TRANSCRIPT: WYNC Fri Mar 28 1997
[31 Mar 1997]

From the "On The Line" program hosted by Brian Lehrer.

Main Index A.R.S. Web Summary Media

From: jac@doe.carleton.ca (James A. Cherry)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: TRANSCRIPT: WYNC Fri Mar 28 1997, 1/3
Date: 31 Mar 1997 19:50:57 GMT
Organization: Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Lines: 663
Message-ID: <5hp4j1$s79@bertrand.ccs.carleton.ca>
NNTP-Posting-Host: emma.doe.carleton.ca
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]

Here's a transcript of part of the WYNC "On the Line" radio program
from Fri Mar 28 1997, hosted by Brian Lehrer. A RealAudio version
of this may be found at http://www.bway.net/~keith/index.html. This
is a transcript of http://www.bway.net/~keith/onthelin.ram.

I've taken out most of the pauses and repeated phrases, but left a few
of the larger ones in. Anyone want to web this? Go ahead.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
LEHRER: This is "On the Line". I'm Brian Lehrer. The headlines today,
of course, are about the Heaven's Gate suicide cult. We'll talk about
that later on. But on Tuesday, the day before the suicide story broke,
the Wall Street Journal had an extensive editorial about another
organization with controversial beliefs: the Church of Scientology.

John Travolota is a Scientologist; so is Tom Cruise. So is jazzman
Chick Corea, and eight million other people, according to the group.
Critics say thousands, not millions, belong, and Scientology,
depending on your point of view, is either a religion founded by the
former science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, or a business that
Hubbard started that sells self-improvement techniques.

For 25 years, the US Government took the business position and refused
to grant the organization the tax-exempt status afforded to religions.
But in 1993, the Internal Revenue Service reversed that position in a
secret deal. The Church of Scientology is now officially a religion
under US law. Most countries in Europe do not share that view, and
the New York Times recently revealed that the IRS decision followed
years of investigation of the IRS itself by Scientologists. Many of
the terms of the IRS deal granting tax-exempt status to the Church of
Scientology remain secret to this day.

But now that it is a US recognized religion, the State Department has
begun pressuring Germany and other countries that discriminate against
Scientologists in government hiring and other matters. Germany
believes it should protect its citizens from what it considers the
dangers of Scientologists. The State Department says, that's
discrimination based solely on people's beliefs.

A letter from Hollywood protesting Germany's actions was signed by
non-Scientology luminaries ranging from Goldie Hawn to Dustin Hoffman
to Gore Vidal to Larry King. But Scientology also frightens many
Americans, with beliefs that some consider extreme, apparently
including descriptions of alien beings and prehistoric thermonuclear
war in its creation myth, its allegedly hardball sales tactics, and
extreme litigiousness aimed at silencing its critics. There's even a
popular Internet site now devoted to criticism of Scientology called
alt.religion.scientology.

We'll get two views of Scientology this hour. Joining us first is a
spokesman for the Church of Scientology, Alex Jones -- who I might say
is not the same Alex Jones who hosts WNYC's "On the Media".
Mr. Jones, welcome to "On the Line".

JONES: Great, well, it's good to be here.

LEHRER: What makes Scientology a religion, in your opinion?

JONES: In Scientology, we embody a lot of the traditional
Judeo-Christian beliefs. We believe in God, we believe in the
spiritual nature of man, we have an ethical code, and basically,
Scientology is about the achievement of spiritual freedom...spiritual
salvation. And I might add...I might point out that the religious
nature of Scientology, even at the height of our battle with the
Internal Revenue Service, was never in question. Even in the
litigation, the IRS stipulated that the Church was a religion. And
the religious status of Scientology has been upheld even in Germany by
over 35 court decisions. A number of some of the world's preeminent
scholars have studied Scientology and have concluded that it is a
religion. Basically, when one views it objectively, without bias,
looks at the facts, looks at our theology, looks at our activities,
looks at our religious ceremonies, one concludes that we are a
religion. And we are.

LEHRER: Well, we'll talk a little more about the difference between a
religion and a business and which you are in a few minutes. But it's
been reported that the founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, in the
1960s, described your creation myth this way: that humans are made of
clusters of spirits called Thetans ["thee-tans"], or Thetans
["they-tans"], who were banished to Earth some 75 million years ago by
the ruler of another planet called Xenu. Of course, today's news is
about the Heaven's Gate suicide cult which has a space alien belief.
Is that what Scientologists believe, the way I described that L. Ron
Hubbard quote?

JONES: I have to say, that's an egregious misrepresentation of our
beliefs. It is basically a sensational thing that is batted around,
uh --

LEHRER: That's, you know, almost word-for-word what was in the Wall
Street Journal editorial this week.

JONES: No, I understand that. I understand; I read it. I know
exactly what you're talking about, and the Wall Street Journal is no,
uh, worldwide authority on religious belief and theology. I would say
that what Scientology is about, is about spiritual freedom. What
people can do if they have questions about Scientology is get a book
and find out for themselves. We believe that through an increased
awareness of one's spiritual nature, a person becomes happier, more
able, their personal integrity increases, and they eventually come to
a greater understanding of their relationship with God.

LEHRER: But talk for a minute, if you will, about what Scientologists
believe with respect to creation. Is that stuff about Thetans and
Xenu, is that made up, or did L. Ron Hubbard say that or write that?

JONES: You know...that particular piece in the journal was a
distortion, I can tell you that. It's a gross distortion written by
someone who doesn't understand our theology. If you want to
understand Scientology, you need to read a book by L. Ron Hubbard, and
find out for yourself, and make up your own mind. The Wall Street
Journal, or the New York Times...they are not valid sources of
information, as far as I can tell, really, about any religious
theology -- Scientology, or any others. The people that...the
reporters, they are reporters. If you want to go to sources,
authorities, on religion, you can go to people like Dr. Brian Wilson,
of the Univeristy of Oxford. Or, Dario(?) Sabatucci, professor of
history of religions at the University of Rome. Or, Alan Black,
associate professor of sociology --

LEHRER: OK, well, I'm going to you. Give me some basic description of
what the Scientologists believe is the origin of human life on Earth.

JONES: Uh...basically, we believe man is a spirit. And we believe
that everything flows from this spiritual nature. We believe that the
spirit is senior or is superior to the physical world, and that
through an increased awareness of oneself as a spiritual being (as
opposed to a body), people's problems, their viewpoints, the problems
they have in their lives, are resolved, and they begin to see a way to
spiritual freedom and salvation.

