I, Vicki J. Aznaran declare as follows:1
1. I am one of the plaintiffs in the within action.
2. I was a member of the Scientology Cult from November of 1973 until April, 1987.
3. From 1975 until April 1987, I was a staff member of various organizations controlled by the Scientology Cult. Among those staff positions was the presidency of Religious Technology Center, a California corporation. In my capacity as president, I became familiar with the interlocking corporate structures of the various organizations controlled by the Scientology cult.
4. I also became familiar with the policy known as “fair game.” “Fair game” is a policy whereby those who are declared to be “suppressive” persons are subject to any form of intimidation, harassment, or oppression by any Scientologist.
5. I have seen a policy letter written by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, which ordered that the words “fair game” no longer be used because of negative public relations implications, but the policy letter continues to indicate that “suppressive” persons are to be treated in the same way as previously. I have witnessed the application of “fair game” over the years of my membership in the cult and in positions of responsibility within the Scientology Cult, and I know that it was still applied to “enemies” of the cult even after its public disavowal.
6. Even after leaving the Scientology Cult in April of 1987, my husband Richard and I tried very hard to avoid becoming
“fair game.” We were told that we had to maintain contact with the Scientology organizations and that Mark Rathbun would be contacting us regularly. Mr. Rathbun did contact us on a regular basis and we contacted him according to his instructions.
7. Even as late as November or December of 1987, my husband and I were contacted by Mr. Rathbun and told not to talk to reporters from the Los Angeles Times. Mr. Rathbun made it clear that we would be declared “suppressives” if we did not continue to cooperate.
8. It was not until early 1988, that I became determined to resist the efforts of the Scientology Cult to have me lie about matters which had occurred during my tenure as a member of the staff of Religious Technology Center.
9. In February 1987, I was working for the Scientology Cult at Gilman Hot Springs. In the latter part of that month, I was forced to go to the Rehabilitation Project Force at “Happy Valley.” I was rousted out of bed early in the morning after having worked late into the night before, and I was ordered to go to my office. David Miscavige was there along with Norman Starkey, Greg Wilhere, Ray Mithoff, and several other uniformed men. Mr. Miscavige ordered me to write an order assigning myself to the Rehabilitation Project Force. Mr. Miscavige told me that if I didn’t he would write it and would fill it full of libelous statements about me. He said that because of his high position within the cult, his statements would be believed, and my standing and reputation within Scientology would be destroyed.
10. I was kept up all day and late into the night, being interrogated by one person after another. Because of the
presence of several persons, I felt that any attempt to escape would be futile. I was watched at all times during the interrogation. There is an eight-foot fence topped by barbed wire surrounding the compound where I was being held, with guards posted at the gates.
11. After my interrogation, I was taken into a car with three other people who were to guard me, and I was transported to “Happy Valley.” “Happy Valley” is a piece of property owned by Scientology. It is about 10 miles from the Gilman Hot Springs Cult Headquarters. It is located just past the Soboba Indian Reservation about three miles down a dirt road into the rocky foothills. It is rocky semi-desert country and is very isolated. I felt that any attempt to escape from “Happy Valley” would be futile.
12. During my stay at the Rehabilitation Project Force at “Happy Valley,” I slept in a tin shed which had no air conditioning or heating. The shed had a bare wood floor and it was terribly cold at night and miserably hot during the day. The first night that I was there, I was forced to sleep on the floor, as there was no bunk for me. It was a small room with 12 to 14 women who slept in it.
13. During my stay at the Rehabilitation Project Force, I was required to do hard physical labor from 6:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The meals consisted of either beans and rice or leftovers from the food served to other staff working at the Rehabilitation Project Force. I was not allowed to walk, but rather required to run everywhere I went in the compound.
14. I was guarded the whole time I was in the
Rehabilitation Project Force. I was not allowed to go to the restroom alone. I was not allowed to shower alone. At night I was locked in a room that had heavy bunk beds with people sleeping in them and which were pulled in front of the doors. I repeatedly requested to be able to contact my husband by phone and letter, and this was denied. During March, 1987 I asked David Miscavige that I be put in touch with my husband. Mr. Miscavige tried to make me believe that my husband did not want to communicate with me and had “written me off.” As a result of these statements, I felt isolated from my husband and a sense of despair about ever seeing him again or continuing with our relationship.
15. On March 31, 1987 two of the men in the Rehabilitation Project Force whom I knew, Jesse Prince and David Bush, escaped from the Rehabilitation Project Force. They ran out of the front gate and were pursued down the road toward the Indian reservation by guards and two others. I was later told that two men in a pickup truck drove by and slowed down. They asked Mr. Prince and Mr. Bush if they would like a ride. They climbed in the back. They were transported in the pickup truck into town to a rental car place where Mr. Prince rented a car. They then drove back to Happy Valley to get me.
16. At that time I was lying under a tree on a hill, as I was sick with a fever and had been told that I could not see a doctor until Mr. Miscavige gave his permission. I had been sick for a week. The tin building where we slept was too hot during the day to sleep in and that was why I was sent to lie down under a tree.
17. Mr. Prince and Mr. Bush opened the front gate and
drove up close to where I was under the tree. Another person at the Rehabilitation Project Force named Chris Byrnes was with me to keep me from going with them. There were at least four security guards equipped with radios and motorcycles, attempting to maneuver into a position where they could prevent us from leaving the compound. As I got up to leave, Mr. Byrnes grabbed my arm in an attempt to keep me from leaving. I pulled loose and ran to the car and got in the back seat. We then drove out the front gate, which Mr. Prince had left open when he drove into the compound.
18. When I left “Happy Valley,” I did not know where my husband was located. When one spouse leaves Scientology, it is the practice to get the other spouse to divorce them. I knew that Mr. Miscavige had been telling me that my husband “probably didn’t care about me or want to hear from me.” I knew that Mr. Miscavige would try to get Richard to leave me and would tell Richard that I was insane and that Richard needed to divorce me. Richard had been working in various Scientology locations since December, 1985. Sometimes I would know what locations he was in and sometimes I would not.
