The Globalization of Scientology
Influence, Control, and Opposition in Transnational Markets
by Stephen A. Kent
Department of Sociology
University of Alberta
Edmonton , Alberta
May 3, 1998 [corrected November 13, 2001 ].
Revised Version of a Paper Presented at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, November, 1991; Subsequent version published in Religion 29 (1999): 147-169.
Locating itself within a sociological perspective that analyses religiously ideological organizations as transnational corporations, this study examines the global activities of Scientology. It summarizes the organization’s resolution of its international conflict with Interpol, its take-over of its internationally influential opponent, the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), and its heightened rhetoric against psychiatry. It also highlights its international marketing strategies that attempt to further the teachings of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and gain political and social influence. Despite Scientology’s efforts to adjust its approach to fit the cultural realities of the countries that it enters, its apparent successes in some formerly Iron Curtain nations is counterbalanced by its growing opposition in Western Europe.
The Globalization of Scientology: Influence, Control, and Opposition in Transnational Markets
At least two contemporary sociological trends bespeak the timeliness of a focused study about Scientology’s international resource acquisition and utilization efforts. First, a growing number of publications are examining globalization trends among religions and other social institutions.(1) These studies identify the manner in which heretofore national issues are being recast in borderless frameworks. Only a few of them explore, however, the manner by which particular sects (such as Scientology) develop transnational presences by attempting to achieve global influence if not control over resources and opponents.
Second and more directly, recent work has called for analyses of religiously ideological organizations as multinational or transnational corporations (Bromley 1985, p.272; Kent 1990, 401; 1991; Wallis 1977, p.248). This relatively new but obvious perspective highlights the ability of ostensibly religious groups to shift and diversify their operational bases and resource acquisition efforts throughout various parts of the globe in accordance with prevailing political, social, and economic climates. The current study locates itself within this perspective, and borrows from it broad categories and concepts to identify Scientology’s efforts to extend its influence throughout the world. While the organization’s strenuous efforts at gaining international dominance will fall well short of its goal, undoubtedly Scientology will continue attempts to influence the social fabric of the countries in which it operates.
With nearly one hundred and fifty organizational offices in at least twenty-five countries (Church of Scientology Western United States 1993, p.12; Church of Scientology International 1992, pp. 786-790) and an active worldwide membership of about seventy-five thousand in the early 1990s,(2) Scientology has evolved an elaborate international operation designed to manipulate the flow of resources across many national boundaries. The organization portrays itself in North America and much of Europe and Australia as a religion (see Kent 1990, pp.398, 401-403), and a 1983 Australian court decision concurs with this portrayal (High Court of Australia 1983). While American tax authorities did not contest the religious nature of Scientology throughout a protracted battle that began in 1967, only in late 1993 did the organization convince the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that none of its profits were going for the personal enurement of Scientology leaders (Frantz 1997a; Garcia 1993; Labaton 1993; MacDonald 1997; Newton 1993).(3)
But even a cursory examination of the organization reveals that it is much more than merely a religious organization. Its complex, international structure actively markets, promotes, and advertises material related to business management, education, mental health, physical health, drug rehabilitation, taxation, “moral revitalization” (to use its own term), and entertainment. These operations merge with the religious elements and aim at “getting the technology of LRH [i.e., Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard] into new territories of the world” (International Management 1987a, p.3v). “It’s time we moved in!,” another newsletter urges. “Planetary dissemination on a scale never before seen is what is needed” (International Management 1987b, p.1r). Scientology’s goal, therefore, is not merely the propagation of its religious ideology. Rather, it aspires to implement its founder’s ideas, moral values, and social structural vision throughout the international scene.
Beginning with Hubbard, Scientology saw one, and then two, globally operating elites as obstacles to its international ambitions. Scientology therefore initiated major campaigns–first to discredit and eradicate psychiatry and then to do the same concerning the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).
Scientology’s International Attacks Against Psychiatry
The “war” against psychiatry has been integral to Hubbard’s mission since his first book on Dianetics in 1950,(4) and continues to this day. Writing in 1968, Hubbard indicated that throughout the entire eighteen year history of Dianetics and Scientology, “only one small group” had “hammered” them. This small but internationally connected group, Hubbard charged, was behind the “lies and slander” that both the press and government agencies received, and its members “reach into International Finance, Health Ministries, Schools, [and] the press.” Were the situation not dire enough, Hubbard grimly warned his readers that this small group also “infiltrated boards of education, the armed services, even the churches.” Lest any doubt might have existed about who constituted the small but influential and conspiratorial group, Hubbard announced that it was “[p]sychiatry and ‘Mental Health,” which together were “a vehicle to undermine and destroy the West!” through their techniques of electric shocks and brain operations.
Hubbard claimed that, fortunately, Scientology was able to undo the negative effects that psychiatrists and mental health personnel had on the West (Hubbard 1968, p.1). Hubbard declared that Scientology was fighting back, and “the effectiveness of our means will become history” (Hubbard 1968, p.2). In the realm of international politics, the gravest danger from “the psychiatrist” came from that profession’s “hoping to place one of his ilk in a blackmail position behind every head of state” (Hubbard 1982a, p.2). In a fashion reminiscent of the Jesuits, Hubbard felt that psychiatrists had sought to obtain international political power by becoming the contemporary “confessors” and counsellors of the politically powerful.(5)
Hubbard also portrayed psychiatrists as demons. They not only ruined this world but also had been adversely affecting humanity throughout all of people’s previous lives (called their ‘time track’ or simply ‘track’). In a passage that condemned psychiatrists for the woes of the cosmos, Hubbard determined that:
[u]nder the false data of the psychs (who have been on the track a long time and are the sole cause of decline in this universe) both pain and sex are gaining ground in this society and, coupled with robbery (which is a hooded companion of both), may very well soon make the land a true jungle of crime (Hubbard 1982c, pp.1-2 [emphasis in original]).
Psychiatrists took on the classic Western characteristics of evil in a cartoon printed in the first International Edition of Scientology’s publication, Freedom, where a front page drawing depicted eight psychiatrists as horned, goateed, tailed, and cloven-hoofed devils injecting ‘patients’ with drugs and performing electric shock, topectomies, and lobotomies (Freedom 1969, p.1).
Since psychiatry is Scientology`s alleged cosmic enemy, Hubbard and his followers want to see the profession destroyed, and its functions in society replaced by Scientology tech. If society’s authorities do not abolish it (so the organization asserted), then Scientology will. Thus Hubbard concluded that:
Doctors are too often careless and incompetent, psychiatrists are simply outright murderers. The solution is not to pick up their pieces for them but to demand medical doctors become competent and to abolish psychiatry and psychiatrists as well as other infamous Nazi criminal outgrowths (Hubbard 1976b).
Expanding his list of associations between psychiatry and wrongdoing, Hubbard allegedly pinpointed “the cause of crime” as three psychiatric treatments: “[e]lectric shocks, behavior modification, [and] abuse of the soul.” Consequently, he reasoned, “[t]here’s only one remedy for crime–get rid of the psychs!” (Hubbard 1982b, p.1).
As directed, Scientology as an organization took on the task of psychiatry’s eradication. In a 1990 publication, it asserted that “Scientologists are making enormous strides in abolishing the cause of crime–psychiatry” (Religious Technology Center 1990, p.[4v]; see Atack 1990, pp.220-221, 261-262). Also in the same year another Scientology publication boldly proclaimed that “[w]e set out to eradicate the psychiatric suppression from society, so that truly workable LRH technology can instead be applied to improve conditions” (Weiland 1990, p. 21). As we soon shall see, Scientology’s abolitionist war has had some impact upon the psychiatric profession and its members.