LEHRER: And what is --

JONES: And that's what we believe. Now, I want to point out another
thing here: we are an all-denominational religion. There are people
in Scientology who are Buddhists, there are people who are Baptists,
Orthodox Jews, etcetera. We believe in God in Scientology but we do
not impose a particular concept of the deity on our parishoners.
Therefore you might have people in Scientology that might have a
different viewpoint on some things, and that's their right. The main
belief in Scientology is that we are a spiritual being, and that we
can achieve spiritual freedom, um, through the study of our religion
and the practice of our religion.

LEHRER: Well, if you can be a Buddhist or an Orthodox Jew or something
else and still be a Scientologist, then, is it really a religion? I
know, for example, the Transcendental Meditation organization, which
has always maintained that it is not a religion, but rather a
technique --

JONES: Mm hmm?

LEHRER: -- has that position too. So you can have whatever your
religion is and use this technique. And it sounds like that's what
you're saying, but that would make you not a religion.

JONES: Well, we are not Transcendental Meditation. We are
Scientology, and we are different than they are. And as I said
before, there have been a lot of people...religious scholars
throughout the world who have studied Scientology and have concluded
that it is a religion. These are people who are not Scientologists
themselves, who are the most respected scholars in their fields in
their respective countries. They've studied Scientology, and they've
concluded that it is a religion. And we are a religion. Um, when
people come into Scientology, routinely, they'll read a book by
Mr. Hubbard. The information in Scientology in the book will enable
them to handle a problem in their lives. It could be a problem
they're having with one of their children, or problem that they're
having with their wife, or problem that they're having at work.
Because we deal with the basics of life -- it is an applied religious
philosophy. It's not just a matter of coming to church on Sunday. We
actually...Scientology actually consists of a number of tools which
people can use to better their lives.

LEHRER: So it sounds like a self-improvement technique, which many
have argued is a commercial product.

JONES: Well, you know, you can argue whatever...anybody can make any
statement they want, OK? You can say...I mean, the Ku Klux Klan made
a lot of statements about black people which weren't true. Just
because people make allegations doesn't make it true. What I'm trying
to say is that if you take an objective look at Scientology, if you
take the time to read the books, if you look at what other people have
said who are not Scientologists, it will become clear that we are a
religion. You may disagree with our theology, you may not like it,
but we are a religion.

LEHRER: My guest is Alex Jones, a spokesman for the Church of
Scientology. We invite your phone calls for him at 212-267-WNYC
(267-9692). Critics who say it's a business point to many examples of
Scientology practices and history. For example, I've read that in L.
Ron Hubbard's document called "Governing Policy" in 1972 which has
been widely cited in court, his list of commands ends with, "(j) Make
money. (k) Make more money. (l) Make other people produce so as to
make money."

JONES: Right.

LEHRER: If that's true, it sure sounds like a business.

JONES: Well, you know, see, this is the thing. First of all, that's
taken out of context. Mr. Hubbard said those things in the context of
the goal of enabling people to reach spiritual freedom. And the fact
of the matter is, if you run a church, if you run any organization
that wants to keep its doors open seven days a week, like we do, it
takes money. It takes money to pay the bills, to pay the staff, and
in Scientology, in order to service our parishioners, it takes a lot
more staff members than it does in a traditional church. The pastoral
counseling, which is the key religious activity of Scientology, takes
a large number of people to deliver to just one parishioner. So, that
context...I mean, that statement, again, is out of context: it's not
fair. And furthermore, these types of things were examined
extensively by the Internal Revenue Service over a period of two
years, where they looked at our books, our financial records, our
activities, our action, our strcuture. We answered thousands of
questions, we produced twelve linear feet of documents to support our
position, and they concluded that we organize solely for religious and
charitable purposes.

LEHRER: Well, what's your reaction to the recent New York Times
article which said that the IRS decision came after intensive
investigations of the IRS by Scientology snoops? It left the
impression that Scientology might have blackmailed the IRS into giving
you tax-exempt status.

JONES: You know, I think that...first of all, my reaction to the New
York Times article was that it was ridiculous. Second of all, I think
it's silly to think that if you're going to attack a federal agency,
and be engaged in the type of warfare we were with the Internal
Revenue Service for years, that all of a sudden they're going to give
us the red carpet...they did not give us the red carpet. And our
statement on that, for anybody who's interested in reading it, is in
the Wednesday March 19th edition of the New York Times. We put in a
full-page ad explaining exactly what did happen. What did happen was
that the IRS took a fair look at...for the first time in their
history, a fair look, an objective look at Scientology. I might add
that in our battle with the Internal Revenue Service, it didn't just
benefit us, it benefit tax payers around the country --

LEHRER: Why would the Church of Scientology, while it's applying for
religious group status, be doing investigative work, kind of
opposition research, into the IRS itself?

JONES: Well, this type of research you're talking about is pretty
commonplace in legal circles throughout the United States. And at the
time, we were confronted with a handful of rogue agents within the
Internal Revenue Service who were circulating lies and falsehoods
about the Church. And we had to fight for our freedom, we had to
fight for our rights. And when it came down to actually convincing
the Internal Revenue Service to take an objective look, they did that.
I mean, they took the objective look, and when they considered all the
allegations -- like the things you're bringing up here this morning --
when they looked at them hard and fast and long, they concluded that
we're organized solely for religious and charitable purposes --

LEHRER: [trying to interrupt] Keith -- [stopping] Go ahead.

JONES: -- We had to fight for our freedom.

LEHRER: Keith, in the East Village, you're on the line with Alex Jones
from the Church of Scientology.

KEITH: Well, it's typical of them...of Scientologists...hello?

LEHRER: Go ahead, Keith.

KEITH: OK. Um, it's typical...everything is taken out of context.
For instance, the Xenu myth that you described earlier, that's part of
an upper-level material that they sell and you have to progress up to
essentially...to eventually buy the service of being, you know,
audited on this, or auditing yourself on this --

JONES: [interrupting] The way that's reported --

KEITH: [interrupting] And fortunately, the document is available on
the Internet in L. Ron Hubbard's own handwriting. There's a lot of
information about Scientology on...all over the Internet, both by them
and by other people about them. And it says...OT3 says, "The head of
the Galactic Federation, 75 planets around larger stars visible from
Earth -- from Heaven -- found 75" -- Hubbard can't write very well,
I'm reading his own handwriting [chuckles] --

JONES: -- he's a best-selling author --

KEITH: -- "very space opera -- solved overpopulation. 250 billion or
so per planet, 178 billion on average" --

JONES: Sir?

KEITH: -- "by mass implanting" -- now, this, you know, this is not
taken out of context --

JONES: Can I ask you a question?