19. After leaving “Happy Valley,” Mr. Bush, Mr. Prince, and I drove around for a half hour or so and then had dinner in San Jacinto. The three of us were all concerned about our spouses, as we knew they would be told that we had “turned, and that they should make us come back or “disconnect” (a Scientology term which means to sever all relationships with a person). After we ate, Mr. Prince took me to a store to buy some clothing, as all I had was the worn out and ragged clothes that I was wearing.
20. I then got a motel room in Hemet, California. Mr.
Bush and Mr. Prince got a room in another motel down the street. Mr. Prince informed me that he was going to call Mr. Miscavige to demand that his and Mr. Bush’s wife be brought to them. I told Mr. Prince not to tell them where I was and to tell them that I would not discuss anything until I heard from my husband and that Mr. Miscavige was to let Mr. Prince know how and when I could talk to him.
21. Mr. Prince returned in a few hours relating that he had called the Scientologists and they had brought his and Mr. Bush’s wife out to see them. He told me that their wives told them they would divorce Mr. Prince and Mr. Bush if they did not return to the Rehabilitation Project Force. He said the wives then returned to Gilman Hot Springs and left Mr. Prince and Mr. Bush at the motel.
22. Mr. Prince told me the Scientologists had told him they would have my husband get in touch with me right away if I would come to the motel where Mr. Prince and Mr. Bush were staying. I moved to that motel to a room which they had reserved for me. I slept there that night and waited for my husband to arrive.
23. My husband did not arrive. So the next morning I called the two ranches where I thought he might be (San Luis Obispo and Newberry Springs). Both places informed me that Richard was not there and they did not know where he was.
24. Shortly after making that call, I looked out the window of the motel room and saw persons whom I recognized as Scientology security guards wearing civilian clothes. They were posted at various spots around the motel. Seeing this, I felt
that it was impossible for me to escape. Besides, I did not want to leave until I had made contact with my husband.
25. A little before noon on April 1, my husband arrived. He informed me that he had been up most of the night with Mr. Miscavige and others, telling him that I had gone insane and he should divorce me if he could not force me to return. We discussed our situation and agreed that we would cooperate with all their security checking and signing of documents so that we could get away without being declared fair game. From my experience as a staff member with the Scientology organizations, I knew that they would not let us leave until such time as we complied with their various requirements.
26. At this time, the Scientologists had all of our worldly possessions, including a pickup truck, a horse, and two dogs, as well as clothing and other personal effects.
27. On approximately April 2nd or 3rd, my husband took me to see Dr. Megan Shields (a doctor whom I knew to be associated with Scientology) in Los Angeles. Dr. Shields prescribed some antibiotics for my illness. We were followed by someone from Scientology when we traveled to Los Angeles and when we returned. At this time, Scientology still held our personal possessions, including the dogs and horse.
28. The process of “security checking” continued daily. It went on for several hours a day. During this time, we were submitted to intensive interrogation and required to be connected to the “E-Meter,” a device which purportedly measures a person’s truthfulness. The interrogation continued until April 8, 1987.
29. At the completion of the interrogation,
Mr. Miscavige came to the motel where we were being interrogated, along with Mr. Mithoff and Mr. Rathbun. Mr. Miscavige asked us regarding our plans and how much money we had. My husband told Mr. Miscavige that we had a couple of thousand dollars. Mr. Miscavige stated that he was concerned we might stay in California where we would be easily available to subpoenas in litigation in which Scientology was involved, or where we would be susceptible to contact by “enemies” of Scientology. Mr. Miscavige asked how much money it would take for us to move back to Texas and get started in some type of business. My husband stated he wasn’t sure since it had been 15 years since he had lived as a “normal” person, but he thought it would take about $5,000. He stated that we would manage somehow on the money we had (our main concern was getting away). Mr. Miscavige offered to loan us $20,000 if we would go back to Texas.
30. On April 9, 1987 Mr. Rathbun and Mr. Mithoff returned with a notary public and two attorneys, Mr. Larry Heller and Mr. John Peterson. We were required to sign a stack of documents. From my previous experience with Scientology, I knew they were all the usual “standard” waivers, as no one is allowed to leave the cult without signing them. Mr. Peterson and Mr. Heller informed us that we could “consult” with him if we wished to do so concerning the documents we were signing. I knew that these attorneys had represented Scientology organizations and that there was no way they would advise us regarding our best interests.
31. The last document to be signed was a loan agreement for $20,000. Once we signed that, we were given a check for
$20,000. We were then allowed to go downstairs to the parking lot where a security guard had transported our belongings. Mr. Miscavige had informed us the night before that since we had no money, he would have Scientology buy our horse for $1,500.00 so that we would be able to leave the state “right away” rather than wait around and try to sell the horse. We did not have the money to move the horse to Texas. At this point, we got our two dogs back and our belongings, and we left for Texas.
32. In 1981, when I was in the “U.S. Guardian’s Office” and had become familiar with the documents that had been seized by the F.B.I. from the Scientology Cult in 1977, I became aware that Scientology was capable of physical violence. I had heard stories of it before, but had no first-hand knowledge. Once I saw these documents (containing, among other things, evidence of operations done on Paulette Cooper, Gabe Cazares, and others), I knew that the end of “protecting Scientology” would justify any means.
33. In 1982, I witnessed David Miscavige (with a large male security guard staff member there to back him up) physically attack three people who were incarcerated at Gilman Hot Springs. Mr. Miscavige made them stand there while he hit them in the face.
Mr. Miscavige told me on more than one occasion how he had physically attacked a female who was a fellow “Commodore’s Messenger” in 1981. He said he beat her up and threw her off post. On another occasion, Mr. Miscavige called me out of his office. He had a revolver in his hand, and stated he was very angry with the “Golden Era Musicians,” as they had not handled some of the music on an album properly. He had a copy of the album cover in his hand. He spread open the album cover to show
the pictures of the musicians. He said he would like to be able to shoot the musicians, but could not. So instead he was going to put a bullet in their heads in the picture. He then proceeded to shoot the picture, of each of them in the head. On another occasion, Mr. Miscavige expressed fantasies about shooting Michael Flynn, an attorney who had claims against Scientology, with his rifle.
