about. So then comes November 18th, and
Lisa had a minor car accident, which she apparently didnıt really get
hurt, but she got out of her car and took all of her clothes off and was
walking down the sidewalk. So she was taken to the hospital by ambulance,
I guess. At the hospital, the doctor there wanted to have her
psychologically evaluated. But other Scientologists came to the hospital
and stated that Scientologists donıt believe in psychiatry, so they wanted
to take her with them. They said they would take care of her 24 hours a
day, according to the hospital report. So she checked herself out and went
with those people to that 210 S. Ft. Harrison, the hotel, the church said
for rest and relaxation. This is November 18th. We really donıt--
Straus: She had spent how long in the hospital?
Jacobsen: Part of that day. Just a few hours at most.
Straus: And it was clearly against the advice of the medical people that
were in attendance that she leave?
Jacobsen: They wanted her to be psychologically evaluated. But the church
has a big thing against psychiatry. They consider psychiatry to be their,
probably their main enemy ... on earth. So now sheıs at the Ft. Harrison.
The only thing I know for sure -- or I think I know -- is that the
attorney Elliot Abelson stated that sometime between November 18th and her
death, she was hitting the walls with her fists in that hotel. So what was
going on, we donıt know, but 17 days later, December 5th, some
Scientologists put her in a van and take her to a hospital. According to
Inside Edition, they passed four other emergency rooms to get her to a
hospital where there was a Scientologist doctor.
Straus: Well, and correct me if Iım wrong. They drove 25 miles when an
emergency room was a quarter of a mile away?
Jacobsen: Thatıs what Inside Edition said. Yeah, you can look on a map and
see where Clearwater is and see Newport Richie straight north up the coast
is quite a distance -- for somebody thatıs dying -- to my mind. So she
died, according to the people who were taking her, she died just before
they get to the hospital. In the autopsy report, the next day, the
coronerıs report, they said she was severely dehydrated. The reason for
her death was bed rest and severe dehydration. She weighed 108 pounds, was
five foot nine tall. And she had bug bites. She had bruises and abrasions
on many parts of her body. And she was just pretty beat up, essentially.
So the question is, that makes this case kind of unusual partially, is
that the church claims that Lisa looked fine up to 24 hours before she was
taken to the hospital. No problem. And that she died from a severe staph
infection. And thatıs the cause of the bruises and everything, I guess.
Straus: And from what I read -- and again, I want to make sure I --
accuracy is important. Didnıt the people that took her back to the
hospital also maintain that she had been conscious that day, in fact she
had even participated in a discussion of maybe going back to the hospital?
Jacobsen: Yeah, Elliot Abelson said on Inside Edition that she had
discussed which doctor she wanted to go to, which was this David Minkoff
in Newport Richie, who is a Scientologist. Now, thereıs a huge -- well,
you canıt put the two together, thereıs a huge discrepancy between what
the church says happened and what the coroner and the police say what
happened. The church, again, says that 24 hours before she died, thatıs
when she got sick, severe staph infection killed her. The coronerıs
report, or the coroner, the medical examiner, says that she had gone a
minimum of five days without water, and possibly up to the whole time that
she was there for rest and relaxation at the hotel. That the bug bites
were cockroach bites most likely, whereas Abelson says they were mosquito
bites. So this huge discrepancy between the coronerıs report -- the
medical examinerıs opinion -- and the churchıs definition of what really
Straus: Thatıs pretty much the nuts and bolts of the case. There are so
many angles to this, and I want to get into that a little more with Jeff,
and I also want to find out whatıs driving Jeff on this thing. And we
talked about that briefly, and we decided weıd hold off, and Iıd get the
answer along with you. You should know: Elliot Abelson is counsel for the
Church of Scientology, and he did give me a call today. I returned his
phone call, we finally connected, and he voiced grave concerns over this
show and having Jeff on and I just -- quite honestly, itıs a judgment call
on my part. I find Jeff to be interesting, I find the case to be very
interesting, and I feel that Iıve approached this extremely fairly all the
way through. Gave Elliot Abelson the phone number and told him that he is
more than welcome to call us tonight, and so we may hear from him before
the night is over.
This is Strausıs place, this is KTAR. Talking with Jeff Jacobsen about
Lisa McPhersonıs death in Florida. And we will be right back.
Straus: What happened to a 36-year-old woman in Clearwater, Florida, Lisa
McPherson? Thatıs pretty much what weıre talking about. Jeff Jacobsen is
my guest, and Jeff kind of -- I would describe Jeff as a -- well, youıre
an anti-cult activist?
Jacobsen: Basically, yeah.
Straus: You think that Scientology is a cult.
Straus: And what is driving you? I mean, youıve been into this for a
number of years and spent a great deal of time at it. What got you going
in this direction, and -- You know, Iım looking at you trying to decide,
well, what are his motives here?
Jacobsen: When I was in high school back in the early 70s, I joined a
religious group that I consider to be cultish now. I was in that from the
age of 16 to 22, and then I finally left because I felt that they were
hypocritical and not really what they claimed to be. After that, I went to
the University of Arizona, er, Arizona State, and finished my religious
studies degree. So Iıve always been interested since I was 16 in religions
and cults, after I decided I had been in one, and gradually I came to meet
ex-Scientologists, read the material about them, and I gradually formed
the opinion that they were one of the more harmful groups out there. So I
started to specialize in Scientology.
Straus: Harmful in what way? And I ask because I really am wary of
somebody who is wanting to limit or infringe upon anyoneıs right to
exercise whatever religion they want. I think itıs one of the most crucial
freedoms we have.
Jacobsen: Because the church has policies to hurt people, actually. L. Ron
Hubbard founded Scientology -- he also wrote the book Dianetics, which is
where this all started. Thereıs a policy called the fair game policy,
which was written by Hubbard in 1967. The church later claimed that it was
revoked, but this is part of that: ³SP Order.² SP means suppressive
person, by the way. ³Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by
any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the
Scientologist. May be tricked, sued, or lied to or destroyed.² Thatıs a
teaching of Hubbardıs. Now, Iım a Christian, and if I found where Jesus
had written something like that, I would not be a Christian.
Straus: No, but thatıs what religion is ... you know, by definition, itıs
all different kinds of beliefs.
Jacobsen: But this is a policy that says you should hurt people. But
Hubbard said that. Hereıs another one. The church is known for its
litigation, for suing people quite a bit. Another quote from Hubbard in a
different book: ³The purpose of the suit,² meaning lawsuit, ³is to harass
and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to
harass and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge
anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be
sufficient to cause his professional defeat. If possible, of course, ruin
him utterly.² And this is Hubbard, and this is what he taught, his church,
and itıs written in stone, they put these words in their expensive vaults
so theyıll be safe in case of a nuclear attack, and the church follows
Straus: Well, Iıve got to be honest. In my conversation with Mr. Abelson
this afternoon, he used the word ³libel² twice. I would have had him on
the show without using the word ³libel,² and I think anybody who listens
to this show knows Iım speaking the truth there. Besides that, you know,
to have someone throw the word ³libel² out to me in formal conversation is
to infer that I would be out to intentionally injure somebody or
something. And Iıve got to tell you all, the purpose of this show is not
to do injury to the Church of Scientology or to the Clearwater police or
any group or anyone. It really isnıt. The purpose of the show is Iım
fascinated by the death of Lisa McPherson. I have to be very candid with
you. Iım also very fascinated with the communication that Iıve had
regarding tonightıs show. So you know what I know. Weıre all on the same
Tell you what. Ginny, hang on the line. Rather than give you a short run
before the news, weıll get to you immediately thereafter. If youıd like to
call and ask Jeff a question -- if youıd like to call and counter anything
heıs saying -- 277-5827. 277-KTAR.
Straus: Strausıs Place at 9:36 and a half. I have not, I donıt think
that Iıve known very many people, I know Iıve known a couple of
Scientologists. I donıt know much about it. I do know that whenever Iıve
talked to anybody else -- a colleague in the media -- about doing a show
on it, they have told me to be very cautious, itıs more trouble than itıs
worth, I will have people giving me a hard time, Iıll have legal threats,
one thing, another. Quite honestly, as far as Iım aware, there no subjects
that are taboo to talk about on the radio, and Jeff Jacobsen, my guest,
interested me in the death of Lisa McPherson. I should make it clear,
there is -- the case is still being investigated by the Clearwater police.
Straus: There is no link to any member of the Church of Scientology or the
church itself, but through Jeffıs recognition of an address on a web page,
with the Clearwater police looking for help in solving a suspicious death,
and thatıs what theyıve termed it --
Jacobsen: Yes, they are looking for three Scientologists or
ex-Scientologists as investigative leads and they want to interview these
people, but they have apparently all three left the country, and I think
the church claims that theyıve all three left the church, so the church
cannot help locate these people.
Straus: OK, weıve got some callers, want to take some phone calls, and we
have stuff to talk about, but -- Ginny, thank you for your patience.
Ginny: Youıre welcome.
Ginny: Well, first of all, Bill, weıve talked on the phone a couple of
times in the past two or three weeks.
Straus: Oh, itıs Ginny!
[Ginny Leason is the local Scientology spokesperson mentioned above.]
Ginny: Yeah, this is Ginny.
Straus: Oh, it said ³Ginny,² and I -- OK. Hi.
Ginny: Hi. Anyway, the first thing I wanted to say is that, you know, I
didnıt want to go on against Jeff Jacobsen and basically be scrutinized or
anything else with myself or my religion. The disagreement that I have is
that he doesnıt have the first-hand information on Lisa McPherson down in
Flag. He wasnıt there. He doesnıt have the first-hand information. Jeff
has been attacking the church for a number of years. Heıs a hate-monger
and incites the hate against not just our religion but other religions on
the Internet. I donıt see him doing anything out in the community, like in
respect of I went to Oklahoma City after the bombing and helped hundreds
of people and assisted the injured. I do food drives for the Salvation
Army. I donıt see Jeff Jacobsen doing that. He couldnıt say that he does
that. I work with the clergy who have had their churches burned. And what
Jeff has been doing is attacking a mainstream religion who is out in the
community and helping other people. And, you know, itıs a very
humanitarian thing to be doing.
