Monday, 5 August 2013

On this day...

A cure for all ills

Scientology wonderland
Date: Wednesday, 5 August 1964
Publisher: The Age (Australia)
Main source:

"ALICE IN WONDERLAND" is a prescribed text book for use in a training drill for scientologists. Everyone is equipped with a hat, and then has to read sections of the book aloud to others.

This was one of the most recent reports from Melbourne's longest-running and most bizarre story of the year—the State Government's board of inquiry into scientology.

The inquiry is well on the way to breaking all records even for such an inquiry-conscious State. It has now sat on 80 days, heard nearly as many witnesses, and recorded well over two million words.

The participants have become very familiar with the National Herbarium — an appropriate venue in its way. Plants can feel, too, says scientology.

The original Government allocation of £5100 has already been more than doubled to £12,500, intended to last until the end of the financial year.

In contrast with the usual royal commission or board of inquiry, there is no great battery of highly paid counsel adding to the cost.

The scientologists, or more precisely, the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International, have been represented by counsel throughout, although their original barrister (Mr. J. O'Shea) has passed on his brief to Mr. I. G. Abraham.

The scientologists made two applications to the Government for legal funds, but were turned down.

The Committee for Mental Health and National Security is also present at the Bar table, represented by two members — neither lawyers—Mr. W. C. Fagan, then Mr. P. Wearne. The latter has also played a starring role as a key witness.

The wide terms of reference require the board, Mr. Kevin Anderson, Q.C., to determine:

* Whether scientologists have indulged in any unlawful, improper, harmful or prejudicial practices or activities.

* Whether treatment given was effective, harmful or benelicial.

* And what kind of fees were charged.

Scientology advertising and such devices as the much-discussed E-meter were also to be examined.

Mr. Anderson has said himself he has allowed a great amount or latitude, but even he recently expressed concern that "red herrings" were taking up too much time and lengthening the whole business unnecessarily.

The first thing seemed to be to find out just what scientology is.

Mr. Peter Rogers Williams, who bears the impressive title of continental director for Australia, New Zealand and Oceania, came up with a definition on his first day as witness.

"To some degree, scientology is based on scepticism. The individual should not accept things without thinking them over."

Ironically, this has been the basis of the scientologists' defence, particularly against the strong debunking of the cult, fad, religion, or what you will by the community's eminent psychiatrists, psychologists and scientists.

This has been carried to such an extent that people like Mental Health Authority director (Dr. E. Cunningham Dax) have been called upon in cross-examination to defend their science and its methods.

Many pages of evidence in the past month or two read like a potted university course in psychology and psychiatry.

Much of Mr. Williams's evidence about the content of scientology was startling, and to understate it, puzzling.

One suspected that even Mr. Anderson was having difficult time maintaining the correct dead-pan expression.

Occasionally he permitted himself an irresistible quip. "Get thee behind me, thetan," became part of the language after we had heard about people's thetans, or spirits spending their time a few feet behind their heads.

WE heard about clears, pre-clears, previous lives, events which happened millions of years ago pinpointed down to the half-second. We rather envied the reported ability of thetans to knock off hats at 50 yards.

"Nobody as an acting thetan has yet moved the Empire State building?" asked Mr. Anderson.

"I think it is still firmly in place," responded Mr. Williams, unruffled as befits someone in the state of well-being and calm that a good scientologist aspires to.

The most discussed personality has been a witness in absentia. Mr. Lafayette Ron Hubbard, American scientology founder, has made his presence felt throughout, and a strange presence it is.

Mr. Hubbard's claims for scientology, as proclaimed in text books read to the inquiry, range far and wide. It can cure 70 per cent. of mankind's ills, he says, Including burns from atomic radiation.

Mr. Hubbard makes it clear he extremely dislikes the way doctors and psychiatrists treat people, particularly the mentally ill.

Mr. Hubbard has no time for Communists, which does not make him an extraordinary citizen perhaps, but he also saya Communists include just about everyone who does not like scientology.

His journeyings through space and time sound more and more like Superman comics, although there has been no specific evidence that Mr. Hubbard is Superman.

Two of his most interesting trips were to the Van Allen belt and to Heaven. He found the latter rather a dull place and, on his second trip, definitely down-at-heel.