34. The first time Mr. Miscavige told me he was going to “blow my head off,” I had walked into his office by mistake. This was at Gilman Hot Springs, where I had just arrived to become part of the staff of Religious Technology Center. I was very shocked and did not know how to take it. The second time he told me he was going to blow my head off was when he thought I had sent up an unfavorable report on his wife and upset her. The last time he made such a statement was when he sent me to the rehabilitation Project Force. Even though he was not aiming the gun at my head when he said it, from the prior incidents that I had witnessed and the prior statements that he had made, I felt he was capable of, and indeed obsessed with, committing acts of physical violence against others.
35. In late 1981, L. Ron Hubbard sent down an order that was several pages long, setting forth how he wanted the corporate structure of Scientology re-arranged due to legal threats from criminal, civil, and IRS litigation. Prior to this time, the mother church and the corporation that held the majority of the Scientology assets was Church of Scientology of California (CSC). CSC also held the Guardian’s Office. CSC was at that time named in many civil lawsuits as the defendant. Hubbard’s strategy
was to reorganize this corporate set-up and create a new corporation to be the mother church. This corporation was created, and it was named Church of Scientology International. CSC was stripped of all assets and moved to a small office across the street from the Cedars of Lebanon complex. The majority of the cash was placed in overseas trusts in order to avoid the IRS. The people who controlled these trusts were Mr. Miscavige and Mr. Spurlock. The money was set up to flow from the various churches in the U.S. and elsewhere to these trusts. The theory for this, as I understood it from Mr. Spurlock, was that the money was being held in trust for Scientology parishioners. While I did not personally work on setting up the corporate structures or money flows, I was privy to the overall picture of the corporate reorganization of Scientology organizations in my capacity as President of Religious Technology Center and Guardian Office Missionaire.
36. In 1982, my husband Richard was sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force in Los Angeles. At that time I was working in Gilman Hot Springs. These are about 70 miles apart. During this period of time I had no time off and had to work every day, all day, and many times, all day and all night. Mr. Miscavige was my senior. He told me he did not want me going to see Richard, as he was supposed to be isolated. At that time there was another person at Gilman Hot Springs whose wife was in the Rehabilitation Project Force in Los Angeles. He was told not to see her either. He secretly went to see her one night and was caught. Because of this, he was stripped of his status as a “Commodores Messenger.” His wife was then assigned to an even
more intense level of rehabilitation until she agreed to divorce him, and he was then declared a “suppressive person.”
37. During this period I would drive to Los Angeles during the middle of the night once a week when Mr. Miscavige would be away from Gilman Hot Springs. I would return to Gilman Hot Springs in time to go to work the next morning so no one knew that I was leaving. I knew from seeing what had happened to the other person, that a similar fate awaited me if I was caught.
38. During the period from December, 1985 to April, 1987, I had only limited contact with my husband. In December, 1985 he was sent away. From that time through the middle of January, 1986 I had no contact whatsoever with him and did not know where he was.
39. For the period from mid-January, 1986 through April, 1987 I had occasional contact with my husband. Even during that time, the contact was not as frequent as we wanted. In addition to the lack of frequency, I was never sure of his location and had limited opportunities to have both physical contact with him and opportunities for intimate conversational exchanges where we could renew and sustain our relationship as husband and wife.
40. Even after we were physically reunited, on or about April 1, 1987, we were subjected to long periods of interrogation by members of the Scientology Cult. In the confined circumstances of this interrogation, I felt that we could not have the kind of closeness and intimacy that would give me the support and comfort that I needed and wanted from my husband.
41. During the period from October, 1981 to April, 1987
I worked for the cult in California. Although I may have traveled outside of California on occasion, California was my residence and the place to which I would return. During this period, I was a staff member of the Scientology Cult. I worked many hours a day, and far in excess of 40 hours per week. Although I did receive some services in exchange for my work, I was never paid a minimum wage for the work and overtime work that I performed for the cult while in California.
42. In late 1982 the “Team Member System” was created by L. Ron Hubbard in an effort to control staff of the Scientology Cult. This was a system whereby a staff member was given five laminated cards, and as the member committed various offenses, cards were arbitrarily taken away. These cards represented privileges like a place to sleep and food to eat and monetary pay. As these are taken away, a person could end up sleeping out on the ground with no food. This happened to several people while I was at Gilman Hot Springs. I personally did not end up sleeping on the ground as a result of this system.
43. If sworn as a witness, I could competently testify to the matters stated in this Declaration.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed this 23rd day of September, 1988 at Dallas, Texas.
VICKI J. AZNARAN
by Ron Curran with Jennifer Pratt 1
The most visible non-traditional “religion” in Los Angeles is Scientology. Everybody sees its buildings; few know what goes on inside them. Critics call it a “Moonie-like” cult; devotees such as John Travolta, Chick Corea Al Jarreau and Karen Black swear it has changed their lives for the better. Opponents say it coerces, menaces and manipulates members and critical outsiders alike; supporters say it has merely defended itself against outside assaults. One thing is certain: Scientology is different.
(L. Ron Hubbard) has now moved on to his next level of… research. This level is beyond anything any of us has ever imagined. It is a level, in fact done in an exterior state, completely exterior from the body. In this level . . . … the body is nothing more than an impediment, an encumbrance, to any further gain … Thus, at 2000 hours, Friday, the 24th of January A.D. [1986,] L. Ron Hubbard discarded the body he had used in this lifetime for 74 years, 10 months and 11 days
… -Hubbard protege “Captain” David Miscavige to 1,800 Scientologists at the Hollywood Palladium January 27, 1986
Hubbard’s “Freedom” Army
THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY’s headquarters on Berendo Street off Sunset Boulevard is the busy mecca, of L.A.’s substantial Scientology community.
