Saturday, 10 August 2013

On this day...

 Not on this day...but posted because of it's importance

The Prisoners of Saint Hill: The Scientologists call it 'baby-watching ...


Ex-Scientologists express bitterness
Date: Sunday, 10 August 1980
Publisher: Las Vegas Review Journal
Author: Sherman R. Frederick
Main source: link (699 KiB)


Carol Garrity and Dick and Janie Peterson don't call Scientology a church anymore.

After dropping about $40,000 in five years into church courses and training, they left the church three weeks ago disillusioned, angry and humiliated.

Is Scientology a church?

"No!" they answer.

"You never hear mention of God or any praying," Dick Peterson said of the church that won tax-exempt status only after a 19-year court battle with the IRS.

"It doesn't operate like a church," Garrity added. "It's run like a business. They (church members) run covert operations on people. That's not a church. I mean a church is where you go to get help."

Garrity and the Petersons occupied high positions in the Las Vegas church before they defected.

The Petersons were two of the highest trained church members locally; Janie was former president of the board of the church and Garrity was the top spokesman for the church in Nevada, Utah and Arizona.

"I feel real embarrassed; I couldn't believe I was so stupid," Janie Peterson said.

"Now I just want to get moving in the right direction. I've been off track for five years."

Garrity, who spent most of her time trying to foster good public relations for the church, now thinks the church employs a form of brainwashing in maintaining its members.

"I think it is a highly sophisticated technique of programming," she said.

"You start out in Scientology and you do find some good things, but I found that the upper levels had me ... feeling very different and alienated from normal, everyday people."

Since Scientology drills "always work," you are made to believe something is wrong with you if you doubt the technology, she said.

"What you think is what L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology founder) writes in his policy statements. If you disagree then they tell you we have 'misunderstood' because Hubbard can't be wrong."

For example, Dick Peterson detailed two experiences in his training.

"When you get to (one upper level) you're supposed to be able to leave your body and read books and turn pages. You can also control another person's body and enter the bodies of cats and dogs."

One of the exercises a student is supposed to do is leave his body and find someone on vacation and order them to send the student a post card.

Later, "I asked a lot of (persons who went through the level) if they ever received their postcards and they said, 'Hell no.'

"I was in such a mental state then that I actually thought I was doing it. You think it occurs, and if it doesn't you think something is wrong with you," Dick said.

In another level, students are taught there are invisible beings called Body Thetans in and attached to a person's body. Through auditing (a counseling process) the Body Thetans are sent away.

"When all the BTs are out of you, you then go on to another course where you learn there are still more BTs that have to be audited out," Dick said.

After leaving Scientology, remembering Body-Thetan and cat-control exercises make Garrity and the Petersons laugh. But the smiles disappear when the subject of how much it costs to take Scientology training is mentioned.

In five years, Garrity spent about $10,000 at the church. Janie Peterson spent about $12,000 and her husband sunk in about $18,000.

Beginning courses only cost about $10. But the more advanced a student gets, the more it costs. Other basic courses usually cost about $100.

But the advanced training costs about $3,500 a level, they said. And then a new course called New Era Dianetics, which was only introduced recently, costs about $20,000.

All through the course progression, members buy counseling time — called auditing. The auditing, which is done with the aid of a machine called an E-Meter, costs about $3,500 a week (about 12½ hours of counseling).

The E-Meter, an invention of founder Hubbard, is made up of two tin cans attached, to a gauge by a wire. The student holds the cans and answers questions from the auditors, who supposedly are then able to detect problems with the student through the E-Meter and correct them.

Many Las Vegans become involved in the Church of Scientology when they answer a personality questionnaire bulk-mailed to area zip codes.

When a person fills out the questionnaire, he is later called and asked to come to the church to have his personality analyzed.

Once inside, church members identify a flaw in the individual's personality and push a course they claim will correct the problem. Those courses usually cost about $5-10, Garrity said.

Dick said his "flaw" was a fear of dying. So he took the inexpensive basic courses and progressed all they way up through the highest and most expensive course offered locally in hope of solving it.

Five years and $18,000 later, Dick found his fear of dying "never got handled." Although he does not fear dying as much now as before, he said, overall "I'm much worse off than I ever was when I got in."

Because of the expense involved with Scientology, zealous members take out loans to pay for courses. 

Others sell their worldly goods and become staff members.

Garrity said she sold her house and car and put it on account at the church when she went on staff. The not-so-unusual move enabled her to pay for the training she desired and still exist on the meager salary paid a staff member.

