Dan Sherman letter to Editor, The Boston Herald (ca. March 1998)

A word from L. Ron Hubbard’s official biographer1

Dear Editor,

Regardless of what other political machinations may have led to your Joseph Mallia report on L. Ron Hubbard2 you have traipsed down the same shoddy path as the tabloid papers and “pop” biographies Mallia holds up as his precedent. That is, your Joseph Mallia has dredged up the same now discredited sources to regurgitate the same tired lies and all for the same editorial ploy: Let’s not just merely prejudice our readers against every man, woman and child who proudly call themselves Scientologists; let’s also tarnish the reputation of the Founder. (After all, anything goes since he’s no longer living and can’t respond.)

Very well. But as L. Ron Hubbard’s official biographer – as an author with access to the whole of Mr. Hubbard’s archival records, very much including those records pertaining to the war – I do wish your Mallia might have exhibited the integrity to have at least requested I sidecheck his allegations. Your Joseph Mallia is either intentionally misleading his readers with patently inaccurate statements or was himself very sadly misled.

Here’s the classic case in point: L. Ron Hubbard was never relieved of duty from a Pacific-based USS Algol when he “apparently concealed a gasoline bomb on board the USS Algol in order to avoid combat.” Not only is the statement false – for Mr. Hubbard discovered a concealed gasoline bomb aboard the Algol – but his services aboard the Algol terminated with a promotion to the United States School of Military Government at Princeton University.

Moreover, the document upon which Mallia based the statement – a 1982 court affidavit from an estranged son – is quite broadly known to be bogus. Indeed, the affidavit had only been concocted when Mr. Hubbard’s estranged son attempted to dupe a California court into granting him probate of the L. Ron Hubbard estate. To the same end, came all other allegations Joseph Mallia now fobs off as fact… To which I now ask: Why, Mr. Mallia, did you not inform your readers that the real source of those accusations is a 1983 interview with Ronald DeWolfe in a porno magazine and later retracted by DeWolfe as entirely fabricated?

Yes, your Joseph Mallia has quoted from a source who eventually admitted he made the whole thing up.

Now, how does that feel?

Here’s another, perhaps even more to the point: your Joseph Mallia leads off his article with a recitation of Superior Court Judge Paul Breckenridge’s ruling from the 1984 case involving “a top Scientology defector’s court suit against the Church.”

Well, gentlemen, I spoke with Judge Paul Breckenridge. I further spoke – at length – with that top Scientology defector, and let me simply say you have done your readers and your reputation a very grave disservice. The facts are these: that defector is none other than Gerald Armstrong 3 – former Scientology clerk, former paid agent of a renegade government intelligence service and, frankly, a certifiable nut. After failing to seize Church assets in a truly bizarre scheme involving the forging of incriminating evidence and the secret planting of that evidence on Church premises, he next appears in the public eye as the would-be masochist for Saddam Hussein. That is, he actually proposed Hussein accept him as a willing hostage for the release of prisoners, significantly adding: “I will be available for torture.” Needless to say, even those within Hussein’s camp had sense enough not to reply.

But in either case, this is the man whose testimony inspired the Breckenridge decision. This is a man who when asked “How does one prove such testimony?” casually replied, “You don’t have to prove a god damn thing! You don’t have to prove s__t! You just allege it!” Finally this is also a man who was recently found in multiple contempts of court for violating court orders and agreements he had entered into. He now lives as a fugitive from a jail sentence.

Need I say more on the matter?

Lastly, let me address what your Joseph Mallia presents as his journalistic coup: the statements regarding L. Ron Hubbard’s service aboard the United States Naval vessel, the YP 422. For the record Mr. Hubbard never claimed to have seen action aboard that vessel. Nor does one find that statement in the “Church of Scientology’s official Internet Site.” Your Mr. Mallia has jumped to an inaccurate conclusion. More to our point, however, are his statements regarding “the first former crewman with direct knowledge of the ship’s activities to publicly dispute Hubbard’s claim.”

I do not know what led your Mallia to this former crewman, but I do know this: according to ship’s records, which I possess in full, Eugene Lemare did not serve beneath Mr. Hubbard. Indeed – and this from my subsequent conversation with Lemare – the man had never even heard of Lt. L. Ron Hubbard prior to Mallia’s telephone call, and certainly possessed not a shred of information pertaining to the YP 422 under Mr. Hubbard’s command. That is – and once more very bluntly – your Mallia has either lied or relied upon information that he could very easily have found to be false by a direct inquiry to me. He has presented this Eugene Lemare as a source of damning information when, in fact, poor Lemare knew nothing of the matter. In that regard, your Mallia may have sinned in precisely the same way Janet Cooke had sinned when accepting a Pulitzer Prize for an entirely fabricated story.

I might further add, Mallia as much as lied in conveniently failing to mention what a Francis Delmarmol, who took over command of the YP 422 in late 1942, concluded regarding Lt. Hubbard:

“It is with considerable pleasure that I find this ship in such excellent condition and discover that her stores and hull and machinery is in a state of high operating efficiency, superior to that of the other vessels of this division. It is with considerable gratitude that I receive from you a well trained crew.”

Finally, and specifically as regards Delmarmol’s remarks regarding Lt. Hubbard’s fitness for command, let me add this: while Lt. Hubbard went on to earn 21 medals and palms for distinguished service through the war, Delmarmol went on to run that YP 422 aground on a coral reef.

I could say more, for your Joseph Mallia report on L. Ron Hubbard is about as flagrantly inaccurate as any I have ever seen. But now it’s my turn: I have spent the better part of the last eight years examining every point of L. Ron Hubbard’s life, every extant document, and the source of every allegation Mr. Mallia tosses off. And with all those eight years in mind, and all else I have witnessed through the preparation of an L. Ron Hubbard biography, I have only this to say: How does Joseph Mallia get off presenting an historical article on L. Ron Hubbard, and yet fail to even ask L. Ron Hubbard’s official biographer for a statement?

While to the Herald, which ran with the Mallia piece, I ask this: What makes your paper run?



  1. Document source: archive.org. Published in Scientology’s Boston Herald: Merchant of Sensationalism.
  2. See Boston Herald series Scientology Unmasked > Judge Found Hubbard lied about achievements.
  3. From Scientology’s published response to Scientology Unmasked, a page on Gerald Armstrong

The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Church wields celebrity clout (March 5, 1998)

Boston Herald
Date of Publication:3/5/981

It is the year 3000 and the earth is enslaved by invading aliens, evil 9-foot-tall “Psychlos” with glowing amber eyes.

Now mankind’s only hope is the heroic Johnny Goodboy Tyler – in an MGM film to be produced by actor John Travolta, based on a Church of Scientology novel titled “Battlefield Earth.”

Thanks to Travolta’s Hollywood clout, audiences worldwide may soon see this film, and get a dose of the philosophy of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

“Mankind … is imprisoned not so much by aliens who dominate the planet, but by superstition, until the hero Johnny Goodboy Tyler…(becomes) the first to break free,” Hubbard wrote.

Critics say this film, along with other Scientology media efforts, is a veiled attempt to gain converts and influence.

With books, sophisticated TV and print advertising campaigns, a 30,000-page Internet site, and its celebrity members’ clout on TV sitcoms and major films, Scientology uses a range of modern media to gain influence, church critics say.