Approach the “blue building” and young children scurry up and offer to sell you copies of Scientology magazines. As you enter the lobby and near the reception desk (which bears a banner urging members to “Get Trained”), staffers wearing the naval-motif uniform of the church are quick to greet you, eager to help current members or recruit new members. A steady stream, of non-staff Scientologists floods the lobby around you. Some are on their way to or from counseling sessions, others have just dropped by to peruse, the latest Scientology “technology” for sale (such as a set of taped L. Ron Hubbard lectures, selling for $1,888). The Church of Scientology is indeed a world of bustling activity — and bristling anxiety.
For when the staffers learn that you are a “wog” (Scientology-speak for non-Scientologist) or, worse yet, a wog journalist their warm smiles change instantly to icy defensiveness. “What do you want?” snaps the receptionist, who only seconds earlier wanted to be your best friend. It doesn’t take long to realize that although church literature stresses that ” ‘Love thy neighbor’ is a basic tenet,” unless a Scientologist’s neighbor is a fellow member of the church, Scientologists can be zealously self protective.
A closer look behind the facade of good will offers further evidence of this. Security guards are everywhere. Sophisticated locks (whose combinations are continually changed) seal off the building’s catacomb of offices, files and counseling cubicles. A wanted poster offering a $500 reward for incriminating information on several church “enemies” hangs near one of the corridors. And though Scientology claims to be , a “major religion” encouraging “all man’s inalienable rights . . .” to think freely, to talk freely to write freely their own opinions and to counter or utter or write upon the opinions of others,” its “mother church” seems more like a fortress than a forum to an outsider, its atmosphere more like a city under siege than a citadel of learning.
But to Church of Scientology officials, this hyperprotectionism is a basic necessity if the mission that L. Ron Hubbard has bestowed upon his flock – nothing less than “building a new civilization” – is to be achieved. That the battle lines had been drawn was clear when three of the Scientology leaders most responsible for fulfilling Hubbard’s vision gathered one recent Sunday morning in the office of Church of Scientology International’s 51-year-old president, the Reverend Heber Jentzsch. Seated in front of a wall-size photo of the Andromeda galaxy were Jentzsch, with an ornate Scientology cross hanging from the cleric’s collar of his powder-blue shirt; the Reverend Ken Hoden, the gaunt, intense, president of L.A.’s Scientology flock; and Earle Cooley, a blustery man of considerable girth who serves as the church’s primary attorney. Three well-groomed young aides sat at the ready should the leaders need documents in support their pending points. And above all (literally and figuratively) was L Ron Hubbard, keeping a watchful eye from a portrait hanging high on the south wall. (Though Hubbard officially “resigned” from church leadership in 1966, disappeared from the public eye altogether in 1981 and died last January, the spectre of “Ron” still hangs heavy over every nook and cranny of the Scientology scene.)
The Reverend Jentzsch offered to explain the reason for the Church of Scientology’s history of controversy. “We are the victim of an international assault led by the psychiatric community, Cointelpro, the Rockefellers and governments throughout the world,” said Jentzsch, a former journalist (LA. Free Press) and actor (Paint Your Wagon) who joined the church in 1967 and became president of Church of Scientology International, its management arm, in 1981. “The Church of Scientology is determined to stand up against this attack on First Amendment rights.”(See Sidebar The Government’s War Against Scientology.”)
“I think it goes much deeper,” added Cooley, who has served as the church’s attorney for 16 months, but who has been a church member for only six months. “What we’re dealing with is really a deep underlying problem. Since the dawn of time, mankind has been interested in unlocking the secrets of the mind, of human nature. All religions are engaged in this pursuit, but Scientology focuses on it more intensely. This places Scientology on a collision course with psychiatry, psychology and the forces of government who are committed to behavior modification, thought control and the manipulation of mankind. We are engaged in a war for the human spirit.”
“So we have to protect our church and our freedom to believe in the religion of our choice,” interjected Hoden. “We have been singled out and been the center of so much attention because we have discovered a workable way for man to achieve total freedom. The freedom of mankind is our goal, and we will defend our right to strive for that freedom. ”
L. Ron Hubbard surveyed the scene from his portrait. He seemed pleased.
L.A.’s Most Conspicuous “Cult”?
Scientology is certainly no stranger to attention, and when the reclusive L. Ron Hubbard died of a stroke at his San Lois Obispo, ranch, the bright light of public scrutiny was again cast upon his progeny. But despite the walls of defense evident at Scientology headquarters, the church has, ironically, done everything in its power to keep its product, if not its parishioners, in the public eye. For in the 35 years since Hubbard founded Scientology, basing it on principles propounded in his 1950 bestseller Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, it has consciously positioned itself as L.A.’s most conspicuous religion. (Some say “cult.”
Just look around. In a city of outlandish architecture, Scientology’s bright blue Berendo Street headquarters (once Cedars of Lebanon hospital) certainly catches the eye, while its 70-foot-tall green neon “SCIENTOLOGY” marquee dominates the Hollywood strip. Celebrities such as John Travolta, Karen Black and Al Jarreau publicly praise Scientology’s role in their success. Glossy newspaper supplements trumpet Scientology as a “major religion … [like] Protestantism, Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism.” TV commercials show attractive woman scaling mighty cliffs thanks to Scientology principles. Circus like court trials brought by and against Scientology continually grab prominent coverage in the local and national press. (A $100 million fraud suit against the church is currently being tried in federal court here.) Indeed, in Los Angeles, where a high profile is often more important than high standards, the Church of Scientology has made itself a star.
But despite its pervasive presence, Scientology remains an enigma to most people.
The questions are many: What exactly is Scientology? Is it really a religion or is it a business disguised as a religion? How many members does it have? Who wields the power? Why does it generate so much controversy? Has it, as critics have charged, been taken over by a moneyhungry, manipulative and exploitive coterie who deceive and use the members for their own ends, turning them into fanatics, or is it run by a truly conscientious group? Is Scientology “the only road to total freedom,” as its many supporters insist, or a “greedy, brainwashing money machine and vicious cult engaging in sometimes despicable acts,” as detractors claim? Or is it something in between?