As the top spokesman for the church in three states, Garrity was paid anywhere from nothing to $30 per week. "Usually about $10 a week," she said.
Vaughn Young, a spokesman for the church from Los Angeles, took issue with allegation Scientology courses are too expensive.

"I agree it takes a lot of money," he said, but added Garrity and the Petersons are "obviously dissatisfied" and drew an analogy between paying for Scientology courses and paying for college.

"There are people that wouldn't give you a dime for a college education. Others will hock their house to go," he said.

In addition, he said if Garrity and the Petersons desire any or all of the money back they spend on church courses and training, they can have it.

Concerning the feelings that Scientology can't deliver what it promises, Young said, "There are thousands of people who would disagree with the three or four in Las Vegas and they are clearly outvoted."

He also called Dick Peterson's comments about the specifics of his upper-level training in "bad taste."

He likened it to "the sort of thing you'd find in Ireland" where a Protestant might make a cruel joke about the Roman Catholic religion and a Roman Catholic might make a cruel joke about the Protestant religion.

And about the question of whether Scientology is a church, it is a religion "without a doubt," Young said. "Even the IRS says it is."

Garrity and the Petersons were into Scientology just about as deeply as one can get. Why did they get out?

All three, in different words, said they simply woke up and saw Scientology as a business, not a church.

"I started to take a look at what I got out of Scientology and saw that I really didn't get what I was supposed to get out of it," Janie said.

"We figured Ron (Hubbard) was nuts,'' her husband said.

An aggressive proponent of Scientology who often tried to stop newspapers from printing negative stories about the church, Garrity succinctly described how she now feels:


[Picture / Caption: CAROL GARRITY ... humiliated]
[Picture / Caption: J. PETERSON ... embarrassed]
[Picture / Caption: STRING ATTACHED — When Carol Garrity left the Church of Scientology she requested and received all the money she still had on account at the church. The check she received, however, had a stipulation on the back that she could not agree with. Her lawyer is now researching ways to cash the check and render the notation on the back meaningless.]

[Picture / Caption: WEEKLY PAY — Andrew Boone kept receipts. Lots of them. His receipts give a black-and-white account of the financial life of a Scientology staff member. Shown above are sample receipts of his weekly pay. Boone became involved with the church in 1977, but left three weeks ago when four other high level Scientologists defected from the local church. They were Carol Garrity, the top spokesman for the Church in Nevada, Utah and Arizona, and her husband, Paul, the treasurer of the local church; and Janie and Dick Peterson, two of the highest trained church counselors in the Valley.]

Treasury agents said probing sect
Date: Friday, 10 August 1984
Publisher: Clearwater Sun (Florida)
Author: George-Wayne Shelor
Main source: link (153 KiB)

The United States Treasury Department's Criminal Investigations Division has mounted an in-depth investigation into the activities of the Clearwater-based Church of Scientology, the Clearwater Sun has learned.

In the past several weeks, Treasury agents have traveled across the United States interviewing a number of former Scientologists—including some who held positions of immense power and influence in the worldwide sect prior to their defection, sources said.

Spokesmen for the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service in Tampa and Los Angeles, citing Department of Justice guidelines, could neither confirm nor deny the investigation Thursday.

"We are unable to comment on pending criminal investigations," said Lowell Langers of the Los Angeles IRS office. "The only thing we can comment on is what is already a matter of public record."

However confidential sources have told the Sun that the investigation is, indeed, "in in the works."

The sources, who agreed to talk with a Sun reporter only on the condition they were granted anonymity, said federal investigators have expressed interest in the financial holdings of the Church of Scientology, founded 34 years ago by reclusive science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

"I was approached by agents of the Treasury Department, and they asked me to tell them literally everything I knew about the financial transactions of the church and its founder," said one of those interviewed by authorities.

"They were also concerned with the principals of the Church of Scientology."

Another former Scientologist acknowledged that investigators have requested any and all documentation relating to the "financial network" of the sect.

The federal investigation comes on the heels of recent court revelations, previously reported in the Sun, detailing an alleged complex sect scheme, directed by Hubbard, to create a myriad of shell corporations to funnel much of the sect's monies to Hubbard's personal bank accounts overseas.

According to former sect insiders, Hubbard has "bankrupted" his own organization by diverting more than $100 million through dummy corporations such as Religious Research Foundation (RRF) and the Religious Technology Center (RTC), among others.