Scientology’s International Attacks Against Interpol
Initially founded in 1923, Interpol currently is a French based, non-governmental organization “that exists to facilitate the cooperation of the criminal police forces of more than 125 countries in their fight against international crime.” It specifically targets three types of criminals: “those who operate in more than one country…, [those] who do not travel at all but whose crimes affect other countries…; and [those] who commit a crime in one country and flee to another” (Banton and eds., 1998). Its threat to Hubbard lay in its ability to shed light on national or local Scientology activities by providing relevant but otherwise unavailable international data to member police agencies.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, for example, the Interpol network apparently provided information to a number of countries that conducted national inquiries into Scientology (Fooner 1989, p.13).(6) Hubbard, meanwhile, spent most of the period between late 1967 and late summer 1975 aboard “a ship on the high seas, thus evading the jurisdiction of authorities who might have prosecuted him” (Fooner 1989, p.13; see Miller 1987, pp. 272, 333), or at least might have hampered his operations. Hubbard was precisely the type of international figure whose activities and operations Interpol might have been able to affect.
Controlling International Opponents: Campaigns Against Psychiatry, Interpol, and the Cult Awareness Network
Consistent with Hubbard’s long-standing policy of defending only by attacking,(7) Hubbard struck first at psychiatry and later at Interpol. He did so by forming so-called social reform groups whose official goals involved the elimination of their enemies. The two Scientology reform groups that attempt(ed) to eliminate psychiatry and Interpol share basic characteristics that reveal similar strategies designed to garner public support. First, their names do not indicate any explicit connection to Scientology, but instead imply that the reform groups are either citizen activist organizations or officially appointed investigative commissions. Second, they address either local or national issues even as their efforts are coordinated worldwide under Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs International.(8) Third, they strive to obtain the support of non-Scientologists who are sympathetic with their cause. These groups attempt to transform previously uninvolved people into believers and resource supporters for Scientology’s efforts against perceived opponents (McCarthy and Zald 1977 p.1221). Fourth, both groups undertake “investigations” of issues and publish their results amidst much publicity. Using these tactics, even a relatively small number of committed individuals can (and sometimes do) have an effective impact upon their opponents.
The specific social action group designed to eliminate psychiatry is the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), and it remains active today. Formed in 1969 (Citizens Commission on Human Rights 1987, p.1), CCHR now falls under Scientology’s “Office of Special Affairs.” Scientology formed this organization after reputedly dismantling its Guardian Office when eleven Scientologists were convicted of conspiracy and burglary for their parts in operations against the U.S. Department of Justice and the IRS (see Atack 1990, pp.40, 267-269; Corydon 1996, pp.155-171; and Welkos and Sappell 1990). One essential aspect of the Guardian Office had been “‘[t]o take over absolutely the field of mental healing on this planet in all forms'” (Anonymous 1969, p.).(9) The current Special Affairs office handles all contact with outside agencies, organizations, and prominent individuals, and one of its recent activities included efforts to “research and expose the abuses of psychiatric ‘treatment'” (Office of Special Affairs United States 1987, p.3). These anti-psychiatry endeavors are international in scope, as CCHRs operate under Scientology’s umbrella throughout the world. Comprised largely of Scientologists, CCHR conducts nationally specific campaigns that they claim “are inflicting severe losses in the ranks of psychiatry” (Religious Technology Center 1990, p.[4v]).
Overstating their successes, CCHR and its Scientology parent nonetheless have had some impact upon the psychiatric profession. Its efforts to portray psychiatry in a negative light has led CCHR to champion the rights of psychiatric patients, occasionally uncovering instances of questionable (if not dire) psychiatric care. In 1981, for example, Scientologists received national attention in Canada for exposure of “the demonstrably unhealthy effects of institutionalization” upon psychiatric patient Henry Kowalski, who was confined with the criminally insane while receiving heavy drug treatments and electroshocks (Ross 1981, pp.20, 20d). In 1978, CCHR was instrumental in initiating the public exposure of deep sleep/sedation therapy at Chelmsford Private Hospital in Sydney , Australia , which led to a Royal Commission and, in 1992, criminal charges against two psychiatrists.(10)
Less laudable has been CCHR’s efforts to discredit psychiatry by highly publicized attacks against particular pharmaceuticals that they prescribe. Beginning in 1987, CCHR and Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs undertook a major campaign against Ritalin, a drug often prescribed for hyperactive children. Ostensibly targeting parents and teachers (for example, Colino 1988, p.66ff), a Scientology publication admitted that “the real target of the campaign is the psychiatric profession itself” (Scientology Today, 1988). Scientologists alleged that the drug had damaging side-effects among some children, which included “violent and assaultive behavior, stunted growth, hallucinations, suicidal depression, headaches, and nervous spasms.” Claiming medical negligence, a number of court cases pitted parents against psychiatrists (West 1991), with Scientology lawyer and CCHR legal advisor Kendrick Moxon representing some of the plaintiffs (Freedom 1987).
In similar manner, CCHR coordinated attacks against the pharmaceutical Prozac, manufactured by Eli Lilly. Through television appearances and newspaper ads, CCHR pronounced that Prozac caused violence and suicide, and the campaign was so effective that in mid-1991 sales of the drug dropped from 25% to 21% of the market sales for antidepressants (Fieve 1994, pp.92-93). Moreover, its campaign helped spur “nearly $1 billion in Prozac-related damage suits filed against Eli Lilly and prescribing psychiatrists” (Citizens Commission on Human Rights 1991, p.1). Over 50 civil suits were involved. Many psychiatric patients in both the United States and Canada became so convinced about Prozac’s alleged dangers that they stopped taking their medication, and one Harvard psychiatry professor concluded that “‘[t]he public’s fear of Prozac as a result of this campaign has itself become a potentially serious public health problem as people stay away from treatment'” (Burton 1991, p.A1; see also Waldholz 1990).
Scientology’s social reform group initially against Interpol (and other police intelligence gathering agencies) is called The National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice (NCLE, [with Scientology literature usually dropping the ‘SJ’ in its abbrevation]), and it operates much like its anti-psychiatry counterpart. Formed in 1974, it had as its aim “nothing less than to bring down the police organization through public exposure of Interpol’s alleged crimes, conspiracies, and deceptions” (Fooner 1989, p.13; see Religious Technology Center 1990, p.[5r]). In that same year, Scientology’s Guardian Office undertook a secret operation, Project Lantern, which set as its “MAJOR TARGET: To completely destroy Interpol” (Hare 1974, p.). By the end of the following year Scientology had produced an expos of the organization, allegedly documenting its Nazi connections and influence (FREEDOM News Journal 1975).
Using tactics that even a Scientology critic acknowledged were “a combination of skilled research and showmanship” (Fooner 1989, p.13), NCLE amassed a selective “body of `documentation’ for a series of charges that questioned the integrity of Interpol and its officers, personally and professionally” (Fooner 1989, p.13). Scientology’s discrediting efforts were particularly successful in the United States , where NCLE:
succeeded in stirring up attention in Senate and House committees of Congress, leading to staff studies and public hearings, and climaxing with a full-scale investigation by the U.S. General Accounting Office in which officials and staff made trips to 18 cities in Europe, South America, and Asia to determine if any of the Hubbard group’s charges–abuses of citizen’s rights, violations of privacy, Nazi and KGB infiltration–had possible merit (Fooner 1989, p.14).