To answer these questions, LA Weekly spent the better part of a year tracing Scientology’s history, studying its doctrines and interviewing former members and other critics of the church. Perhaps most important, the Weekly’s editors approached the press-paranoid leader of Scientology with a deal; “Allow us to examine Scientology from the inside – to interview current church members, tour restricted church buildings and experiment with Scientology technology. In return, we promise to print a fair and accurate presentation of our findings.”
Initially, the offer was met with resistance. During a meeting with these reporters early last year at a restaurant across from Scientology headquarters, Ken Hoden made it clear that, because of previous critical articles in the Weekly, “We don’t want anything to do with your story.” Days later, a prominent advertiser who is a Scientologist threatened to pull his ads if an article critical of the church appeared. But a meeting between senior officials of the church and a Weekly editor eventually took place, the deal was, struck (“We’ve taken so many shots from the press, we have to be careful,” apologized Hoden) and the Weekly was granted unprecedented access to the inner workings of the Church of Scientology. (Not without restrictions, however. Church finances were ruled a taboo subject. We were barred from random interviewing of church members and allowed to tour Scientology grounds only with Hoden as our guide. This defensiveness, seems to stem from a combination of justified apprehension resulting from past press fixation on Scientology’s controversial aspects and a paranoia inherited from L. Ron Hubbard, who considered reporters pawns in the global psychiatric conspiracy. Hoden confirmed that all Scientology officials receive instruction on how to deal with reporters.)
Still, Hoden was surprisingly cooperative, spending nearly 50 hours explaining the structure and philosophy of his church, arranging interviews with current Scientologists and rebutting the allegations of some 30 representative former Scientologists. (There is also an official opposition group called FAIR – Freedom for All in Religion – consisting of about 200 former church members, many of whom still practice “auditing” at independent centers; but who oppose the current church hierarchy as “lying, fraudulent, and “Gestapo-like” to quote one FAIR member.)
Both sides had their axes to grind. Hoden and current church members feel Scientology is a ground-breaking religion unfairly persecuted because of its unique effectiveness. Former members, (vastly outnumbered by current members) claim that abusive church policies have left them emotionally, spiritually and financially bankrupt and feel that attacks on the church are justified.
What did we conclude? That Scientology is neither patently good nor patently evil. Rather, there is a curious dichotomy. The majority of Scientologists attest in being perfectly happy with the church, while former members tend to carry with them intense bitterness and resentment. The church criticizes psychiatry while selling pseudo-Freudian counseling. Scientologists accuse its enemies of launching malicious attacks against the church, but the church itself has a history of harassment and of vengeful (and sometimes illegal) clandestine operations against enemies, real or imagined. But above all, Scientology promises total freedom while undermining that noble theory too often with disturbing practices.
Therapy as Religion
Though the Berendo Street headquarters is the hub of Scientology activity in Los Angeles, the church’s showplace is in Celebrity Center at Franklin and Bronson. A grand gothic chateau built for William Randolph Hearst in the 1920s, this complex of Scientology offices and apartments has retained much of its charm, replete with garden grounds and flowing fountains. The idyllic setting is reinforced as you enter the mansion’s foyer. The walls are lined with original art, and music from a grand piano wafts around you. Indeed, it is a serene setting.
That is, until one is confronted in the main lobby by a large advertising display selling a series of taped lectures by L. Ron Hubbard titled “Radiation and Your Survival.” A brochure quotes Hubbard from a lecture: “There is actually such a point where a person’s beingness can be sufficiently great that he becomes practically indestructible.” The inference? With Scientology training, you will survive radiation poisoning. The cost of the lecture tape? Nearly $300. Welcome to the schizophrenic world that is the Church of Scientology: Enlightenment costs money;
It was at the Celebrity Center that we met 39-year old Ken Hoden for the first of several formal interviews. A former electrical engineer who is the son of a Baptist minister, Hoden says he became attracted to Scientology after reading Dianetics in 1973 and realizing he “was not as effective as [he] wanted to be.” He joined the staff the following year and was named titular head of Scientology’s influential L.A. congregation in 1984.
Henceforth, Hoden would be our personal guide through the church’s complex labyrinth of “freedom” and finance. Wearing a traditional priest collar under a well-tailored gray suit, and sipping coffee from a sterling silver service set in one of the Celebrity Center’s conference rooms, Hoden articulated his confidence in the church. “Scientology is the best way I’ve found to help people improve their lives. If Dianetics and Scientology are applied standardly, it will work 100 percent of the time with every single person everywhere. Compared in anything else, it is the only road to total freedom.
According to Hoden, the Church of Scientology currently boasts more than 40,000 members in Los Angeles and 6 million throughout the world. (Church officials concede the world total includes anyone who has taken any Scientology course over the last five years, though of course many of these people now have no affiliation with the church.) Of the L.A. members, 1,500 are full-time staff, 760 of them living and working out of the Berendo complex, earning $24 per week plus minimal room, board and expenses as members of the “Sea Organization,” an elite, almost monastic segment of the Scientology community.
The remainder of Scientology’s L.A. members are those who take courses at any of the five area churches or numerous franchise missions in the L.A. area. (Scientology claims to operate 600 churches and missions worldwide.) L.A. also serves as home to Scientology’s more upper-level Continental and American Saint Hill churches, as well as to “Advanced Org,” at which progressively more sophisticated (and expensive) services are offered.
The day-to-day management of the church is carried out by Heber Jentzsch as president of the Church of Scientology International. Vicki Azneran is head of one of the church’s two major business subsidiaries, Religious Technology Corporation, (RTC), which controls Hubbard’s trade-marks. David Miscavige runs the second subsidiary, the for-profit Author Services Inc. (ASI), which handles Hubbard’s non Scientology literary works (such a the best-selling sci-fi novel, Battlefield Earth). The “ecclesiastical top” of Scientology is in Flag Service Org in Clearwater, Florida. Mark Yeager is the church’s highest ranking ecclesiastic official, assisted by Ray Mithoff. Earle Cooley coordinates all legal affairs, while Lyman Spurlock is church accountant and Norman Starkey serves as its marketing expert.