Court testimony and documents indicate the operation also involved shielding Hubbard—who has not been seen publicly for four years—from criminal and civil proceedings by creating the illusion that he is no longer connected with Scientology.

Such an operation is detailed in tape recordings known as the "MCCS Tapes," recorded during a Sept. 29, 1980 "strategy meeting" of the sect's Mission Corporation Catagory Sort-Out.

The Sun has obtained a partial transcript of the tapes—currently under court-mandated seal in Los Angeles Superior Court—on which a Scientologist in the sect's Legal Bureau calls the operation "a classic case of inurement, if not fraud."

And Gerald Armstrong—the sect's former archivist and member of Hubbard's "inner circle"—has submitted sworn statements to various courts that Hubbard "received millions of dollars through a dummy corporation (RFF) specifically set up to funnel money to him which should have been paid to CSC (the Church of Scientology of California) by foreign customers paying for 'Flag' services in Clearwater, Florida."

The sect has come under fire in recent months in courts from California to Canada and Europe. And the Treasury Department's investigation brings to at least eight the number of law enforcement agencies the Sun has learned are presently investigating the organization.

The Clearwater Police Department and the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's office have acknowledged investigations into the sect's activities locally, and the Department of Justice in Tampa is reportedly investigating an alleged sect scheme to entrap a federal judge who was presiding over a sect trial.

In Canada, the Ontario Provincial Police are in the midst of a massive criminal investigation into suspected fraud on the part of the Church of Scientology, and law enforcement agencies in England and West Germany are also probing the suspected criminal stature of the sect.

And the IRS has been involved in litigation with the sect for a number of years. One case in particular, regarding the sect's tax-exempt status in the United States, is presently under federal appeal.

Letters // Rubber and Glue // I Remember Mammon
Date: Friday, 10 August 1984
Publisher: L.A. Weekly (California)
Main source: link (166 KiB)

Rubber and Glue

Dear Editor:
I am a member of the Church of Scientology. I have been so officially since I took my first course in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1971. I find your article ("Did Scientology Defraud Members?" L.A. Weekly, July 20-26) rather disgusting — which is a personal remark, so I won't spend column inches indulging my repugnance.

So, to go right to the point. The Church of Scientology as a group and as it represents the applied religious philosophy of L. Ron Hubbard has done more to contribute to a safe and sane world than any other group extant today. Scientologists all over the world break their fannies to help others, and I find it rather typical and disgusting that some criminal types who inveigh against being found out regarding their own revolting crimes get your attention. Those "former officials" are not nice people. They are liars of the [?]liest sort. I guarantee you that in order for those "former officials" to be bellowing about fraud, they have been quite fraudulent themselves.

As for your much-heralded Michael Flynn, he is a lawyer who will probably be disbarred in the not too distant future. You failed to include his sordid history with deprogrammer Ted Patrick. You know good old Ted. He's the kind of guy that tries to deprogram devout Roman Catholics from believing in God or any religion at all. Well, they are "partners." They go about drumming up business . . . and there's precious little of it.

If you don't think Ron was a war hero then don't read the published accounts from the War Department about his experiences in World War II. Are you so paranoid as to think the whole Department of the Navy is in on the scam?

The real criminals name themselves; Kima Douglas and Howard Schomer are two. They have stolen money from the Church and they have violated the sacred trust of parishioners. Why don't you look at them, find out who they are? As newspapers are devoted to mining garbage finding out about them ought to be real fun.
Leslie Silton
Los Angeles

I Remember Mammon

Dear Editor:
Thank you for your article re Scientology defrauding its members ["Insights," L.A. Weekly, July 20-26]. I am glad the corruption inside this decaying militaristic bureaucracy is finally being exposed.
I was one of many who spent thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars in pursuit of the spiritual freedom and powers promised by the organization. We were told we were building a new civllization "without wars, criminals, and insanity," but nobody knew where these huge sums of money were going. I left disillusioned several years later.

These are hundreds of hard-working, sincere people in the organization working for next to nothing because they are convinced they are mankind's last hope, but instead of being used to as an instrument of social betterment, the technnoogy of Scientology is used to create a vast power base and amass huge sums of tax-free dollars. The highest paid people in Scientology — the registrars and field staff members — possess an innate talent for selling and a rather high degree of unscrupulousness. They skillfully find out how much money you have, how much money you make, how muds money your family has, how much money you can borrow, and what property you own that could be used as collateral.
Virtually every Scientologist I knew was in debt to the organization. At one point, a registrar tried to get me to borrow several thousand dollars from an organization of Scientologists that loaned money at a 50 percent annual interest rate.

