- Transcript: The Truth Rundown: From renovation to IRS Rathbun rises through the ranks (June 21, 2009)
- The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Church of Scientology probes Herald reporter : Investigation follows pattern of harassment (March 19, 1998)
- The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Sacred teachings not secret anymore (March 4, 1998)
- The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Scientology reaches into schools through Narconon (March 3, 1998)
- The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Milton school shades ties to Scientology (March 2, 1998)
- The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Church keys programs to recruit blacks (March 2, 1998)
- The Boston Herald: Inside the Church of Scientology: Powerful church targets fortunes, souls of recruits (March 1, 1998)
- Letter from Heber Jentzsch to James McGovern, Assistant IRS Commissioner (November 5, 1994)
- Letter from Heber Jentzsch to James McGovern, Assistant IRS Commissioner (February 24, 1994)
- Closing Agreement on Final Determination Covering Specific Matters (October 1, 1993)
- Declaration of Vicki J. Aznaran (August 8, 1988)
- Declaration of Gerry Armstrong: excerpt re Armstrong Operation (October 11, 1986)
- Letter from Los Angeles County DA to Ken Hoden (April 25, 1986)
- LA Weekly: Inside Scientology: The Other Side of the Looking Glass (April 4-10, 1986)
- L. Ron Hubbard Death Briefing
- Impact: Heber Jentzsch on Portland (1985)
- Scientology’s edited version of the illegal videos (narrated by Heber Jentzsch) (ca. mid 1985)
- Los Angeles Times: New Scientology Trial Ordered: Judge Stops $39-Million Payment to Ex-member (July 17, 1985)
- Freedom: Religious Freedom Crusade supplement (June 1985)
- Freedom (June, 1985)
- Scientology: The Battle of Portland (May 1985)
- OSA Press Release (December 21, 1984)
- Heber Jentzsch: On the Loyalist Program (November 30, 1984)
- OSA Press Release (November 19, 1984)
- FBI File #336: Letter from John D. Stanard to FBI (September 12, 1984)
- Clearwater Sun: Sect’s charges insult intelligence of public (August 4, 1984)
- Clearwater Sun: Sect leaders abusing their access to the press (August 17, 1984)
- Clearwater Times: Scientologist brings his allegations to Clearwater (August 2, 1984)
- Clearwater Sun: Sect points accusing finger at critic Flynn (August 2, 1984)
- The Tampa Tribune: Scientology leader renews fight over forged check (August 2, 1984)
- OSA Press Release (August 1, 1984)
- Letter from Heber Jentzsch to Kathy Kelly (August 1, 1984)
- Los Angeles Times: Scientologists Blame Mystery Forgery Try on Lawyer-Critic (July 24, 1984)
- OSA Press Release (June 25, 1984)
- Response of Michael Flynn to Declaration of Heber Jentzsch (April 4, 1984)
- Freedom Issue 61 (1984)
- Declaration of Heber C. Jentzsch (ca. late 1983)
- 20/20: Son of L. Ron Hubbard outs his father as Fraud (ca. 1982)
Informal transcript of Tampa Bay Times Interview with Mark Rathbun
Chapter “From renovation to IRS Rathbun rises through the ranks.”1
Rathbun: And then after that, in 1981, I went on to what was called the Special Project, which was a small group headed by David Miscavige. He was actually called “The Operator,” so he… You know, everybody from the unit answered to him and there was four other people in it. And our job was to find out ah, really investigate and get to the bottom of ah, why there was so many lawsuits naming L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, and um, come up with a solution as to how to get rid of those lawsuits cuz he was getting on in years and um, he… the idea was he wanted to come back to um, what is now called the International Headquarters or the Int Base in… just outside of San Jacinto, California, um, where films…dissemination and um, educational are made.
And he wanted to get those, those films done, and get them done. So our job was to try to, the… get rid of all these lawsuits that were outstanding against him so that he could come back there, ah, harassment-free and live out his days working on what he wanted to work on.