Straus: But in all honesty -- and I would have hoped that you would have
come down here -- weıve been on 39 minutes and 47 seconds. Jeff hasnıt
done one word of hate-mongering. He really hasnıt.
Ginny: Mm hm.
Straus: I mean, heıs not calling for people to do anything. Heıs not made
any calls to action whatsoever. And I donıt know if what Jeff is
presenting me is all true, although he has substantiated a lot of what
heıs saying on the air with pre-arranging to have materials in my hand
that I could read. I did find the Inside Edition clip -- 10 minutes is not
a big deal -- I found it really interesting. I mean, the case is
Ginny: Mm hm.
Jacobsen: Does Elliot Abelson have first-hand knowledge of Lisa McPherson?
Ginny: He is an attorney that has a lot more correct and on-spot
information than you would because he is an attorney. You would have to
ask him that.
Jacobsen: Your argument against me was that I donıt have first-hand
information, but it seems to me Elliot Abelson does not have first-hand
information either. Did he see, for instance, Lisa McPherson hitting the
walls if he said she did?
Ginny: You, again, Jeff, you would have to ask the attorney. I donıt know.
Itıs not a situation for here at the, you know, here in Arizona. Itıs not
our situation here. The attorneys, as far as I know, are the ones who are
handling that. And Iım not going to debate any of this with you because
itıs not my place. Itıs not -- it doesnıt have anything to do with the
Church of Scientology of Arizona.
Jacobsen: OK. So. Hm. But you said, for instance, that you help churches
that have been burned?
Ginny: Mm hm.
Jacobsen: What did you have to do with that that made you interested in that?
Ginny: Well, last year I went to a, when one of the first churches burned
down in Phoenix, there was a big meeting with a number of government
groups down in Phoenix that I attended. And next month weıre going to be
assisting in helping to rebuild one of the burned churches.
Jacobsen: What I meant--
Ginny: So Jeff, are you doing that?
Jacobsen: Iım asking what got you interested--
Ginny: Are you out in the community actually doing community service with
the community? I donıt think so.
Jacobsen: Well, maybe you donıt know me very well then. Itıs your--
Ginny: So what have you done in the community?
Jacobsen: This story isnıt about me, Iım sorry. I mean, you know, if Bill
wants to have an hour where we talk about Jeff Jacobsen, thatıs fine. The
Ginny: But Iım just interested. No, seriously, Iım just interested. What
do you do in the community? Then I wouldnıt have that argument.
Jacobsen: I get calls, probably several times per month, from people who
ask me questions about different cults. Son or daughter gets in a
religious group, and they want to know whatıs going on, why did my son
change so much. I field calls like that regularly and consistently.
Straus: Ginny, let me ask you this.
Ginny: Mm hm?
Straus: Jeff believes Scientology fits his definition of a cult. You
obviously do not.
Straus: Did you hear what he said? I would love to hear the response.
Because like I say, I donıt know much about the Church of Scientology.
Ginny: Mm hm. Well, Iıve been in the Church of Scientology for seven
years. And it has done nothing but very good things for myself, my family,
my friends. I was at one point in my life a widow when I was in my
twenties. And Scientology has done nothing but good things for my life.
And itıs a good feeling to go out into the community and help other
Jacobsen: It is. Iım not against the church per se. I donıt mind it being
a religion out there. I donıt believe what they teach, but thatıs fine.
And Iım not saying that the church doesnıt help some people. Iım saying
that the church hurts some people, and itıs a policy of the church to hurt
some people. Thatıs -- the quote I said before, I want to know what you
think about that. Hubbard said the purpose of a lawsuit is to harass and
discourage rather than to win. Do you think thatıs a proper use of our
Ginny: I actually am not familiar with that specific policy.
Jacobsen: Well, now you know.
Ginny: I will have to read it or you could send it to me.
Straus: Let me ask you this, because it seems to be, and this -- Itıs in
reference to Lisa McPherson, but it could be a general question. One of
the points thatıs disputed is -- Jeff is among those that believe that she
was about to separate from the Church of Scientology. Her mother said
something to that effect. One of her best friends is reported to have
talked to her shortly before this car accident and this whole situation.
Elliot Abelson says thatıs not even close to true, she was as close to the
church when she died as she was at any other time. I would ask you: If
somebody is in the Church of Scientology and wants to leave, have you ever
heard of it being a problem?
Straus: Have you ever heard of anyone exerting any kind of force against
someoneıs will to delay them from leaving?
Ginny: No. Not at all. If anyone wants to leave the church, they can leave
the church at any time of their own free will.
Jacobsen: Thereıs particular people -- Roxanne Friend was a woman who
stated on the Sally Jesse Raphael show that she was kept against her will
for two weeks in an RV by Scientologists because she wanted to leave the
church. She sued the church, and the church settled out of court with her.
Dennis Erlich stated -- he was a high-ranking member of the church in
Clearwater, back in, I think, the late 70s -- stated that he was held in
the basement under lock and key of the Ft. Harrison Hotel, the same
building where Lisa was, for 10 days. Thereıs other people. Lawrence
Wollersheim successfully sued the church for ruining him psychologically
and an attempt to ruin him financially. That went all the way to the
Supreme Court twice and heıs won that.
Straus: Are you familiar with any of those?
Ginny: Not real familiar. I know of them, but Iım not the expert to ask on
Straus: Well, Iıll tell you what. Because I invited you -- often and
sincerely --youıre welcome to stay on the phone with us. Iıve got to take
a break right now, but I would love for you to stay on the phone, and the
three of us will take questions for a while.
Straus: Youıre cool with that?
Straus: OK. Tremendous. Let me do this. Put Ginny on hold. Now we have
Ginny -- Leason, I believe, is her last name. If I got that wrong, weıll
correct it when we come back. Jeff Jacobsen. Iım Straus, this is my place.
Yes, I know you like to be identified. Ed King Cole is our technical
director, and weıre coming right back.
Strauss: Back already? Talking about the Lisa McPherson death in
Clearwater, Florida, with Jeff Jacobsen. Also with Ginny Leason from the
Church of Scientology, and Ginny, I am delighted that you called, I really
am. <pause> We have Ginny there? <pause> Well, we gotta wait until we -- I
know she -- hm. Uh oh. We lost her? OK, Iıll tell you what. Ginny, call us
back on the newsline, 263-5556, thatıll make it a lot easier. 263-5556.
Letıs got to the phones and talk with Jim. Hi, Jim.
[Tape cuts out; miss a minute of dialogue.]
Jim: --have been a Scientologist for over 25 years. And I guess Jeff has
the right to do whatever he wants to do in terms of, you know, if he wants
to attack religions or cults or whatever. If he feels itıs his God-given
right to go out and save the world and all those poor people that are
unfortunate that are being misabused and abused by all these alleged
cults. I think that if one actually looked up the word ³cult,² they would
realize that Scientology is in no way, shape, or form a cult per se. It is
actually a bona fide religion that our Internal Revenue Service has
acknowledged and given full service and acknowledgment that it is a bona
fide religion. So to continue to cast it into the realm of being a quote
cult seems like itıs a little bit of a disservice and a little bit of a
personal vendetta and maybe a little lack of irresponsibility.
Strauss: You know, Jeff, I want to just interrupt. Jim makes a really
important point. I donıt know, and I asked myself this question a while
back. If somebody were going on the air and talking about my religion
being a cult and being involved in the evil deeds of this and that and --
I would take it very personally. It would be very hard for me to divorce
myself from that and exercise any objectivity. I would want to lash back.
In the event that youıre operating on flawed information, or that youıre
getting directed away from the truth through whatever -- and Iım thinking
completely hypothetically -- imagine what youıre doing to people like Jim
and Ginny and anyone whoıs a member of the religion who in their hearts
and in their minds both have not experienced any of what youıre talking
Jim: Right, well, the only thing I --
Jacobsen: If I could respond --
Strauss: Iıd like to get his response, Jim, and then you can get a chance.
Jacobsen: L. Ron Hubbard came up with a theory that he called Scientology,
and he put it out in the marketplace of ideas. So I think what the church
wants is for the church to be able to teach its teachings and not have
anyone criticize it. But itıs out there in the marketplace of ideas, just
like my religion, Christianity. Iıve spoken in front of atheist groups
before. I donıt mind if other people have an opinion that Christianity is
bunko and garbage -- which, by the way, Hubbard thought that -- it doesnıt
matter to me because I know for my own satisfaction what I believe. If
another person has an opinion -- in fact, I read atheist stuff. I want to
know what other people think about--
Strauss: You know, but when youıre in the majority, itıs very easy to be
magnanimous. And I can only imagine if you were walking around, and
because of the things that were said by people about your religion, there
was a cloud over the religion, and hence a cloud over you, and I think
thatıs where Jimıs coming from on this thing.
Jacobsen: If what I say is a lie, if what I say is a misrepresentation,
then thatıs correct. But if I say that Roxanne Friend stated she was held
for two weeks by Scientologists against her will and she went to court
with the church, the church settled out of court, what am I saying thatıs
Jim: Right. Well, I donıt know anything about that particular case of
reference. I donıt know, but I might throw this thing back. I know that
thereıs been a lot of discussion, and I think, if I remember correctly,
Jeff has been involved in various deprogramming activities over the years.
Jacobsen: No, I have not.
Jim: You have not. OK. Oh, Iım sorry, Iım thinking of another gentleman.