There are several hundred disaffected Scientologists presently trying to get their money back from the organization. Scientology promises a full refund for any service the person is dissatisfied with, providing it is asked for within 90 days, as well as repayment of any money on account that is unused. In many cases, including my own, we put several thousands of dollars on account for a particular service and were later told that we were considered ineligible for that service. The Church is using every means possible to get out of paying off these refunds and repayments (they now total in the millions). Any help you could give us as far as exposure of this situation would be greatly appreciated.
Los Angeles
Scientologists continue expansion in Florida town
Date: Thursday, 10 August 1989
Publisher: Associated Press
Main source: link (102 KiB)
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — The City Commission here has approved a site plan for a three-story addition on Clearwater Harbor property owned by the Church of Scientology, now the city's fourth largest property owner.

The preliminary document was sent to city planners late Thursday after a testy public hearing involving proponents and opponents.

Scientologists moved their religious headquarters to Clearwater in 1975 when they bought the old For Harrison Hotel. The group has since bought 11 other Clearwater properties, bringing total property values to $21.5 million.

Proponents argued that Scientology helps people overcome drug and mental health problems. Opponents said it is a [brainwashing] cult that is taking over the city.

"It is the most honest and compassionate religion I've ever known," said Steve Littler, who has been a member for 25 years.

But former Scientologist Lisa Hyatt, 26, spoke of a religion that worked her 22 hours a day and took over her mind.

"I still have [nightmares]. It's what happens to your brain when they reach that deep into you," she said.
 Ex-Member defies gag order, speaks out against Scientology
Date: Thursday, 10 August 1989
Publisher: Associated Press
Main source: link (102 KiB)
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A former member of the Church of Scientology is defying church lawyers and a federal judge by publicly alleging that the church held her captive and committed fraud by promising to cure her mental illness.

Margery Wakefield, 41, is prohibited under a 1986 federal court settlement from speaking out against the cult, which has its spiritual headquarters in Clearwater.
But she says she is ignoring the gag order so she can expose church practices and warn potential members of what she sees as dangers.

Ms. Wakefield spent 12 years in the church before suing in 1982, charging that Scientologists held her captive, committed fraud, broke their promises to cure her mental illness and practiced medicine without a license. Four years later, Scientology officials paid her $200,000 in return for her silence.

At the request of church lawyers, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich reinforced the settlement in May, but Ms. Wakefield has ignored the ruling and the church has asked the judge to find her in criminal contempt.

Ms. Wakefield contends that Scientology is a dangerous cult, based on occult practices and mind control. It stole 12 years of her life and pulled her away from the psychiatric help she really needed, she said.

"I'm prepared to go to jail," she told the Orlando Sentinel Tuesday in an interview in Tampa. "In fact, it may not be the worst thing. It would be an act that would get a lot of attention, and my purpose is to raise the awareness of people in this area about this church."

Church spokesman Bill Daugherty dismissed the controversy Ms. Wakefield has raised.

"This one gal," he said, "she's not really any concern. She's an unstable person- she's been in and out of mental hospitals. I don't know what her deal is."

Scientology was founded by L. Ron Hubbard, a writer of science fiction. His 1950 book "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health" is the bible of the Church of Scientology. He called Scientology "applied religious philosophy" and said its practice could increase intelligence, improve behavior and unlock the secrets of life.

Ms. Wakefield said she became a church member in 1968, while she was recovering from a nervous breakdown at the University of Michigan.

From the beginning, she said, she was hypnotized and brainwashed by the church. Scientology gained control of her mind and will during hours-long sessions in which she would repeatedly answer questions, stare at an everyday object or repeatedly perform routine tasks.

After years of such treatments, she suffered intense headaches, paranoia and nightmares. "I started just going down the tubes," she said.

Scientology leaders feared she was a suicide risk, Ms. Wakefield said, and feared she could bring bad publicity. They locked her in a room for two weeks and finally put her on a plane to Madison, Wis., to rejoin her family, she said.

Later, she said, Scientologists tracked her down and held her for three days, forcing her to sign an agreement promising not to sue the church in exchange for a $16,000 check. She used the money to repay her father, who had loaned her money for many of the church's expensive sessions, she said.

In 1982, she filed her lawsuit, resulting in the gag order.