Moreover, in 1979, Scientology challenged Interpol’s right “to hold and to disseminate information on members of the Church” by filing suits against it “in Sweden , Denmark , Holland , Canada , the United States , and the United Kingdom ” (Anderson 1989, p.62; see Slomanson 1984). None of the cases, however, was decided against Interpol.
Scientology’s campaign against Interpol left a mixed legacy for scholars. According to one researcher on Interpol, NCLE “has furnished misleading and distorted resource materials, now deposited in libraries and waiting to be used by unwary scholars if they should turn to the subject” (Fooner 1989, pp. 14-15).(11) Nonetheless, he still acknowledges that:
Hubbard’s people did perform a useful service in that they raised issues concerning not only the administration of international criminal justice, but also the theory and practice of international law-enforcement cooperation, and the history and origins of American participation in that field… (Fooner 1989, p.15).
With this history of animosity as backdrop, few researchers anticipated the conciliatory agreement that Scientology reached with Interpol in Fall, 1994.
Setting the agreement in motion was the IRS’s tax-exemption grant to Scientology and its organizations, the details of which a high-ranking IRS official spelled out in a letter to Interpol’ General Secretary Raymond Kendall in late March, 1994 (McGovern 1994). Almost seven months later ( October 13, 1994 ), Kendall issued a memo to all of the Heads of the National Central Bureaus indicating to them that he had met recently with David Miscavige, President of the Church of Scientology ‘s Religious Technology Center . He accompanied this memo with “a copy of the [IRS] decision,” along with two items that Miscavige supplied him. One was the “Description of the Scientology Religion,” and the other was the glossy public relations book, What is Scientology?. Although Kendall emphasized that his sending this information “does not in any way imply that the General Secretariat has taken a position on the subject” of Scientology (Kendall 1994),(12) a Scientology publication from the period stated that “he is now working with Church leaders to create an era of peace” and had taken efforts “to amicably resolve all issues of concern” (Scientology Today, 1994).(13) Miscavige informed “all the Churches of Scientology that there are no further disputes between the Church and Interpol” (Kendall 1994, p.2). Interpreting the significance of this “unprecedented resolution,” a Scientology publication announced that “[w]ith full religious recognition obtained in the United States and with this termination of the conflict with Interpol, one of the last barriers to worldwide expansion is gone” (Scientology Today 1994).
Among the remaining barriers was the Cult Awareness Network, an American-based organization in the Chicago , Illinois area that provided critical information about controversial groups to citizens, the media, and governmental agencies around the world. Frequently it referred inquires to local affiliates (that operated throughout the U.S. and Canada ), and it held annual conferences that featured speakers, workshops, and opportunities for persons (including former members of groups) to network. It was the largest of the so-called “cult-information” organizations that exist in various countries (including Australia , Canada , Denmark , England , France , Germany , and Spain ). According to a 1992 telephone log that CAN supplied to Congressional Quarterly, the second most frequent group about which CAN received calls was Scientology (Goodstein 1996, p.A22; see Clark 1993, p.390).
Since CAN’s inception in 1974,(14) Scientology waged a bitter campaign to discredit the organization, and by the early 1990s it was attempting to bankrupt its opponent through litigation by orchestrating the filing of (at least) 45 lawsuits against the countercult group (Goodstein 1996, p. A22).(15) Scientology’s big break, however, came after a county prosecutor in Washington state failed to get a conviction against deprogrammer Rick Ross for illegally restraining Jason Scott, who was a member of a Pentecostal group called the Life Tabernacle Church. After the acquittal, Scientologist and lawyer Kendrick Moxon undertook a civil case ostensibly on Scott’s behalf. Scott sued deprogrammer Ross and his assistants, and included CAN in the civil rights violation suit on the grounds that Scott’s mother (who had initiated the deprogramming) had obtained Ross’s name from a Washington state CAN contact person.(16) The jury hit CAN with a $1.8 million decision on September 29, 1995, and its repeated efforts to avoid bankruptcy failed by the middle of 1996 (although litigation continues about the case). The trustee overseeing CAN placed several of its assets for sale, including the name itself, its logo, and its telephone number. An attorney, himself a Scientologist, bought them on behalf of unnamed clients. Soon afterward, in a major coup, Scientologists and other controversial groups were staffing the (new) CAN’s phone lines and handling the flow of calls that presumably still come in about their own organzation from persons who had not learned of the bankruptcy (Goodstein 1996). In sum, Scientology’s take-over of CAN and restaffing with its own members meant that it now could obtain invaluable intelligence about complaints, complainants, and investigations, while at the same time eliminating a source of worldwide negative information.
Resource Acquisition Efforts Toward International Elites
Not only does Scientology attempt to contain if not eradicate perceived enemies who might limit its international resource acquisitions and operations, it also endeavors to gain support and resources from persons and organizations among national and international elites. These elites have considerable access to resources within their respective spheres of influence, and as far back as the early 1950s Hubbard realized that such people could be an enormous benefit to his efforts. At least until recently, Scientology has not been successful at recruiting many political, scientific, or humanitarian elites,(17) but his organization has been more successful at attracting elites within the acting and film industries.(18) These entertainment elites, sometimes working in tandem with lobbyists (who cost its Religious Technology Center nearly $725,000.00 in 1996 and 1997), have influenced American politicians to intervene on behalf of Scientology in Germany, Sweden, and the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives (Dahl 1998).(19)
As determined by his unauthorized biographer, Hubbard wanted to find “a friendly little country where Scientology would be allowed to prosper (not to say take over control)” (Miller 1987, p.310). Hubbard explained to his followers how they could exert political influence: “Don’t bother to get elected. Get a job on the secretarial staff or the bodyguard, use any talent one has to get a place close in, go to work on the environment and make it function better” (Hubbard 1960b, p.239; see Miller 1987 p.241).
In August, 1960, Hubbard attempted to establish a Department of Government Affairs within the Scientology organization, and the object and goal of the Department was overtly political:
The object of the Department is to broaden the impact of Scientology upon governments and other organizations and is to conduct itself so as to make the name and repute of Scientology better and more forceful. Therefore defensive tactics are frowned upon in the department…. Only attacks resolve threats (Hubbard 1960a, p.484 [original emphasis]).
More directly political were his comments six paragraphs later:
The goal of the Department is to bring the government and hostile philosophies or societies into a state of complete compliance with the goals of Scientology. This is done by a high level ability to control and in its absence by low level ability to overwhelm. Introvert [sic] such agencies. Control such agencies. Scientology is the only game on Earth where everybody wins (Hubbard 1960a, p.484).
Apparently the Department of Government Affairs only existed on paper (Miller 1987, p.241), even though Scientology reprinted the bulletin in its collection of organizational directives over a decade after Hubbard first wrote it (see the 1972 reprint of Hubbard 1960a, pp.483-485). Hubbard probably authorized reprinting the policy because these functions had been assumed first by the Guardian Office(20) and, later, by the Office of Special Affairs (OSA).(21) Indeed, well after Hubbard’s death, OSA seemed to follow this aggressive policy in its rancorous dealings with the American IRS prior to the favorable tax decision. For example, a prominent legal publication indicated that, in 1992, there were “approximately 100 suits by Scientology and its related entities pending” against the IRS (Horne 1992, p.75). The actual number of suits, however, was dramatically higher, since a Scientology magazine stated that, as a consequence of the IRS ruling, “the 2,300 cases that had been brought to Tax Court by Scientologists whose deductions for Scientology services had been denied were all brought to an end” (International Association of Scientologists, [1994?]).