And that was the point I was going to make though, but itıs not Jeff, but
itıs someone else, but, you know, these guys that go out as ³Weıre going
to save you from these different organizations,² and they take someone
aside and deprive them for whatever reason so they will change their
religious beliefs. My question is who on this planet has the right to go
in and dictate to me what I believe or donıt believe? And just as a point,
see, the thing thatıs really interesting and neat about Scientology is it
doesnıt teach you that you have to believe just what Hubbard says. Itıs
not a dogmatic youıve-got-to-believe-this-way-or-else. Itıs basically, the
whole point and the purpose of the organization is to teach one to be able
to think and progress through oneself and oneıs own awareness and oneıs
own ability so instead of being a victim and the effect of society and the
things that are going on, one comes to a point of realization that you can
cause things to happen, and you donıt have to be the effect of everything.
And basically you move up a person to being more of a cause point and less
of an effect. Now, I find nothing detrimental or negative about that. And
after 25 years of experience plus in this subject, I can assure you , I
donıt have to be told by anybody ³does it work?² or I donıt have to
believe anything. I simply have observed it for myself.
Strauss: Jim, are you -- were you aware of the Lisa McPherson case?
Jim: You know, the only thing that I know about it -- just as a point -- I
donıt necessarily want to get into a big thing on this.
Strauss: No, no, no, I just--
Jim: But I just came back from Clearwater, Florida. And the first time Iıd
ever heard about that was I read something in the newspaper. And there was
basically some allegations about these things written, I think, in the St.
Petersburg Times. And I remember even reading something, I mean some, such
off-the-wall stuff, itıs so ludicrous you donıt even give it any
attention. Like, gee, thereıs -- Iıll mention this one, just, point, as I
read something about these guys, sounds real nasty, like there were
different -- she was in there supposedly and had cockroach bites and a
bunch of stuff like that. Well, to be real honest with you, Iıve stayed in
the Clearwater Ft. Harrison and the Sandcastle and these different
facilities numerous times over the last several years, and Iıve never seen
a cockroach in the place. And I mean that in all honesty. Iıve never seen
a cockroach there.
Strauss: But I saw, with my own eyes, the medical examiner explaining that
these were bug bites and they were not mosquito bites.
Jim: OK, well, I donıt know what they were.
Strauss: Yeah, I donıt know either.
Jim: But there was an allegation there were cockroaches, and Iım just
saying Iıve never seen cockroaches there. Obviously thereıs bugs in
Florida, and what they were, I have no idea. I wonıt even conjecture on
that. Iım not an authority on Lisa McPherson.
Strauss: OK. Fair enough.
Jim: But I do know that the church does not hold people against their
will. They do not not allow them to leave, because Iıve left Florida and
come home on numerous occasions, and Iıve just never had anybody tell me
that I couldnıt leave.
Jacobsen: Can I get a word in?
Strauss: Weıve got a minute until the news, and I want to give Jeff a
chance to respond.
Jacobsen: The Clearwater police donıt think this is a ludicrous case.
Theyıre still investigating. The state Attorney General, I believe, is now
investigating. The county prosecutor is investigating this case. So
contrary to your opinion, some people think this is an important case, and
it has not been settled yet. As far as people not being held against their
will, Hubbard wrote in 1974 the Introspection Rundown, where he talks
specifically about people being held in isolation, and no talking to them.
And the case supervisor has to ask in writing what, for example, he says,
³Dear Joe, what can you guarantee me if you are let out of isolation?² And
then if the guy doesnıt write back correctly, the case supervisor says,
³Dear Joe, Iım sorry, but no go on coming out of isolation yet.² And then
Hubbard says, ³This will elicit a protest from the person.² Well, of
course. Heıs being held in isolation. And thatıs a Hubbard policy. Iıve
got the volume 8 of the Red Volumes, you can look it up yourself. Page
Jim: OK, yeah, Iıll look that up. Iıve never actually seen it. Iım not
aware of the Introspection Rundown doing that, or of that being part of
Jacobsen: Read it.
Strauss: Well, Jim, weıve got--
Jim: But could I make one last comment?
Strauss: Real quick because weıre running out of time.
Jim: Scientology has more self-help programs dealing with education,
drugs, criminal rehabilitation going on than most any organization that
Iım aware of that exists. And I know theyıre making tremendous strides in
that area, helping lots and lots, literally thousands and thousands, of
Jim: And Iım not even sure why itıs even a subject of discussion, why
thereıs any negativity towards it.
Strauss: Well, this isnıt the first time that thereıs been a hint of
negativity about it, and the subject really was stimulated by the Lisa
McPherson case, because this case is interesting.
Jim: Well, sure.
Strauss: Yeah. Weıve gotta take a break. Thanks.
Strauss: Bye bye.
Strauss: Ginny, do we have you back? Ginny Leason?
Ginny: Iım here.
Strauss: And it is Leason?
Ginny: Yes, it is.
Strauss: OK, terrific. Will you stick with us through the next hour? Or
into the next hour?
Ginny: Yes, I will.
Strauss: OK. And so will Jeff Jacobsen. And I hope so will you. The lines
are full. Weıre coming back after the news.
Strauss: We started out talking about the Lisa McPherson case in
Clearwater, Florida. Weıve got a lot of people on the line that want to
respond one way or another to my in-studio guest, Jeff Jacobsen, who was
the first person to alert the Clearwater police to the fact that the
address, the 210 address--
Jacobsen: No, I got that information from the Clearwater police web page--
Strauss: But you--
Jacobsen: Iım the first person that kind of broke the story to the public,
I guess you could say, because I made the connection between that address
on the police web page and the church.
Strauss: Oh, I thought that you then contacted the police and told them
this address is--
Jacobsen: No, itıs actually the police that informed me, and then I gave
it to Cheryl Waldrop of the Tampa Tribune, who actually broke the story
Strauss: OK. Ginny Leason from the Church of Scientology is on the phone
with us and is going to stick with us also, and Ginny, weıve got you?
Strauss: Tremendous. Weıre in good shape. And weıve got a board full of
calls. 277-KTAR is the number. When somebody drops off. With that said,
Paul has been on a long time. Paul. Hello, Paul.
Paul: Good evening, Bill, Jeff, Ed. How you guys doing?
Paul: Yeah, I heard Ed in the background there. At any rate, Bill, I am a
Scientologist. I have been in the Church of Scientology either as a staff
member or just a member of the church since 77, and I actually was going
to say one thing, but Iıve listened to a good bit of your program this
evening, and I do want to make one comment, and that is that just so itıs
out there for people to see, both my wife and I were staff members of the
church for a good number of years, and with the birth of our second child
and the ill health of my wifeıs mother and father, we left the church
back in 86. I didnıt suffer any consequences of doing so. We were out in
LA at the time, we moved out here, weıve been in east Mesa since.
My wife is currently at the church right now, in fact, or on the way home
from it. My two children have taken some courses, not that weıre forcing
the church on them. I find that in my 20 years with the church, itıs been
extremely helpful to me, and whereas I am upset as anyone would be at the
death of a young person such as Lisa McPherson, quite truthfully, Iım in
Mesa, Arizona. Until the police have finished their investigation, I
couldnıt make one comment one way or the other about what I think the
outcome of that will be.
Strauss: Well, yeah. And I havenıt concluded anything either. But let me
point out -- when we went to the break after Jimıs call, I turned to Jeff
-- and my contact with Jeff -- I find Jeff to have a very gentle manner. I
donıt find him to be a hate-mongering guy. I turned to him and said, ³You
know, I bet anything Jim was telling us the truth.² I get a gut feeling
about people from their voices, and I felt Jim was being completely
straightforward, very honest with us, and I said to Jeff, ³What does that
make you think?² And you said to me you believe that a lot of
Scientologists have never participated in or witnessed any of the kind of
abuses that youıre exemplifying with the woman that you -- Rachel --
Jacobsen: Oh, Roxanne Friend.
Jacobsen: Right. No, I donıt want people to misconstrue what Iım saying.
Iım not saying, you know, destroy the church, Iım not saying everybody in
the church gets hurt. Iım saying some people get hurt by this
organization, and itıs a policy that Hubbard wrote to hurt people. I
quoted several quotes that Hubbard himself, the founder of the church, the
person who people study -- they listen to his tapes, they read his works.
That person told the church to hurt certain people. Thatıs what Iım
against. If the church would drop those policies and say, ³Weıre sorry, we
shouldnıt do that,² if the church would stop hurting people, some people
-- Iım not saying everybody in the church gets hurt; in fact, I think in
some ways the church can be helpful to people -- Iım saying that some
people get hurt, and thatıs a policy of the church. Thatıs what Iım
against. Iım not against their religious teachings, which you havenıt
heard me say anything about even yet tonight.
Strauss: No. And I also should point out, and Iım sure Paul is familiar
with this, as is Jeff, and most of our listeners, Germany has been on
somewhat of a crusade to stifle and eliminate the Scientologists, and very
recently, I think in the last 24 hours, the United States has come out
publicly and condemned Germany for this.
Jacobsen: Well, thatıs kind of a murky situation. The U.S. government has
actually condemned both sides. Theyıve condemned the Church of Scientology
for these full-page ads that theyıve put in the New York Times and
different papers calling the German government, saying the German
government is reverting back to Nazi-like--
Strauss: Both sides are calling each other Nazis.
Jacobsen: Yeah, basically. And I think the German government is actually
handling this incorrectly, because they just sort of donıt come out with
their evidence. I think the German government should say, ³This is why we
think the Scientologist group is a dangerous group² and then lay their
evidence out there so people can see what the problem is in Germany.
Ginny: OK, Bill?
Ginny: This is Ginny.
Strauss: Yeah, I knew that. I knew Paulıs voice hadnıt changed that much
in the last couple of minutes.
Ginny: I just want to kind of interject that if people really wanted to
know what Scientology was about and they have a computer and they are on
the Internet, they can go into the Scientology website, which is
www.scientology.org and see for themselves.
Ginny: And decide for themselves.
Jacobsen: Can I plug my web page?
Strauss: You already did. She just evened the score, 1-1, I believe. Paul,
I appreciate your call.