KEITH: -- the whole is there for you to read.

LEHRER: All right, Mr. Jones, go ahead. Let's get a response.

JONES: This is the thing, right? It is taking out of context, and
I'll tell you why. First of all, his intention of bringing that
up...I question that. Usually, when people bring these types of
things up, their intention is to discourage people from reaching out
and finding out more about Scientology and making up their own minds.
Right? And I say to people, "Don't let anybody make up your mind for
you, make up your own mind." Regarding things which might sound odd
about that, first of all, a lot of the things that have been reported
are distortions. Second of all, some things appear to be odd...I
mean, have you ever heard of the virgin birth? Have you ever heard of
the parting of the Red Sea?

KEITH: [interrupting] Right, but you know --

JONES: [interrupting] Have you ever heard of the assumption of Heaven?
You know, anything about religion -- [hard to distinguish, since both
are talking over one another]

LEHRER: One at a time! One at a time. Mr. Jones has the floor.

KEITH: Sorry.

JONES: Thank you. You can find anything about any religion that you
disagree with, that you don't like, that you can make fun of, that you
can make appear ridiculous, right? And that's the beauty of the
United States of America, that we have religious freedom here, so that
people who are bigots, who are promoting intolerance, cannot then use
the power of the federal government to suppress people with different
beliefs.

LEHRER: Keith, go ahead.

KEITH: Well, my problem is, I mean, if people want to believe this,
that's fine: I have no problem.

JONES: Thank you.

KEITH: The problem with that is, that they don't find out about in
until they've spent, you know, a lot of money, and are indoctrinated
into Hubbardian way of thinking. And, you know, then --

JONES: Wait -- [stammering a little]

KEITH: No, wait a minute. The virgin birth, you know about that when
you get into Christianity.

JONES: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Listen.

KEITH: [inaudible, being talked over] compatible with all religions.
However, there are religions that specifically eschew belief in
reincarnation.

JONES: Listen. You know, if you don't --

KEITH: I mean, if people knew that up front, I wouldn't mind. I would
have no problem, and if you didn't harass, and sue everyone, over...in
harassive litigation, which is --

JONES: Who do...? We do not harass and sue everyone.

KEITH: -- I wouldn't have a problem. You could go ahead, and believe
whatever you want.

JONES: OK, good.

LEHRER: All right, Mr. Jones, go ahead.

JONES: You know, he...he just ran through a catalog of falsehoods on
the Church. I gotta say, if he doesn't like Scientology, if he
disagrees with it, that's fine --

LEHRER: Is he wrong? That before you have access to that particular
creation myth, that you have to kind of work up to it by buying a lot
of different pieces of access to information and services?

JONES: Well, first of all, it's not our true...you know, that...what
he described here, is not our creation myth. Second of all, these
materials that have been reported on the press, and whose content has
been misreported, are part of what we consider some of the most sacred
materials in Scientology. And in the tradition of a lot of other
religious groups, these materials are set aside for study by people
who have advanced spiritually, and who have done the requisite studies
in Scientology theology. And while this might appear odd, it actually
is not. There are lot of examples...for example, ancient Judaism,
early Christianity, some forms of Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, agnostic
groups, where material is set aside for only the advanced students of
the religion. I'll say --

LEHRER: Keith, thank you very much for your call. Well, let me follow
up with you this way, uh, because I've read, and this would seem to
back up his point, that the way you gain access to the sacred material
is by buying your way to it. I've read that the Church charges on a
per item basis for each service that it provides its members, plus its
Field Staff Members, as you call them, work on commission: they get
10% of the costs of Scientology services that they sell to people, and
15% of publication sales.

JONES: Mm hmm?

LEHRER: Plus that you have sued former Scientologists who continue to
use material for their personal spiritual betterment. All that
together also sounds like a business more than a church.

JONES: Well, you know, I think...let me just take up your last point
first. In terms of suing people, one of the things we believe in
Scientology is that the practice of Scientology consists of reading,
studying, and applying the scriptures as written by L. Ron Hubbard.
And part of our belief is that these scriptures must be adhered to
exactly as he wrote them. It's not up for somebody to come along and
decide all of a sudden they're going to change them. They work the
way they are. And what this does...what we're talking about here is
actual pastoral counseling techniques which actually raise a person's
awareness of themselves as a spiritual being, which actually raise a
person's personal integrity and self-awareness. And we do protect
these, because...we feel that if they are distorted, then the people
who come in to practitioners who say they are practicing Scientology,
will not get the full benefit of...as intended by Mr. Hubbard. And I
also have to point out that the materials that Keith referred to
earlier, they were actually stolen from one of our churches in Europe
several years ago. Uh, they were actually stolen...one of the people
actually went to jail who was involved in this crime.

LEHRER: What, this material in L. Ron Hubbard's handwriting?

JONES: Well, see, I haven't...I haven't seen it, I'm...the only thing
I'm...the O...the upper level materials, there was a group of them
that were stolen. I'm not sure if this is what...the document that
Keith has, but they were stolen and they were disseminated on the
Internet. And we did...we have been involved in litigation to protect
the copyrights. And I might add that our litigation to protect our
copyrights on the Internet has benefitted anybody -- any artist, any
musician, and church, any group, any organization that has
intellectual property -- has been benefitted by our taking the lead,
by our having the courage to fight for our own rights on the Internet.

LEHRER: Paul, in Madison, you're on the line.

PAUL: Hi. I have two quick questions. One of which is, wasn't there
a court case in the late 70s or early 80s where about ten leading
Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife, were accused of being
involved in stealing US and Canadian government documents and putting
them in Church files?

JONES: Yes, there was a case, and that was...an unfortunate period
where people actually...they did break the law. Those people were
subsequently forbidden for ever holding any position within the Church
of Scientology because they were actually in violation of Church
policy. Um, and, uh, I think that one of the things I have a problem
with is that, that was 20 years ago. And I think sometimes this is
used to...to cast...to paint every single Scientologist in the entire
Church with the guilt of those few people. There was about eight
people involved in that. And they were the ones...the only ones who
knew what they were doing. Even the federal prosecutor on that case
made a statement under deposition that he was well aware that the rank
and file of Scientology had no idea what these people were doing.

LEHRER: But I think his point is not to cast aspersions on the rank
and file, who one might consider victims, but on those who lead the
organization.

JONES: Yeah, and I can understand that, and I can appreciate that
question. The IRS, again, from 1991 to 1993 _certainly_, certainly
looked very carefully at those kinds of charges, that the Church
leadership was operating legally. We submitted, again, to the most
extensive review in IRS history. They had a blank check to come into
our churches, to review our files, to look at our finances, to look at
our activities, our strutcure, everything. They reviewed it over and
over again. We produced twelve linear feet of documentation to
support our tax exemption application. They looked at all those
allegations, they looked at them carefully, long and hard. And they
concluded, again, that we're organized solely for religious and
charitable purposes.