Reporter: Okay. Okay, and how long were you in this position?
Rathbun: Well, I guess I was on it for the rest of my career in, in a way. I mean there was different permutations of it. It was first called the Special Project, and then it was called the Special Unit, and then it was called… then we, we established the Office of Special Affairs to, to, um, replace the Guardian’s Office. And then I was at Author Services which was L. Ron Hubbard’s ah, personal literary agency, that handled all his personal business. And I was the legal executive there.
But again I was, I was still working on clearing away anything that might embroil L. Ron Hubbard in legal matters or external-facing matters. All the way up… that’s all the way up through ’86 now, so this is a, you know, five year, five year period through there.
Reporter: Okay. And when you first started this post, this is when you first encountered David Miscavige?
Rathbun: 1981. June of 1981…Well I actually knew him earlier, casually, but not…First time I ever worked with him.
Reporter: I see. Okay. All right, ah, and so thereafter you– Tell us about… there’s some highlights of your career, ah, that we’ve talked about, ah, ah, where you did some major things for Scientology. Can you talk about that? Ah, I guess the early 1990’s, ah, when there were problems with the IRS?
Rathbun: Well, yes. The IRS, was um, really an extension of this “All Clear” concept of getting rid of all the legal matters or external-facing matters that are hindering Scientology. It was tied in with the lit-, with ah, about a couple of dozen lawsuits that were brought around the country naming L. Ron Hubbard. Um, some ground… grand juries that were outstanding from the old Guardian’s Office activity that were… there was one in Tampa, one in D.C., and I believe one in New York that were still trying to get indictments against ah, Mr. Hubbard. You know, even after the Guardian’s Office people had been indicted and convicted in Washington.
So all these things sort of tied together with one another. And um, it was always perceived that the IRS was the most important thing to handle because if you have tax exemption you have ah, religious… religious recognition, you’re treated differently in courts, you know, there’s, there’s a, you know, some, some level of almost immunity, First Amendment immunity, to a lot of the type of allegations that were being made.
So, the IRS was the big thing to handle. I mean, when, when I was involved in that in the late ’80s, we had calculated that they, the IRS, considered that the churches had upward of a billion dollars in liability.
And the total reserves of the church were a f… were a fraction of that. Maybe in the 200 million range. So, literally, they could have wiped Scientology out five times through.
So um, between having got rid of a lot of the civil suits in the mid ’80’s and ’93, when we ultimately got exemption, I mean the number one mission was to obtain ah, tax exemption from the IRS and…
Rathbun: ..you know, that was the bulk of what my attention was on and what I worked on.
Reporter: And you were right at the center of that IRS effort, right? Ah, you, ah, worked with Mr. Miscavige. Can you tell us about that, with the IRS people?
Rathbun: Yeah, okay. Well, um, in the late ‘9… late ’80s, ah, and going into the early ’90s, ah, you know, I was tasked with the, with, with, um, implementing um, strategies to try to overwhelm the IRS like they were attempting to overwhelm us. [chuckles] And it was sort of like a “fight fire with fire” situation.
Um, we brought FY… Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, um, in numerous different jurisdictions. We had legal, ah, litigation strategies to um, counteract their strategies to deny certain churches exemption and that sort of thing. But it, it was, it was a huge battlefield. It was nation-wide. It was literally twenty-seven hundred suits at one point.
And I was very much involved in coordinating and coming up with strategies and then executing a lot of that between the late ’80s and the early ’90s.
And then in ah, late ’91, ah Dave Miscavige and myself were in Washington. And Miscavige kept bringing it up with the attorneys, you know, “Why don’t we just sit down with the Commissioner and get this thing straightened out?” because there’s so much, you know, there’s so, there’s so much insanity that goes on when you have this kind of institutional fight going on for so long. And you know you’re fighting over issues that are anachronistic in a lot of cases. They’re just, they’re, they’re not, they’re not even–. You know we’re, we’re fighting over– For example we were fighting over the years ’70 through ’72. That’s as far as the litigation had reached, and here we are twenty years later in ’90, ’91.