[Jeff had not given the URL for his web page; Strauss may have been
confusing Jeffıs mentioning alt.religion.scientology with a plug for his
web page. -- Tash]
Paul: OK, thanks
Strauss: Thank you. The next person doesnıt feel comfortable giving up
their name, and we donıt demand that on the show. Let me just call you
Skipper in Mesa.
Strauss: OK, hi, Skipper.
Jacobsen: Hi, Skipper.
Skipper: I was in the church for 22 years, and I believe what Jeff
Jacobsen is saying is quite correct. I have been harassed. I have been
locked up. I was in their prison for six years and escaped. And thatıs why
I donıt want my name given out. But I donıt doubt a lot of those people
saying what theyıre saying because theyıre trained and taught to say that
exact thing that theyıve been saying. I have a little bit of fear for my
own life, being that I no longer am allowed to speak to my son, who is
still a member. And he refuses to call back when called, even at the
request to attend the funeral of his late grandfather.
Strauss: Were you held against your will here in Arizona?
Skipper: Not in Arizona, in Hemet. Where the headquarters is.
Jacobsen: Thatıs California.
Skipper: Yeah. And in Los Angeles, in the basement of what is known as the
Strauss: And what was the reason?
Skipper: Pardon me?
Strauss: What was the reason?
Skipper: I no longer believed in what they were teaching. I saw flaws. And
I went clear and then got sick, and I wasnıt supposed to. And I saw others
being mistreated. And it was just a really bad scene.
Strauss: Ginny? I donıt know if you want to respond.
Ginny: I donıt know who it is or even what theyıre talking about because,
again, I can reiterate, that that does not happen in Scientology. I have
no clue when it happened or even if it ever happened.
Jacobsen: Youıre saying people are never held against their will by the
Church of Scientology?
Jacobsen: Is that what youıre saying?
Ginny: Thatıs what Iım saying.
Jacobsen: Just asking.
Strauss: I know Jeff doesnıt buy into that. Well, yeah, I have no way of
knowing, Skipper. Thereıs no way of checking into what happened to you or
Skipper: Listen, Iıll tell you what. I can give you a call and give you
some specifics, very specific information, in the next day or two, and
then you can read it for yourself.
Skipper: And I wanted to call because I was listening to these guys come
on and how wonderful and everything great it is for them but thereıs at
least two or three thousand people who are on the list that they issue who
are suppressive persons, which Jeff had explained earlier.
Strauss: Youıve seen a list like that?
Skipper: Yes. Of course.
Strauss: With your own eyes?
Skipper: You want a copy of one? I can get you a copy of one. Hello?
Strauss: Yeah, no, Iım listening.
Skipper: So anyway, thereıs a list of people that they say are
suppressive. Now, I wanted to ask Jeff to clarify something because he
said that Lisa was declared an SP, is that correct?
Jacobsen: No, I didnıt say that. She had a -- OK, she did have, I think,
which we can get into this, I guess. She had what the church calls a
³psychotic break,² I believe, when she took her clothes off after the car
accident. And then, thatıs what the Introspection Rundown is for. A member
who has had a psychotic break is supposed to do the Introspection Rundown,
which I quoted from before the break, before the news. And the purpose of
the Introspection Rundown is so that person can get over the psychotic
break. And the method that Hubbard himself wrote, in the Red Volumes of
his teachings here, are to isolate the person and have no speech. The
person cannot be talked to or even hear someone speaking. And then thereıs
a case supervisor. He supervises until he feels that the person
understands why they had the psychotic break, and then itıs over. So in
other words, the Introspection Rundown -- the process itself involves
isolation of the person.
Skipper: Yeah, Iıve experienced that myself.
Strauss: Skipper, I would welcome anything you could send me, send my way.
Skipper: OK. Thereıs one other point too. The statement that the church
doesnıt harass members is absolutely incorrect. And thereıs a whole stack
of issues which show the members of the church how to do it.
Strauss: Issues of what?
Skipper: Theyıre written references.
Jacobsen: How to harass people.
Skipper: Policy letters and so forth. And itıs just really hard to believe
sometimes the level of ... um ... I donıt have the right word for it, so I
donıt even know how to say it. But anyway, itıs hard to believe that
somebody died, and all of a sudden, itıs sort of like a mystery, nobody
knows what happened. The girl was in the church for 18 years. At least
somebody would have been -- like a medical officer from the church could
have been there.
Strauss: Well, the salient point is when she was released from the
hospital, they said they would watch her 24 hours a day, day and night,
and the next time she returned to the hospital, her physical condition was
unbelievable, and the medical examiner says that the person that was
brought back to the hospital could not have been conscious within the 24
hours preceding that return to the hospital. That is not the story that
Elliot, at least in the Inside Edition interview, that he is portraying.
Skipper: Well, you know, as a 20-year veteran, the question I would ask is
what did they do to Lisa to change the condition from being at the
hospital and just a little bit psychotic to dead? I mean, thatıs like a
real, I mean from one extreme to the other.
Strauss: Well, we donıt know that anybody did anything. Thatıs what the
investigation is hopefully going to uncover.
Jacobsen: Thatıs what the police are trying to find out. And weıre hoping
that -- weıre just trying to help the police, actually.
Strauss: Skipper, Iıve got to take a break. Thanks for the call.
Skipper: Hey, OK. Youıre welcome.
Jacobsen: Thanks, Skipper.
Strauss: We are going to break. Ginny Leason is with us, from the Church
of Scientology. Jeff Jacobsen is the one that got the whole show rolling
when he called me a few weeks back about Lisa McPherson, and weıre coming
Straus: The ladyıs name was Lisa McPherson. And her death in December of
1995 is the subject of a police investigation, an ongoing investigation in
Florida. Jeff Jacobsen has tried to make the link or at least lead toward
the link -- possible link -- between the Church of Scientology, of which
Lisa was a member, and her death. And weıre hearing from lots of callers
that feel otherwise. And we have Ginny Leason, who is a local spokesperson
for the church on the phone. And Ginny, any comments about Skipper before
we move on?
Ginny: No, I donıt think so.
Jacobsen: Can I ask Ginny a quick question?
Jacobsen: I have a question for you, Ginny.
Ginny: Mm hm?
Jacobsen: The church has been using Elliot Abelson and attorneys to speak
about the Lisa McPherson case, and I want to know why -- the church has
all these highly trained PR people that use Hubbard tech for their PR
methods -- why isnıt the church using a PR person instead of using this
Ginny: I canıt answer that. Iım just a local director of special affairs
here locally, and you would have to ask the attorney that.
Jacobsen: OK. Thanks.
Straus: All right, we go back to the phone. Larry says heıs in San
Larry: Yes, this is in connection with the conditions of Scientology and
so forth that youıve been discussing.
Straus: Are you in San Antonio?
Larry: I am.
Straus: How do you know what weıre doing?
Larry: Iıve been following it on the Internet, the local IRC group of
people who follow Scientology activities. Somebody from Arizona was
posting about how this show was going.
Jacobsen: IRC channel Scientology, right?
Straus: Unbelievable. OK.
Larry: OK. I have an article in front of me from the St. Petersburg Times,
November 14, 1991, an editorial on the children of Scientology. OK?
Larry: The story -- Iım quoting real briefly and quick -- the story is
told of ³Carlo, a 15-year-old boy found weeping on a Clearwater street
last March. He told police he didnıt go to school but instead did
maintenance work for the Church of Scientology from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00
p.m. daily. His mother was a church staff member, but Carlo lived away
from her in a church-owned housing complex. Beth Erlich at 11 signed a
billion-year contract pledging herself to Scientology. She attended a
Scientology school but worked about 50 hours a week. Other recollections
of poor food, inadequate schooling, overcrowded living facilities,
separations from parents and painful divisions in families.² This is an
area that doesnıt get talked about very much, is the way the children of
staff members, the conditions they live in. And I have other affidavits
that Jeff knows about of rotten food, and I think thatıs just one of the
really outrageous areas that really needs to be discussed.
Straus: Well, quite honestly, itıs not exclusive to Scientology that
children are eating rotten food in this country.
Larry: Well, but nevertheless, if itıs to save money -- if the church is
also spending lavishly on John Travolta and Tom Cruise, I think thatıs
disgraceful. To be feeding kids old lettuce and rotten rice and beans in
order to save money to spend on movie stars, I think--
Straus: Iıve got to ask both you guys a question --
Larry: Uh huh?
Straus: Are you -- is Larry--
Larry: I know Jeff, and Jeff knows me.
Straus: OK, Larry, is your point that the church feeds these people and, I
mean, itıs like a self-contained environment that thatıs their whole life?
Larry: Well, actually my point is, first, I wanted to get Ginnyıs reaction
to this, OK?
Ginny: OK. Well, first of all, what he is speaking of is called the Sea
Organization. And what the Sea Organization is is itıs a religious order
where the members sign a pledge sign a pledge of eternal service to
Scientology and its goals. Theyıre basically dedicated to the core of the
religion. Thatıs what they do. I am a member of the Sea Organization. I
have basically decided to pledge my life to my religion. And that doesnıt
make it wrong. Thatıs what I have chosen. Thatıs what my family has
chosen. Iıve been down in Florida in the Sea Organization. My children
were down there with me, and trust me, we did not eat rotten food.
Larry: OK. My point is -- OK, so you donıt think this story is accurate?
Ginny: No, I do not.
Larry: OK, my question then is -- and Jeff has talked about how litigious
the cu--the -- Scientology is. This came out about the same time, a few
months after the Time magazine story. They sued Time for $400 million. Iım
wondering, if this is inaccurate, why they wouldnıt sue the St. Petersburg
Times, which surely has to have a lot fewer resources than Time Warner,
Ginny: Iım actually not the one to ask on that.
