Monday, 21 May 2012

Did Scientology Beliefs Lead to Murder?

When people think about deaths resulting from religious beliefs that oppose modern medicine, they might first think about Jehovah's Witnesses who refuse blood products or Christian Scientists who object to much of modern medical practice. Where does Scientology come into this? Scientology objects to psychiatric medication and this may have led to murder in one case.
Jeremy Perkins, who had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, came to believe that his mother, Elli, was evil and out to get him. Experts say the brutal murder might never have occurred, had he received proper treatment to control his psychotic delusions. But Jeremy’s parents were devout Scientologists and their religion strongly opposes psychiatric treatment. ...

A lawyer for Jeremy's father told 48 Hours that Jeremy was seen by both physicians and mental health practitioners, including a psychiatrist. But court records unsealed by 48 Hours indicate that Jeremy’s treatment was limited to mostly vitamins and other holistic healing methods. The family filled prescriptions for an anti-anxiety drug and a sleeping aid. Medical experts and a doctor who treated Jeremy after the murder dismiss these methods as ineffective for an individual with paranoid schizophrenia.

Source: CBS News
Obviously no one can guarantee that Jeremy Perkins never would have done anything violent had he received proper treatment and medication instead of Scientology's pseudoscientific attention. It's not at all unreasonable, though to argue that Scientology played a role here and that this case may serve as evidence that reliance on Scientology rather than science is not a good idea when you're ill.
This may explain why there appears to be evidence that the Church of Scientology may have moved quickly to cover up ties between them and the family. Given how much they invest in telling people how wonderful their system is, it would be bad publicity if their system is connected to murder in any way:
After Jeremy stabbed his mother, the church began covering trails that could link Jeremy Perkins to Scientology, according to Dunning and her husband. "This was a black eye they were afraid of," said Rich Dunning, Anne-Marie's husband and the deputy executive director before the couple left Scientology in May 2003.

There were other concerns. Elli Perkins was classified in the church as an "Operating Thetan," meaning she was an upper-level Scientologist. Bad things, let alone grisly murders, aren't supposed to happen to them, Anne-Marie Dunning said. "They're afraid it will show OTs are not any different than anyone else, and that's what they're selling," she said. "If she has her salvation, why would she be brutally murdered by her son?"

According to the Dunnings, this is what happened immediately after Elli Perkins was killed:

A handful of the church's national leaders arrived at Buffalo Niagara International Airport from New York City and Clearwater, Fla., within 24 to 36 hours of Elli Perkins' death.

Also flying in from New York was a member of the Office of Special Affairs, the church's legal bureau.

The out-of-town officers gathered Buffalo's church management and instructed them not to discuss Perkins' death with anybody, especially reporters.

"They told us, "Don't say anything, we will handle this. It's a job for the higher-ups,' " Rich Dunning recalled. That included leaving out any reference to Scientology in Elli Perkins' obituary, although memorial donations were solicited for the Church of Scientology in a paid death notice.

Source: Buffalo News
It looks like this case inspired the Buffalo News to do a series on the Church of Scientology and its many questionable or criticized practices. This is a summary of the things which the reporter found when researching the organization and interviewing people about their experiences:
Scientology can tear apart families. The Buffalo church pressures some of its members to sever contact from loved ones critical of Scientology.

It uses deceptive practices. Some of the Buffalo church's recruitment methods - such as a "free personality test" - lack professional credibility.

The church seeks legitimacy through government alliances. The Buffalo church wooed city and Erie County officials in an attempt to escape its reputation as a cult. Mayor Anthony M. Masiello obliged by declaring "Church of Scientology of Buffalo Day"; county jail officials joined church officials in trying to bring a Scientology-related drug program to Erie County Holding Center.

It practices intimidation and harassment. The Church of Scientology has a history of using lawsuits to silence critics, and private investigators to spy on them.

Spiritual pursuit is costly. Advancing personal spirituality within the Church of Scientology can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To varying extents, some of these points can be true of other religious organizations. Small fundamentalist Christian churches may encourage members to have little to do with unsaved family members, for example. Many larger Christian churches obviously seek greater legitimacy and publicity through government alliances — that's far too common, in fact. Such mainstream churches do not, however, pressure members to sever contact with family members that are critical of the church and I'm not aware of any mainstream religious groups that practice anything like intimidation and harassment. 


  1. Cults do get people killed!
    50 times as many men,women,children have been killed by the Watchtower society ban on *whole* blood transfusions than at Jonestown kool-aid mass murders.

    Jehovah's Witnesses *blood transfusion confusion*.
    In 2012 God's will and scripture got nothing to do with the Jehovah's Witnesses position on use of blood products.
    It is 100 percent what will play out in a secular court of law as to the parent Watchtower being held liable for deaths.
    Most Jehovah's Witnesses rushed to the ER with massive blood loss will scream NO BLOOD right up to their last breath,The shocker is they can NOW have most of the blood components that will pull them through,but they are so indoctrinated that blood is forbidden that they can't comprehend the loopholes.
    The Watchtower has drilled and grilled us that our STAND ON BLOOD IS NON NEGOTIABLE.
    The loopholes that allow blood usage is to save the Watchtower corporation money from blood death liability suits.
    This is a truly evil organization that would sacrifice tens of thousands of men,women,children for the almighty dollar.
    The blood products ban has been in force since 1945 the buzz today about it being a *personal conscience matter* and the hope of new medical advances like artificial blood don't undo all those who have past perished.
    The New York city based Watchtower sect is concerned foremost with liability lawsuits for wrongful death.They know that if they repeal the ban on *whole* blood transfusion,that it will open the door for legal examination of all the thousands who have died since 1945.
    Danny Haszard FMI dannyhaszard(dot)com *tell the truth don't be afraid*

  2. Hello Danny,
    Thank you for your comment. I have had a look at your blogs, website. Some amazing work you have done.

    I am sorry for your upbringing in the Jehovah's. I am familiar with them, I used to have a couple of Jehovah witness friends and at one time I also was plagued by them, not the friends, the Jehovah's.

    The last time they knocked on my door, I told them I grew up in Scientology,enough cults for a lifetime.

    There are so many similarities between all the cults/sects. Something does need to be done about them.

    I shall certainly be reading more of your blogs.

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