Since leaving the church, Ms. Wakefield had been in and out of mental institutions 14 times in four years, mainly for depression. She blames the false promises of Scientology for keeping her from the [psychiatric] care she says she really needed.

She is now working with Cult Awarness Network, a national group which uses her to warn potential Scientologists away from the church.

"My biggest hope," she said, "is that something can be done about Scientology so that other people don't have to go through what I've gone through. It's been a horrible experience."
Arlington man becomes focus of Internet copyright debate // Year-long fued with church ends in N. Arlington raid
Date: Thursday, 10 August 1995
Publisher: Northern Virginia Sun (Arlington, VA)
Author: Nita Rao
Main source: link (96 KiB)
U.S. marshals seized computer equipment and files Friday from an Arlington man charged with posting copyrighted materials on the Internet criticizing the Church of Scientology.

The church has filed a lawsuit against Arnaldo Lerma, 44, of 6045 N. 26th Rd., and his Internet access provider, Vienna-based Digital Gateway Systems, claiming copyright infringement.

The controversy which culminated in last week's raid began a year ago after church officials warned both Lerma and DGS to cease posting "confidential and unpublished" Scientology teachings. The teachings are provided to church members only after they have signed a contract agreeing never to disclose the information.

The Internet postings released by Lerma, who left the church on less-than-amicable terms in 1980, include testimony from former church officials who describe the Church of Scientology, which boasts more than eight million members, as a dangerous cult.

According to Lerma, who is a vocal critic of church practices, the information he posted came from a public court document — an affidavit in a California case involving the church.

"I confined all postings to court documents in the public's interest," he states. "I've never had any of their copyright stuff and never have."

Lerma also refutes the church's charge that the Internet postings violate the trade secret theory, which is a unique corollary to copyright law because it is the only way to legally qualify information as property.

According to a local copyright lawyer who asked not to be named, information may be characterized as a trade secret only if it offers the holder a competitive advantage of some sort, such as knowledge of a secret production process or marketing strategy.

Lerma, who considers the search and seizure of his home that was authorized by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema of Alexandria a "travesty" and a "farce," is also angry that the church informed Brinkema that his postings were "stolen property."

Mike Godwin, a lawyer for the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet civil liberties group, sides with Lerma.

"The church is arguing copyright infringement as well as violation of trade secret theory because copyright is the only 'remedy' that gave the marshals the right to come in and do the seizure," explains Godwin, who is considered one of the nation's foremost authorities on computer law.

Godwin also notes that if the church had relied solely upon copyright infringement as the charge against Lerma, the case would not have held up in the court systems.

"If they had only used copyright violation, the judge could have cited the Fair Use Doctrine," says Godwin.

Many area copyright lawyers define the Fair Use Doctrine as a copyright statute that excludes those who use copyrighted material for "legitimate" educational or informational purposes from copyright violation.

According to Godwin, it is likely that Brinkema would have defined Lerma's postings as "educational and newsworthy" passages released by an Internet publisher.

The Church of Scientology disagrees with the arguments proposed by both Lerma and Godwin and continues to assert that Lerma was never authorized to publish the materials on Internet.

"There's a distinction between his [Lerma] criticism of the church and his postings of copyrighted material. 

There was enough evidence of copyright infringement that the judge ordered the raid," said church spokeswoman Pat Jones.

Lerma's widespread distribution of the church's upper-level teachings on Internet will cause financial harm to the church, according to church officials, who say that members usually donate funds to learn the same information posted by Lerma.

"The law is clear: if you are going to violate copyrights, you will have to answer for it in court," said church lawyer Earle C. Cooley of Boston.

Jones said that in addition to violating copyright laws, Lerma also disregarded the confidentiality agreement that he signed as a member of the church.

"It's sacred scripture — nobody's allowed to publish that. It's our religion," Jones said.

Jones remains equally unwavering in her opinion about Lerma's assertion that his right to free speech and privacy interests have both been violated by the church's lawsuit.

"This isn't a free speech issue. We support the first amendment. He's violated the privacy and rights that copyright owners are entitled to. It's essentially theft," Jones said.

Cooley also upholds the church as a proponent of free speech, but hastens to add that "free speech does not mean free theft, and no one has the right to cloak themselves in the First Amendment to break the law."

Currently, Lerma has lost possession of his computer equipment, software, and all related paperwork. U.S. Marshals also served him with a court order forbidding further infringements.

In addition to the restraining order and seizure, the suit also seeks a statutory $100,000 fine for each of Lerma's infringements.


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