According to Hoden, these people assumed power “based on their record of production. If you make things go, You’ll move up in the church. It’s based on statistics … on graphs.” (QUOTAS are imposed on Scientologists to encourage the maximum number of new recruits and the highest level of production. Critics claim these quotas often lead to over aggressive recruiting and fraudulent promises of results that warp the church’s altruistic goals. The church’s “Code of Ethics” lists “mistakes resulting in financial loss” as a ‘misdemeanor’ offense.)
Ken Hoden also confirms that same of the church’s most influential advisors come from an inner circle of aides who served Hubbard in his final years. People like Pat and Anne Broeker (who Hoden says serve as “consultants” ) are rumored to have gained substantial power in the church. Miscavige’s role as announcer of Hubbard’s death and host of his annual New Year’s message seem to confirm this special influence.
Obviously, spiritual “enlightenment,” or higher levels getting ‘Clear’ is no requisite for advancement in the church.
Scientology is based on principles Hubbard first expressed in Dianetics – basically that man can achieve “total freedom” by controlling his “reactive mind.” Hubbard later expanded his theories into the more elaborate scenario of human existence and improvement known as Scientology. Upper-level Scientologists are exposed to Hubbard’s theories that abberrant behavior was implanted in humans 75 million years ago by an evil ruler named Xenu, who froze people and dropped them into 10 volcanos, After killing the humans with hydrogen bombs to combat over population, Xenu collected their spirits as they rose in clusters from the volcanos, and implanted the spirits with evil thoughts. Hubbard dubbed these clusters of brainwashed spirits “body thetans.” These thetans according to Hubbard, literally attach themselves to humans as we are reincarnated over the eons and are responsible for all aberrant behavior we commit. (Hubbard collected these and thousands of additional theories into a series of “red books” that serve as the bible of Scientology “technology.” A series of “green books” detail his daily rules and policies for church management.)
It needs to be noted here that Scientologists are not exposed to the “Xenu” theories until they have moved well up through the Scientology courses. These courses deal with more mundane behavioral patterns and relationships, much as any therapy does, and Scientologists insist they are effective aids to human growth, even without acceptance of any of Hubbard’s “higher” principles or theorems.
Hoden and other Scientologists argue that most other churches, at their core, have creation myths that are as strange to outsiders as Scientology’s – “Do you know what Mormons really believe?” one Scientologist asked. (Hoden was so troubled by the impending discussion of the Xenu material that he asked the Weekly not to print it. The material originally appeared in the L.A. Times.) And at any rate, church supporters argue, getting “clear” of psychological trauma is paramount in church practices, not forcing members to accept unusual theories; and members may hold traditional religious beliefs as well.
To eventually rid oneself of the “negative influence, of the mind,” a person must begin by “confronting” memory images of painful experiences accumulated in past and present lives. These negative mental images me called “engrams” and carry with them a negative electric charge. (Scientologists don’t consider the mind to be the brain, but rather a collection of pictures surrounding the person, accumulated throughout one’s present and previous lives. Scientologists consider a person to be a spirit – called a “thetan” that can be affected by these pictures.)
“Close your eyes and think of an apple,,, offers Hoden as proof that these mental pictures exist. “You can see an image of the apple, right? An engram is also a picture. They’re actual images of negative experiences that exist in your mind, and when you address them in auditing you can eliminate their harmful influence.” In an effort to “destimulate” the negative effect of an engram, Scientologists work their way up a “bridge” of increasingly expensive auditing courses until they eventually “clear” themselves of this “source of aberrant behavior and psychosomatic illness” and achieve ” total Freedom “.
“A Scientologist starts a the bottom of the bridge and works his way up to total freedom one course, at a time,” says Hoden. “He or she spends as much time as they need to achieve the results of each level. They decide when they’re ready to move up.”
The bridge is divided into two sections – “processing” and “training.” The lower levels of the processing bridge, according to Hoden, “deal with the mind’s effect on the body, which would include addressing the subject of drug dependencies and self confidence and the psychosomatic source of illness.”Four courses comprise this lower level: “Purification Rundown,” which promises “freedom from residual effects of drug residues and other toxins” ; “Objectives,” which puts the Scientologist “in present time and able to control and put order in the environment”; “Drug Rundown,” which “releases the Scientologist from the harmful effect of drugs, medicine, or alcohol”; and “ARC Straight wire” which assures that the Scientologist “knows he /she wont get any worse.” (Sixty percent of the recruits, according to officials, have drug problems.)
The next level of processing includes seven auditing steps that lead up to the much sought after “clear” stage. Grade 0 provides the subject with “the ability to communicate freely with anyone on any subject”; Grade 1 provides the “ability to recognize the source of problems and make them vanish”; Grade 2 provides “relief from the the hostilities and sufferings of life”; Grade 3 allows ” freedom from the upsets of the past and ability to face the future”; Grade 4 assures that the Scientologist is “moving out of fixed conditions and gaining abilities to do new things”; “New Era Dianetics” proves that the subject is becoming a “clear or well and happy human being”; and “clear” is the stage where the Scientologist is “a being who no longer has his own reactive mind.”
After the Scientologist has achieved the state of “Clear”, he enters the final stages of processing called the Operating Thetan levels. The OTs “address the person as a spirit, improving the abilities of the spirit with the purpose of achieving total spiritual freedom”, according to Hoden. The ability gained in OT courses I through 7 is listed as “confidential” in church literature, but includes such secret teachings of L Ron Hubbard as his “Xenu” theory of man’s beginnings. OT 8 is due out this year, while courses 9 through 15 are scheduled for release in coming years.