In 1964, Hubbard elaborated upon his desire to gain control over a jurisdictional area in a booklet (Scientology: Plan for World Peace) that apparently received only limited distribution among Scientologists (Hubbard 1964b). He was even more explicit about this desire in a taped lecture that he delivered to his students during the same year, in which he ruminated about creating an international city in which there “would simply be a monopoly on all mental healing done” inside it by Scientologists (Hubbard 1964a, p.29). Of course Hubbard never created such a city, nor was he successful at gaining influence over a country’s existing mental health facilities.
In 1966, for example, he was expelled from Rhodesia even after he had produced, “uninvited, a ‘tentative constitution'” for that country while unsuccessfully attempting to “ingratiate himself with [ Rhodesia ‘s] leading political figures” (Miller 1987, p.258). He came much closer to gaining support from the political and social elite on the Greek island of Corfu in 1968, but once again was expelled the following year (Forte 1981). Briefly during 1971 and 1972, Scientologists seemed on the verge of gaining political influence in Morocco by offering programs to the country’s post office (Atack 1990, p.203; Miller 1987, p.311) and both senior police officers and intelligence agents. The latter program showed officials how to use Scientology’s E-meter as a lie detection tool against political subversives (Miller 1987, p. 311).(22) Nonetheless, when the Moroccan government expelled Hubbard in December, 1972, it gave him only twenty-four hours notice (Atack 1990, p.203).
In contrast to these failures to gain significant political interest or social control, Scientology currently seems to be achieving considerable success influencing some governments that previously had been behind the Iron Curtain. According to a 1995 Scientology publication, in the Russian city of Perm (population over 1.1 million), “[a]ll city and regional government officials are being trained at the Hubbard College to implement a new organization system based on LRH’s seven division organizing board. This has been used to organize the entire city and regional and government offices” (International Association of Scientologists Administrations 1995; American Family Foundation 1994, p.8). Unsubstantiated reports indicate that a number of industries in the area are implementing Hubbard administrative procedures (Dworkin 1997, p.5). Likewise, in Albania during the early years of the 1990s, Scientologists worked with senior government ministers (including the Minister of Education) in delivering Scientology administrative courses through a university and the National Library (Church of Scientology Advanced Organization Saint Hill United Kingdom 1992; Wise International 1993).
By no means is it certain how Scientology represents itself to countries that might be receptive to its administrative or other teachings, since an emphasis on its supposedly religious nature well might jeopardize its ability to market other aspects of Hubbard’s “technology.” When entering Japan , for example, a Scientology Sea Org official wondered in a memo:
1. Do we go religious or Dianetics [i.e., secular]?
2. Corporate identity of org[anization to be established].
3. Finance system the org will operate on.
4. Key buttons to use [words, phrases, or ideas that elicit a strong response or reaction].
5. Key PR moves to make (who to ally, who to help/avoid).
6. The exact dissemination pattern (Agarwala 1981, p.7).
Central, therefore, to Scientology’s entry efforts would be a decision about whether it should represent itself as a religion or a mental health science (i.e., as Dianetics, the supposedly modern science of mental health).
Indeed, when discussing how to handle the issue of materials translation from English to Japanese, the evaluation indicated that “[e]ven the point of whether to go religious or non-religious has to be covered as it will determine whether the books mention the Church or not and whether they have Church symbols, etc.” (Agarwala 1981, p.7). In sum, Scientology was willing to compromise its “demanded designation” of religion (Kent 1990, p.402) that it uses almost universally in Western countries when attempting to enter a country whose culture might not respond favourably to a foreign religious incursion. Indeed, when the group announced the formation of the Tokyo org in 1985, it revealed the compromise to its religious designation that it had settled upon: “[a] group of Scientologists is opening up Japan to Scientology philosophy!” (International Association of Scientologists 1985 [my emphasis]).
Strategies Targeting the Masses: Marketing “The Way to Happiness.
After Scientology gains entry into a country, it undertakes a series of programs that shows remarkable consistency around the world. One such program is an effort to get L. Ron Hubbard recognized as “ONE OF THE MOST ACCLAIMED AND WIDELY READ AUTHORS OF ALL TIME” ( Church of Scientology International 1989b, p.). As a public relations pronouncement, this claim reinforced results from “extensive surveys” that had been conducted by the LRH Personal Public Relations Bureau. In, for example, “an international survey done of raw public, 90% of those surveyed had a favorable impression of the value of a writer to society” ( Church of Scientology International 1989b, p.). Scientologists called the emphasized use of this claim “positioning,” and they saw that it would have significant implications for both Hubbard’s image and Scientology book sales around the globe.
Even before Scientology began systematically portraying its founder as among history’s “most acclaimed and widely read authors,” Hubbard and his organization had been marketing him in a manner to ensure that he had a huge audience on a morally neutral set of topics. Modelling himself after a popular American writer from the turn of the century, Elbert Hubbard (no relation),(23) Scientology’s Hubbard penned a booklet of twenty-one simplistic aphorisms that, when followed, supposedly would be “The Way to Happiness” (Hubbard 1981). In various countries, corporate or government sponsors have helped defray printing and/or distribution costs ( Church of Scientology International 1989a, p.).
At the same time that “The Way to Happiness” was published, Scientology launched “The Way to Happiness” campaign. Officially it was “an international campaign to improve morals and restore honesty and trust around the world.” More revealingly, it also intended to get “this modern common sense moral code known, adopted, and used” (The Way to Happiness Foundation 1985, p.). In essence, the moralistic booklet was designed to publicize Hubbard’s name widely among the world’s people who, Scientology hoped, would be motivated to explore favorably the organization that the author had created.
In the early 1980s, a branch of the Scientology organization named Social Coordination International directed the worldwide dissemination of The Way to Happiness booklet. Its precursor, the Social Coordination Network, “was established in 1974 for the purpose of assisting primarily those groups involved in revitalizing the fields of education, drug and criminal rehabilitation, utilizing LRH’s indispensable technology” (Church of Scientology International 1983, p.). A Scientology sponsored business organization, The Concerned Businessmen’s Association, helps to disseminate The Way to Happiness to schools (see The Way to Happiness Foundation Newsletter 1990, p.).
Prominent among Scientology’s efforts to disseminate the teachings of its founder are both Narconon (a program claiming to free the body from drugs, drug residues, and radiation) and two education programs (Education Alive and Effective Education [International Association of Scientologists 1987a, pp.22, 23]). An additional Scientology education program is Applied Scholastics (Church of Scientology International 1992, pp.422-27). Since 1988 all of these programs fall under the jurisdiction of Scientology’s Association for Better Living and Education–ABLE (ABLE 1991; Church of Scientology International 1992, p.511; Miscavige 1991, p.13). ABLE even has a prison outreach called Criminon, which is used in detention facilities in California , Argentina , and Hungary (Able International 1991; Weinstein 1996, p.B6).