LEHRER: Paul, in Manhattan, you're on the line on NYC with Alex Jones
from the Church of Scientology.

PAUL: Hi. Um, I guess my question really revolves around what
traditional religions normally do is they do a lot of work with poor
people. They do, you know, work with helping poor people, and they
embrace poor people. I'm not aware of any charity work that the
Church of Scientology does. In fact, I don't know...I mean, do you
have scholarships for people who are poor, so that they can enter the
Church and practice the Church...practice the religion if they can't
afford to pay for this practice? Can't you just...like in any church,
I mean, if I want to be a monk, I could just go and I could go to a
monastery and I could say I want to be a monk, I want to practice a
life of celibacy, I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe in God, and
they would take me in and they would teach me until they were
convinced that either I was sincere or I wasn't sincere. Do you have
such a program?

JONES: Yeah, we have a number of programs...I'm glad you brought that
up. First of all, we do a lot of charity work. We have a lot of
programs...we reach out to people in inner city, from...having to do
with...antidrug education, some literacy...we have Scientologists who
volunteer their time all over the country teaching inner city children
how to read. We also...as a matter of fact...during some of our
litigation with the Internal Revenue Service, we did an analysis of
all the services we offer. Turns out we give away about 33% of our
services. I personally know of Scientologists who were injured who
were given pastoral counseling completely free by the Church, because
they [unclear] was a time of need. And there are certainly programs
where people cannot afford...there are ways that they can also get
pastoral counseling. They can either join the Church staff and they
can get all their training and their pastoral counseling free, if
that's what they want to do, or there's also a work study program
where they can actually train to become an auditor, or pastoral
counselor, themselves, and they can get the pastoral counseling free.
In addition, we do have a religious order where people dedicate their
entire lives to the expansion of Scientology, and it's very much like
any other religious order. You just come in, you join, and you...the
work is hard, but you are given the opportunity to study Scientology
--

LEHRER: Right. One -- [talking over Jones] -- one more call. Steve,
in Manhattan, you're on the line.

STEVE: Hi, I just wanted to comment that I, you know...from what I've
read about Scientology, appears really to be a racket. And I believe
the German government is correct in conceiving it that way, and I'm
kind of offended at Scientology's ads comparing Germany's treatment of
Scientology to its treatment of Jews --

LEHRER: Well, Steve, do you think that the government of Germany
should deny civil service jobs to people on the basis that they say
they're Scientologists?

STEVE: No. That, I think, is a little extreme --

LEHRER: Should they try to cancel Chick Corea's jazz concert because
he's a Scientologist?

STEVE: No. I'll agree, that's going a little over the top. It
certainly shouldn't have tax...I mean, I don't believe individual
Scientologists should be, uh --

JONES: Well, that's what's happening.

STEVE: Yes, well --

JONES: That's what's happening. You see, this is the thing, right?
German officials are making a lot of statements to justify their
unjustifiable discrimination against Scientologists. They talk about
us being a business; few people understand in the United States that
there is no church/state separation in Germany, that the Lutheran and
Catholic churches receive some 27 billion deutchmarks per year in
public funds. These state churches, they have property holdings worth
$330 billion, they own seven banks each, they have extensive holdings
in real estate, life insurance, newspapers, magazines, building
construction...we have no commercial holdings at all and we own one
property in Germany. So I ask you, who appears to be more like a
business? That is just a justification, misinformation...it's a
disingenuous allegation by German officials that justifies their
brutal discrimination against law-abiding, productive German and
American citizens who happen to be members of the Church of
Scientology --

LEHRER: Actually, let me sneak in one more call for you. Phil, in
Queens, you're on the line.

PHIL: Thanks. Well, my only interaction with Scientology was when a
distant cousin came from LA to try to bilk a barely wealthy, elderly,
aging cousin out of money. And, you know, it put a sour taste in a
lot of people's mouths. I don't question the individual sincerity of
individual members of your group, but it seems far from any religion
as people in Western civilization --

JONES: Well actually --

LEHRER: Well, Phil, how did this cousin try to bilk somebody out of
money, in your opinion?

PHIL: Literally, first of all, showed up after many, many years and
suddenly was the best friend and caregiver and helper of this other
elderly cousin, who, unfortunately for the Scientologists, was still
in her right mind even though...enfeebled by age and illness --

JONES: So, what does this have to do with the Church? I don't
understand.

PHIL: Well, you know, it came up that she wanted money. She said,
"Oh, why don't you join us? Why don't you give money to this
wonderful thing? It's been wonderful for me. Why don't you donate
money?"

LEHRER: Well, there are many allegations, Mr. Jones, about
Scientologists using very...I don't know, hardball or sleazy tactics
to try to get money out of wealthy individuals.

JONES: Yeah, well...you know, you can make allegations about anything.

PHIL: Well --

JONES: There are a lot of allegations floating around here --

LEHRER: There are a lot of stories like this, like the one he tells, in
the past.

JONES: You know, but...this is the bottom line. This is the bottom
line, all right? A person can come...go into any library for free,
can pick up a book written by L. Ron Hubbard on Scientology, can read
it for themselves in the privacy of their own homes, and can make up
their own minds. They can pick up a copy of "Self Analysis", that
I...that I, like I did when I was --

PHIL: [interrupting] They can't pick up the ultimate scripture that you
already admitted that --

JONES: You know, and I...and I already...and I really resent you
bringing that up because I already pointed out that as part...these
are some of the most sacred materials in the Scientology religion and
--

PHIL: Well, you know, when you --

JONES: And we...and we view that people talking about them in a
disrespectful manner as you are --

PHIL: I'm not talking about them --

JONES: -- just as much, just as much we would...as a [unclear] I would
use about pouring blood on the Torah. Bottom line --

PHIL: Just a sec --

LEHRER: [cutting both off] One at a time, one at a time. Mr. Jones,
go ahead.

JONES: Let me finish. What I was saying is that a person can make up
their own mind...they can go to...they can get a book in the privacy
of their own home, a book like "Self Analysis", a book like
"Dianetics", a book like "Problems at Work", or "A New Slant on Life",
and they can make up their own mind --

LEHRER: Those books will not tell you, whether or not, the
Scientologists use these kind of pressure tactics.

JONES: Well...you know, the point I'm trying to make is that if you
can make up your own mind, you can make up your own mind.