How much clout does the church have?

Apparently a great deal.

President Clinton may have sided with Scientology against the German government in hopes of having Travolta soften his portrayal of a Clinton lookalike during filming of the movie “Primary Colors,” a recent report in George magazine said.

Since the church was founded in 1954, Hubbard encouraged his followers to enlist celebrities.

The policy, observers say, has paid off.

Since Travolta became a Scientologist in 1975, he has been joined by other acting heavyweights, including Tom Cruise, Cruise’s wife Nicole Kidman, Travolta’s wife Kelly Preston, and TV sitcom stars Kirstie Alley (“Cheers” and “Veronica’s Closet”) and Jenna Elfman (“Dharma & Greg”). All are outspoken church members.

“It was everything I had been looking for, answers to questions I had been asking forever. They finally got answered for me,” Elfman said in an interview published in a January Sunday newspaper supplement that reached millions of readers.

And last week, Elfman, Preston and other Scientology celebrities were scheduled to appear in Boston and other cities to promote Hubbard’s book “The Fundamentals of Thought.”

Jazzman Chick Corea – a Chelsea native who reportedly hopes to open a nightclub in Massachusetts – leads the church’s publicity battle against the German government, which is investigating Scientology for alleged fraud and anti-democratic acts.

And locally, musician Isaac Hayes hosted a reception at Roxbury Community College in Boston three years ago that helped local Scientologists bring their World Literacy Crusade learn-to-read program into the Randolph Public Schools and various inner city Boston youth agencies.

Other Scientology celebrities include actresses Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart on “The Simpsons”), Juliette Lewis (“Natural Born Killers”), Anne Archer (“Fatal Attraction),” and Elvis Presley’s widow and daughter Priscilla and Lisa Marie.

The musician and congressman, Sonny Bono, who died in January, was a longtime Scientologist.

Others who took Scientology courses, or who were members – some briefly – according to published reports, include football legend John Brodie, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, author William Burroughs; singers Van Morrison, Al Jarreau and Leonard Cohen; actors Emilio Estevez, Rock Hudson, Demi Moore, Candice Bergen, Brad Pitt, Christopher Reeve, Jerry Seinfeld and Patrick Swayze; and O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark.

Also, the Observer newspaper of London recently linked actress Sharon Stone to Scientology.

Ex-Scientologists the church would like to forget include members of the suicidal Heaven’s Gate cult, who were church members in the 1970s; and mass killer Charles Manson, who took church classes during a prison term that ended in 1967, before he and his cult followers massacred Sharon Tate and others.

Meanwhile, the church is conducting an 18-month advertising and publicity blitz, with 38 different TV ads aired to reach 70 percent of North American households. This campaign is intended to counteract negative publicity from Germany and from the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson, a Dallas native who died during a church retreat in Florida, according to an August report in the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.

Scientology-linked groups including Narconon also advertise on local cable channels in the Boston area, said anti-cult activist Steve Hassan of Cambridge.

Critics say, however, that the church’s celebrities never have to face the hardships faced by ordinary Scientologists, who often can’t afford to pay the required tens of thousands of dollars for courses and instead must trade their full-time labor.


The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Scientology group reaches kids through PBS videos (March 5, 1998)

Boston Herald
Date of Publication:3/5/981

More than 30 million American schoolchildren have watched PBS-TV math videos made by a Los Angeles-based foundation with intimate ties to the controversial Church of Scientology, the Herald has learned.

With lively camerawork and guest stars such as supermodel Cindy Crawford, comic Bill Cosby and athlete Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Peabody Award-winning videos have been paid for with at least $12 million in taxpayer funding since 1990, U.S. government documents show.

But the video company – known as FASE – has a hidden agenda promoting the “Purification Rundown,” the Church of Scientology’s $1,200 per-member detoxification ritual, said former top-ranked church member Robert Vaughn Young.

“FASE was originally created to put Scientology covertly into schools and government, to give the Purification Rundown an air of respectability,” said Young, of Seattle.

“Scientology created FASE so they could use it to get in the door,” the church defector said.

All the top executives at FASE are Scientologists and some are former members of the Church of Scientology’s notorious Guardian’s Office, some of whose leaders – including L. Ron Hubbard’s wife, Mary Sue – were imprisoned for spying on the U.S. government in the 1970s, Young said.

Founded in 1953, the Church of Scientology is criticized by anti-cult activists as a money-grabbing and fraudulent organization that uses deception to get new members for its high-priced programs.

FASE was created by the Church of Scientology in 1981, during the Cold War, to gather scientific proof that Hubbard’s controversial detox method could protect humans from radiation sickness in the event of a U.S.-U.S.S.R. nuclear war, Young said.

“Hubbard thought the end of the world was coming, through nuclear warfare. That really rattled some people,” Young recalled.

While the danger of U.S.-Soviet nuclear war subsided, the Purification Rundown is still widely practiced by Scientologists as a $1,200 preliminary religious ritual that all new members must buy – the first step on the Bridge to Total Freedom.

And the Rundown is sold only through the church – including its Boston branch at 448 Beacon St. – and two Scientology-connected organizations also headquartered in California: the non-profit Narconon and the for-profit detoxification clinic HealthMed.

The drug rehab regimen requires strenuous exercise, five hours of sweating in a sauna, megadoses of niacin, and ingesting a half-cup of vegetable oil – each day for two or three weeks.

Another ex-Scientologist, Dennis Erlich of Glendale, Calif., also said that FASE is intent on promoting the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

“They’re trying to pass themselves off as independent. But their real job is to spread Hubbard’s philosophy,” Erlich said.

Stand and deliver

For FASE, popular success began in the mid-1980s when it hitched its wagon to a star – Los Angeles math teacher Jaime Escalante, whose story was told in the 1987 feature film “Stand and Deliver” starring Edward James Olmos.

Buying air conditioners for his sweltering summer-school classrooms and backpacks for his students, FASE’s Scientologists were Escalante’s early supporters.

With the gruffly humorous Bolivian immigrant, FASE produced the Peabody award-winning “Futures… with Jaime Escalante” for junior and senior high school students.

Since 1990, the Scientologists at FASE have paid Escalante up to $160,000 a year to help produce math videos, federal documents show.

And since 1993, the video company has teamed up with exuberant math teacher Kay Toliver, of Harlem, whose series “The Eddie Files” is being distributed by PBS this year.

FASE denies any strong ties to the Church of Scientology. But a review by the Herald has found several, including:

— Incorporation papers filed in 1981 with the Attorney General of California, in Sacramento, showing that FASE was created for the explicit purpose of promoting “the works of L. Ron Hubbard.” The papers were later amended to remove Hubbard’s name.

— Several recent FASE publications that promote Scientology’s Purification Rundown. FASE’s own Internet site (www.fasenet.org) also promoted the detox method as recently as January. These “research reports” are cited by Narconon, a worldwide Scientology group whose New England chapter in Everett has given anti-drug lectures to more than 375,000 schoolchildren, the Herald reported this week.

— An Internet link to FASE on the Church of Scientology’s official 30,000-page Internet site, promoting Narconon. The Scientology link says “a 1989 study by the Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education” proves the effectiveness of Narconon.