Larry: Well, I just think itıs a point to bring up. I think that if it is
false, given how litigious Scientology is, and how eager they are to
pursue even the slightest inaccuracy of fact, why they let this -- and
this was a series of stories on the children of Scientology. The only
thing I can think of is cause they didnıt want national publicity about
these conditions. OK? And because itıs accurate. Because I think they
certainly would have wanted to intimidate further investigation into this
if they could. I understand your host has already heard the word ³libel²
passed around in connection with the show this evening.
Straus: It was mentioned to me twice today, thatıs all.
Larry: OK. So do you see where Iım driving here?
Straus: Yeah. I also see that you cannot necessarily make the conclusion
that because an organization is litigious in nature, that it is going to
sue every time anything false is printed.
Straus: I mean--
Larry: It certainly is not a logical conclusion, I agree with that, but
there arenıt too many counterexamples like this, either, Iım saying.
Straus: Well, I donıt know that any of us can answer the question for you.
Larry: Oh, sure, I know you canıt. I just wanted to bring that out, I just
wanted to make people aware of this. And in addition to this, there was a
case where sheriffıs deputies from Florida went to give a puppet show to
kids in the Sea Org, saw all these nasty conditions, and the Florida
social services people got into it. The records of that investigation were
Ginny: The reason that those records were sealed were because youıre
dealing with names of minor children. And they have a right to be sealed.
Larry: Well, I mean I think the conditions -- I think the names could be
kept private while the conditions were investigated. I mean, I think, you
know, itıs just another example.
Straus: All right, Larry, Iıve got to break for the news.
Larry: OK, sure, I know youıve got a lot of people waiting. Thanks so much
for hearing me.
Larry: Bye bye.
Straus: Bye bye. Ginny, weıll wrap up this topic by 11:00. Will you stick
Straus: And Jeff? What else are you gonna do? I mean, youıre--
Jacobsen: Nothing else.
Straus: Youıre there. Weıre talking about Lisa McPherson and the Church of
Scientology. If youıre on the line, and I know some people have been
really patient, Aaron, Les, Jim, Jim, we will get to you after the news
with Mike on KTAR.
Straus: Approaching 10:40 at Strausıs Place. Lisa McPhersonıs death is the
primary topic, but you canıt talk about it and not have the subject
gravitate to the Church of Scientology. Jeff Jacobsen is in studio with
me. He brought the story to my attention. And Ginny Leason is a local
spokesperson for the church, and weıve got Ginny on line. I hope we do,
Ginny. <pause> Donıt tell me we lost her again. <pause> Well, Ed Coleıs
checking it out. Letıs make sure.
Ginny: Iım here.
Straus: OK, good. Whatıs happening there? Letıs go back to the phones, and
Aaron in Mesa. Hi.
Aaron: How you doing, guy?
Aaron: Itıs been a while since I talked to you, in fact it was before the
Rose Bowl. Iım one of the fellow ASU fans and ... I was listening tonight,
and the thing that kind of hit me is Iıve heard some things about
Scientology both positive and negative, and both have been displayed
tonight. One of the things about Lisa McPhersonıs death -- I donıt know
much about it, but what I can tell you is if -- if letıs just say the
theory around is true. That can be applied to almost any religion. There
are people that take the extreme on any religion. There are Catholics who
blow up abortion buildings, there are Muslims who kill Jews, you name it.
And you can take any religion -- chicken-killing cults -- there are wackos
in every religion.
Straus: Thatıs a tremendous point.
Aaron: But I do want to say--
Straus: Well, wait, let Jeff respond here.
Jacobsen: Thereıs a few things about this case though. The church in
Clearwater is the spiritual headquarters of the church. The best training
is there in Clearwater. If you want to go for the best in Scientology, you
go to Clearwater. Also, itıs -- well, never mind, go ahead. I lost my
train of thought.
Aaron: Thank you. But I do what to make some points on Scientology that I
have not heard tonight. Scientology to me is not really a religion, itıs
more of a self-help kind of organization. And the things that I have heard
about it is they donıt force, but they strongly encourage people to spend
a massive sum of money taking courses to -- whether itıs to benefit
themselves or benefit the church, thatıs up for debate. But these people
spend lots and lots of money to go these classes. And the other thing that
bothers me about Scientology and some of the other religions, and I donıt
feel itıs really up for a debate at this particular point unless the
subject ever comes up, is that Scientology does not exactly throw its
doors open and tell people everything about itself. Now, I understand that
your guest on the phone has said that thereıs a web page. Iıll bet that
thereıs a lot of stuff thatıs been omitted from the web page that could be
Aaron: And my final thing--
Straus: And I think your point about other religions holds true for that too.
Straus: I donıt think -- Iım trying to think of a religion that is
completely upfront with everything about itself, and probably very few, if
Aaron: Well, Iım a Lutheran, and I have found that my religion, when I
started in it, was very, very upfront with me.
Jacobsen: Scientology, thereıs a division where Dianetics comes first, and
then you become a clear, which Ginny -- excuse me, Lisa McPherson, was,
became clear two months before she died. Thatıs an important demarcation
point within a Scientologistıs life, where youıve been taking Dianetics
training to get rid of your mental problems, itıs a mental health thing,
and then from there on, you get into the spiritual aspects of the church.
Which is basically gnosticism, if you want to look that up. But as a
pre-clear, someone who has not gone clear yet, you donıt even know -- for
instance, Ginny, I think, doesnıt even know what her church teaches on the
OT levels, theyıre called, above clear. So you have to pay a pretty big
hunk of money to find out what your own church teaches.
Aaron: But letıs be fair to Ginny cause we donıt know what she does or
doesnıt know. And thatıs my final point, is the fact that any questions
that have come up her way, no offense, has either been directed as ³that
canıt happen,² ³Iıve never seen that,² ³thatıs not possible,² or ³Iım not
the person to talk to.² If youıre a spokesman for an organization, you
need to know whatıs going on. And if there is a bad story, you need to
have either proof that thatıs true or you need to have counterproof that
Straus: Well, I donıt know that she needs to have anything. Nobody has
proof one way or another on this, or it would have been a solved case at
Aaron: Well, youıve had callers that say that they do have proof. And if
they can present that, then she needs to be able to have a counterpoint if
sheıs going to be a spokesman. If I am a spokesman for my workplace, and
somebody says, ³You guys have conned us,² I need to be able to say to
these people, ³Well, hereıs our position on this, and hereıs what we
Aaron: If you say, ³Well, you need to direct this to somebody else,² then
youıre not really a spokesman.
Straus: Ginny, any comment?
Ginny: Well, Bill, we went over this earlier this week. Iım not a
spokesperson when it comes to the matter on Lisa McPherson. And thatıs why
Elliot Abelson was the one who spoke to you earlier today.
Straus: Mm hm.
Ginny: As far as the religion itself, what the religion does, what the
religion is about, yes, I am the spokesperson, and I do know my religion.
Itıs a matter of what it is that I am comfortable in expressing and in
telling you, and where I have to draw the line and say, OK, the attorney
or whoever will be the spokesperson for it.
Straus: OK, Aaron?
Aaron: Yes, sir.
Straus: One last comment. You know, getting upset because somebody spends
a lot of money on this or that -- that doesnıt -- I really -- religions
are such a personal thing that if somebodyıs happy in their religion --
and I talked to Jeff about this during the one of the breaks -- If
somebodyıs happy, itıs great. Jeffıs problem is not with the church per
Aaron: Oh, I--
Straus: Jeffıs problem is certainly -- and he will specify abuses that he,
that are the driving force behind his actions.
Aaron: I have no problem with a person spending money on church. Everybody
does it every Sunday. They put money in the plate, and who knows where
that money goes? My point is the fact that it's almost so strongly
encouraged to the point where it's -- I feel, in some cases, from the
people that I've talked to that are Scientologists now and have been
Scientologists, that it's almost rammed down their throat.
Aaron: And I donıt agree with that.
Ginny: Aaron, I actually invite you to come in and take a tour of the
church, and you can see for yourself. The doors are open.
Straus: I'd like to do that.
Ginny: Sure. Anytime. Just give me a call.
Straus: OK. Aaron, thanks.
Aaron: Good night, sir.
Straus: Bye bye. Weıll take a break, come back, this is Straus's Place.
Straus: Weıre coming up on 10:50 at Strausıs place. Jeff Jacobsen is in
studio with me. Brought my attention to the case of Lisa McPherson. And I
certainly will be interested in what the police end up concluding, if
anything. The case is already over a year old.
Jacobsen: Yeah. Itıs an ongoing investigation. And the police are asking
help finding these three Scientologists that are on listed their web page.
Oneıs in Hungary supposedly, oneıs in Mexico, and they believe oneıs in
Straus: And Ginny Leason, from the Church of Scientology locally in Mesa,
is with us on the phone. Have the police made a statement that they
believe thereıs a link between members of the Church of Scientology and
Lisa McPhersonıs death?
Jacobsen: Well, itıs a suspicious death, thatıs what the police say--
Straus: Right, that--
Jacobsen: But you donıt have very many suspects. I mean, she was in the
churchıs custody for the 17 days before she died, the church admits she
was there. They came up with a story that the coroners totally disavowed
about how she died. So thereıs not that many suspects that you can think
Straus: And that does seem to be the case, based upon my knowledge of it,
which is certainly not complete but getting more so as the evening moves
on. Letıs get to as many callers as we can. I will ask you to be somewhat
brief with your comments so we can squeeze a few of you in. Les. Hi.
Straus: Hello there.
Les: Yeah, this is Les. And oh, man, I donıt know where to start here. We
are talking about my religion, and Iıve been in it since 1971. In fact, I
moved to the valley in 73 because there was a church here, and plus I
liked the friendliness of the Arizona area, especially Phoenix. So Iıve
lived here for many years. I have two businesses. I have a wife, two
children. And I live my life with the principles of Scientology and I must
say that we have a happy life, and my wife and I are more in love to day
than we were when we first got married. My children donıt take drugs, they
have high morals, theyıre like our friends, everybody tells us how great
our kids are. Weıre examples of Scientology. Now, all I want people to do
is get the facts for themselves. I think they mentioned the Internet site?