LEHRER: All right. Phil, thank you for your call, we are out of time.
Just [unclear]. Our next guess is the former director of the Cult
Awareness Network, which used to be one of your chief critics, and
according to her, Scientologists bankrupted the Cult Awareness Network
by flooding it with lawsuits, then bought it when it when into Chapter
11. Is that true?

JONES: The Cult Awareness Network was destroyed by its violation of
the law. For nearly 20 years, it was a covert clearing-house of
professional kidnappers who kidnapped people from their religions for
pay, for money. That's what destroyed the Cult Awareness Network:
their violation of US federal and state laws.

LEHRER: And I want to thank a spokesman for the Church of Scientology,
Alex Jones. I'll say again, he's not the same Alex Jones who hosts
"On the Media," the WNYC program. Mr. Jones, thank you very much for
being with us today.

JONES: It was a pleasure.

LEHRER: And we will come back after a short break with Cynthia Kisser,
the former director of the Cult Awareness Network, with her views on
the Church of Scientology.
--
James A. Cherry (http://www.doe.carleton.ca/~jac/) "Pretty much..."


From: jac@doe.carleton.ca (James A. Cherry)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: TRANSCRIPT: WYNC Fri Mar 28 1997, 2/3
Date: 31 Mar 1997 22:17:19 GMT
Organization: Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Lines: 465
Message-ID: <5hpd5f$bmq@bertrand.ccs.carleton.ca>
NNTP-Posting-Host: emma.doe.carleton.ca
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]

Here's a transcript of part of the WYNC "On the Line" radio program
from Fri Mar 28 1997, hosted by Brian Lehrer. A RealAudio version
of this may be found at http://www.bway.net/~keith/index.html. This
is a transcript of http://www.bway.net/~keith/ontheli2.ram.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

LEHRER: "On the Line", on NYC, with your support at AM820, I'm Brian
Lehrer. We continue to talk about the Church of Scientology now with
Cynthia Kisser, former executive director of the Cult Awareness
Network. Ms. Kisser, welcome to "On the Line".

KISSER: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be with you.

LEHRER: I know you were listening to Alex Jones from the Church of
Scientology that entire half hour. First of all, tell us your version
of what happened to the Cult Awareness Network and Scientology's role
in that.

KISSER: Well, I take exception to what Mr. Jones said about us having
been in...what did he say, we kidnap people for money and we violated
state and federal laws. We were in business for 20 years as a
non-profit. During that time...during much of that time, we had
members of the Church of Scientology crawling all over us looking for
information about us, and sometimes when they couldn't find it, they'd
fabricate it. And you would think with all of this investigation of
us that, that if we were violating criminal statutes, they would have
been the first to run to the authorities and there would have been
criminal convictions for people acting in their capacity as agents of
the Cult Awareness Network. So, there is no...no person was ever
convicted of any criminal act in their capacity as an agent for the
Cult Awareness Network, nor was the corporation.

LEHRER: Although I understand from what I've read that a lot of your
financial problems came from a lawsuit that was filed by a
non-Scientologist who you were trying to deprogram after membership in
a cult...in a different cult.

KISSER: Not quite correct. First of all, our financial problems
started long before that, when we got sued over 50...approximately 50
times by members of the Church of Scientology. Our [unclear]
associated with that. So we were already financially devastated when
we got a judgment in a case that we were not able really to defend
properly. But the issue in the case was never that any agent for the
Cult Awareness Network was involved in any deprogramming. The issue
that brought us in was that a volunteer had given the mother the name
of a deprogrammer...a counselor for two minor boys, and that was a
successful counseling, and it was a legal counseling, and law
enforcement cooperated with the mother on that. The mother then went
on her own and had the adult deprogrammed, and apparently broke the
law for that. And so it was only through what was called vicarious
liability -- because our volunteer had made the initial referral --
that we were brought into the suit, and that's on appeal. So I don't
think that's...it's fair to say that we were involved in kidnapping in
that regard.

LEHRER: Was Scientology a main target of the Cult Awareness Network?
Is Scientology a cult, in your opinion?

KISSER: The Cult Awareness Network when it existed -- and I want to
point out now that it is being run...as it's operating now, by people
very closely affiliated with the Church of Scientology; some of them
hold official positions within the Church -- we were just a litmus
test for what people wanted to know about. If people didn't complain
to us about a particular group, we didn't go to the trouble of trying
to gather information from the public domain and make it available to
them. The sad story is, people were complaining or calling about the
Church of Scientology every month, year in and year out, and had been
for some time. So, I think it's important to understand that the
controversy surrounding Scientology exists separate from anything they
might say the Cult Awareness Network did.

LEHRER: So...is it a cult, in your opinion?

KISSER: Um, I would say that...put it this way: that people constantly
alleged to us that it was a cult. They constantly alleged that given
the criteria that we gave for a destructive cult, that they saw those
things.

LEHRER: Such as what?

KISSER: Such as, um...eventually being asked to separate from family
or friends if their family or friends were critical of the Church of
Scientology. Of course, if it was part of their lives, it wasn't an
issue. Um, being pressured to invest more and more financially in the
organization. Some of these people signed what are called
billion-year contracts, where they agreed for lifetimes to come to
serve the Church. And the complaint of many former members was that
they put the goals of the group ahead of their personal development
and their personal relationships with their family. I want to go back
too, though, and mention one other thing that I think you've touched
on.

LEHRER: Mm hmm?

KISSER: And that is that...the IRS expects organizations to get
tax-exempt status as religions under the 501-CC designation to engage
in activies that are appropriate for churches...for religions. And,
you mentioned the private investigators, for example?

LEHRER: Mm hmm?

KISSER: Um --

LEHRER: The contents of the Times article recently.

KISSER: Right. Now, I mean, I personally know of a lot of harassment
through private investigators. I know of many other people who are
like that, and we certainly saw the massive amount of litigation that
was thrown at us...that was supported in back by the Church of
Scientology. And we also saw the creation constantly of front groups
that would pop up that were supposedly critical of us that seemed to
be not directly related to Scientology but, in fact, were growing from
that. And those kinds of activities, I think, are what the problem
is. I mean, if they want to be a religion, fine, you can believe
whatever you want. But if you want to enjoy the tax-exempt privileges
that religions enjoy in this country, I think you need to engage in
activities that are appropriate and not spend millions on private
investigators to go after your critics. And I think it's one thing to
use a private investigator for a case or two because you're in it for,
you know, legal or philosophical reasons, but it's entirely another
thing to constantly be using money to have private investigators
harass the critics. And I think _that's_ what's being missed here in
terms of their use of these tactics, they go overboard --

LEHRER: Well, do you think that...at the bottom line, that Scientology
is a business and not a religion? I mean, he described a certain set
of beliefs, and he described a certain set of practices, that he, you
know, was trying to make sound like a religion. Is it not a religion?

