60 Minutes, CBS, 28 December 1997.
Almost all of the text is at:
I reformatted it, transcribed the last couple sentences at the end
that were missing, and put descriptions of the video in.
Descriptions of video in [brackets]. VO=Voiceover of Lesley Stahl.
[Backdrop: Title: CAN, the Cult Awareness Network]
LESLEY STAHL (in studio): There was a time if you were worried about
your son or daughter being in a cult, you could get help from a small,
non-profit organization called the Cult Awareness Network, or CAN, for
20 years the nation's best-known resource for information and advice
about groups it considered dangerous. Among them was Scientology, a
church not known for turning the other cheek. But church officials
say Scientology is just another tax-exempt religion that helps
millions of people worldwide, including actors John Travolta and Tom
Cruise. And while Scientology did attack its enemies in the past,
church officials say they don't do that anymore. But recently, the
Cult Awareness Network was forced into bankruptcy, and its leaders
blame the Church of Scientology.
[new CAN office]
VO: Today, CAN is under new management.
RECEPTIONIST (answering phone): Hello, Cult Awareness Network.
VO: Now, when you call looking for information about a cult, chances
are the person you're talking to is a Scientologist.
[workers at CAN office]
VO: Ashley's one; so is Bob. Everyone we met in the office was a
Scientologist. Last year, a member of the church bought CAN's name,
logo, and hotline number in bankruptcy court for $20,000.
STACY YOUNG: This is a dream come true for Scientology.
[Stacy Youngs Sea Org ID card, photo]
VO: Stacy young would know. She was a member of the church for 15
years, including its elite Sea Organization. She also worked in the
Office of Special Affairs, and was managing editor of its "Freedom"
[Stacy Young at her computer, cat jumping down on the desk]
VO: She left in 1989, and has been a paid consultant in lawsuits
YOUNG: the Cult Awareness Network was the only organization in the
country where parents could call and say, you know, "Ive lost my
child into this cult. What do I do?"
VO: she says Scientology sets out to destroy anyone who criticizes
YOUNG: Someone who speaks publicly against scientology is targeted
for a campaign of harassment, character assassination, financial ruin.
There's a policy that says, specifically, "If possible, ruin them
[HCOPL of December 1965, "Fair Game" Lawthe words "THE FAIR GAME
LAW", "Fair game" and "destroyed" highlighted]
VO: She is talking about a church directive-- this one-- the "Fair
Game" law, that says a person or group that publicly criticizes the
church is "fair game," and can be "destroyed." Stacy Young and others
do not believe the church when it says it no longer harasses its
STAHL (in front of Scientology building, by sign saying "Can you
increase confidence and self respect?"): Now, the church says,
Scientology, originally known as Dianetics, is a benevolent religion,
with anti-drug programs and literacy projects that helps its followers
increase their confidence.
[camera backs up to show rest of the sign--on top of the sign is a
picture of the "Dianetics" book]
STAHL: A central doctrine goes like this: 75 million years ago, a
tyrant named Xenu transported people from outer space to Earth,
dropped them in volcanoes, then exploded hydrogen bombs on them. That
experience is the root of all human misery today.
[picture of Scientology church]
VO: Scientology offers to help people overcome that misery, charging
as much as $50,000 in a year.
[picture of "Time" magazine issue with cover story about Scientology:
"Scientology: The Cult of Greed"]
VO: It's one of the reasons why "Time" magazine calls Scientology
"The cult of greed."
[Stahl and Cynthia Kisser walking down the street]
VO: One of "Times" principal sources was Cynthia Kisser, who was
CAN's executive director.
STAHL: You said, "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the
most classically terroristic, the most litigious, and the most
lucrative cult the country has ever seen." Whoa, that was very
powerful. Do you stand by that?
KISSER: Oh, more than ever, more than ever. ii mean, everything
they've done since then just proves that quote.
VO: Cynthia Kisser says a Fair Game attack on CAN started in the
1980's, and Stacy Young says she was part of it.