Some activities by both Social Coordination International and its successor, ABLE, have received support from business and governmental leaders around the world. Regarding Hubbard’s education study techniques, for example, a Scientology publication indicates that “[s]uch companies as Elizabeth Arden, Perrier, Bank of America and Chevron have received communication and/or study tech services from a SoCo [Social Coordination] representative. Study tech seminars are delivered regularly at Buick and Oldsmobile Divisions of General Motors in Flint Michigan ” (Social Coordination International 1986, p.3). In China , “a seminar was delivered in LRH management technology basics to 50 regional heads of the Chinese paper industry” (International Association of Scientologists 1987b, p.44). Finally, in South Africa, “EDUCATION ALIVE has achieved unprecedented acceptance and has been acknowledged by the South African government and funded by over 100 major corporations including Rand Xerox, the Mobil Foundation, Borden Food Corporation, Bristol Meyers and the Anglo American Mining Company” (Church of Scientology International 1988b, p.). Although the application of Scientology business techniques to businesses received a major setback in North America with disclosures about significant problems that it caused for the insurance giant, Allstate (Sharpe 1995), these same techniques are “in ‘very high demand'” in Russia, apparently with “‘hundreds of factories, banks and insurance companies'” using them” (reported in Cimino [ed.] 1995).
Current Events and Future Predictions
As an organization with plans, money, and a leadership striving to control the world, Scientology is a formidable globalist ideology. All of its extensive worldwide activities are part of an effort to instill the values and practices developed by its leader, L. Ron Hubbard, into every aspect of human civilization: mental health, medicine, politics, justice, economics, family life, entertainment, and religion. Although, in the long run, Scientology’s social, psychological, and medical ineffectiveness hinder its chances of achieving world domination, some of its international activities continue to expand while others are meeting stiff opposition.
The scope and complexity of Scientology’s international activities should encourage a renewed interest in the organization as a focus of academic study. Academics who take up the study will witness noteworthy events over the next few years, only a few of which they can predict. First, researchers will witness Scientologists and their organization investing a substantial portion of money saved by the American tax-exemption into a coordinated, worldwide campaign against the group’s perceived cosmic ememy, psychiatry. A December 7, 1993 letter sent out by Don Gershbock, Membership Officer at the CCHR in the United States, urged people “to join CCHR US, as a card carrying member, and help us put an end to psychiatric abuse forever” (Citizens Commission on Human Rights 1993). Its attached mailing identified the tax deductible status of contributions to CCHR (which was granted as part of the IRS decision), and also contained the promise (printed in large, heavy black letters), that “The psychs are next” (Citizens Commission on Human Rights 1993). These promised attacks are providing unusual opportunities for researchers to observe an ideological assault against a secular and scientific discipline.
Second, researchers will witness continued instances of long and costly Scientology-related litigation in many Western countries.(24) In the United States, the Church of Scientology faces payment to former member Lawrence Wollersheim who won a $2 million five hundred thousand decision against it for its “intentional infliction of emotional injury” (Church of Scientology of California v. Wollersheim 1996, p.38, see p.50). Regarding another case, many observers are watching closely the progress of the civil lawsuit against Scientology that is unfolding in Clearwater , Florida . The aunt of deceased Scientologist Lisa McPherson claims that the organization and various members held the psychologically disturbed woman against her will, which led to her wrongful death (apparently from a blood clot caused by dehydration [Frantz, 1997b; Tobin 1997; Woodward and Katel 1997]). Still worth watching are critics’ complaints about the contents of the leaked secret agreement between the IRS and Scientology, which bestowed Scientology organizations charitable status in the United States–a bestowal that apparently was the result of highly unusual procedures (Frantz 1997a; MacDonald 1997).
In France , which had convicted Hubbard in absentia in 1978 to four years in prison for “defrauding new members with promises of health and wealth” (Los Angeles Times 1978), fourteen Scientologists received suspended sentences in November, 1996 for fraud-related crimes. An additional Scientologist was convicted of fraud and manslaughter in the same case, stemming from the suicide of a member whom he was pressuring to raise money for Scientology courses (Whitney 1996). In a strongly worded ruling, the court “accused Scientologists of exploiting beliefs for commercial gain. ‘Amassing money is one of the essential concerns, if not the only concern, of the Church of Scientology ‘” (Swardson 1996, p.3). In July, 1997, however, an appeals judge acquitted nine of the fifteen defendants, but let stand the manslaughter conviction ( A.R. (F) 1997; Morgan 1998). Briefly French Scientologists “hailed” the appeal judge’s ruling because it “said the group ‘can rightfully claim to be a religion,'” but almost immediately the French government’s Interior Minister “ruled out recognizing the Church of Scientology as a religion and critized [the] appeals court for describing it as such” (The Washington Post 1997b).
Switzerland and Belgium have begun investigations into Scientology (Swardson 1996, p.3), Greece has ordered it out of the country (The Washington Post 1997c; St. Petersburg Times 1997),(25) and a large trial seems to be stalled in Spain (Jacobson 1988).(26) The most extensive and on-going European investigation, however, is taking place in Germany. In response to growing governmental hostility toward the organization on both national and local levels, Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs issued a “Call-To-Arms” in early May, 1994 to help fight what it called the “neo-Nazi government attacks on Scientology orgs and public” in the country (Buchele 1994). Four months later in front of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Scientologists put on their own sidewalk exhibit comparing Nazi Germany and contemporary anti-Scientology events (in opposition to the inside exhibit about Germans who resisted Hitler [Bayer 1994]). Later that month (September, 1994), the British-based International Association of Scientologists began placing full page ads in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the International Herald Tribune that compared the German government’s reaction to Scientology with National Socialism’s persecution of Jews.(27) The U.S. Department of State got drawn into the dispute, stating that “we do believe that Scientologists in Germany have suffered from discrimination” but adding that “we are outraged by the language used by the Scientologists” in one of New York Times ads (United States Department of State 1996, pp.10-11; see United States Department of State 1997, pp.23-4). In late September, 1996, “peeved” Scientology celebrities Isaac Hayes and Chick Corea briefed members of the U.S. Congress on what they called Germany’s “‘artistic and religious discrimination'” (Gerhart and Groer 1996). When word leaked in late January, 1997 that a forthcoming U.S. State Department report on human rights would criticize the German government’s restrictions on Scientologists (Lippman 1997), a German political figure retorted that “‘[i]nfluential circles in the State Department… have let themselves be used by the sect'” (Bernd Protzner, general secretary of the Christian Social Union, quoted in The Times 1997).
Meanwhile, inside Germany, the Federal Labor Court ruled that Scientology had to pay a former member for the services that he had performed for the organization, stating that its “claim to be a religious community was ‘only a pretext for pursuing business interests'” (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 1995).(28) In Hannover, two court decisions banned “Scientology representatives from advertising their organizations with people on city streets, and from setting up pamphlet and bookstands to promote their aims in public areas” (The Stars and Stripes 1995). In Dusseldorf, a court ruled that the practice of a real estate business using a Scientology personality test “amounted to maltreatment of young people entrusted to the company, violating laws on vocational training” (Chicago Tribune 1996). Concerned about possible infiltration, Germany ‘s major political parties (the Christian Democratic Union and the Free Democratic Party) banned Scientologists from membership (Cowell 1996; Whitney 1994a). Likewise, the Bavarian government began requiring “all state employees to fill out a questionnaire detailing any tie to the Church of Scientology ” (Demick 1996; New York Times 1996). Probably fearing a repeat in Germany of the government breach in France where “a former leading Scientologist had infiltrated the security section of the Ministry of the Interior[,] gaining access to confidential files” (Hodgson 1990, p.13),(29) Chancellor Helmut Kohl “announced the creation of a federal office to monitor Scientology’s activities in Germany and keep church members out of key public jobs” (Payton 1996, p.1A).