But you know, I would like to invite you personally, just as a guy who
lives out in the field as a businessman, Iıll meet you at the church, Iıll
take you and walk you around or weıll have lunch, and Iıll show you
personally what I have done via the church, and what we do as far as the
criminal justice system, people, in prison, getting people off of drugs, I
think we could have a wonderful show to show actually what our fruits are.
Straus: I jumped on the line at the last break, and said to Ginny, Iım
very sincere, I want to come out and take a look at the church, so get
ahold of her, sheıll let you know when Iım coming.
Les: Hey, that would be great because Iım proud of my religion, I tell you
what. And you know, when I got into Scientology, because of that, I now
have a greater and deeper respect for all religions, and Iım going to be
helping on rebuilding that church that was burned, and I would go to war
if somebody -- you know -- I would stand up for the freedom of all
religions. Iıd put my life on the line because I feel religion is that
important to this society.
Jacobsen: But just because something says itıs a religion does not mean
that you donıt have a right to be criticized. For example--
Les: Oh, Iıll tell you what. People need to consider the source of
criticism. If they want, you know, real integrity is you need to look at
it for yourself. Donıt take what I say as fact, donıt take what Jeff says
Les: Look for yourself.
Jacobsen: But look at both sides. Donıt just look at one side.
Les: The IRS did more scrutiny than Jeff could ever do, and they came out
with a completely bona fide religion, and--
Jacobsen: No, wait.
Les: Go to any religious--
Jacobsen: Wait, wait, wait, wait--
Les: Just a second--
Jacobsen: The federal government does not say what a--
Les: Go to any religious-- Please let me finish. Go to a religious scholar
who has looked at all our materials, go to several religious scholars if
you want an opinion. But to Jeff Jacobs [sic]? What kind of credentials do
you have, Jeff?
Jacobsen: I have a bachelorıs degree in religious studies and nine hours
toward a masterıs. Iıve listened to 50 hours of Hubbardıs speeches, Iıve
read 18 of his books, Iıve been to--
Les: Yeah, and the problem is, see, I can go to a bible, which I respect
the bible, and I could take one or two sentences out of that bible out of
Jacobsen: I donıt take anything out of context.
Les: Just a minute, just a minute -- and send shivers down somebodyıs back
if they didnıt know the rest of the bible. Is that not true, Bill?
Jacobsen: Iım not taking anything out of context.
Straus: I do think thatıs true. I do think thatıs true.
Les: So I mean, listening to him quote minutiae--
Jacobsen: Itıs not minutiae.
Les: --that I havenıt read, but for him to do that, you know, it just
doesnıt make sense, but hey, come on down! The doors are open, Iıd love to
show you around, Iıd love to have you meet my kids and my wife--
Straus: Let me make one thing clear--
Straus: I donıt live in a field. Itıs not the nicest place in the world,
but itıs not a field. Jeff wanted to respond to one thing you said about
Les: What did you say about a field?
Straus: You said something like, ³You live out there in the field.²
Les: No, no.
Straus: Iım just--
Les: No, thatıs all right.
Straus: I was kind of playing. I was trying to lighten it all up. A little joke.
Les: (laughing) Oh, OK.
Straus: I love having to explain my jokes.
Les: I missed it, Bill, Iım sorry.
Straus: Thatıs OK. Jeff, you wanted to respond about the IRS.
Jacobsen: OK, I want to make two points. First -- Iıll do the IRS second
-- the religion aspect. Aum Shinriko is a group in Japan that gassed five
thousand people. They said, ³Weıre being persecuted. It was actually the
FBI and the U.S. government going against us and gassing us.² And yet now
they finally, some of them, have confessed to killing people. They did
this ³weıre a persecuted religion² thing.
Les: Yeah, so do you actually--
Jacobsen: So donıt go trying to tell people that just because a group says
³weıre a religion,² that they cannot be scrutinized--
Les: Oh, no--
Jacobsen: --and are not doing anything wrong. There are several religious
groups that do things wrong.
Straus: No, he--
Jacobsen: And I am saying the Church of Scientology does things wrong.
Straus: He was saying that the IRS scrutinized and found--
Les: Well, thereıs no, thereıs no--
Jacobsen: OK, weıre back to the IRS now. OK
Les: Thereıs no more scrutiny than to go through an IRS audit, Iıll tell
Jacobsen: The federal government has no position to say what is a religion
and what is not a good religion. You know. Thatıs not the point of the
federal government. In fact, the Constitution says they canıt do anything
to establish a religion.
Les: Well, tell that to anybody thatıs gotten a tax audit. (laughs)
Jacobsen: Also, the IRS case is in court right now. Tax Analyst is a
magazine thatıs suing the IRS for the way that they gave tax-exempt status
to the Church of Scientology. Also, one last thing. In a Church of
Scientology publication I saw, the church claimed that they had 2500 cases
against the IRS before that went through.
Straus: Well, and pending litigation means nothing because--
Les: Yeah, thatıs true.
Straus: But I will say one thing, Les.
Straus: Elliot Abelson made the statement that he thinks thereıs a
conspiracy in Clearwater between the police and the medical examinerıs
office. I found that to be the most suspicious statement on the entire
Les: Well, hey, I donıt know the lawyer, and I canıt back that up. But
Iıll tell you what, Iıve been to Florida in the last three years, my
wifeıs been there, I know many people that are part of this Sea
Organization that they spoke of, I know children that are there, Iıve
actually toured the place, and I have to go with Ginny as well. What
theyıre talking about, I donıt see. So--
Straus: OK, it--
Les: You know, thatıs all I can say.
Straus: Itıs a split decision at this point, but I would look forward to
meeting with you at some point.
Les: It would be great, Bill, and Iıll tell you what.
Les: What ends this, all this, is if people just come in and look. Go to
Florida and go take a tour. You know?
Jacobsen: Again, Iım not saying that the church hurts everybody, Iım not
saying that people donıt get helped by the church. Iım saying that some
people by policy of the church are hurt.
Straus: Listen, Iıve got to take a break. Les, thanks.
Les: You bet.
Straus: I was going to open up the phones, but the phone lines continue to
be filled. Ginny? Iıll talk to Ginny off the air. Can you stay, Jeff?
Straus: Weıll be back. Weıre gonna stay with this topic.
Straus: Welcome back. I had anticipated opening up the phones this hour,
but I am finding our discussion of the Lisa McPherson case and the Church
of Scientology extremely interesting. I hope we still have Ginny Leason.
Ginny: Yes, you do.
Straus: OK, good. And we also have Jeff Jacobsen in studio. Ginny, I
wanted to start out this hour. The security guard, Jerod, here, stopped me
and asked me a question I couldnıt answer during the break, and I told him
I would ask you to start out the hour. And the question is: Basically, in
a nutshell, what do the Scientologists believe? I could give a
two-sentence capsule of my religion. But, like he asked me, do they
believe in God? Does their name mean that they believe more in a
scientific approach to the world than a God approach?
Ginny: OK, Scientology believes that man is basically good and offers the
tools to anyone that they can use to become happier and more able as a
person, to improve their conditions and their life for himself and others.
And thatıs basically, in a nutshell, what Scientology is.
Straus: Belief in God?
Straus: OK. One god? Monotheism?
Straus: OK. Also, much has been said, and just a couple of quick points.
Psychiatry. The church is down on psychiatry in general. Is that accurate?
Straus: What about regular doctors?
Ginny: No. We donıt -- thereıs nothing against regular doctors. If a
personıs body needs to be handled physically, they go to the doctor. And
the church encourages a person to go handle their body, you know, through
Straus: Jeff. One of the points that Jeff has made regarding the Lisa
McPherson case is that she originally didnıt want medical assistance?
Jacobsen: No, when she went to the hospital after the November 18th
accident -- of course, she took all her clothes off, so the doctor there
wanted her to be psychologically evaluated. But some other Scientologists
came to the hospital and stated that Lisa did not believe in psychiatry so
they would take care of her. And thatıs why she ended up, instead of at a
psychiatric unit, she went to the Ft. Harrison Hotel of the church.
Straus: OK. We have an abundance of phone calls, and because the show is
being tracked on the Internet, weıre getting calls from some locations I
donıt normally hear from. For example, Lee is in Oak Harbor, Washington,
on Whidbey Island. Lee.
Straus: You are really in a pretty place.
Lee: Yeah, thank you.
Straus: I donıt know about spiritually, but physically, you are in a good place.
Lee: I just have one question, I have a couple of questions for Ginny.
Scientology states that it respects other religions. Am I correct in
Ginny: Yes, you are.
Lee: I listened to a recording of L. Ron Hubbard stating that there is no
Christ. Is that correct?
Ginny: I donıt know what tape you are talking about. I by no means have
listened to everything that L. Ron Hubbard has taped. If you could tell me
what tape that is. Do you know?
Lee: Well, one of the things I wanted to bring up also is respect for
another religion is respect for its beliefs. Is that also correct too?
Ginny: Mm hm.
Lee: This happens to be a recording I actually listened to off the
Internet, and it also stated that the birth of Christ, according to L. Ron
Hubbard, was a mistake, an implant in the human psyche 76 million years
ago. Is that also correct?
Ginny: Well, I actually havenıt read that. I mean, where on the Internet
did you read that? If you read it in the area that the Scientology has it
on, then yes.
Lee: Iıve read most of the information that the Scientology has, Church of
Scientology. The Citizensı Committee [sic] on Human Rights, whose sole
support is for the downgrading of the medical rights of psychiatry. Not
for other human rights, just for fighting psychiatry.
Ginny: Mm hm.
Lee: And several other critics on the Internet, yes.
Jacobsen: Can I jump in a second? The Professional Auditors Bulletin -- I
have at home, unfortunately -- says that Hubbard states that Christ is an
implant, which means a false memory put in our psyches years ago.