— An identical phrase that appears in Scientology scriptures and in a teacher’s guidebook for the PBS video series “Futures.” The guidebook phrase, “across a distance to a receipt-point,” is from a standard Scientology definition of the word “communication,” and it appears repeatedly in Scientology’s religious teachings, including the church’s “Axiom 28.”

While it is a short phrase, it covers a subject that church critics say is crucial to Scientology’s recruitment techniques. Mind control over new members starts with Scientology’s communication courses, said anti-cult specialist Steve Hassan of Cambridge.

The church connection

Meanwhile, many FASE employees have held full-time jobs with the Church of Scientology, or with church-connected organizations like Narconon or HealthMed, according to the church’s press releases and documents obtained from U.S. grant agencies.

Among FASE’s employment links to Scientology:

— Steven R. Heard, the founder and president of FASE, was a longtime member of the Church of Scientology’s powerful Guardian’s Office, ex-Scientologists said.

— Kathleen Heard, Steven Heard’s wife and another former member of the Guardian’s Office, was once Scientology’s chief spokeswoman and is now senior producer at FASE. In the 1970s Kathleen Heard’s name appeared on numerous Church of Scientology press releases while the church battled fraud suits filed by Boston lawyer Michael Flynn on behalf of embittered ex-members.

— Dave Hendry, FASE’s director of teacher enhancement, worked from 1974-1990 in Oregon for Delphi Academies, a chain of Scientology schools (including a location on Blue Hill Avenue in Milton), according to a resume Hendry submitted to U.S. government grant-makers. Hendry did not state in the resume that FASE or Delphi Academies are linked to Scientology.

— Shelley L. Beckmann, a molecular biologist who is FASE’s science director, has since 1985 devoted much of her research time to Narconon and HealthMed, church press releases say.

— Dr. Megan G. Shields, FASE’s medical researcher, is the top researcher for Narconon and HealthMed, and wrote the 1992 introduction to Hubbard’s detox textbook, “Clear Body, Clear Mind.”

— Jack Dirmann, FASE’s associate director, used to run the Scientology drug-rehab company HealthMed, according to published reports. HealthMed sells the “Purification” detox method to firefighters, municipal unions and other groups.

— Carl Smith, FASE’s video producer, also directs a FASE anti-pesticide campaign that is directed in part against pharmaceutical firms like Prozac maker Eli Lilly and Ritalin maker Ciba-Geigy; the Church of Scientology has long battled these companies as part of its stance against psychiatric drugs. Smith’s pesticide work also helps promote the Purification Rundown detox program by calling attention to toxins in human body fat.

Carl Smith acknowledged in a Herald interview that all FASE’s senior employees are Scientologists.

But FASE’s videos do not promote Hubbard’s religion, Smith said.

“Are you trying to say that we’re making LRH videotapes? It just doesn’t wash,” Smith said. “It’s an incorrect statement to say that these are vehicles for Scientology.”

Steven Heard, the foundation’s top official, denied that religion plays a part in FASE’s TV shows.

“I am a Scientologist, but that doesn’t affect our work,” Heard said.

Heard acknowledged, however, that FASE continues to study and promote the Church of Scientology’s detoxification program.

“It’s the only method that actually addresses fat-stored chemical residues,” Heard said in the interview.

Hendry, the teacher-training director, said that the company keys in on minorities. “We have always tried to feature minorities in our work. That’s what the NSF (National Science Foundation) wants,” he said.

Escalante, who came from La Paz, Bolivia, inspired his mostly Latin-American students with the “ganas” – the desire – to overcome anti-Hispanic prejudice and pass a tough advanced placement calculus test.

And in his “Futures” videos, FASE appealed to wider audiences by bringing in celebrity guest stars like Cosby and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“Futures” made math relevant for inner-city kids, and showed them how Hispanics and African-Americans used math to earn good salaries as engineers and doctors. It attracted 15 million young viewers in 44 states, PBS said.

In Bay State schools

The public school system in Boston, for example, bought at least three sets of “Futures” videos. And a math teacher at Brighton High School who is also a Scientologist, Gerald Mazzarella, said in an interview that “Futures” was shown to every class in the school.

Boston Schools Superintendent Thomas W. Payzant, in response to questions about FASE, said he was concerned whether “the line separating church and state isn’t breached” by the TV company’s links to Scientology.

In more recent videos, FASE’s top star is Kay Toliver, an exuberant math teacher from East Harlem Tech in New York. Her programs, “Good Morning Miss Toliver” and “The Eddie Files,” have also reached an estimated 15 million children.

New segments of “The Eddie Files” are on the air this school year.

Public funding

Based on dozens of documents about FASE’s activities, obtained from the U.S. government under the Freedom of Information Act, the Herald has learned that:

— Nearly two-thirds of FASE’s $17 million production costs over a six-year period from 1990-1995 were paid for with $12 million-plus in U.S. government grants from the Departments of Justice, Commerce, Energy, Education and Labor; and the National Science Foundation. In its grant applications, FASE did not state that it was linked to the Church of Scientology.

— The remaining one-third of FASE’s budget was paid for with $5.5 million from major charities and corporations. These include Arco, IBM, the Carnegie Corp. of New York, and the Ronald McDonald Children’s Charity, government documents show.

— FASE commissioned a 1992 survey by the Dedham, pollster Research Communications Ltd., which showed that Hispanic and black children were influenced by the videos.

— FASE is now reaching bigger audiences with a Sci-Fi Channel special and other for-profit television shows, on the Internet, and at regional conferences with public school teachers nationwide. U.S. government agencies are paying for some of these efforts, including a FASE proposal to provide education news on video to superintendents, teachers and parents.

FASE’s yearly budget went from $729,342 in 1989 to $3 million four years later, the tax documents show.

In one year – 1992 – FASE paid $160,049 to Escalante; $112,000 to Kathleen Heard; $73,000 to Jack Dirmann; $130,000 to co-producer Rob Mikuriya; and $122,133 to Steven Heard. In 1993 and 1994 Steven Heard was paid $140,000, and Dirmann $87,400 in 1993 and $80,783 in 1994.

And its “free cash” bank account rose from $33,660 in 1992 to $611,626 two years later.

The church now enjoys tax-free religious status that it received from the Internal Revenue Service in 1993.


The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Sacred teachings not secret anymore (March 4, 1998)

Boston Herald
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.

The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Scientology reaches into schools through Narconon (March 3, 1998)

Boston Herald
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 Rundown

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.

The connection

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.

The costs

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.

The schools

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.


The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Milton school shades ties to Scientology (March 2, 1998)

Boston Herald
Date of Publication:3/2/981

A Church of Scientology school in Milton is enrolling large numbers of children from middle-class and professional black families in what critics say is part of the church’s nationwide plan to recruit minorities.

Officials at Delphi Academy do not tell parents that the school is part of the Church of Scientology, and that they are trying to recruit blacks for Scientology’s costly programs.

Yet they do admit that all staff members are Scientologists and they use Scientology materials.

A Herald review of the school has found that Delphi Academy:

Used precisely the same “Study Tech” as the Boston Church of Scientology on Beacon Street, where the methods are considered religious scriptures.

Sent up to 10 percent of each child’s tuition money to the Association for Better Living and Education, a Scientology organization in Los Angeles, according to its federal tax returns.

Got “referral” income of 10 percent to 15 percent of any Scientology course or book bought by a Delphi Academy parent, according to the school’s federal tax returns and ex-members of the church.