The insistence, from persons in all levels of government, that Scientology should be suppressed comes from widely held convictions that the organization is a business-driven, pschologically manipulative, totalitarian ideology with world-dominating aspirations (see, for example: Cowell 1996; Demick 1996; Payton 1996, p.14A; St. Petersburg Times 1996; Whitney 1994b). These interpretations were reinforced in late 1995 when former American Scientologist and high-level public relations official, Robert Vaughn Young, visited German officials and wrote an article for the magazine, Der Spiegel, about the organization being “a totalitarian system” (Young 1995, p.107)(30) that ran a Gulag” (Young 1995, p.107) (called the Rehabilitation Project Force or RPF) for members of the elite Sea Organization who supposedly transgress.(31) The war between Scientology and Germany shows no sign of abating, even though Hamburg’s chief prosecutor admits that “‘[w]e haven’t been able to prove that Scientology asks its members to commit crimes'” (Hartmut Wulf, quoted in Demick 1996).
Much attention in the next few years necessarily will focus on Scientology’s efforts to control information about it on the Internet. The newsgroup, <alt.religion.scientology>,(32) is among the forty most widely read sites, with estimates of monthly readership in June, 1995 ranging from 20,000 to 66,000 people (and possibly as high as 100,000 to 200,000 according to another estimate [Fearer 1995, 78]). Part of its popularity stems from postings of high-level, doctrinal material that Scientology claims is copyrighted information (Allen 1995). Defending this claim, at least four times the American organization has used a controversial, “little-known but increasingly common civil court procedure known as ‘exparte search and seizure with expedited discovery'” to raid people’s houses and confiscate computers, diskettes, and related material that may contain the disputed but posted copyrighted information (Bauman, 1995).(33) These raids, directed by Scientology computer experts, led to a decision in the Arnaldo Lerma case that his postings had been copyright infringements, since “words enjoy legal protection even in cyberspace” (Hall 1996, p.B1). In one of the other cases, a judge’s decision about the legal responsibilities of a bulletin board service for the copyright infringement posts of its subscribers has begun to establish American case law in a relatively uncharted area (Evans 1995).
Of international significance was the ability of American Scientologists to use its former adversary, Interpol, in order to get Finnish police to serve a search-and-seize warrant on Johan Helsingius, who at the time was among the world’s most trusted anonymous remailers(34) on the Internet. Faced with having to either relinquish the identity of one person whom Scientology wanted or have police confiscate his computer and thereby gain access to the names of 200,000 people who have used his service, Helsingius released the name. The incident chilled Internet users around the world, since almost certainly it was the first time that “the wall of anonimity provided by the remailers had been breached” (Quittner 1995; see Akst 1995; and Sheaffer 1995). Without a doubt the Scientology war in cyberspace will continue, as both sides utilize emerging technologies and newly uncovered documents and information to harass if not damage each other.
Finally and most importantly, researchers will witness Scientology’s extraordinary burst of expansion into new missionary territories, many of which are countries that previously were cut off from extensive Western contact but now are eager for the infusion of Western ideas. In 1990, for example, before much of the reconfiguration of the former Soviet Union and Europe had taken place, Scientology Mission International reported that “[t]he Expansion Office is currently active in establishing Dianetics and Scientology Missions in Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, India, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad, Uganda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Phillipines [sic]!” (Scientology Missions International 1990, p.). It also was “tak[ing] actions” to establish itself in Leningrad (Scientology Missions International 1990, p.). China, too, is experiencing Scientology’s efforts to get its tech established in key social and educational locations (The Social Coordination International 1986, pp.1, 8, 9). In 1992, Russia’s Moscow State University dedicated a hall in its facility to L. Ron Hubbard, lined the hall with his publications, and awarded him a posthumous Honorary Degree of Doctor of Literature (see Author Services 1992, pp.3-5).
With the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Cold War, Scientology undoubtedly will ride the wave of Western products that attempt to capture the imaginations and the purse-strings of newly opened national markets. Consequently, the battles with governments, oppositional organizations, and the press that Scientology has fought in the West for forty years will be replayed in new parts of the world. Already, for example, Scientology joined an unsuccessful lawsuit against the Department of Religious Education of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church over a ‘counter-cult’ book that it published (Dvorkin 1997, pp.12-13; cf. Shterin 1998). The study of contemporary ideologies will suffer if researchers of religion are not observers and analysts of what promise to be very intense skirmishes.
1. 1 Among the best overview of religious globalization is Kurtz 1995. In contrast, however, to Kurtz’s claim that Scientology is “[a]nother successful group drawing widely on Asian religions,” see Kent 1996.
2. 2. I obtained this figure from a confidential but reliable source. It differs from other recently published figures of 50,000 (Behar 1991b, 51), and it does not take into account what appears to have been an initial spurt of growth in former Iron Curtain countries after the collapse of Communism.
3. A copy of the “secret” 1993 agreement between the IRS and Scientology is on the World Wid Web page entitled, “Operation Clambake” <http://www.xenu.net/archive/irs/>.
4. For example, in a long footnote Hubbard continued an attack on psychiatry that began in the text itself. He claimed that “[m]any persons investigating the treatment of the mentally ill by psychiatrists and others in charge of mental institutions are prompted, when they discover just what the pre-frontal lobotomy, the trans-orbital leukotomy and electric shock actually do to patients, to revile the psychiatrist as unworthy of trust and accuse him of using it to conduct vivisection experiments on human beings.” He concluded the long note by insinuating that “[l]egislation against them [i.e., psychiatrists] such as that recently mentioned by a senator who was familiar with dianetics, horror stories about them in newspapers and a general public antipathy as well as the medical doctor’s traditional distrust of them cannot but bring about a disorderly condition. Dianetics is a newly discovered science and is nonpartisan” (Hubbard 1950, p. 151 n.). Clearly the implication is that Dianetics is capable of replacing psychiatry.
5. Informed Scientologists certainly understood the Jesuit analogy. A 1986 article published in one of Scientology’s magazines discussed “the infiltration into education from psychiatric and psychological professions….” Answering the question, “[w]hy is education so important?”, the article stated that “[t]he Jesuits (an order within the Roman Catholic Church well known for their activism) exported the policy of starting Church schools in areas where they wished to introduce their religion. The reasons are obvious. By educating a child into one’s own beliefs, one gradually takes over a whole new generation of a country and can thus influence, in the long term, the development and growth of that country. The Jesuits were very successful at this strategy. Psychiatrists and psychologists also have this strategy in mind” (International Association of Scientologists 1986, p. 49).
6. Material made public after the July 7, 1977 FBI raids against Scientology’s Guardian Offices in Los Angeles and the District of Columbia support Fooner’s claim that Interpol had provided information to a number of countries that were investigating Scientology. In the burglaries that Scientology operatives carried out against the U.S. Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service, stolen government documents revealed that Interpol had communicated with officials in Australia (1966, 1967), Canada (1967), Denmark (1969), England (1967, 1970), Malawi (1967), the United States (1967, 1969, 1974), the Virgin Islands (1970), and West Germany (1974). A summary list of these communications appeared in a six page letter (dated May 24, 1976) from Mike [Meisner] to Cindy [Raymond] “Re: US Interpol NCB [National Central Bureau] Documents on Scientology Withheld in Entirety Under FOIA [Freedom of Information Act].” I also possess photocopies of many of the actual Interpol correspondence documents.
7. “The DEFENSE of anything is UNTENABLE. The only way to defend anything is to ATTACK, and if you ever forget that, then you will lose every battle you are ever engaged in, whether it is in terms of personal conversation, public debate, or a court of law” (Hubbard 1955, p.157 [capital letters in original]).