So he kept pressing that you know, “Why don’t we just go straight to the top and talk to the Commissioner.”
And we had a lot of expensive attorneys from D.C. and Washington who were, you know, attempting at different levels to start negotiations. And that went in fits and starts and one day we were in Washington, and finally ah, Dave said to one of the attorneys there, he said, you know, “We’re going to go…just go straight down there and go see Fred.” And he… and of course the attorney was laughing. And he turned to me and he said, “Right?” And I said, “Yeah!” And then you know…they all thought it was a joke. And we ah, right afterwards, we just got up from lunch, got in a cab and went straight down there and opened the door. You know, opened the door to, to, to get negotiations going. We didn’t get in a meeting, ah, as has been reported. We didn’t just walk in to the Commissioner’s office. We walked in and said, “We’d like to bury the hatchet.” Couple of assistants, assistants of the Commissioner came down and saw us, took all our information, said he would get…said they’d get back to us. And they did, I think it was even later that day, to set up a meeting with the Commissioner for the following week.
Reporter: This was Fred Goldberg?
Rathbun: Yeah, Fred Goldberg.
Reporter: Uh-hmm, okay. And that began a process, ah, after that?
Rathbun: That began a process. I mean, all Fred Goldberg did was open up the door to creating a f, a forum where we could make a case for exemption. Um, and what he did that was, that was ah, was so positive and unique was is he tried to bring somebody in who was fresh, who, who knew exempt organizations but didn’t have a long history with Scientology.
Rathbun: Ah, cuz there was some real haters, some real Scientology haters within, that you know, had an attitude of, no matter what you said, they were going to, you know, they were going to deny the exemption.
And um, so all he did was put, give us the ability to, to, to meet with a team that didn’t really have a, a long track record on this, yet knew exempt organizations, knew what the requirements were. And said, “Okay, prove you’re exempt.”
And then that process went on for at least two years. I mean we were literally commuting to Washington D.C. almost every week. It was Monday, or Sunday out to D.C., see the IRS, present the answers to their, their set of questions, get another set of questions, go back to L.A., get the information together, get the, you know, some would entail audits of certain units, or this sort of thing, you know, you have to account for different things, [Scratching left ear] in, in operations, in finances, and that sort of thing. Boom! Next Sunday, back on a plane, back to D.C., another meeting with– That went on for two years.
Reporter: And this process is, is it, is it you and Mr. Miscavige primarily?
Rathbun: Primarily. Um, at one point attorneys came in, started coming with us. We were really starting to get into more technical audit issues. Ah, Mike Rinder ah, attended several of the meetings. Heber Jentzsch attended several of the meetings. And then we would sometimes bring in experts on different fields. Like Rick Moxon came in to one on FOIA.
Um, Bill Walsh was another FOIA attorney who came in and attended one or two meetings. But primarily, ah, the two constants through the, from the beginning to the end were ah, Dave and myself.
- Original video: http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2009/reports/project/rathbun.shtml ↩
By Jim MacLaughlin and Andrew Gully
Date of Publication:3/19/19981
The Church of Scientology, stung by a five-part series in the Boston Herald that raised questions about its practices, has hired a private investigator to delve into the Herald reporter’s private life.
The Rev. Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, confirmed that the church’s Los Angeles law firm hired the private investigative firm to look into the personal life of reporter Joseph Mallia, who wrote the series.
“This investigation will have to look at what’s riving this” coverage, said Jentzsch.
Herald Editor Andrew F. Costello Jr. said, “What’s driving this coverage is simply the public interest. Nothing more, nothing less.”
The investigator, Steve Long of Vision Investigative Services in Rohnert Park, Calif., contacted Mallia’s ex-wife in Berkeley, Calif., March 3.