Mr. Williams made it dear he regarded some of his leader's claims as "racy and dramatic."

Scientology methods of "auditing" a person were described in detail. Words like "brainwashing" were raised in cross-examination. Rather unpleasant stories told of people blacking out, breaking down.

Mr. Gordon Just, counsel assisting the board, told us about 50 witnesses would appear to support scientology as having beneficial effects.

These took a variety of forms. Nervous girls had been taught to type. Heavy smokers to cut their consumption of cigarettes.

A salesman said he came to see that door-to-door selling methods were "just plain deceit" — hardly a beneficial point of view for him to arrive at, from a business aspect.

Others found they had more confidence in themselves, more business ability, could mix better.
Some of the witnesses had had quite extraordinary experiences.

ONE had felt like Rasputin for a moment during a "session." A taxi driver recalled an incident in a past life thousands of years ago in which he was killed.

A painter discovered he was a "space jockey" or spaceship pilot on a(something missing)

Tell us what's wrong, says Hubbard
Date: Monday, 5 August 1968
Publisher: Daily Record (Scotland, UK)
Main source: link (47 KiB)

THE founder of Scientology, Lafayette Ron Hubbard, wants a special meeting with representatives of older beliefs in Britain "to iron out problems."

And he says that if the Government wants followers of Scientology not to do something all they have to do is say what it is.

In a statement, released by the cult's headquarters in East Grinstead, Sussex, Mr. Hubbard says:

"News has reached me of Britain's decision to ban students of Scientology from entering the country.

"I am sure any trouble comes from adherents of older practices who resent the growth of Scientology because it is getting all the business.

"It was no intention of Scientology to injure older practices. Scientology directors should get together with older activities and come to an agreement in a civilised way."

American-born Mr. Hubbard, who is believed to be cruising in the Mediterranean aboard his ship, is unaware of Home Secretary James Callaghan's decision to also ban him from Britain.

The statement, by the 57-year-old American, who says he retired as a director of Scientology two years ago, went on:

"If the Government wants Scientologists not to do something, they should say what it it. I am sure scientology directors would then forbid it.

"People who object should tell Scientology organisations what is wrong and why, and it could then be handled properly.

"New thought cannot be crushed by violence—thousands of years have proven that. The old has to make its peace with the new.

"Mr. Callaghan would look much better as a peacemaker than as a policeman."

More than 500 members of the cult returned to their East Grinstead headquarters yesterday after an all-day conference in the Cafe Royal, London.

'Let's talk' appeal by Scientology's Hubbard
Date: Monday, 5 August 1968
Publisher: Scottish Daily Mail (UK)
Main source: link (64 KiB)

MR LAFAYETTE Ron Hubbard, American founder of Scientology, yesterday called for a meeting between the leaders of the cult and its opponents.

In a message telexed from his yacht to the Scientology headquarters at East Grinstead, Sussex, he said: 'If anyone in the Government wants Scientologists not to do something, they should say what it is.'

He added: 'There is enough trouble on this planet without making more over something so easy to resolve. 

Mr Callaghan would look much better as a peacemaker than as a policeman.'

Mr Hubbard, who claims to I have relinquished control of his movement, has now been banned by the Home Secretary from entering the country. He is at present believed to be on a yacht off Tunisia.

A number of Scientology students have been refused entry to Britain since the Government decided to take action to curb the growth of the movement in Britain.

In Edinburgh, a Girl Guide captain talked last night about Scientology.

Mrs Christine Kerr, 26, spent a fortnight as a typist with the publications organisation of the cult in Edinburgh.

'But then I left—my nerves couldn't stand it any longer,' she said.

Mrs Kerr, captain of the 200th Edinburgh Girl Guides Company (Broughton Place), said: 'I was asked if I took drugs, if I had been in trouble with the police, if I had ever embezzled any money—and if I was a pervert.

The Hubbard Academy of Personal Independence is planning a lecture tour of all large Scottish towns due to start this week.

Towns mentioned in orders of the day to the academy — one of the three Scientology organisations in Edinburgh — names Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling and Perth as venues.

A bulletin says: 'This tour is very important for HAPI as it will make us known to a very great number of people,' and advises staff to be ready to be called out to help.

[Picture / Caption: CHRISTINE KERR // My nerves]

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