Has used an “E-Meter” – a device like a lie detector that measures emotional reactions – on Delphi children, according to a former student, Sabriya Dublin of Jamaica Plain. The E-Meter – the same device used by the church in counseling- sends a mild electric current through the child’s body, with fluctuations in a gauge showing emotional reactions, as a child answers questions while holding a shiny metal tube in each hand. A former Delphi student from Oregon, however, said the E-Meter was not used at his school.

Created a Delphi Parents Association so parents could pay for playground repairs and two new computers through fund-raising events – while Delphi made royalty payments to Scientology’s ABLE organization.

Promoted Scientology outside the school. Delphi’s headmistress, Ellen Garrison, helped establish a Scientology tutoring program for ninth-grade teachers at the Randolph Public Schools, said former Scientology church spokeswoman Kit Finn.

And a “Homework Club” sent older Delphi students to teach Scientology methods at the Tucker Elementary School, a Milton public school, a Delphi official said.

Attracted so many students in recent years that the school, in a converted gatehouse off a quiet stretch of Blue Hill Avenue, had to build two new classrooms. School spokeswoman Joanne List said most of the new students were black.

Critics of Scientology say the real motive of Delphi is to increase church membership, and make money by selling high-priced Scientology courses to parents, according to Priscilla Coates, an anti-cult activist in Los Angeles.

One parent, Harvard Dental School instructor Dr. E. Leo Whitworth, had just such an experience with Delphi Academy.

Whitworth said his son, L.V., was taught basic Church of Scientology methods like Study Technology during the four years he was enrolled at Delphi Academy.

The dentist said he did not learn that Delphi was linked to Scientology until after his son was enrolled, and then they recruited him for a variety of programs at the Church of Scientology on Beacon Street in Boston.

“I took two courses at the church,” Whitworth said. “It cost in the hundreds. They wanted me as a member. And they did try to get my wife. She started a course but she didn’t finish,” the dentist said.

During a vacation in California, Whitworth visited the offices of Sterling Management, a for-profit business linked to the Church of Scientology. There, Scientologists tried to sell him a dental office management program, Whitworth said.

“They were trying to get me to use their business techniques,” he said, but he didn’t like the program and it was too expensive. “It was too much like car salesman techniques. It cost a lot – around $ 10,000.”

Whitworth, who is also a Northeastern University trustee, said he knew of “several” non-Scientologist parents who enrolled their children in Delphi Academy and later became members of the church.

In retrospect, he said, Delphi Academy appears to be deceptive.

“I would rather they did say, up front, that they are part of Scientology. There are certain ways they could be more open,” he said. He also warned parents who enroll their children at Delphi to “be aware there are other aspects to it – the Scientology.”

Whitworth’s son, now 15, asked to be taken out of Delphi, the father said. “He didn’t want to stay there anymore. He was just uncomfortable.”

Several other black parents, however, said they were pleased with how well their children were learning at the school. And Delphi officials say students got high marks on the annual California Acheivement Tests.

New students to the $ 6,200-a-year school are recruited for Delphi and its summer camp by word of mouth, and through bulk mailings that do not mention Scientology. The school first opened in Belmont in 1980 under the name Apple School.

The 1,000-student network of Delphi academies in Oregon, Florida, California – and Milton – has recruited unsuspecting families for many years, Coates said.

But the interest in black citizens is new, because Scientology has few non-white members, she said. “They are looking for new niches for people and money,” Coates said.

A Herald reporter visited the 104-student Milton school twice, and found that the majority of its younger students are black. It enrolls children ages 3-13.

Parents who have enrolled their children at the school include professionals like Brockton obstetrician Dr. Dawna Jones and government workers like Barbara Hamilton, youth activities aide to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Dr. Jones did not return calls seeking comment, but Hamilton said her son is doing well at Delphi.

“I would say he’s just generally improved,” including better reading skills, Hamilton said.

Other black, non-Scientologist parents include a top manager at Lexington-based Stride Rite Corp., an investment analyst, a nurse, a Massachusetts state trooper, Boston police officers, computer executives at Digital Equipment Corp. and Lotus Development, and an MBTA welder, according to Delphi officials.

Several other black parents are medical doctors, one owns a Roxbury air-conditioning company, one is a Christian minister, while another is a Catholic religious education director, Delphi officials said.

“The Scientology thing, that was one thing I had to clear up. At first I didn’t know it was a religious school, and I wasn’t looking for a religious school,” said Lee Jensen, a Massachusetts Water Resources Authority official, who enrolled her daughter, Nicole, at Delphi. “I told them, ‘I need to know exactly what you’re teaching my child, because you have her for nine hours a day.’ ”

Not every parent is middle-class, and Delphi gives no financial aid or scholarships, so some parents just scrape by, said List. “We have a lot of single mothers who eat peanut butter sandwiches, and don’t drive fancy cars,” she said.

The school does not require its students to convert to Scientology, said former student Sabriya Dublin, who said she attended the school for eight years.

The founder of the Delphi Academy schools, Alan Larson, said in an interview from Oregon that they succeed because they require every child to learn everything – without exception – before moving on to the next task.

And the Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, said Delphi students’ Scholastic Aptitude Tests are “400 points above the national average.”

But Dennis Erlich, a former Scientology trainer in California, said his two daughters had to spend two years in remedial math and English courses after he transferred them to public school from a Scientology-run school, where he said instruction was poor.

Another church defector, Robert Vaughn Young, said Scientology’s leaders do not care about traditional education. They only care about getting people to buy Scientology courses, he said.


The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Church keys programs to recruit blacks (March 2, 1998)

Boston Herald
Date of Publication:3/2/981

The Church of Scientology has targeted black families in Massachusetts with a learn-to-read program that critics say is just a rehash of old methods that leans heavily on the church’s religious teachings.

The learn-to-read program – the World Literacy Crusade – is part of a nationwide effort by the church to entice blacks into Scientology and then convince them to take other, expensive programs, according to critics and former members of the church.

A Herald review has found that Scientologists have:

  • Targeted a literacy campaign at inner-city Boston programs for minority children, including Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn’s Youth Development Program, the Roxbury YMCA and the Roxbury Youth Works.
  • Attracted dozens of middle class and professional black families to Delphi Academy in Milton. This Scientology-run school uses E-Meters – devices akin to lie detectors – on children, according to a former Delphi student.
  • Taught Scientology methods to ninth-grade teachers at Randolph High School – which has many black students – after persuading headmaster James E. Watson that their techniques work.
  • Taught Scientology’s study techniques to Boston Public Schools students at Brighton High School through teacher Gerald Mazzarella, who is also a church member.
  • Created 26 World Literacy Crusade programs – in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Miami, Memphis, Tenn., and a host of other U.S. cities in the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
  • Gained the endorsements of prominent local blacks such as Georgette Watson, co-founder of Drop-A-Dime and former anti-drug aide to Gov. William F. Weld.

The teachings

Scientologists say the literacy campaign is nonreligious, and thereforedoesn’t violate laws separating church and state.

But critics say the church plays fast and loose with definitions, calling identical programs “religious” in one context and “secular” in another.

Church documents and books show that Scientology clearly identifies Study Technology as a religious practice. It is taught at the church’s local headquarters on Beacon Street in Boston in the $600 Student Hat program, as a first step into church membership.