Long told the woman he was looking for derogatory information, according to the former wife, whose name is being withheld for reasons of privacy.
“I’m looking for the ‘scorned wife’ story,” she said Long told her. She said she declined to provide information about her divorce, which took place more than 15 years ago.
The Church of Scientology is the only religious organization in the U.S. that uses private investigators to look into the private lives of reporters, several academic experts said.
“The question is not ‘Do they investigate,’ the question should be ‘Do they harass?’ ” said the Rev. Robert W. Thornburg, dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University and a recognized expert on destructive religious practices. “And Scientology is far and away the most notable in that.
“No one I know goes so far as to hire outsiders to harass or try to get intimidating data on critics,” said Thornburg. “Scientology is the only crowd that does that.”
The Rev. Richard L. Dowhower, a Lutheran minister and an adviser on cult activity at the University of Maryland, College Park, said, “I’ve been in the cult-watching business since the early ’70s and I don’t know of any other group, other than Scientology, that targets journalists.”
And Hal Reynolds, student affairs officer at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the campus Cult Education Center, also said Scientology investigates journalists.
“I’ve been collecting files on these groups for 10 years, and I have not heard of that for any other group,” Reynolds said.
The March 1-5 Herald series described how the Church of Scientology recruited an MIT student, persuaded him to drop out of school and sign a billion-year contract to serve the church, and asked him to spend student loan money on Scientology courses.
The series also described how two Scientology-linked groups, Narconon and the World Literacy Crusade, have used anti-drug and learn-to-read programs to gain access to public schools without disclosing their Scientology ties.
Earle Cooley, a Church of Scientology lawyer from Boston, recently publicly defended the church’s policy of investigating journalists.
“I don’t know where it says anywhere in the world that it’s inappropriate for the investigators to be investigated,” Cooley said during a WGBH-TV talk show two weeks ago.
In a written statement, Cooley said he played no part in hiring private investigators to look into Mallia’s personal life.
Here is how Scientology is reported to have dealt with other journalists:
- Nov. 1997: In England, a Scientology detective obtained a BBC television producer’s private telephone records to conduct a noisy investigation” by spreading false criminal allegations about the producer, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.
- 1990-1991, New York: Scientology used at least 10 lawyers and six private detectives to “threaten, harass and discredit” Time magazine writer Richard Behar, who wrote an article titled “Scientology: the Cult of Greed.”
- 1988: A St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reporter who wrote articles about Scientology said his credit report was obtained without his consent, his wife got obscene phone calls, and a private investigator followed him.
- 1983: Scientology defectors admit they stole documents from The Boston Globe’s law firm, Bingham Dana & Gould, in late 1974 to gain information about a planned Globe article on Scientology.
By JOSEPH MALLIA
Date of Publication:3/4/981
Scientology teaches that humans first came to the earth from outer space 75 million years ago, sent into exile here by an evil warlord named Xenu, according to church documents.
The church also teaches its members to communicate with plants and zoo animals – and with inanimate objects such as ashtrays, former members say.
But these esoteric secrets have only recently been revealed publicly, because the Church of Scientology for decades used copyright lawsuits and other measures to keep them under wraps.
“When people hear the secret teachings of Scientology, they think, ‘How could anyone believe such nonsense?”‘ said cult expert Steve Hassan.
“The fact is that the vast number of Scientologists don’t know those teachings. Scientologists are told that they will become ill and die if they hear them before they’re ready,” Hassan said.
MIT student Carlos Covarrubias told the Herald that while he studied Scientology at its Beacon Street church, he was instructed to tell ashtrays to “Stand up,” and “Sit down” – ending each command with a polite “Thank you.”
The same ashtray techniques were documented by a BBC reporter’s hidden camera at a Church of Scientology chapter in Britain.
Covarrubias – who left the church and now considers it a cult – spent about $2,000 to reach a particular level of church teachings. But longterm members must pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to entirely cross what Scientology calls the “Bridge to Total Freedom.”
