A word from L. Ron Hubbard’s official biographer1
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?
By JOSEPH MALLIA
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.
By JOSEPH MALLIA
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.
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.
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.