YOUNG: Some of the staff who were assigned to the Cult Awareness
Network would brief us about--
STAHL: You mean there were people specifically assigned?
YOUNG: Oh, yes, that was their whole job. that was all they did.
STAHL: Was CAN?
YOUNG: Was CAN, that's right. And so, our whole orientation was,
well, what have you done this week to get rid of CAN, and how, how
well have you done to discredit the leaders of CAN? How much progress
have you made on disrupting this group?
[footage of Scieno picketers with signs saying "CAN is a hate group",
"No more hate, no more riots", "Stop hate mongering in Los Angeles,
dont support CAN", "CAN kidnappers get out of LA", Stop Religious
Hate Crimes, Stop Ku Klux CAN".]
VO: To do it, she says the church used picketers at CANs
conventions, and waged smear campaigns.
VO: Attorney Kendrick Moxon does most of the church's legal work, and
he is a devout Scientologist.
STAHL: We are told, Mr. Moxon, that a small army of private
investigators was hired by your law firm to go out and dig up dirt on
members of CAN--Cynthia Kisser specifically--and anything else they
could find. Is that true?
MOXON: No, its not true.
STAHL: Now, a lot of lawyers hire private eyes to dig up dirt on
people. I mean, now, we were even hearing...
MOXON: I don't know. I know... I've heard that people do that, and I
know that the media does that, but I don't know that a lot of lawyers
do that. I don't do that.
VO: He acknowledges using private detectives, but not for the purpose
of digging up dirt.
[picture of detective permit for Michael Shomers].
VO: But former private eye Michael Shomers says Moxon's law firm
hired him to do just that.
SHOMERS: Find the sleaze--to find the hidden alcoholism, to find the
hidden drug abuse, if that was the case.
STAHL: The sex life?
SHOMERS: The sex lives.
STAHL: Bad debts?
[Scientology org in Washington D.C., handwritten notes about Cynthia
Kisser and other CAN members--some excerpts include "loose cannon?"
"rude, crude--acolholic?". "Con. Waxman", "Cynthia Kisser" are
VO: He says he got his marching orders during a meeting right in the
Scientology Church in Washington, D.C. He says a staffer briefed him
on CAN, and jotted down notes that Shomers kept. He says he was told
to investigate CAN and its purported allies: I.R.S. officials, and
Congressman Henry Waxman of California. And he was told to dig up
enough dirt on Cynthia Kisser to destroy her reputation and intimidate
her into silence.
[another highlighted part of notes: "Topless dancer at Blue Note (15
STAHL: It says "Topless dancer at the Blue Note in Tucson, Arizona.
SHOMERS: Thats correct.
STAHL: So, did you investigate that?
SHOMERS: Yes, I did.
STAHL: Was she a topless dancer?
STAHL: Did you tell the Church of Scientology--
SHOMERS: Yes, I did--
STAHL: ...That these were...these allegations were not true?
SHOMERS: Thats correct.
MOXON: I don't know if she's a topless dancer or not.
STAHL: Did you tell our producer that you didn't believe that was
MOXON: I told your producer that I thought, looking at Cynthia
Kisser, it seemed improbable that she could have been a topless dancer
because of the way she looks.
[Moxon walking down hall]
VO: Yet despite his own view and the evidence from investigator
Shomers, Moxon, also a minister in the church, persisted in bringing
MOXON: I mean, that... we got a declaration already indicating that
she had been a topless dancer.
STAHL: I can't believe you are continuing to talk about her being a
MOXON: Why? That was one of the allegations.
STAHL: But you've even said you don't even think she was one. That's
MOXON: I don't--Lesley, there's a declaration from a woman swearing
that she was a topless dancer.
STAHL: Were you a topless dancer?
KISSER: No. And later, the person that they claimed told them that
retracted it, issued a retraction, saying that it wasn't true.