More advanced students are taught to do the following:
“Find some plants, trees, etc., and communicate to them individually until you know they received your communication.”
“Go to a zoo or a place with many types of life and communicate with each of them until you know the communication is received and, if possible, returned.”
Once-hidden beliefs like these are being made public through the Internet, in books and articles about the church, and in courtroom documents.
Among the most attention-getting of the revelations is church founder L. Ron Hubbard’s description of “the Xenu incident.”
Human misery can be traced back 75 million years, when the evil Galactic Federation ruler, Xenu, transported billions of human souls to Teegeeack (now known as Earth), according to Hubbard, who started out as a science fiction writer.
Xenu then dropped the souls – called “Thetans” – in volcanoes on Hawaii and in the Mediterranean, and blew them up with hydrogen bombs, Hubbard said in his writings and lectures.
Xenu then implanted these disembodied souls with false hypnotic “implants” – images of “God, the devil, angels, space opera, theaters, helicopters, a constant spinning, a spinning dancer, trains and various scenes very like modern England,” Hubbard said in his characteristic freewheeling style.
These invisible souls still exist today, Scientology teaches: called “Body Thetans,” they cling to every human body, infecting people with their warped thoughts.
And only hundreds of hours of costly Scientology “auditing” – a process critics have likened to exorcism – can convince the harmful Body Thetan clusters to detach.
The auditor’s tool is an “E-Meter,” or Electrometer – a type of lie detector that sends a mild electric current through the body while a trainee holds a metallic cylinder in each hand. The E-Meter can detect Body Thetans and past emotional disturbances (known as “engrams”) whether they happened yesterday or in a past life millions of years ago, Scientologists believe.
For most Scientology recruits, however, the first step toward spiritual advancement is a course in “Study Technology” – a learn-to-read technique – or the “Purification Rundown” – a detoxification method using vitamins and saunas.
Although they deny any connection to the Church of Scientology, there are groups operating in Massachusetts that teach these two “religious” practices to the public: Narconon in Everett, the Delphi Academy in Milton, and the World Literacy Crusade with a post office box in Brighton.
After initiation, church members first strive to reach a spiritual stage called “Clear.” Then they try to reach a series of “Operating Thetan” levels – up to level VIII and beyond.
John Travolta, a longtime Scientologist, reportedly has reached at least level VII, and church celebrities Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Kirstie Alley, and Lisa Marie Presley have also reached high levels, according to critics and ex-members.
Advanced students of Scientology are also taught to heal people with the touch of a hand. Travolta told The Observer newspaper of London in January that his touch healed the rock musician, Sting.
“He was under the weather and he had a sore throat and flu symptoms. I did two or three different types of assists, and he felt better,” Travolta said.
Scientology officials object when critics highlight some of Hubbard’s more unusual teachings.
It’s like mocking the Christian view of Jesus’ virgin birth, or indicting Jews on the basis of a few obscure Old Testament passages, church President Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch said.
Instead, the Church of Scientology emphasizes the practical benefits of its “applied religious philosophy.”
Scientology programs make people smarter and more alive, Jentzsch said. Scientologists believe they have the only path to human salvation.
“With the dawn of a new year, it is vital that all Scientologists take an active role in the movement that is bringing salvation to Planet Earth. That means moving more and more people up the Bridge,” Commander Sherry Murphy of the Church of Scientology’s Fields Executive International division said in a Dec. 29, 1997, memo to all new Scientology recruits.
And to preserve that path forever, they have built nuclear-bomb-proof vaults in New Mexico and California to store Hubbard’s original manuscripts and tapes.
Critics and scholars point out, however, that many of L. Ron Hubbard’s ideas are not original. He took many ideas from Freud and Buddhism – Hubbard also taught that he was a reincarnation of Buddha – then renamed them, adding his own science fiction-inspired vision, scholars say.