KISSER: Well, it can be both. There is no reason why -- and
forgetting about the tax-exempt status for a minute, [unclear] --
there's no reason...I mean, many organizations that we see are
religious and they're also commercial. You can be a business _and_
you can be a religion at the same time. I do think he was
disingenuous, though, when asked about Xenu and the Thetans. They do
not tell you all of their beliefs until you get to the higher levels,
that's right, he gave his explanation. But the bottom line is, you
don't know what you're moving into until you're pretty far in. You're
not told up front what they believe in, and one of your other callers
pointed out, you _are_ told with other legitimate religions, you know,
who are their characters in their cosmology, who are the deities, if
any, that they have. And it is utterly absurd to say that you can be,
for example, a Christian and be a Scientologist -- there's a major
clash in their concepts and precepts of that religion, and with other
religions too. I don't see how you could really be Jewish in the
religious sense of the word and embrace a theology of Scientology.

LEHRER: Why not?

KISSER: Because there is an inherent conflict in the position that
they would assign, for example, to God and in regard to Christianity,
in regard to Jesus. Now I'm not...I'm not saying you should believe
one religion over the other here. But what I'm saying is, they _are_
incompatible. So if you want to believe in Scientology, you really
can't honestly say you're a full-believing Christian or a
fully-believing member of the Jewish faith. Now --

LEHRER: There is apparently some basis of support for declaring
Scientology a religion and letting it have that tax-exempt status in
the United States as a religion from some pretty mainstream religious
organizations. For example, I have here a letter to the New York
Times dated March 10th from Dean Kelly from the National Council of
the Churches of Christ in the USA. He's also a guest on this show on
the issue of Waco and other religious liberty violations by the United
States government. And he takes the position that the Church of
Scientology is a church and that the Times shouldn't have been digging
up what it...what he considered old news. But whether the Times
should be doing that or not, here's the National Council of Churches
of Christ in the USA --

KISSER: Well, that is _not_ the National Council of Churches. Dean
Kelly's retired from it. It is Dean Kelly --

LEHRER: It's on their stationery.

KISSER: -- that's right. For some reason, they continue to let him
use their stationery. But I have queried them about that, and
this...the National Council of Churches, I would venture to say, is
not taking that position. They are allowing Mr. Kelly to express his
opinions using their stationery, but Mr. Kelly -- I will also say,
Reverend Kelly, I don't know if he's a minister, I'm sorry to say --

LEHRER: Mm hmm?

KISSER: -- also, I would say, is not well-informed on what really goes
on in the church. Um, I have complained to the National Council of
Churches about positions that Mr. Kelly issued on their letterhead in
regard to the Cult Awareness Network that I knew not...that I knew
positively to be not true. And the answer I was given was, "He
doesn't speak for us, he's giving his personal opinion" -- even though
it's on their letterhead. And then when I asked them for a written
statement on their letterhead to clarify, I never got it. So I don't
quite understand the relationship there, and why they continue to let
Mr. Kelly speak with their letterhead, but I will say that's worth
looking into more too.

LEHRER: Well, do you think that they _shouldn't_ have tax-exempt
status? I _am_ interested in that issue in particular, because that
really is...I mean, whether somebody considers Scientology a religion
or not, it's kind of an abstract, theoretical question until the
public policy issue comes to bear here, and until it's our tax dollars
who are...that are, in effect, subsidizing the Church of Scientology.
The IRS did come to this conclusion, and...is that something that you
think was done because they were pressured or blackmailed or
investigated or anything else?

KISSER: I think the story needs to come out in full on that. I think
the IRS needs to have a little bit more disclosure. And I think
Congress needs to demand that. But in regard to your initial
question, at this time, I don't think they should have tax-exempt
status, and I'll tell you why briefly. First of all, our taxpayer
dollars spent 25 years researching this organization in...in cases in
the court, and making the case they should not be. Were we wrong for
25 years? Were we stupidly wasting millions of dollars for 25 years?
I don't think so. I think that there was probably a lot of good, hard
facts that came out there. So I question why we have this reversal
after 25 years: was this agency asleep at the wheel for that long?
And if so, shouldn't they be brought on the carpet for wasting all of
that money? But more to the point, I'll go back to what I started
with: the activities that they engage in, in addition to some of the
trappings and frills that they engage in to have these, you know,
outreach to reading and tutoring and all that -- that's fine, they do
some of those stuff [sic]. But they also engage in other activities
that a church should not engage in if has this tax-exempt status. The
heavy use of the private investigators, the harassment -- take the
Lisa MacPherson death down in Florida that's going on right now.
There's a case where a woman died in the custody of the Church. And
you wonder, what are they running down there? What type of an
operation where people check into a hotel run by the Church, and then
the Church says there's nothing wrong, and then the woman comes out
dead? There's too many things out there that don't line up with what
other churches and synagogues that _do_ have tax-exempt status engage
in. They wouldn't engage in activities like that, they would say
they're wrong for religious organizations to engage in if they really
looked at those things. I don't think they do those things.

LEHRER: This is "On the Line" on listener-supported AM820. Let me
tell our listeners we're going to cancel the soapbox for today because
we ran long with the guests on the Church of Scientology. So I want
to give Cynthia Kisser from...formerly from the Cult Awareness Network
some equal time here, and also because so many of you are calling in
to talk about this, so we'll do this until the top of the hour at
212-267-WNYC (267-9692). Caroline, in Manhattan, you're on the line.

CAROLINE: Hello. Uh, two points that I wanted to make. One was, I
don't want us to be a moral monitor for other countries. I think this
idea that we're a leader has gone to our head a little bit too much.
I think Germany has the right to decide whether she wants to
legitimize or not legitimize Scientology. The other thing is, I've
known several people who are in Scientology, and while the Church is
advocating...is saying that it stands on freedom of religion, but in
terms of freedom of speech, from the people that I have known, I know
that they are very much...they will put all the power of their
organization behind repressing any information about...I know someone
who wrote a book about...he and another person that I know spent
thousands of dollars -- at least $10,000 -- you know, pursuing the
Church. And then...this one person that wrote a book exposing it, and
he...it was going to be published, and then it was completely
repressed. Because he went clear up to the final...inner sanctum part
of the Church, and said it was silly [chuckles]. But then, there is a
lot of scandals from...in a lot of religion, unhappily, and I think
part of the game.