[pictures of "Freedom" magazine, anti-CAN Scieno literature]
VO: Kisser says Scientology also used its publications to label CAN a
criminal outfit, and then contacted police and members of Congress
with specific charges. President of the Church of Scientology,
Reverend Heber Jentzsch, repeated the accusations to us.
JENTZSCH: Kidnapping people, holding them against their will, beating
up on people, pistol whipping, safe houses where they hold people
against their will, rape of their victims, that sort of thing.
STAHL (in office): Jentzsch accuses CAN of kidnapping people out of
cults and then trying to deprogram them. Defenders of the practice
call them "rescues," which are perfectly legal when they involve
youngsters under 18. But Scientology says CAN was involved in illegal
deprogramming of adults, and they sent us reams of documents they say
are examples, including the sworn declaration of a former deprogrammer
named Mark Blocksom.
[Moxon and Jentzsch sitting together]
MOXON: I've got it right here.
MOXON: Mark Blocksom said he was involved in a number of...of
kidnappings. He said he was involved in one with Cynthia Kisser,
where he actually worked for CAN. He got... he got many referrals
from CAN. He said most of his referrals were from CAN.
[Mark Blocksom walking down sidewalk]
VO: So we tracked down Mark Blocksom and asked him about it.
STAHL: How would you describe that sworn declaration of yours?
BLOCKSOM: It's embellished, to say the least. It's not--its not
STAHL: You lied.
BLOCKSOM: Yes, I did.
STAHL: Why did you lie?
BLOCKSOM: I saw it as a means to maybe get... support my habit.
[Blocksom walking down sidewalk]
VO: He says he was a drug addict when he signed that declaration five
years ago after he was approached by one of Moxon's private
detectives. Blocksom maintains there was an implied promise of
money, which never materialized, if he could implicate CAN and Kisser
in illegal deprogramming. Clean and sober now, Blocksom wants to set
the record straight.
BLOCKSOM: Well, I spoke with Kendrick Moxon not long ago.
STAHL: Did you tell you had lied?
BLOCKSOM: Yes, and it irritates me that they persist in using this
statement as a propaganda tool to support their position about Cult
STAHL (in office): But the church accuses CAN of coercing Blocksom's
change of testimony. For its part, CAN says that while it did permit
deprogrammers to attend its conventions, it was never involved in
illegal deprogramming, and in fact, CAN was never charged with a crime
VO: Even Michael Shomers, the church's own investigator, couldn't
find any evidence of one.
STAHL: Did you ever find that they were deprogramming people, or
involved in that?
SHOMERS: Never heard anybody at any meeting at any time.
STAHL: Ever mention deprogramming.
STAHL: So when you sent your reports in into the Church of
Scientology, were they disappointed with you?
SHOMERS: Yes, they were. They just keep on going. There had to be
something. They knew that there just had to be something, but there
simply wasn't anything.
[Cynthia Kisser, picture of bunch of letters sent by Scienos to CAN,
including "Model Letter" with "(to be put in own words)" hand written
VO: Cynthia Kisser says the church's final assault on CAN began when
hundreds of Scientologists from around the country wrote virtually
identical letters asking to become members of CAN. Included among
them was this model letter with instruction "to be put in your own
words." Fearing, she says, the church was out to take control of CAN,
Kisser denied their applications to join.
VO: CAN was then hit with a barrage of lawsuits by individual
Scientologists, claiming religious discrimination.
KISSER: I got hit with 12 suits in one week. I would open the door,
a process server would give me a suit. They were suing us all over
the country, sometimes simultaneously.
[document titled "Scientology-related cases CAN and members have
faced" with the lists of plaintiffs, defendants, and jurisdictions]
VO: In all, CAN was hit with more than 50 lawsuits. Even though most
of the suits were eventually dropped or won by CAN, she says the cost
of defending them, nearly $2 million, drove CAN to the brink of
[Moxon and Jentzsch]
STAHL: Would you concede, Reverend Jentzsch, that at least part of
the motivation for the lawsuits was to get CAN, was to silence them?