This learn-to-read “technology” – or Study Tech as the church calls it – teaches children to distrust their own intelligence and rely passively on what the church teaches, said high-ranking church defector Robert Vaughn Young.

“Study Tech is an extremely dangerous technique,” Young said. “Critical thinking? There is no critical thinking. Criticism is the part that is not allowed,” said Young, who once directed Scientology’s worldwide public relations effort.

The Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, denied that black children or families are being recruited through the literacy program.

“We’ve found that African-American families are as interested as everyone else in what works . . .. They might not necessarily join the church but the quality of their lives has been improved by it,” he said.

Scientologists say the literacy techniques offer the only way to end gang violence, teen pregnancy and other inner-city problems. “I think parents are being driven to find answers. They want their kids to be educated, for heaven’s sake. God bless the World Literacy Crusade,” Jentzsch said.

He said Scientology’s study techniques are so effective they raised his own IQ by 34 points, and helped his children read far above their grade levels.

The Herald asked Harvard University literacy expert Victoria Purcell-Gates to assess the World Literacy Crusade’s learn-to-read book, the “Basic Study Manual,” written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. “This is all `old stuff,’ and has been taught in the schools for at least 30 years (probably more) now,” the Harvard professor wrote in an assessment for the Herald.

“Basically, there is nothing new in this text that is not known by reading/study specialists at a very basic level,” she added. “The only thing really `different’ is that Mr. Hubbard has renamed basic concepts to fit into his overall scheme of things.”

Steve Hassan of Cambridge, a cult deprogrammer, warned that the way Scientologists use the book, in one-on-one tutorials, is a first step toward hypnotic mind control. And the literacy materials are the same as church scriptures – except the schoolbooks leave out the word “Scientology,” Hassan said.

For example, the “Basic Study Manual” teaches children about the Scientology practice of “disconnecting” – used to separate new recruits from non-Scientologists, including parents. ” `Experts,’ `advisers,’ `friends,’ `families’ . . . indulge in all manner of interpretations and even outright lies to seem wise or expert,” the manual says.

The manual also promotes Scientology’s anti-psychology agenda, linking psychology to German fascism and saying psychotherapists reduce humans to the level of animals.

Scientology spokesman Bernard Percy, however, defended the World Literacy Crusade, saying it has no harmful agenda, and that its study principles can turn a child’s life around. For example, Percy said, the program requires children to look up in a dictionary each and every unfamiliar word – and that becomes a lifelong habit with tremendous benefits.

Scientologists also claim the literacy campaign is not controlled by the Church of Scientology – so they are not breaking the laws prohibiting religion in the schools.

But that is a false claim, because the campaign is funded and directed by the Church of Scientology, Hassan said.

The connections

Although local Scientologists deny that the World Literacy Crusade is directed by the Church of Scientology, anyone who uses L. Ron Hubbard’s name, or his trademarked Study Technology techniques, is strictly controlled by licensing contracts with Scientology groups in Los Angeles, in particular the Religious Technology Center, according to Young and church materials obtained by the Herald.

The World Literacy Crusade’s independence from Scientology is a “fiction,” Young said.

A World Literacy Crusade videotape, viewed by the Herald, clearly states that it has a licensing agreement with RTC – Scientology’s most powerful organization – allowing it to use L. Ron Hubbard’s name.

Also, Scientologists get a 10 percent to 35 percent commission on any church course bought by someone they recruit through the literacy programs, according to Church of Scientology documents dated last month.

Once Scientology attracts a new recruit, its staff applies skillful, high-pressure sales tactics, Hassan said. Members must pay more than $300,000 in “fixed donations” – or barter their full-time labor – to achieve complete salvation.

When the Mo Vaughn group or another agency buys Scientology’s literacy books – which cost about $35 each – most of the money goes to several Scientology organizations in Los Angeles: Bridge Publications, the church’s in-house publisher; Author Services Inc., Scientology’s literary agency; and RTC, which owns the rights to the trademarked name L. Ron Hubbard. Also, church members sometimes get government funding.

Scientologists got a federal grant for the literacy program in Memphis, former church spokeswoman Kit Finn said.

Federal money was also spent in Boston on Scientology materials, said Gerald Mazzarella, a Scientologist who teaches at Brighton High School. Mazzarella told the Herald he used part of a $5,000 federal grant to buy Scientology textbooks and checklists during the 1980s, which he then used at Brighton High.

Hub beginnings

Boston’s kickoff of Scientology’s literacy program was an April 22, 1995, reception at Roxbury Community College.

The guest of honor was Isaac Hayes, the first black musician ever to win an Academy Award.

The “Shaft” composer impressed a few prominent local blacks – including James E. Watson, the Randolph Junior/Senior High School headmaster. “It obviously helps kids improve their learning. It seemed to be a positive,” Watson said.

Watson toured Delphi Academy in Milton about three years ago, then asked the school’s headmistress, Ellen Garrison, to begin teaching Study Technology to his ninth-grade teachers at the Randolph school in December.

“It’s at its infancy stage, and what it would cost isn’t clear yet,” the headmaster said at the time. Watson, who has been praised for easing racial tensions in Randolph, recently said there is no longer any connection between the two schools.

The head of a youth program founded by one of Boston’s most-admired black athletes was also interested.

“I think they’re right on when they say illiteracy is a problem that leads to other problems,” said Roosevelt Smith, executive director of the Mo Vaughn Youth Development Program.

“We contracted with the World Literacy Crusade to bring seven kids up to speed,” Smith said. Five of the children, who were 13-16 years old, improved their reading ability using the “Basic Study Manual,” he said.

Most of the stuff is free. They only asked us to pay for books and materials,” Smith said.

Mo Vaughn himself knew about the Scientologists’ program, but “he hasn’t met with them directly,” Smith said.

But the Scientology religion “is not a part of what we’re doing,” Smith said. “I don’t think the kids even know what Scientology is.”

Roxbury Youth Works, however, allowed World Literacy Crusade workers to tutor teenagers there three years ago, but had second thoughts after learning more about the group’s links to Scientology, said Roxbury Youth Works administrator Dave Wideman.

“We as an organization were a little apprehensive. It seems like they were trying to recruit people,” Wideman said. “The target group was the particular population we serve, predominantly young black men and women.”

But if the Randolph High School literacy program succeeds, Scientologists hope to teach the same “tech” in Boston classrooms, said Finn, the Scientologist.

“That’s definitely the plan,” Finn said. “It’s like Mr. Watson. Somebody has to be bright enough to want it.”

Virtually every top Scientology official is white, according to ex-members and photographs of church leaders. But the new literacy campaign shows Scientology wants to attract blacks and Hispanics, said Priscilla Coates, formerly of the Cult Awareness Network in Los Angeles – an anti-cult group that was bankrupted by Scientology lawsuits and then taken over by the church.

Any non-Scientologist youth who is taught Study Technology is ripe for recruitment, Coates said. “The child has a possibility of becoming a Scientologist,” she said.

Elsewhere in the United States, the World Literacy Crusade has installed its programs at a New York City police athletic league, a Los Angeles probation department, and the Tampa (Fla.) Housing Authority. Other programs are in Washington, D.C., Denver, and throughout California.

In Memphis, Tenn., public officials were angered to learn that the World Literacy Crusade had run a pilot program – with federal grant money – for 75 students in a public school building, without getting a needed permit and without disclosing its ties to Scientology. The church was not allowed to use the school facilities again.