By JOSEPH MALLIA
Date of Publication:3/3/981
An organization with ties to the Church of Scientology is recruiting New England schoolchildren for what critics say is an unproven – and possibly dangerous – anti-drug program.
And the group – Narconon Inc. of Everett – is being paid with taxpayer dollars without disclosing its Scientology connections.
Narconon was paid at least $ 942,853 over an eight-year period for delivering anti-drug lectures at public and parochial schools throughout the region, according to federal income tax documents.
The money came from fees paid by schools and from nearly 100 sponsoring businesses, including BankBoston, Nynex and Polaroid.
The main Narconon lecturer, Scientologist Bobby Wiggins, has taught children as recently as the current school year at Southeast Elementary School in Leominster, under the sponsorship of BankBoston.
He has also lectured at most of Everett’s schools, at Dearborn Middle School in Roxbury, at Marshall Middle School in Lynn, at Maynard High School and dozens of other schools, a Narconon employee told the Herald.
“We do a lot of Catholic schools. We’ve been doing Archbishop Williams for years,” said Narconon employee Jeanne Mack, referring to a Catholic high school in Braintree.
Narconon has also given anti-drug lectures at Arlington, Gloucester and Marshfield high schools and at Swampscott and Lancaster middle schools, according to a Narconon list.
At a lecture at Chelmsford High School attended by the Herald, Wiggins praised the benefits of a detoxification program that involves sauna and vitamin treatments.
But what the Scientologist did not disclose to the Chelmsford teachers, administrators or students is that the $ 1,200 detoxification regimen is actually a religious program the Church of Scientology calls the Purification Rundown.
In fact, he never mentioned the word “Scientology,” or L. Ron Hubbard’s name during the lectures.
“I took an IQ test before and after, and the score shot up 22 points,” Wiggins said during the Chelmsford drug awareness lecture, referring to the benefits of the Purification Rundown.
“My energy level quadrupled. I could think about 10 times faster,” Wiggins boasted. But according to health experts, the Scientology detox program is untested and possibly health-threatening.
The method requires vigorous exercise, five hours of saunas, megadoses of up to 5,000 mg of niacin, and doses of cooking oil. This regimen is repeated daily for two or three weeks. Every Scientologist, including young children, must go through this detox procedure as an “introductory service” – a first step in the church’s high-priced teachings, according to church documents and ex-members.
“The idea of sweating out poisons is kind of an old wives’ tale,” said William Jarvis, a professor of public health at Loma Linda University in Southern California. “It’s all pretty hokey.”
Salt and water are the only substances that the Purification Rundown removes from the body, according to a 1990 U.S. Food and Drug Administration report, Jarvis said.
“Narconon’s program is not safe,” the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health said in a 1992 rejection of Chilocco New Life Center, a Scientology residential hospital on an Indian reservation in Newkirk, Okla.
“No scientifically well-controlled studies were found that documented the safety of the Narconon program,” the board said.
Yet Scientology’s founder claimed the sauna regimen can do much more than rid the body of drugs – it can cure radiation sickness.
“Radiation is apparently enormously water-soluble as well as water removable,” Hubbard wrote in an edition of “Clear Body, Clear Mind,” obtained at the Boston Public Library.
Agent Orange and cancer-causing PCBs can also be neutralized through the detox method, Scientologists claim.
“WHAMO! Something miraculous happened! Damned if I didn’t begin to feel better,” wrote one Scientologist in Hubbard’s book, who said he watched a nuclear explosion as a soldier. “There is new hope for radiation victims! I’m the living proof of it!”
Even the Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology
International in Los Angeles, said in an interview with the Heraldthat the Purification Rundown saved his life by ridding his body of radiation sickness that he contracted from exposure to nuclear testing in Utah when he was a child.
About 100,000 people have done the Purification program, Scientologists claim.