JENTZSCH: I would say that the individuals who were involved
definitely wanted to do something about CAN. What are you going to do
when they're trying to destroy you? Look, if you're a Jew--
STAHL: Youre saying nothing--
JENTZSCH: If you're... if you're... if you're a Jew, no... no Jew is
going to cry about the fact that the Nazi Party is gone. If you're an
African-American, no one is going to cry that the KKK is gone. I am
not crying because CAN is gone, OK? They were a vicious group--
STAHL: Thats not my question--
JENTZSCH: They tried to destroy us.
STAHL: My question is, would you concede that at least part of what
happened with those lawsuits was a deliberate attempt to harass and
intimidate them into silence?
JENTZSCH: No, absolutely not.
STAHL: Well, you're not going to make us believe that there were
these 30 or 50 lawsuits that's... all sprang up, you know, just
serendipitously. There must have--
MOXON: They didnt--they didnt spring up serendipitously. A number
of Scientologists came to our firm and said, "I'm being discriminated
against by CAN." We have these complaints--
STAHL: Well, wait--
MOXON: In the computer.
STAHL: Who was telling them to try to join?
MOXON: Nope! Oh, who was telling them to try to join CAN in the
MOXON: I don't know. It was a kind of a grass-roots movement of
Scientologists that wanted to go to CAN and dialogue with them.
YOUNG: 50 people all across the country suddenly all decided in
unison, "We need to sue CAN." I don't think so. This is not the way
[picture of Stacy Young]
VO: Stacy Young says she sat in on staff meetings where the
litigation campaign against CAN was discussed.
YOUNG: Once they put CAN in their sights with regard to litigation,
it was only a matter of time before they were gonna find a case that
they could use to put them out of business.
[pictures of Jason Scott]
VO: That case came in the person of Jason Scott, an 18-yr-old member
not of Scientology, but of a fringe Pentecostal church in Bellevue,
Washington. One of CAN's volunteers referred Jason's mother to a
deprogrammer, who kidnapped Jason.
[Lesley Stahl and Jason Scott walking down sidewalk]
VO: CAN was never charged in the case, and the deprogrammer who was,
was acquitted. Jason says a lawyer in Moxon's firm then recommended
that he file a civil suit.
SCOTT: Hes like, "This thing is worth millions. Lets get em."
STAHL: Did they specifically say that you should sue CAN?
SCOTT: Mm-hmm. Oh, yes. That was, that was the kicker, is CAN.
"We've got to get CAN involved."
STAHL (in office): So Jason sued. Kendrick Moxon was his lawyer.
And despite CAN's insistence that it had nothing to do with illegal
deprogramming, the jury disagreed, so did the judge, and the $1.8
million CAN was ordered to pay Jason forced it into bankruptcy.
[article with headline "Washington man awarded judgement against CAN,
other defendants", CAN newsletter with headline "Cult Awareness
Network files Chapter Seven Bankruptcy/ceases daily operations"]
[new CAN office]
RECEPTIONIST (answering phone): Hello, Cult Awareness Network.
VO: And that's why, when you visit CAN's new headquarters in
Hollywood, you can find out about all the good things the Church is
[new CAN pamphlets: "Facts about deprogramming: A stain on our
heritage of religious tolerance", "A novel approach: How to bring
family and friends back together", and "Fact vs. Fiction:
Scientology: the inside story at last"]
STAHL (in studio): Since Stacy Young began speaking out, she believes
the church has waged a "fair game" attack against her, including what
she calls attempts to sabotage her business, a small non-profit animal
sanctuary in Seattle. The Church denies it. We, on the other hand,
deny the Churchs accusation that we have a conflict of interest in
this story because producer Richard Bonin has an aunt whos a lawyer
involved in litigation against the Church. Though thats true, our
producers Aunt Lita had nothing to do with our story.
Download the newest Xemu flyer
Is Scientology compatible with Christianity?