Scientology, Ginny didnıt say, believes in reincarnation.
Jacobsen: So thatıs an important aspect of their teachings.
Lee: Yeah, thatıs all the questions I have.
Straus: Religions believe different things.
Ginny: Thatıs right.
Straus: I really believe strongly that getting into a religion and
examining it tenet by tenet -- if you have any religious predisposition,
your objectivity is going to be questionable all the way through the
Ginny: Exactly, and if you take parts of a religion, and only take a part
of a religion, itıs not going to make any sense.
Jacobsen: But, however, wait a minute. Scientology does that though,
because, as you know, Ginny, you havenıt even taken the upper-level
teachings of the church, so you still donıt know what a lot of the major
teachings of the church are.
Ginny: Thatıs true. Thatıs true. I havenıt had the upper-level materials.
However, in Scientology, like in all religions, you go on a gradient as,
you know, to what you need and to your speed. Itıs not a matter of -- Iım
also Methodist. I was baptized and christened in the Methodist church. I
wasnıt baptized until I was 14 years old.
Jacobsen: But you knew about baptism though. That wasnıt a secret teaching.
Ginny: I knew about baptism, yes.
Straus: All right. Lee, thanks for the call.
Lee: Youıre welcome.
Straus: Bye bye. Ginny, the Internet kind of sparked another thing. I know
that the Church of Scientology is currently embroiled in a legal dispute
over copyrighted materials appearing on the Internet. Could you give us a
quick overview of that situation? Cause I donıt know all the details.
Ginny: Well, basically, L. Ron Hubbardıs Scientology material is
copywritten [sic] material. You can liken it to any book on the market is
copywritten [sic]. Am I correct?
Ginny: So consequently, if someone takes a portion of a book or the
material from the religion and takes it and tries to duplicate it without
the express authorization of the holder, then itıs copyright infringement.
And that is where the disagreement is.
Straus: OK. Has that case come near to being settled?
Ginny: That I couldnıt answer.
Jacobsen: There are several cases. Arnie Lermaıs case, in Virginia, has
been settled, where he has to pay five infringements, $500 per
infringement, to the church. The church raided his home, spent I think a
million dollars, on both sides, in that case, and it didnıt even go to
trial. It was settled by the judge. The court cases are an interesting
example of the churchıs heavy -- what I call iron-fisted -- approach to
things that happen. The church also, by the way, uses trade secret law to
try to protect their secret teachings. Which is interesting to me, because
a trade secret implies itıs a business, but yet itıs a religion using
these laws. But the heavy-handed approach, for example, Dennis Erlich was
the first person that the church went after for Internet copyright
infringement. They raided his home, spent seven hours in his home, and
went through a whole bunch of stuff. They took his computers, a lot of
things that didnıt -- he claims -- a lot of things that didnıt have
anything to do with copyright violations, including some of his bank
statements. Then they had a difficult time, he had a difficult time
getting them back, even despite a court order to get his stuff back. So I
think these court cases, if you look into them, are a good example of the
church using this iron-fisted approach all the time to go after people.
Straus: Well, they certainly are exemplary of the statement made earlier
that litigation just seems to be a big part of -- Scientology is involved
in a lot of litigation on a lot of fronts.
Jacobsen: Right. Intimidation is a method that they always use. I would
say always use. Theyıve used it against me. Theyıve had private
investigators outside my home. I was deposed by a church attorney. And
after I was leaving, they yelled at me. This is a real fancy attorneyıs
office in downtown Phoenix. They yelled at me at the top of his lungs, ³We
will raid you and sue you. You are on notice.² My posts have been canceled
on the Internet. I just had a lunch with some Scientologists where they
asked if Iıve ever murdered anyone, if Iıve ever bombed any buildings.
They accused me of being a liar. I can go on and on. One private
investigator came to my place of work and took photographs of me while I
was working. He, by the way, is their main private investigator, and he
has a warrant for his arrest in Tampa, Florida. Yet they continue to use
Straus: OK. Letıs go back -- letıs take our break, and then we will get
back to the phones. Talking about Scientology, and all sparked by the Lisa
McPherson case. Joined by Ginny Leason from the Church of Scientology and
Jeff Jacobsen, who is obviously very into this subject and into the case
of Lisa McPhersonıs death. Still unsolved, still classified as suspicious
by the police in Clearwater, Florida. Weıre coming back.
Straus: Itıs been a most fascinating several hours tonight. Jeff Jacobsen
in studio, Ginny Leason on the phone. We are talking -- we are
interspersing conversational tidbits about Lisa McPherson and the Church
of Scientology and there is a lot of controversy surrounding both. And
weıre getting a pretty even portrayal. Weıre getting a lot of
pro-Scientology people who are objecting to what Jeff is saying or other
callers have said, and quite a few people that join Jeff in crying out
that somethingıs wrong here, and they are happy to be heard on the
[Tape cuts out; miss a 10-minute segment.]
Straus: I thought it would be interesting tonight, and it has exceeded my
expectations. We have been talking about Scientology. Ginny Leason is on
the phone, from the Church of Scientology here locally, and Jeff Jacobsen
is -- fights the church, I guess is the best way of putting it. You feel
there are abuses, and you--
Jacobsen: Yeah, I want to expose the abuses, put it that way.
Straus: Now, youıre planning on going and picketing the church in Clearwater.
Jacobsen: Yeah, March 8th. In case anybody wants to go. (laughs)
Straus: And the point of your trip will be?
Jacobsen: Well, we want basically two things. To let the public have a
voice. Picketing is the internationally recognized method of voicing your
complaints, and thatıs just what weıre gonna do. Weıre going to voice our
complaint against the church in a peaceful manner.
Straus: Will you meet with officials of the church?
Jacobsen: Iıve had lunch with church people five times, I think. And Iıve
talked to members before. Yeah, sure. By the way, they tried to crash our
press conference last year. One of the head church attorneys, vice
president of the church, and two other officials of the church. We always
and consistently said the press conference was for the press and picketers
only, and yet these five individuals came en masse and tried to barge into
our press conference.
Straus: Barging into press conferences is kind of universal too.
Jacobsen: (laughs) Yeah, I guess.
Straus: All right. Letıs get to whatever phone calls we can before we wrap
it up. Jim, Iım going to try you again. Hi.
Straus: Hello there.
Straus: Hello again.
Straus: Yeah, can you hear me?
Jim: Yes. Can you hear me?
Jim: Oh, good. I guess I missed you the last time around.
Straus: Yes, you did. This was your last chance.
Jim: Well, I appreciate your trying me again. I have some information that
Iıd like to share with you regarding the situation in Germany that you
might find interesting. However, I must say there has been such a litany,
much of it unsubstantiated charges, against my church and my religion that
I tell you, the mind fairly reels.
Straus: You mean--
Jim: If Jeff Jacobsen harbors no ill will toward Scientology, heıs doing a
wonderful job of covering that up.
Straus: What charge has he not substantiated?
Jim: He claims to be -- well, I donıt -- that comment actually was in
regards to a number of people who have called up who have claimed to have
heard a lecture by L. Ron Hubbard off the Internet. I have no way of
knowing, and neither does anybody else, whether that was actually L. Ron
Jacobsen: Sure, you can get on the Internet and listen.
Jim: And honestly, I donıt want to get off on that. I have some 25 yearsı
experience in this subject, and I--
Jim: Look. Scientology is a broad body of knowledge about life. And itıs a
very broad subject. There are some 5,000 writings and some 3,000
tape-recorded lectures. And I havenıt heard all of them, Iıve heard a
significant number. I have never heard L. Ron Hubbard trash Jesus Christ,
and I donıt believe that he did.
Jacobsen: Iıve heard the tape.
Jim: Sorry. Congratulations.
Straus: And, well, I have to--
Jim: (Continuing, talking over Straus) And as far as this fair game thing
goes, he drags this out every time.
Straus: I guess I donıt have to.
Jim: (Continuing, talking over Straus) I have read virtually every policy
letter written by L. Ron Hubbard. I have seven volumes of his work, which
comprise his breakthroughs in the handling of organizations and how to run
an organization in such a way to make it work and make it do what you want
it to do and make it easy to work in. The fair game policy, I have not
seen. You cannot find it in the subject index. I do remember years ago
reading the policy canceling it. But I have never read the fair game
thing. But anyway, I didnıt really want to get off into that.
Jacobsen: I got it in front of me if you want me to quote from it.
Jim: No, I donıt want you to quote from it. The point is, I just said, I
have seven volumes here. I just went through the subject index, and it
isnıt in there.
Jacobsen: I have 30 volumes.
Jim: Now, what you have, I donıt know where it came from, I donıt know how
long ago you dredged it up, I donıt know. Anyway, I wanted to make a
comment about the situation in Germany. It was alluded to earlier. Would
it be all right if I do that, Bill?
Straus: Yeah, but Iıve got three other people I definitely want to get to,
so Iıll ask you to be somewhat brief.
Jim: OK, Iıll be as brief as I can. I just got today a report thatıs going
to be coming out regarding an investigation done by objective observers at
the request of the United Nations into this situation in Germany. And itıs
a 25-page report, and thereıs just a couple of areas -- and Iıd be happy
to provide this for you if I can, Bill, if youıre interested.