And Kirstie Alley of “Cheers” fame – star of the sitcom “Veronica’s Closet” – is Narconon’s international spokeswoman. A longtime Scientologist, she says the anti-drug program’s Purification Rundown saved her life by helping her kick a cocaine habit.
Top Scientology officials at the church’s nerve center, the Religious Technology Center, deny any connection toNarconon.
“The definitive answer is RTC doesn’t have anything to do with them,” RTC President Warren L. McShane said in a letter to the Herald.
“I’ve checked my files, we have never had a licensing agreement with them or any secular group,” McShane said.
But the RTC clearly states on all Scientology literature that the Purification Rundown is a registered trademark used only with its permission.
Also, L. Ron Hubbard’s name is trademarked by the RTC, and all his books are copyrighted by another key Scientology organization called the L. Ron Hubbard Library. Hubbard’s name and his writings may only be used with permission, according to numerous Scientology publications.
Robert Vaughn Young, a former top Scientology official, said it is common knowledge among top Scientologists that the RTC strictly controls Narconon through licensing agreements.
Also, church documents say the RTC is “protector of the religion” ensuring “purity of application” of Hubbard’s teachings, with an “Inspector General Network” to enforce RTC rules.
A Herald reporter, during a visit to Narconon’s Everett office, saw stacks of L. Ron Hubbard’s book, “Clear Body, Clear Mind,” and many other materials carrying Hubbard’s name.
Also, the Everett office’s top staff – including Wiggins and Narconon Treasurer Susan Birkenshaw, who live at the same Jamaica Plain address – is made up entirely of Scientologists, Mack said.
Further, the church as a whole makes no secret that the Purification Rundown is a first step onto its “Bridge to Total Freedom.” The Purification method is clearly marked on the “Bridge” in a 1994 edition of the church’s introductory textbook “The Scientology Handbook” in the Boston Public Library’s collection.
The textbook chart makes it clear that church members must undergo the Purification Rundown to advance spiritually within Scientology – and the only places to get the Purification Rundown is at the church’s Beacon Street headquarters, Narconon in Everett and at a Scientology-run company called Healthmed of California.
Wiggins teaches drug awareness at about 100 schools a year in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island, and he lectures for teachers’ associations, Mack said.
While Narconon has been active in other school districts – including the Idaho public schools, according to a 1990 article in the journal “The Southern California Psychiatrist” – the New England operation may be its most successful in the U.S., according to Scientology critics.
Both Wiggins and Birkenshaw were paid $ 16,000 salaries in 1994, according to federal tax records.
The Purification Rundown and the detox treatment costs about $ 1,200 at the Church of Scientology in Boston, which uses a sauna in the basement of its Beacon Street building near the Charles River.
And a glossy brochure in Narconon’s Everett office offers an intensive, in-patient purification program for $ 18,500 – including “withdrawal services” – at the Oklahoma hospital.
In Scientology, salesmen like Wiggins are called “Field Service Members,” (FSMs) and are paid a percentage of any courses bought from the church by people they recruit, said Dennis Erlich, a Scientology Church defector.
FSMs are paid a commission of 10-35 percent of what their recruits spend on church training, according to a Dec. 29, 1997, memo written by Commander Sherry Murphy of the Church of Scientology’s Fields Executive International division.
“If he recruits, he gets a 10-15 percent straight sales commission,” said Erlich, who was a top Scientology trainer for 15 years. “He gets the commission on everything that the person purchases from then on, of Scientology auditing and training,” he said.
And Wiggins has a very active history with Narconon – as of 1997 he had lectured before a total of 375,000 people, according to the Church of Scientology.
Schools pay $ 200-$ 300 for short lectures by Wiggins, Mack said.
And for full-day peer leadership programs, that include many hours of Scientology methods, schools pay $ 750-$ 1,200, with many of these payments coming from school budgets, Mack said. Peer leaders are taught Scientology methods of communication, study, personality development and “ethics technology.”