8. “The OSA [Office of Special Affairs] Network is responsible for handling all external matters of the Church [of Scientology] (including legal, defense, government and media relations) to [sic] the result of the total acceptance of Scientology and its Founder, L. Ron Hubbard. OSA helps create a safe environment for orgs to operate in and expand by their actions” (Church of Scientology International 1988a, p.25).
9. A number of clues point to Hubbard himself being the author of this five page unsigned memo, and its content is completely consistent with his writings of this period. First, the style is Hubbard’s: many short, clipped, single sentence paragraphs, interspersed with a few long paragraphs. Second, many of the issues discussed are ones that preoccupied him: intelligence gathering; covert operations; “the war” with the mental health profession, etc. Third (and most revealing) are frequent self-references to incidents in Hubbard’s life. On the second page of the memo, for example, the author refers to a number of “bad articles” about him and his movement, and he indicates that a blast in the San Francisco papers from September, 1950 quoted “the publisher Ceppos being critical of me (he was a Communist, publisher of Book One) followed by LA papers, pushed then by Sara Komkovadamanov (alias Northrup) ‘divorce’ actions, followed by attempted kidnapping of myself.” ‘Ceppos’ is a reference to Art Ceppos, who was one of Hubbard’s early Dianetics supporters but who resigned from the Elizabeth, New Jersey Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation. Hubbard, in characteristic anger, “contacte the FBI and said that Art Ceppos, president of Hermitage House, was a Communist sympathizer who had recently tried to get hold of the Foundation’s mailing list . . .” (Miller 1987, p.170). “Book One” is Scientology’s term for Hubbard’s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, and Hermitage House published the first edition of the book. Sarah Northrup was Hubbard’s second wife who was involved in a well-publicized divorce battle with Hubbard (Miller 1987, pp.170-193). Some of the “bad press” in Los Angeles papers that Hubbard received over his marriage break-up with Northrup includes: Los Angeles Examiner 1951a; 1951b; Los Angeles Times 1951a; 1951b; 1951c; The Mirror 1951; Herald Express, 1951.
10. 10. For Scientology’s version of events, see “Chelmsford: The Endless Sleep,” in “http://www.scientology.org/reform/new/%chelms.htm” (downloaded November 30, 1996). Unfortunately, I did not have access to the definitive study of the Chelmsford abuses, which is: John Patrick Slattery, Report of the Royal Commission into Deep Sleep Therapy, New South Wales, Australia: Royal Commission into Deep Sleep Therapy, 12 Volumes, Sydney: Government Printing Office, 1990. Much of the December 21, 1990 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald was devoted to summarizing the findings of the Royal Commission. On Scientology’s role, see: Fife-Yeomans 1990, p.7: “In 1976 Miss [Rosa] Nicholson secured a job at the hospital and became an amateur sleuth, photocopying patients’ documents and giving information to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an arm of the Church of Scientology, which by then had Chelmsford and Dr. [Harry Richard] Bailey firmly in its sights.” I thank Ms. Julie Robotham of the Sydney Morning Herald for directing me to this excellent newspaper source. Also see Bromberger and Fife-Yeomans 1991.
11. Concerning the “misleading and distorted resource materials” that Scientology produced, a contact of mine provided me with Interpol’s twenty-two page information package (which unfortunately is untitled) that details numerous and substantial problems with Scientology’s portrayal of it and its activities, as published in the Church of Scientology International’s 1990 booklet, Interpol: Private Group, Public Menace (Church of Scientology International, 1990). For example, the NCLE had discovered that Interpol’s president from 1968 to 1972, Paul Dickopf, had been a member of the Nazi SS during World War II. The more accurate presentation of Dickopf’s biography, however, seems to demonstrate that he was a member of the Police Security Service of the Land Bade in late 1939, and as the result of his prominent police position “he was automatically enrolled in the General SS as an ‘SS Unt[e]rsturmfuehrer’…. Since he refused to serve as a German Intelligence Agent in Switzerland, he severed his connection with his unit and fled to Brussels, Belgium, where he remained as a political refugee until July of 1943. At that time, in order to escape the reaches of the Gestapo, he fled to Switzerland and was granted political asylum until November of 1945.” Scientology’s information about Dickopf also fails to mention that “records of the office of the Security Service of the SS, dated October 23, 1944, reflect that a warrant was issued for Paul Dickopf who had been reported missing. This classed Dickopf among the declared enemies of the Nazi SS regime” (Interpol[?] (n.d.[1991?]), pp. 5-6). NCLE’s apparent distortion and misrepresentation of Dickopf’s relationship to the Nazis is indicative of other interpretive problems that exist in Scientology’s research on Interpol’s history and operations.
12. Certainly the copy of the decision that Secretary General Kendall inclosed to the Heads of the National Central Bureaus was a summary rather than a complete text, since at the time the decision’s exact contents were secret. I do not have this enclosure.
13. In correspondence with a research contact of mine, Kendall insisted that there was “absolutely nothing” to Scientology’s claim that he was working with its leaders in an effort to create “an era of peace.” Obviously, Scientology saw things differently.
14. While CAN’s first organizational meeting and election of officers took place in 1974, it received its non-profit status in 1978. Thanks go to Cynthia Kisser, director of the former CAN, for this information.
15. By mid-1996, the number of lawsuits that CAN, its affiliates, and some members faced may have been as high as 51, according to a list that CAN published in its June, 1996 newsletter. See: Cult Awareness Network 1996).
16. The person in question, Shirley Landa, was indeed a CAN contact person, but she apparently was not registered as one on the Seattle, Washington crisis line (called the Crisis Clinic) that received the initial phone call for information (from a relative of Jason Scott’s mother). The Crisis Clinic had Landa registered as a representative of a local ‘cult information’ organization that had no relation to CAN (even though it appears to have had a relationship with CAN’s predecessor, the Citizens Freedom Foundation). Landa would act in the capacity as a local CAN resource person if people from the Seattle area were to call the national CAN office (near Chicago), and the national office were to offer her as a resource who lived closer to them (which would mean lower telephone bills for the callers). In what became the Jason Scott case, however, the initial phone call went directly to the crisis line, so at no time was CAN involved. I clarified Landa’s probable relationship with the Crisis Clinic in Seattle by speaking with a long-time staff member of the organization, who informed me that CAN was not listed in its 1990 guide of community resource organizations. Unfortunately, the Crisis Clinic’s 1990 database had been transferred to a new system, so I cannot check it to see what organizational affiliation Landa had. A 1997 listing had her representing “Parents Awareness/Citizens Freedom Foundation,” and this listing probably has existed for years.
17. Among the few political and social scientific elites who have been Scientologists is Baron Duncan James McNair (see <http://www.demon.co.uk/castle/audit/mcnair.html>), who announced (on December 17, 1996) in the British House of Lords that he was a Scientologist, and sociologist J. L. Simmons, Ph. D., who wrote a response to Roy Wallis’s impressive study of Scientology (See: Wallis 1977, pp. 265-269).
18. For Scientology’s discussion of its Celebrity Centers, see: Church of Scientology International, 1992, pp.353, 506. A brief but informative discussion of Scientology and celebrities is: Sappell and Welkos 1990; see also Richardson 1993.
19. Dahl (1998, p.14A) also reports that Scientology’s “Author Services, Inc. hired a lobbyist to push for legislation that extends copyrights. That firm paid Nicholas Wise $60,000 last year, records show.”