LEHRER: Cynthia Kisser?

KISSER: Well, I would say her first point is extremely important
about, you know, a moral monitor for other countries. Greece, for
example, has recently closed the Church of Scientology and Scientology
didn't even try to qualify as a religion over there. They didn't even
bother.

LEHRER: Well, is that a good thing, in your opinion?

KISSER: That they closed them?

LEHRER: Yeah.

KISSER: Well, they closed them for reasons of the way they operated as
a business. You see, they...some allegations having to do with fraud,
and that kind of thing. If the facts are true, then of course it
would be good. If the facts were not true, of course, it would not be
so good.

LEHRER: I mean, as I understand the story from Germany, as I mentioned
to a caller earlier in the hour, they tried to stop Chick Corea from
giving a jazz concert there because he's a Scientologist, in Bavaria
you can't get a civil service job if you are a Scientologist. I mean,
that doesn't seem to have anything to do with the organization so much
as people's personal beliefs, and it sounds like persecution.

KISSER: And I think you have to separate two issues out, there, OK?
There are two things going on in Germany. First of all, Germany has a
different standard for what is and is not a religion. And while, yes,
religions get separate privileges over there than they do over here,
as Mr. Jones said, in addition to that, however, they have to perform
certain functions...they have to do certain charitable works, that
type of thing. Scientology has never demonstrated to the German
government that it has...that it meets that criteria. Additionally,
to be a bona fide religion in Germany, you have to have a certain
percentage of the population sign a petition saying they are a member
of that church. Because, if they do get special financial privileges
and money to do their charitable work, in addition to their own
budget, and there are not enough people who are members of the Church
over there...so, first of all, you've got that criteria -- that it
does not meet the criteria it needs to meet under the German law that
_any_ religion has to meet, not just Scientology. So, it's not being
singled out simply because it's Scientology in that regard. It
doesn't meet the criteria, and we do not have a right to tell every
country in the world what criteria they have to put forward.
Otherwise, we'd be attacking Greece, we'd be attacking Scandinavian
countries...that type of thing. As to the second point, though, I
think perhaps there has been some overreaction among individual
Germans in regards to certain concerns about Scientology. That may in
some cases have translated into some individual unfairness. But, on
the other hand, Scientology does twist and take things out of context,
so you don't always know if that's happening. Additionally, we have
never been a conquered country. Germany has. Some of the other
European countries have. They understand and recognize a totalistic
movement a lot better than we do. I mean, we would not recognize,
sometimes, I think, a totalistic movement right under our nose, as
evidenced, I think, by some of the attitudes we have towards
Scientology here. So I'm just saying that, they may be a little bit
more nervous than us, because they may have a little bit more history,
and they may have been burned a little bit more badly about human
rights violations. And so they may be looking at Scientology with
more clarity in some respects, and in other respects less clarity, but
you can't just say, because a few Scientologists may have been
unfairly treated, that Germany as a whole has a bigoted position
towards Scientology.

LEHRER: Caroline, thank you for your call. And Sally, in Park Slope,
you're on the line.

SALLY: Hi. Um, I wanted to relate, a personal...not personal, but
something that I know about Scientology that to me means it's a cult
or...sounds like a cult. A friend of my family's daughter got very
involved and was, like, working and trying to earn enough money and
lost contact with the family, and...they moved her away to some
facility [unclear] like in Florida or some place, and monitored all
her calls, wouldn't let her speak to her father. Um, she just lost
touch with her family. I don't know what's going on with it now, but
to me, it's...that says it's a cult, taking someone's life over like
that.

LEHRER: Cythia Kisser?

KISSER: Well, these are the types of stories that Scientology
constantly wants to sweep under the rug. And unforunately, this is
what we often heard from people when they called us. Now, obviously,
we don't always know that they're giving us all the facts, or whether
they're biased against Scientology, and they're hyping it. But when
you continuously over the years hear this type of complaint about
people being exploited financially, or their families being separated
from them, or whatever, you have to say, they can't all be conspiring
together and they can't all be bigots. So there is clearly a problem
with Scientology in terms of a large body of disaffected members, and
I think we do need to keep that in account, as well as looking at this
whole mix here that we've talked about today concerning the
controversy of Scientology.

LEHRER: Let me take...let me take one more call, and Sally, thank you.
Elaine, in Hell's Kitchen, you're on the line.

ELAINE: Hello. I'm very interested by this conversation, and I really
appreciate the woman from the Cult Awareness Network that's talking.
I was involved with a class...an acting class in Beverly Hills,
California, that has major Scientologist influences, including such
things as giving students critiques about their work and mixing in
comments like, "You should separate from your family." "People that
don't support you should be eliminated." They had classes where you
were deprived of sleep, and going to the bathroom, and even forced
sometimes to read Scientologist literature as part of the very sick
indoctrination...sort of a backwards way towards financial success and
financial gain. And I know...I agree with what the lady is saying.
This is not a religion, this is about money. And I'm convinced that
that's why they're so angry that they're being shut out of Germany --

LEHRER: And we have a board full of calls that we're not going to
have time to get to --

ELAINE: Oh, well can we --

LEHRER: Another caller who says a family member joined Scientology a
long time ago and wound up committing suicide --

ELAINE: I --

LEHRER: Someone who says her mother was in Scientology for 20 years
and left the family --

ELAINE: -- It hurts[?] a lot of people's lives, and they're using
these celebrities...very willingly, the celebrities are being used
too, and the ones that are making --

LEHRER: Why do you think John...are you in the theater, Elaine?

ELAINE: Yes, I am.

LEHRER: So why do you think John Travolta and Tom Cruise are in this?

ELAINE: I can't comment on them personally, I don't know them. But I
know for a fact the kind of people that Scientologists go after...he
was approached by them at a very vulnerable point in his career --

LEHRER: Who, Travolta?

ELAINE: Yes. From what I understand, he'd been involved with a woman
who died, he'd gotten to big, big stardom kind of early on, and with
that kind of money coming in, that kind of life change, it makes you
very, very vulnerable. [unclear] one thing happened to me: I got...I
befriended a woman who'd been in involved in this acting class, and
right at the point that I got some big television work in California,
she clamped onto me...I was involved in the class, an overly-priced
class, and there's a whole...it's easy when you're vulnerable and
young to sort of be, you know, a victim of mind control. It's so
easy, it's not even funny.

LEHRER: Elaine, thanks so much for calling us.

ELAINE: You're welcome. Thank you for this show.

LEHRER: Very briefly, in about thirty seconds, Cynthia Kisser, any
comments on John Travolta or Tom Cruise?