Wiggins is promoted as Narconon’s top national speaker in a videotape recently released by Narconon International’s headquarters in Los Angeles. A Narconon Internet site offers the Wiggins video for sale, and Narconon employees use the Internet to recruit new members.
Federal income tax records show Narconon Inc. of Massachusetts earned $715,771 for school lectures from 1989-1994. More recent income tax information could not be obtained. About one-third of that income came directly from public and Catholic schools, and the rest from charitable donors, according to the tax records.
Those donors making recent donations include NYNEX, the Polaroid Foundation and Danvers Savings Bank, Jeanne Mack said. The Thomas Anthony Pappas Charitable Foundation of Belmont gave $ 10,000 to Narconon in 1991, and $ 15,000 in 1992, tax records show.
The Pappas Foundation declined to comment, and Polaroid said it could not find a record of corporate grants did not return calls. The Danvers Savings Bank has donated $ 100 to $ 250 to Narconon every year since the late 1980s, but had not been aware that the group was linked to the Church of Scientology, a bank official said.
And Narconon did not disclose any Scientology links in its grant applications from Bell Atlantic, formerly Nynex, which gave Narconon a total of $ 15,000 in 1991, 1996 and 1997, said Bell Atlantic spokesman Jack Hoey.
“There is no reference to the Church of Scientology” in Narconon’s grant applications to Bell Atlantic, Hoey said. However, the church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, is mentioned several times, he said.
“The fact that there is a religious affiliation doesn’t mean the application wouldn’t be approved,” said Hoey, adding that future grant applications from Narconon will be screened closely.
Although Wiggins has lectured about Scientology’s purification ideas in the Boston Public Schools and across New England, several school officials, including Boston schools Superintendent Thomas Payzant, told the Herald they were unaware that Narconon was connected to the Church of Scientology.
“My standard is that there should be no misrepresentation,” Payzant said.
“I think it’s inappropriate for any religious group, under the guise of some other purpose, to use the public schools as a setting to promote some particular religion,” the superintendent said.
Payzant said he will look into whether Narconon speakers violated school policy by not disclosing links to the Church of Scientology.
Church critics were appalled to learn that Scientologists were being welcomed into New England schools.
“If they’re going into the schools, they’re really messing with the children’s minds,” said Erlich.
Young, the church defector, said he does not object to drug-awareness speakers like Wiggins going into the schools – as long as they tell parents and headmasters that Narconon is connected to the Church of Scientology.
Steve Hassan, a Scientology critic and author of the book “Combatting Cult Mind Control,” said, “I’m very worried that Scientology is infiltrating schools and I think they need to be exposed,”
And Jarvis, the public health professor, was astonished that Scientologists are invited into the classroom.
“Any school administration that would allow a group as ideological as that to come into their schools is irresponsible and naive,” he said.
“They make a big deal about prayer in school, and then they let this religious group in?” said Jarvis.
But Wiggins is a hit with the students.
At Chelmsford High he told his own story – of using, abusing and selling drugs – punctuating his monologue with jokes and making amusing noises with the microphone.
He said he first smoked marijuana at age 11. He did LSD and cocaine. He became a drug dealer. His life was a mess, he said, but he turned it around in 1977 when he turned to Narconon.
“It was great,” Chelmsford student Becky Friedman said after a Narconon lecture.
“I liked it so much I stayed again,” said another student, Valerie Perry.
Scientology critics say 50-75 percent of those who undergo full Narconon training become Scientologists.
But Rev. Jentzsch said only about 6 percent become members. In any case, he said, the church does not recruit children.
“Children can’t become a member of the Church of Scientology unless they have parental permission, and that’s very rare,” Jentzsch said. Most people who join Scientology are 25-35 years old, he said.
But at least one Everett High School student was recruited into the Narconon program, Jeanne Mack said. She declined to name the student, a girl, citing confidentiality concerns, but said the student was expected to learn office skills and Narconon teachings.
Narconon tries to hire and train students from many of the high schools it visits, Mack said.