In the inner-city Los Angeles neighborhood of Compton, more than 700 black children, including gang members, participated in the World Literacy Crusade and the program saved their lives by giving them an alternative to street life, Jentzsch said.

“If you know what the statistics are in Compton, (it is) just miraculous,” Jentzsch said. “I’ve seen kids from the Crips and the Bloods sitting there working with other kids to get them educated.”

Study Tech

Larry Campbell brought his daughter to the Scientologists at the Roxbury YMCA because she was having reading problems in a public school outside Boston, which he would not name.

“I brought my daughter here because these guys help,” Campbell said. The father acknowledged that he also enrolled himself in the literacy program, to improve his reading skills.

“This is what the public schools should be doing,” the father said. “It should be attended to not next year but now.”

So for two hours on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and each Saturday morning, Campbell, a deacon at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Roxbury, brought his elementary school aged daughter to a neon-lit YMCA room furnished with an old sofa, two foldout tables and a stack of plastic chairs.

There, she and other black children were coached in Scientology’s study methods by church members Simaen Skolfield and Cliff Dufresne.

During one session observed by a Herald reporter, neither tutor had a spontaneous conversation with a child, but read from a script.

Dufresne, who dropped out of Boston College Law School to work on the literacy program, helped Doug Walker, a pupil at the William Monroe Trotter Elementary School in Dorchester.

Doug Walker’s mother said the school wanted to solve her son’s problems by giving him medication such as Ritalin, Dufresne said. But, he added, the mother wanted to try drug-free Scientology lessons first.

Meanwhile Skolfield, a bearded British emigre, helped Tanzania Campbell – whose ambition is to be a schoolteacher in Atlantic City, N.J. – with a Study Technology lesson.

Campbell and others at the Roxbury YMCA literacy program were expected to pay nothing at first. “Not yet,” Dufresne said.

But Dufresne hopes his students will, in turn, teach their friends the Scientology techniques. “That’s the whole idea. They learn this and then they circle back and teach somebody else. Because there’s not enough of us,” he said.

Scientology literacy sessions are no longer allowed at the Roxbury YMCA, after officials there learned that the program is associated with the church.

But, an official at Dennison House in Dorchester said Dufresne met with house representatives last year and Dennison House invited World Literacy Crusade workers to come in as tutors. The tutoring has not yet started.


The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Judge Found Hubbard lied about achievements (March 1, 1998)

Boston Herald
Date of Publication:3/1/981

The Church of Scientology’s late founder, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, left behind a $ 640 million fortune, and an estimated 25 million words in books and lectures that form the spiritual core of his controversial religion.

But some of those words are a legacy of exaggerations, half-truths and outright lies, according to Hubbard’s son, court records and critics.

“The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be reflective of its founder LRH,” wrote California Superior Court Judge Paul Breckenridge during a top Scientology defector’s court suit against the church.

“The evidence portrays a man who has been virtually a pathological liar when it comes to his history, background and achievements,” said Breckenridge, who ruled for defector Gerry Armstrong in the 1984 case.2

Some claims by L. Ron Hubbard are hard to refute, like his ideas about past lives. He said he was the reincarnation of Buddha, and of British adventurer Cecil Rhodes, the founder of the former Rhodesia.

Other assertions are transparent.

Hubbard – who died in 1986 – claimed to be a nuclear physicist who traveled into outer space without his body to explore the Earth’s Van Allen radiation belt. But his two-year stay at George Washington University in 1931-32 shows that he flunked his only course in nuclear physics.

One of Hubbard’s key declarations – that by mental powers alone he healed combat wounds he received as a World War II Navy hero – formed the basis of Scientology in the 1950s.

While recovering from war injuries, he “developed techniques which made possible not only his own recovery from injury, but helped other servicemen to regain their health,” the Church of Scientology claims in a 1992 edition of Hubbard’s book “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.”

As a Navy lieutenant, Hubbard commanded at least three ships during the war, including one in the Atlantic – a converted fishing boat, the YP-422, refitted during several months in 1942-43 at the Boston Navy Yard, Navy records show.

In early Scientology biographies it was claimed that Hubbard fought German submarines in the Atlantic. And as recently as January, the Church of Scientology’s official Internet site said Hubbard “saw action” in the North Atlantic during the war.

But, in an interview with the Herald, a sailor who served on Hubbard’s ship contradicted that claim.

“The YP-422 never saw combat,” said former Navy fireman Eugene LaMere, 78, an upstate New York native who now lives in Maryland.

The YP-422 was refitted as a freighter armed with only a 3-inch gun and two .30-caliber machine guns, said LaMere, the first former crewman with direct knowledge of the ship’s activities to publicly dispute Hubbard’s claim to have seen combat as commander of the YP-422.

And Hubbard’s claim of combat, or war wounds, is definitively ruled out by Navy records, according to published reports in Time and Forbes magazines, the Los Angeles Times, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and books by critics and defectors Jon Atack, Russell Miller and Bent Corydon.

Hubbard was relieved of his command of the YP-422 soon after it set out from the Neponset River on a 27-hour shakedown voyage in September 1942, the reports say.

“Lt. L.R. Hubbard . . . is not temperamentally fitted for independent command. It is therefore urgently requested that he be detached,” the commandant of the Boston Navy Yard wrote in October 1942 to the vice chief of naval operations, the reports said.

According to a court affidavit written by his son, L. Ron Hubbard Jr., the elder Hubbard was “relieved of (military) duty on several occasions,” including once in the Pacific in 1944 when he “apparently concealed a gasoline bomb on board the USS Algol in order to avoid combat.”

The affidavit – obtained by the Herald – is on file in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with a 1991 suit filed by Scientology against the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI’s Boston office. The church had sued under the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to government documents.

And there were other incidents that marred Hubbard’s Navy career. He once ordered a depth-charge “battle” against nonexistent Japanese submarines off the Oregon coast, and he illegally fired on Mexican territory, according to published reports.

An admiral wrote in 1943 that Hubbard was “lacking in the essential qualities of judgment, leadership and cooperation,” and the U.S. naval attache to Australia wrote in 1942, “He is garrulous and tries to give impressions of his importance,” the reports said.

The court affidavit by Hubbard’s son also describes some of his father’s postwar activities.

Hubbard practiced Satanic sexual rituals in the late 1940s in southern California, and suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, the son said.

“Drug addiction, venereal disease and impotency, wife beating, bizarre ‘black magic’ occult practices, forgery, writing bad checks, and miscellaneous fraudulent activities including bigamy” preoccupied Hubbard after his Navy discharge, said Hubbard’s oldest child – by the first of Hubbard’s three wives – who was trying to gain control of his father’s estate.

During the late 1940s, while Hubbard struggled to make a living as a writer, he told a group of science fiction writers of his plans to get rich, Pennsylvania writer Lloyd Eshbach wrote in his book “Over My Shoulder.”

“I’d like to start a religion. That’s where the money is,” Hubbard said in 1948, according to Eshbach.

Born in Nebraska in 1911 to a career Navy officer, Hubbard was described by friends as quick-witted, with great personal charisma and a gift for writing pulp science fiction.