Jim: Starting out, the committee states: ³We have to state from the outset
that we were completely unprepared for the sheer scale of prejudice,
discrimination, and even persecution which our witnesses recounted. What
has astonished us is that in a rich democratic country, certain rather
unpleasant things seem to have been happening to members of what are
officially categorized as sects.² Thatıs s-e-c-t-s. ³Among the groups
being attacked, Scientology is not alone. Mormons, Jehovahıs Witnesses,
members of the Unification Church, and other racial minorities² and so
forth. As a matter of fact, it states ³Since 1990 and reunification,
cartoons have appeared in German magazines which bear a chilling
resemblance to those in Der Sturmer³ -- translated to stormtrooper -- ³the
Nazi magazine of the 1930s and 40s. These cartoons seem to build on
stereotypes already present in the minds of the population. It is almost
as if some former Nazi black propagandist had been stuck to the wrong side
of the law waiting nearly half a century to emerge in 1990 and resume
plying his trade.² Now, as to why Scientology seems to be the most
frequently attacked, they say: ³Perhaps because it is also the biggest.²
Now, that is the biggest of the minority religions. It doesnıt hold a
candle in number to the official government-approved religions. Anyway, it
goes on to say, ³The attention devoted by the German state
and certain officials to eradicating Scientology -- the words of a
Christian Democratic Young Union official, not the committee -- was
extensively documented. The placing of Scientology in the crosshairs was
commented on by witnesses from the Unification Church and other minority
groups. It was suggested to us by witnesses that the state is targeting
Scientology as a prelude to and an excuse for the destruction of religious
freedom for all religious and philosophical minorities in Germany.²
Straus: Well, and I think thatıs generally, thatıs what the United States
has come down on.
Jacobsen: My opinion of whatıs going on in Germany. I think -- I said this
before I guess -- that the German government should simply lay their cards
on the table, say ³This is why we think Scientology is a dangerous
organization.² And I donıt know why theyıre not doing that. I donıt
Ginny: Because itıs not--
Jim: Well, because they canıt. It isnıt a dangerous organization--
Jim: --and what theyıre doing is telling lies about it.
Straus: OK. I heard you try to get a word in there. Go ahead.
Jim: Hi, Ginny.
Ginny: Hi. Because itıs not a dangerous organization. Thatıs why they
canıt do that.
Jim: Believe me, if they could, they would. And believe me, in addition to
that, the Internal Revenue Service spent 40 years investigating the Church
of Scientology and I guarantee you they did not want to find as they were
forced to find, that is, that Scientology is a bona fide religion and
deserves to have tax deductibility for its parishionersı donations, just
like all other major religions.
Jacobsen: Again, the IRS is not in the business of saying whatıs a good
religion and whatıs a bad religion.
Jim: Itıs in the business of saying what is a religion for the purposes of
tax deductibility, and if they could have found any way to justify denying
that to the Church of Scientology, I promise you, they would have done so.
Jacobsen: Yeah, and that rulingıs in court now. But I want to get back to--
Jim: (talking over Jacobsen) Yeah, well, weıll see how it comes out.
Jacobsen: Can I talk? Excuse me, can I say something?
Jim: (Continuing, talking over Jacobsen) And yes, the Church of
Scientology is very litigious, and weıre not a turn-the-other-cheek
Jacobsen: Yes. Thank you.
Jim: And when weıre attacked, we defend ourselves, and weıll continue to
do so. And we wonıt be harmed by such as the like of Jeff Jacobsen, I
Straus: Well, I donıt--
Jacobsen: Is that like a threat? Or what is that?
Straus: Yeah. Jim, settle down. Jim, are you there?
Jim: Yeah, Iım settled now.
Straus: OK, calm down. Jeff, you were saying?
Jacobsen: As far as Europe goes, in Greece now, on the Internet itıs been
said that the Greek government is planning to close down the church there
for different reasons. In Spain--
Straus: So says Jeff Jacobsen. I mean, come on!
Jacobsen: No, no, no. In Italy, 29 Scientologists were convicted of things
like fraud recently.
Jim: So says Jeff Jacobsen. Whereıs your documentation? Whereıs your proof?
Jacobsen: Iım reading this. This is from news reports that have been put
on the Internet.
Jim: This is news reports. Give me a break.
Jacobsen: In France--
Jim: Like news reports are never wrong. Nobody ever makes a mistake in
news reports. They always get it exactly right.
Jacobsen: In France--
Jim: Give me a break. Inside Edition is comparable to, letıs see, what
would it be, the National Enquirer?
Straus: Well, Jim, Jim, Jim, youıre kind of contradicting yourself. You
just told us that your church comes under fire and it really upsets you.
Now heıs telling you that itıs coming under fire here, here, and here, and
youıre not believing it.
Jacobsen: In France, a member, a high-ranking member, was just convicted
of manslaughter. That was, he contributed to the suicide of a
Scientologist. That was just in November, I think. And I think it was 14
other Scientologists were also convicted of lesser charges. So itıs not
just Germany thatıs coming after the church.
Jim: Any number of people could do any number of things while claiming to
Straus: Yeah, listen, Jim--
Jim: And nobody would suggest that Scientologists are perfect people. But
Iıll guarantee you that the policy of the church, and L. Ron Hubbardıs
policy was that we obey the laws of the land, and if we violate the laws
of the land, weıre to suffer the consequences.
Jacobsen: I think youıre turning a blind eye to some of the things that
Hubbard taught though. Hubbard taught to go after people, to use the court
systems to harass and ruin people is the word, is the exact--
Jim: I donıt believe that thatıs true. In the extensive 25 years of my study--
Straus: Heıs quoting from a book.
Jim: Iım just saying, Iım just saying I havenıt seen it.
Jacobsen: But I have.
Jim: OK, fine. You have. In 25 years of study, I havenıt seen it.
Straus: Jim, I appreciate the call. Iıve got to get a couple more on here.
Jacobsen: Thatıs why you need critics. So critics can bring up stuff that
maybe you donıt know about.
Straus: Well, you did have that, but again, he makes a valid point too.
Because you read a news story on the Internet -- weıre starting to find
out that a lot of the news proliferating on the Internet is bull.
Jacobsen: Oh, sure. Sure. Absolutely.
Straus: And the point that was made -- nobody knows that that was L. Ron
Hubbard giving the speech. You know, it would be very easy to trash a
person, a group, a religion, a government with false Internet news, false
Internet speeches. You know. I know that you know that it would be ...
Jacobsen: Oh, sure. I try to be very careful, especially since the church
is very litigious, with what I say about the church. And Iım confident
that those things happened. I saw a picture of -- I think his name was
Patrice Vic, the guy in France, heading off to jail. So thatıs been in
different newspapers and magazines. I didnıt bring everything I have
tonight, so I canıt give you exact quotes of what newspaper said this or
Straus: No, I can tell the listeners, including Jim. Jeff has quite a bit
of documentation with him, not just Internet sources, and seems to take
this very seriously. For what thatıs worth, I think thatıs important to
bring out. Jerry. Hi.
Straus: Weıre running out of time, Jerry, so Iıll ask you to be brief.
Jerry: OK. Yeah, I just want to say Iıve been a Scientologist for over 16
years, and I got involved in it first when I was in college, and I was
interested in the study technology there, and it helped me with my grades
there. As a matter of fact, I graduated second in my class at ASU in
engineering. And my kids are now in a school that uses that same
technology. Itıs a fabulous technology. I think itıs gonna be the solution
to the decline of education in our society. And I just wanted to say that
the aims of Scientology are a civilization without insanity, without
criminals, without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can
have rights and where man is free to rise to greater heights. And thereıs
a few of us that are trying to make things better on this planet, and I
really think what Jeffıs doing is really counterproductive to those
causes. Weıve got this great educational technology as well as drug
rehabilitation technology and criminal rehabilitation technology, and
weıre trying to do something to change things on this planet for the
Straus: He thinks heıs doing the same thing, I would imagine.
Jacobsen: Yeah. Apparently Iım actually educating Scientologists tonight
that donıt know some things that Hubbard actually wrote. Thatıs pretty
good, I think.
Jerry: Well, what youıre doing is youıre pulling attention away from a lot
of the works that can improve a lot of things in our society.
Jacobsen: But again, Iım not saying that the church should be destroyed,
Iım not saying that Scientology doesnıt help anybody. Iım saying it hurts
some people and they have policies that Hubbard wrote to hurt people. If
those things were done away with, if the church would apologize to the
people they have hurt and say, ³Weıre not going to follow these Hubbard
teachings anymore,² I would shut up and go sit on the beach in Clearwater
instead of picketing.
Jerry: I think thatıs what the earlier caller, Jim, had talked about. I
mean, that one policy you talked about is no longer in force in the
Jacobsen: No, I disagree with that. It is in force. Thereıs other
teachings besides the fair game that are identical.
Straus: Ginny? Did you-- Ginny?
Ginny: Thank you.
Straus: Did I detect a little Ginny noise there? (Ginny laughs.) Iıve
really gotten good at that.
Straus: I can hear-- Yeah, go ahead.
Ginny: Basically, all I wanted to say is I have not seen, I mean, Jeff is
more than, Iım more than willing for you to send me over those policies
that you say that LRH wrote to hurt people, and you know, if theyıre
there, then, you know, weıll get them handled. Otherwise, if theyıre not
there -- because, see, I know that theyıre not there.
Jacobsen: Iım looking at them right here. I got em right in front of me.
I can show it to Bill Straus. What do you want me to do?
Straus: Yeah. Jerry, I want to wrap it up. Thanks for the call. Kelly,
Gordon in Ashland, Oregon, and Ray in Ft. Collins, Colorado, Iım glad you
got to enjoy the show. Iım not going to have time to get to you because I
want to give each of my guests an opportunity to give a website address
and a phone number. Ginny Leason?
Ginny: Yes. Web site address is www.scientology.org, and the phone number
is 833-0610 here in Mesa.
Straus: OK, and I thank you very much for joining us. Jeff Jacobsen?
Jacobsen: For me, if you go to a search engine like Yahoo or Altavista and
type in ³Lisa McPherson,² which is M-C-P-H-E-R-S-O-N, youıll get to my web
Straus: And I want to thank you both for joining us. It was a most
interesting discussion. We might do it again some time. Thank you all.
Tomorrow night we will be open-phoning it. I want to remind you, Senator
Bill Bradley, in studio, a week from tonight. Roy Buck. Heıs ready to give
you the midnight update. Iım heading out of here. Ed Cole, thank you so
much, as always. Larry King follows Roy on KTAR. Bye bye.