KISSER: Well, of course, even Hitler had people who were academicians
and had good reputations and people who were famous they used as
front-people, and the problem is these people don't understand the
inner workings of this movement. They have been treated with
[unclear] gloves, so to speak. But in closing, I just want to stress
to your listeners: number one, don't be calling the Cult Awareness
Network now, because it's being run by people associated with
Scientology, because of the fact that they were able to buy our trade
name through the bankruptcy court. And secondly, consider asking
Congress...your congressperson to have some kind of a look into this
whole thing of how they got this secret deal with the IRS and how our
taxpayer money went to letting them write their own press releases to
mail around the world the world at our expense through the American
government to glorify the fact that they are now recognized as a
religion. There's things going on here that I think need to be
brought out into the open and the public's going to have to demand
that because the old Cult Awareness Network isn't able to be an
advocacy board any more.

LEHRER: Well, I did leave about 30 or 40 seconds for you to just say
one thing about the Heaven's Gate cult that's in the news today. Is
this one that you used to follow too?

KISSER: We actually had gotten calls on it and they used to do
recruiting tours in the...earlier in the 90s and come through and take
out ads in papers. We could not have, of course, predicted this
tragedy, and that's one of the things about the need for education for
young people about warning signs to look at when you join an
organization, questions to ask, and when you should be willing to back
out of a group if you start seeing the wrong kind of pressure and
activity. Unfortunately, quite likely, those people who joined that
group never got that kind of education.

LEHRER: Cynthia Kisser, former director of what was the Cult Awareness
Network, thank you very much for being with us today. I appreciate
it.

KISSER: Thank you for having me on.
--
James A. Cherry (http://www.doe.carleton.ca/~jac/) "Pretty much..."


From: jac@doe.carleton.ca (James A. Cherry)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: TRANSCRIPT: WYNC Fri Mar 28 1997, 3/3
Date: 31 Mar 1997 22:18:16 GMT
Organization: Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Lines: 122
Message-ID: <5hpd78$bmq@bertrand.ccs.carleton.ca>
NNTP-Posting-Host: emma.doe.carleton.ca
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]

Here's a transcript of part of the WYNC "On the Line" radio program
from Fri Mar 28 1997, hosted by Brian Lehrer. A RealAudio version
of this may be found at http://www.bway.net/~keith/index.html. This
is a transcript of http://www.bway.net/~keith/ontheli3.ram.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

LEHRER: ...because it's going to tie together the first and second hours
of this program today. Angela, in Manhattan, you're on the line.

ANGELA: Hi, how are you?

LEHRER: I'm OK, how are you?

ANGELA: Good, thank you. So, I'm a Scientologist, and I was calling
because I heard you were talking about Scientology, and also to share
some things that L. Ron Hubbard has said about art and how that might
tie into television --

LEHRER: Did you hear the first hour?

ANGELA: Actually, I...I, unfortunately, did not hear it, so I don't
even really know...what was discussed.

LEHRER: Go ahead.

ANGELA: Um...well, you were talking about television and spirituality
on television. And one of the things that L. Ron Hubbard has said about
art is that a culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are
dreamed by artists. So I'm looking at television as a medium for
artists to create, um, images to give to society, and that it's very
important that artists be allowed to create things that are uplifting,
and if that happens to be a spiritual message, that's great. If it's
something else that people find uplifting, it makes a difference on the
wellness of the society, the images that the artists portray. And they
have a great power when they do uplift people --

LEHRER: Angela, do you mind my asking...how you got involved in
Scientology?

ANGELA: Actually, that's a very interesting question. I have a friend
who is actually, um, a published author -- if I mentioned this person,
you would probably know who they were -- and they were doing very well
with their art, and I'm an artist. And they said, "Hey, you know, this
thing, Scientology, has really helped me do well as an artist, as a
person in my relationships with other people, and just as a human being
it's really helped me. And I would like you to, you know, look into it
if you think it's something that you might be interested in." And I
did; basically, I did a lot of reading --

LEHRER: Recruit, recruit, recruit, Angela!

ANGELA: Well, I -- I just read a lot of the books that L. Ron Hubbard
wrote, and I found the info...you know how when you read something and
you know it's true, you go, "Oh, God! I always knew that," or, "That's
how I've always felt." It can be in literature --

LEHRER: Well, do you believe that human beings are made of clusters of
spirits called Thetans who were banished to Earth some 75 million years
ago by the rulers of the planet Xenu --

ANGELA: [nervous laugh]

LEHRER: -- as apparently L. Ron Hubbard believed?

ANGELA: Well, you know, that's the kind of thing you hear people say all
the time in the media. You hear people...say these things that they
hear -- I don't know where they get started or how they get passed
around --

LEHRER: Well, for example, we had a caller last hour who read something
to that effect from, uh, L. Ron Hubbard's own handwriting that was
distributed on the Internet.

ANGELA: You know, there's a whole lot of, um, science fiction that L.
Ron Hubbard wrote, and I think sometimes people get that confused with
the data that he developed with Dianetics. And there's study technology
that helps people to learn better, you know. And I think sometimes people
are confusing that kind of stuff with actually...technology that millions
of people around the planet use every day to improve their lives --

LEHRER: Would it bother you if he did believe that?

ANGELA: In Scientology, it...and in anything, I think it should be that
whatever is true for you is what's true. If someone --

LEHRER: [talking over her] Ultimate relativism, Angela?

ANGELA: No, it's not ultimate relativism. If you observe something
through empirical study to be true, then, you know, that's what's true
for you. If you haven't observed that, which I haven't, about coming
from another -- you know, whatever you just said -- then that's not true
for me. I don't need to know if that's true or not to apply study
technology to my life and read better and be able to help my children
read better and to do well in school.

LEHRER: How much does it cost to get audited?

ANGELA: You know, people can learn...you can buy the book "Dianetics",
and you can audit your family for free. Anyone who reads "Dianetics"
can be an auditor: there's no...you don't have to pay for that. That's
another misconception, is that it's all about money, when there's
information in books that people can buy for $5 and they've got that
information and what they do with it is up to them.

LEHRER: Thank you for calling us.

ANGELA: You're welcome.

LEHRER: Well, that got a little bit off the track of, uh, television and
spirituality in prime time. But that's where we're going to close it
with the managing editor of TV Guide, Jack Curry. Jack, you missed our
first hour which was all about Scientology, so we managed to --

CURRY: I just caught enough of it right there.

LEHRER: -- pull the two together, heh heh, at the end of this one.
Thank you very much for being with us.

CURRY: Right.
--
James A. Cherry (http://www.doe.carleton.ca/~jac/) "Pretty much..."