“Auditing is a very specific process,” says Hoden, who himself has reached the level of OT 3, though, like many Scientologists encountered, he consumes vast amounts of coffee, adding to a general air of anxiety in the church (chain-smoking seems; de rigueur). “It is a scientific, spiritual technology that must be practiced in a specific manner in be effective in helping people achieve spiritual freedom. If it is carried out uniformly, it will not fail.” The person responsible for conducting auditing sessions at the various levels a called an “auditor” (or “minister”.) Auditors are trained on the “training” side of the bridge in a series of courses titled “Class 0 Auditor” through “Class 12 Auditor” (though an auditor cannot audit anyone, in a processing course higher than he himself has achieved). When conducting an auditing session, the auditor attaches subjects to an instrument called an “electropsychometer” or E-meter) that consists of two small metal cylinders connected by alligator clips to an elementary control board. As the Scientologist holds a cylinder in each hand, a harmless amount of electricity (about one-half volt) is pumped through his body. The auditor then asks questions regarding possible areas of emotional distress.
At the beginning of most anditing sessions (no matter what level the course), the auditor asks the same three questions of the subject Scientologist who is hooked up to the meter: “Do you have an ‘ARC’ break? (Meaning, “Are you upset about anything?”); “Do you have any present time problems?”); and “Has a withold been missed?” (Meaning, “is there any transgression you have witheld from someone?”)
If there are no specific problems, the auditor asks a series of literally hundreds of predetermined questions specific in that auditing level. For instance, in the lower level of “ARC Straightwire”, the auditor asks such questions as, “Can you remember a time when you were happy?~ Or when you had just finished constructing something? Life was cheerful? Somebody had given you something? You ate something good? You had a friend?” After the subject answers each question, the auditor probes him for “sense memory” details ( e.g. sight, smell, touch, color, emotion) that accompany the memory.
As questions are answered the auditor monitors a needle gauge to see if it registers any changes in “mental” electrical charge. Experiences in the past that contain pain or emotional trauma are believed to cause a change in a person’s electrical charge. The auditing minister then notes the E-meter response, in the person’s “PC (preclear) folder.” Case supervisors later examine these notes to assure that the problems will be addressed at later sessions or in more advanced courses. For each type of problem, there is a series of questions intended to neutralize the charge. (The meter will also indicate when the “mental charge” is removed from the traumatic experience, meaning that the engram in question has been adequately dealt with. An engram that is extremely charged is referred to as a “rock slam.”)
“The E-meter and auditing are really quite extraordinary,” says Tony Hitchman, a former South African journalist who now conducts auditing sessions. “They serve as a wonderfully specific guide to what’s troubling a person. Through auditing and the E=meter we cane help that person remove engrams and better his/her life.”
Our brief experience on the E-meter proved inconclusive. Though the needle registered in varying degrees when we were questioned about general emotional topics such as our families and love lives, it seemed little more than an instrument reacting to physical responses (rather than “spiritual pictures”), much like a lie detector.
Regardless of whether E-meter auditing is a scientific probe or purely a placebo, it is certainly popular among Scientologists being shown through the blue building by Hoden, we witnessed literally hundreds of church members auditing and being audited in the deep recesses of the former hospital. Though we were not allowed to question Scientologists as they were auditing, many church members interviewed after the session expressed unqualified raves for the process that is the backbone of Scientology study.
“Scientology auditing has added a lot of meaning to my life,” said Barbara Clarke, a 60-year-old former chemist and teacher who has studied Scientology for 18 years and served as a field auditor since 1975. “I got involved because I knew there had to be more to life than just getting up, working and going back to bed. From the very first lecture I attended, Scientology made so much sense I know auditing works, and I’ve never felt my doubts.”
Phil Gilbert, a 31- year-old plumbing company executive who began Scientology auditing after reading Dianetics in 1974, typically shared Clarke’s enthusiasm. “Scientology is the only logical explanation of how the mind works that I’ve come across,” he says. “Auditing has been invaluable. I studied piano as a kid but had forgotten how to play. My mind had just blocked out that talent. But after just a few auditing sessions I suddenly remembered, and I’ve been playing and writing ever since. It’s really something.”
Jonathan Hawks credited a chance Scientology encounter in 1968 with increasing his communicative abilities. “I was having a lot of problems stemming from my frustrated theater career,” said 52-year-old Hawk, who now works as a computer operator. “One day while my analyst was hospitalized, I happened to see an advertisement for a Scientology lecture and I thought, ‘Why not try it?’ As soon as I started auditing, I turned my problems around. I could finally communicate with people.
Even many former members who claim to have been embittered by their experience with the church … say they believe that they benefited from Scientology auditing. “I achieved some benefits.” remarked Jon Zegel who spent 10 years with the church before leaving to help establish an independent auditing group. “I’m more emotionally stable, and there seem improvements in my life.”
Countering this are, of course, the inevitable failures. While no statistics exist about whether auditing has been perceived by a majority of the participants as beneficial . . the church argues that there are more current members undergoing auditing than ex-members – certainly there is at least a vocal minority professing problems from the process.
More objective analysis of auditing is hard to come by (the Periodical Index lists no scientific studies in medical or psychological journals), and independent psychologists and psychiatric professionals are reluctant to be quoted by name, noting that one colleague who did criticize auditing is being sued by the church, which has built a reputation for litigiousness.
However, one L.A therapist who worked with a former Scientologist said: “A lot of the practices these guys use are very close to the truth, but I suspect it’s very dangerous for the average person because there’s a tendency toward coercive rigid misuse of otherwise good material. In this patient’s case, it was hard for him, to have an individualistic view. He saw everything in terms of ‘Scientology’ world view and jargon. It’s clearly not for everybody.”
Still another L.A. therapist who worked with a former Scientologist noted: “The process of simply having these auditing question, put to him didn’t help him. He had serious self-esteem problems and he needed aggressiveness training and emotional release so he could learn to express himself. The auditing was too passive for that. I suspect it doesn’t work on many people for that reason, and also became it doesn’t truly give them a basis to understand the underlying causes of their behavior.”
“Nancy,” 42, is one such example. She claims she left the church after eight years because “I wasn’t getting out of it what I thought I would. I had a drinking problem and my self-esteem was, low because of it. I’d heard from a friend that auditing was supposed to cure people of alcoholism. But I took courses for seven years, spending $12 000, then left. I went back for another year, a year later to give it a second chance and spent another $1,000, but I still wasn’t making progress. I was still drinking. Then I enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous and I haven’t had a drink since September 1984 . Auditing just didn’t work for me.”