He had a lifelong affinity for the nautical life and within Scientology he created his own paramilitary version of the Navy, wearing a white uniform with ribbons and gold braid, and appointing himself commodore over thousands of devotees.

By the summer of 1962, Hubbard felt confident enough to urgently request a meeting with President Kennedy, to discuss “his study known as ‘Scientology’ which he feels vital in space race,” according to a White House memo on file at the John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester.

“Such an office as yours receives a flood of letters from fakes, crackpots and would-be wonderworkers. This is not such a letter,” Hubbard wrote to Kennedy. He offered to counsel U.S. astronauts for $ 25 an hour, saying he could increase their IQs and stamina.

Hubbard did not get the warm welcome he hoped for from Kennedy.

Apparently believing that Hubbard might pose a security threat to the president, a White House aide wrote a January 1963 memo saying, “Final disposition: respectfully referred to the protective research section” of the U.S. Secret Service, said Maura Porter a Kennedy Library staff member.

Kennedy later sent an indirect answer, Hubbard believed, when the Food and Drug Administration raided the Church of Scientology in Washington, D.C., and seized all its “E-Meters” – a device like a lie detector used by church counselors.


The Boston Herald: Inside the Church of Scientology: Powerful church targets fortunes, souls of recruits (March 1, 1998)

Boston Herald
Date of Publication:3/1/98 1

MIT student Carlos Covarrubias had signed a contract to serve the Church of Scientology for the next billion years – in effect, pledging his eternal soul.

Now two Scientologists were helping him stuff underwear and socks into a suitcase at his Back Bay fraternity house while others sat outside on Beacon Street in a car with its engine running.

They were preparing to take the 19-year-old to Logan Airport, and from there to the church’s Los Angeles headquarters.

“His parents were coming up from Florida to save him, so the Scientologists were rushing to get him out of here,” said Marcus Ottaviano, president of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity, recalling the May 1995 events.

Covarrubias’s interest in the church was first piqued by “Dianetics,” the Scientology book advertised on late-night TV and at national events like the Boston Marathon.

It wasn’t long before Covarrubias began skipping his MIT classes to spend the day studying at the church, Scientology’s four-story stone building on Beacon Street, a block from the Charles River and next door to his fraternity.

The church recruiters befriended him, promising that one day he would become “clear” – with a perfect memory and a higher IQ. Covarrubias paid for the Purification Rundown, a $ 1,200 detoxification program that required him to drink vegetable oil, take vitamin megadoses, and sweat in a sauna for several hours a day.

He also took a course that required him to talk to inanimate objects like dolls and ashtrays. “You had an ashtray, and you’d say, ‘Stand up.’ You’d lift it up and say, ‘Thank you.’ And then you’d say, ‘Sit down,’ and ‘Thank you.’ You’d try to have the intention for it to move on its own,” Covarrubias said.

Altogether, he paid about $ 2,000 to the Church of Scientology. But they wanted more.

“They asked me about student loans, bank loans, and they asked me, ‘What’s the limit on your credit cards? What’s your overdraft protection?’ “Covarrubias said. “They said, ‘There’s always a way to get money.’ ”

It is just such tactics that cause critics to call the church – founded in 1953 – a cult and a money-grabbing machine that separates thousands of ordinary church members like Covarrubias from their free will and their money.

It is also just such tactics that have the church in the midst of an international and highly public feud with the German government – which steadfastly refuses to grant Scientology the tax-exempt status of a religion – a status the church holds in this country.

While high-profile celebrity members, including John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, Chick Corea, Lisa Marie Presley and others, earn goodwill for the church, ex-members and critics say there is a dark underside to Scientology.

Some of that underside was allegedly laid bare in the 1995 death in Clearwater, Fla., of church member Lisa McPherson, 36, according to Florida state police, who recommended in December that Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe bring criminal charges against the church. The county medical examiner said she died of a blood clot due to dehydration, after being denied water for at least her last five to 10 days.

The church says McPherson died accidentally of a pulmonary embolism and denies that its members caused the death.

McPherson’s family filed a wrongful-death suit against the Church of Scientology last year, saying she wanted to leave the church but was held against her will during a 17-day church “retreat.”

Former insiders told the Herald that the Church of Scientology is a wealthy and powerful organization strictly controlled by its reclusive leaders at the Religious Technology Center in California.

In 1993 – the last year the church had to declare its income for federal tax purposes – it had $ 398 million in assets and took in $ 300 million a year. It claims to have 8 million members, though opponents put that number at only 200,000 or so – with about 40,000 in the United States.

In Massachusetts, there are several groups – an Everett drug-rehab office, a Brighton literacy program, private schools in Milton and Somerville and an anti-psychiatry group in Boston – that deny they are controlled by the Church of Scientology.

The groups share a primary goal with all other Scientology organizations, critics say: To recruit for the church and sell its programs.

But the president of the Church of Scientology International, the Rev. Heber Jentzsch, objected in a telephone interview from Los Angeles to allegations of abuse or deception.

Church members are sincerely motivated to bring happiness to mankind, Jentzsch said. They work in prisons and among the poor to eradicate gang violence, teen pregnancy and drug abuse, he said.

Scientology is thriving in 115 countries, Jentzsch said, despite the venom of what he said were only a few critics. It thrives, he said, because “it is the path to total freedom.”

And Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s books and lectures are popular, selling more than 140 million copies – including more than 17 million copies of “Dianetics” – in 34 languages, Jentzsch said.

Long before Hubbard died in 1986, he was accused of creating the Church of Scientology only to make money. His lectures and writings – totaling more than 100,000 pages – still generate millions of dollars in income every year. That stream of money is now controlled by Hubbard’s heir, Religious Technology Center board chairman David Miscavige, 37, who has worked for the church since he was a teenager.

Jentzsch said Scientology is attacked – as Mormonism was in its early years – because it is a new religion with a unique and vital message. “A person who is a Scientologist – he wakes up,” he said.


Local Scientologists recruit on college campuses in Boston and on the street.

A favorite spot is outside the front door of the Boston Architectural Center at Newbury and Hereford streets, where church recruiters regularly hand out free tickets for “personality and IQ tests” at the “Hubbard Dianetics Foundation.” The tickets – “a $ 30 value” – list the address and telephone number but not the name of the Church of Scientology at 448 Beacon St.

And for several months there was an outpost in Watertown’s Arsenal Mall where a vendor’s cart offered free stress tests on an an “Electropsychometer” or “E-Meter” – a kind of lie detector used for Scientology training.

Potential members are routed to the Beacon Street church where high-pressure “registrars” sell costly church programs.

In the church’s vocabulary, the recruiter is a “body router,” and potential converts are “wogs” or “raw meat.”

An offer of a free personality test enticed Reem Rahim, 31, who said in a Herald interview that she was recruited to Scientology in 1991.

New to Boston, unhappy with her job as an immunology researcher at Children’s Hospital, Rahim accepted when a man on the street offered the church’s personality test.

Within six weeks she had paid the Boston church $ 82,000 for Scientology courses – money from an insurance settlement she got after nearly losing her legs in a 1987 car accident. Church salespeople promised Scientology would give Rahim happiness and advanced mental powers, including the ability to remove from her legs the scars caused by the auto accident, she said.

Rahim’s family helped her leave Scientology. And she later got all her money refunded, but not before she hired lawyers who threatened to sue the church for fraud.