20. “In 1960 a Department of Government Affairs was established within the Church of Scientology. This proved to be the beginning of what became the Office of the Guardian. The Department of Government Affairs was charged with the responsibility of ensuring that Churches and Missions of Scientology would not have to involve themselves with secular matters, but could concentrate instead solely on their Church work with parishioners.
Thus, the Department of Government Affairs handled legal and tax matters, media queries, and other secular business which arose.
In 1966, the Office of the Guardian was established. The purpose of the Guardian was to help enforce and issue policy to safeguard Scientology Churches, Scientologists and Scientology, and to engage in long term promotion” (Church of Scientology of California, 1978, p.1).
21. 21. “The OSA [Office of Special Affairs] Network is responsible for handling all external matters of the Church (including legal, defense, government and media relations) to the result of the total acceptance of Scientology and its Founder, L. Ron Hubbard. OSA helps create a safe environment for orgs to operate in and expand by their actions” (Church of Scientology International 1988a, p.25).
22. 22. Apparently Scientology also tried to influence politicians in another country, Mexico, by giving counselling in Florida to members of the government opposition (Atack 1990, p.375). Although Scientology portrays an E-meter as “a religious artifact used as a spiritual guide in the church confessional” (Hubbard 1975, p.137), Hubbard also discussed it as a straight lie detector device. See: Hubbard 1961, pp.1-2.
23. 23. Hubbard spun a tale that Elbert Hubbard was his uncle, who “dashed out” his “A Message to Garcia . . . one night after supper in a single hour” (Hubbard 1951, pp.1, 3; also in Hubbard 1985, p.2). Miller (1987, p.11), however, pointed out that Ron’s father, Harry Ross Hubbard, was born Henry August Wilson but was adopted as an orphan by a Mr. and Mrs. James Hubbard. Elbert, therefore, could not have been related, at least not by blood. Elbert Hubbard’s essay was about a soldier named Lieutenant Andrew Summers Rowan (d. 1943) who (as the story was incorrectly told) took a message from the American president to the leader of Cuban insurgents named General Calixto Garcia. Rowan accomplished his task despite great odds, and Elbert Hubbard’s embellished account became “a heavy-handed admonition to workers to obey authority and to place devotion to duty above all else” (Charnay and Fadness 1978, p.562). Its message attracted the attention of employers around the world, and it “was translated into 20 languages and reprinted over 100 million times” (Charnay and Fadness 1978, p.562). L. Ron Hubbard was so impressed with his namesake’s accomplishment that in 1956 he dedicated the ninth printing of Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health to him (See: Hubbard 1950/1956]). Scientology disseminated Hubbard’s “Way to Happiness” booklet in a manner that apparently was inspired by the success of “A Message to Garcia.”
24. 24. Current or recent court cases involving Scientology have taken place in Canada, Italy, France, Germany, and most recently, Greece (Behar 1991a; St. Petersburg Times 1997; The Washington Post, 1997a).
25. Documents that Greek police seized when they conducted raids against Scientology facilities are available at: <http://home.sol.no/~aheldall/xenu/greece/>.
26. One of the arrested parties was Heber Jentzsch, President of the Church of Scientology International, whom a court allowed to leave the country and return to the United States in order to visit and ailing relative. “The accusations against the organization and its ancillary operations like the drug rehabilitation program Narconon include massive tax fraud, document forgery, operating without a license, illicit association and several public health violations” (The Philadelphia Inquirer 1989).
27. I have copies of 1994 ads in The Washington Post from September 15, 22, 29, October 6, 13, 24, December 1, 8, 15, and 22. From The Washington Post in 1995 I have ads from January 5, 12, and 19th. From The New York Times I have ads from October 17, October 25, November 1, 8, 22, and December 6. Reference to ads in the International Herald Tribune appears in Payton 1996.
28. The quote in the St. Paul Pioneer Press comes from the German labor court decision (AP 5 ArbGG 1979 Nr. 21 (22.3.1995), 1707).
29. Police and government breaches in Canada led to the conviction of 7 Scientologists and the Church of Scientology of Toronto for spy operations inside the Ontario Attorney General’s Ministry, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Claridge 1992; Moon 1988).
30. The totalitarian nature of Scientology reveals itself in Hubbard’s condemnation of members discussing and critcally analyzing “the tech” among themselves rather than only referring to his own words on the subject. In a widely circulated dictionary of Scientology terms, Hubbard identified what he called “verbal tech” and defined it by saying, “about the most ghastly thing to have around is verbal tech which means tech without reference to an HCOB [Hubbard Communications Office Bulletin] and direct handling out of the actual material” (Hubbard 1976c, p.546). Said plainly, Hubbard had the one and only voice about his “tech,” and members were to follow his statements precisely.
31. Bavaria’s interior minister, Guenther Beckstein, specifically mentions the RPF in his press release of January 15, 1997 (Beckstein 1997). This press release was in response to “An Open Letter to Helmut Kohl,” that appeared in the International Herald Tribune on January 9, 1997. Signed by 34 Hollywood personalities who were not Scientologists (although many of them were associated in professional ways with Scientology actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta [Whittell 1997]), the letter called upon Kohl to end “the invidious discrimination against Scientologists practised in your country and by your own party.” Many of the RPF’s restrictions (such as having a “Security Guard” accompany someone walking between buildings) and assignments (such as garage cleaning, elevator shaft cleaning, and engine room [“E/R”] cleaning) appear in: Boards of Directors of the Churches of Scientology 1977. Discussions of the RPF appear in Atack 1990, pp.206, 250, 252, 275-276, 322, 341, 358-359; Corydon 1996, pp.123-129; 136-138. The most extensive report on the RPF written thus far is Kent 1997. The full text of “An Open Letter to Helmut Kohl” (International Herald Tribune 1997) was downloaded from <alt.religion.scientology>. See also: Walsh 1997. Kohl called the letter “‘rubbish'” (Kohl quoted in Gove 1997).
32. A useful history of this newsgroup is Jacobsen 1995. Jacobsen dates the beginning of the newsgroup to 1991, shortly after the critical article by Richard Behar (“The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power”) appeared on the May 6, 1991 cover of Time magazine (Behar 1991b).
33. For the raid on the house of former Scientologist-turned-critic Dennis Erlich in Glendale, California (a Los Angeles suburb), see, for example, Abrahamson and Riccardi, 1995. For the raid on the house of Arnaldo (Arnie) Lerma in Arlington Virginia (a suburb of Washington, D.C.), see Fisher 1995. For the raid on the homes of former-member-turned-critic-and-litigant Lawrence Wollersheim and associate (also a former member) Bob Penny in Boulder, Colorado, see Lane 1995. Among the most comprehensive discussions about the internet battle from a legal perspective is Frankel 1996.
34. Anonymous remailers receive e-mail messages from persons who want to conceal their identities. The remailers strip the messages of the senders’ names, assign to them randomly selected codes for names, and then send them to the desired locations. Message receivers, therefore, do not know the identities of the senders.
About the Author:
Stephen A. Kent is a Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of Alberta . He has published articles in Philosophy East and West, Journal of Religious History, British Journal of Sociology, Sociological Inquiry, Sociological Analysis, Canadian Journal of Sociology, Quaker History, Comparative Social Research, The Journal of Church and State, The Journal of Religion and Health, The Journal of Contemporary Religion, and Religion. His current research concentrates on non-traditional and alternative religions.