“I used to feel sorry for them, because there were some nice people there. Now I feel angry with the whole organization. What a bunch of creeps – stealing money from people,” Rahim recalled.

Another Boston resident, John Wall, was recruited when he found a Yellow Pages “career counseling” listing for the Scientology group Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation, according to a fraud complaint he filed against the church on Dec. 8, 1992, in Suffolk County Superior Court.

“The personality test is the gimmick routinely used by Scientology missions, orgs (organizations) and front groups . . . (to) identify the emotional sore spots of the targets for recruitment,” said the lawyers for Wall, who was recruited soon after graduating from college.

In a little more than two years, Wall claimed, he gave $ 17,000 to the church but never got career counseling.

“He was bombarded with contacts” from Scientologists pressuring him to take more courses, Wall’s lawyers said in the court documents. “He was told that Scientology was every bit a scientific discipline as physics or chemistry,” they said.

“Defendants continued to utilize mind control techniques which pervade Scientology pursuant to the boast of (L. Ron) Hubbard, the founder of Scientology,” Wall’s lawyers said in the documents, and then quoted Hubbard as saying: ” ‘We know more about psychiatry than psychiatrists. We can brainwash faster than the Russians.’ ”

After buying courses for 18 months from the Beacon Street church, Wall became a full-time Scientologist and moved to Los Angeles in October 1990.

Seven months after moving to California, Wall quit Scientology. He settled his lawsuit in 1993, and could not be reached for comment.

The critics

Skillful techniques induce even highly educated people like Wall, Covarrubias and Rahim to join groups like the Church of Scientology, said Steve Hassan of Cambridge, author of the book “Combatting Cult Mind Control.” Hassan was hired by Rahim’s family to help persuade her to leave Scientology.

Scientology is clearly a destructive cult, said Hassan, who has established a new local resource center to educate people about coercive religions.

“This group is unlike legitimate religions which tell what their beliefs and practices are in the beginning,” said Hassan, 43,a one-time member of the Unification Church.

“Scientology systematically deceives, hypnotizes, indoctrinates and exploits people for its own purposes,” he said.

First, Scientologists find a new recruit’s “ruin” – the thing that bothers him or her the most, according to Hassan, court documents and former members.

Then they promise to fix it, said former members who sued the church for fraud.

Whether the problem is psychosis or cancer, illiteracy or insanity – or legs scarred from an auto accident – Scientology is the answer. That’s the enticement offered to new recruits by church salespeople who are paid a 10 percent to 35 percent commission on every course they sell, defectors said.

The cost

Covarrubias, Rahim and Wall spent far less than the $ 300,000-plus cost of completing Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom.”

Former Scientologist Gloria Neumeyer of Glendale, Calif., who owns a solar heating company, told the Herald she spent $ 200,000 for herself and another $300,000 for family members and employees to take Scientology courses.

“I donated $ 500,000 to Scientology. I was the kind (of recruit) who had money and paid for everything,” said Neumeyer, a former Lexington resident who left the church in 1991 and then decided to expose what she says are the church’s destructive practices.

Scientology counseling can create a feeling of well-being or even ecstasy, and that can become addictive, according to cult experts. It can also be expensive, costing up to $ 520 an hour, they said.

For the money, Scientologists are promised extraordinary powers – like controlling the weather and flying without their bodies, according to critics and former members.

Scientologists “claim with confidence that trillions of years ago they knew each other on other planets, that they had the power to see at submicroscopic levels and leave their bodies at will,” said Jim Siegelman and Flo Conway, authors of “Snapping,” a book on personality change in cults.

Like all Scientology churches worldwide, the Boston organization is required to send a percentage of its income to top church groups in California, which own all rights to the use of L. Ron Hubbard’s name, said Robert Vaughn Young, a former high-ranking Scientology official.

Many of Scientology’s more idealistic members sign billion-year contracts with the Sea Organization, the church’s quasi-military corps based in Clearwater, Fla.

Dressed in blue mock-Navy uniforms with gold braid and ribbons, it was two Sea Org officers who visited Boston and convinced Covarrubias that he should wear the same nautical garb while learning to save the world.

Even today, the church still considers Covarrubias a member, because his billion-year contract is irrevocable.

His friends and family disagree.

The rescue

When his Pi Lambda Phi brothers saw Covarrubias become more and more immersed in Scientology, they alerted his parents in North Palm Beach, Fla.

Using the Internet, they found ex-Scientologists who volunteered to meet Covarrubias face-to-face.

The defectors told Covarrubias that he would sink more and more deeply under the mental control of the church, completely cut off from family and non-Scientology friends.

Meanwhile, on that day in May 1995, his parents’ plane was approaching Boston. The church had learned – from Covarrubias during a counseling session – of the plot to rescue him. That’s when the Scientologists came into the Pi Lambda Phi house to help Covarrubias pack his suitcase, Ottaviano said.

But before the Scientologists could take Covarrubias to Los Angeles, his friends blocked the frat house door, Ottaviano said.

“The only reason they didn’t leave that second is that there were 40 of us and two of them,” he recalled.

After Covarrubias was safe with his parents, the Pi Lambda Phi wanted to alert other college students. So they picketed the church next door.

“All the neighbors came out to support us. We were joined by a common enemy – we all hated Scientology,” Ottaviano said.

After a year with his family in Florida, Covarrubias felt strong enough to come back to Boston, rejoin the fraternity and re-enroll at MIT. He is scheduled to graduate with a philosophy degree this spring. Raised Catholic, he has a deep interest in spiritual matters.

But he said he does not consider Scientology a spiritual group.

“It’s an organization. Any other word, like religion, doesn’t seem to fit. It’s not a religion because they don’t ask for faith,” he said. “I would actually call it a cult.”


Comments? Questions? Mail us: library@bostonherald.com

The Boston Herald: Scientology Unmasked: Inside the Church of Scientology (March 1 – 19, 1998)


DAY 1:
Date of Publication:3/1/98

The Church of Scientology uses deceptive tactics, pushes costly programs and denies close ties to several local and national groups that recruit new members for the church, critics say. The Boston Herald also reports that L. Ron Hubbard, the late founder of the Church of Scientology, made wildly inflated claims about himself, including space travel, college degrees, World War II combat, war wounds and more.

DAY 2:
Date of Publication:3/2/98

The church’s World Literacy Crusade has targeted black families with a learn-to-read program that experts say is a rehash of 30-year-old methods infused with the church’s religious teachings. The Boston Herald also reports that the church is attracting black families to a Scientology-run school in Milton that has used a device akin to a lie detector on students.

DAY 3:
Date of Publication:3/3/98

The Scientology group Narconon Inc. of Everett is recruiting children in the schools for what critics say is an unproven and possibly dangerous anti-drug program. The church denies strong ties to the group – which receives taxpayer money – but the Boston Herald has found otherwise.

DAY 4:
Date of Publication:3/4/98

The Church of Scientology has engaged its critics in a highly public war on the Internet, including trying to smoke out a critic who used an anonymous account at Northeastern University.

DAY 5:
Date of Publication:3/5/98

A California video production company with connections to Scientology has reached as many as 30 million American schoolchildren through TV shows produced by church members and paid for with $12.5 million in taxpayers’ money. The Boston Herald also reports on the impact of celebrity Scientologists such as Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley.

Date of Publication:3/19/98

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.