Yet another former member, “Betty” (who also requested anonymity), says she spent come than $80,000 during her 14 years of auditing. “They kept telling me just a little more auditing would solve my problems”, she says. “But all it did was make them $80,000 and make me feel worse about myself.”
Knowledgeable observers told the Weekly that they believe Scientology does have some positive effect, much of it coming from three sources a) that Scientology tends to attract many young drug-damaged, truly “lost” personalities who benefit from the structure as they would from any rigid-rule behavior systems such as prevail in many drug treatment programs b) that many of Scientology’s subjects have so little intercourse with themselves, self-reflection that even what they can pick up from the auditing process is itself the beginnings of self-awareness and therefore changed behavior; and c) the “placebo” effect — the fact that Scientologists believe themselves to be part of a process that helps them, and so they move through life with more confidence and fewer anxieties, creating their own more positive realities.
So what’s the problem? If even many church critics are satisfied that the auditing process has improved their Iives, why has Scientology been the center of so much controversy”?
Payment Before Enlightenment
“Total Freedom” through Scientology does not come, cheap. With registered trademarks affixed to every Scientology term and title, Hubbard’s religion some times more closely resembles K-mart than, say, Catholicism. Scientology’s policy of payment before enlightenment is perhaps the leading cause of questions concerning the church ‘s credibility as an altruistic institution. Although Ken Hoden initially dragged his feet in supplying a promised list of auditing fees because, as he put it, “when you walk into a Baptist church or any other church, [ finances are] just not something you commonly discuss,” He eventually provided a breakdown of prices for Scientology courses and materials.
Scientology’s “Donation Rate Card” shows that “public” Scientologists — who comprise the vast majority of church members — can spend more than $1,000 per hour of auditing (purchases in 12 1/2-hour blocks called ” intensives”) and between $50,000 and $100,000 (and more) to complete the dozens of Scientology courses.
(According to Hoden staff members of Scientology’s elite group whose members receive only $24 per week allowance plus expenses — receive auditing free of charge, and other members receive substantial discounts Hoden also stressed that “people can get Dianetics from a bookstore or library and audit themselves at home for free (up to the “Clear” level), or get their processing free as they study to be an auditing minister. However, the “Donation Rate Card” does not spell out this option, advising potential members to “contact the Registrar at the nearest Church of Scientology for individual consultation and estimate. ‘It also, mentions only ” Scientology churches, missions and field auditors” as outlets for processing services.
According to Hoden more than 90 percent of Scientologists enter the bridge by reading Dianetics and taking any of several “mini-courses” (such, as ‘Anatomy of the Human Mind’) to see if they find Scientology helpful.
The Scientology rate card lists the cost of the lowest-level course on the actual bridge (“Purification Rundown”) at $2,000 total, while intensives for the next nine courses up through “New Era Dianetics” cost $4,3330. A “clear” level intensive goes for $1,690 while OT intensives range from $1,000 to $8,000. There are literally hundreds of periphery Hubbard teachings that range in price from $5 to $16,500. “Recommended” E-meters are also for sale, ranging from, $873 for the Mark V to $3,493 for the Black Mark VI.
Many Scientologists who work their way up to the top of the bridge eventually spend more because the church historically continues to add “revised” auditing levels, each requiring additional investment before “total freedom” can be achieved.
The recent Scientology brochure announcing the addition of a revised OT 5 level provides a good example. The brochure announces a pending “miracle” auditing technology that promises to answer your “wildest dreams” questions about “Ron’s breakthrough into the ‘SECOND WALL OF FIRE.'” The “donation” required is $7,600 per intensive (Through upwards of five intensives my be needed.)
Ken Hoden is quick to justify Scientology’s rates. “There isn’t a legitimate emphasis in the world that doesn’t put an emphasis on money,” says Hoden “People know how much our courses cost when they sign up. Besides, you can’t put a price on total spiritual freedom.” Hoden added that members who question the adding of new study levels “are people who have given up the quest for total freedom. If you talk to people in the church who are up to that point, they’re waiting on pins and needles for the new levels to come out. People in the church have no complaints. Besides, without money the church could not expand and bring further hope to mankind.”
Current church members also insist that Scientology is worth any price. “I’ve found it’s a great bargain because I’m more in control and therefore able to fulfill my potential and make more money,” volunteered Carol Worthy Corns, a 43-year-old professional composer who joined Scientology 15 years ago while still in college. “I’d undergone two years of psychotherapy after spending the 60’s looking for life’s answers in assorted philosophies and the drug culture. But in my first three auditing sessions, I handled a major problem that would have taken me many years and 20 times more money to solve through psychotherapy. Scientology has saved my life at least 10 times. How can you put a monetary value on that kind of help?”
But Scientology’s high prices have caused many members to question the church’s priorities. One such is “Steve” ( who spoke on condition that his real name not be used.) Steve was introduced to Scientology 13 years ago while still in college. He served as a member of Hubbard’s staff for eight years, bringing home the then standard salary of $17 for each of what he describes as “our average six-day, 80 hour work weeks.) Steve claims he spent more than $30,000 on Scientology before joining staff ( borrowing money from his parents and working door-to-door job on his one day off) before beginning to doubt Scientology’s motives.
“When the prices went really high, I started to feel that if Hubbard really thought Scientology worked, it would make it easier, not harder, for people to experience it,” says Steve. “Total Freedom was available, yet we couldn’t afford it.”
Hana Eltringham Whitfield – ex-D/Commodore for L Ron Hubbard and Jerry Whitfield
Caption: Critical Former church members Hana and Jerry Whitfield
Jerry Whitfield, who is on the steering committee of FAIR, is another former member who became disillusioned by the church’s financial priorities. Whitfield spent eight years, and $20,000 in the church before he realized that “though the technology was helpful, the organization was not set up to let people make full use of it. It was arranged to maximize its profit margin.”
A History of Controversy
As anyone who follows the news knows, Scientology has been involved in a series of controversial cases, many of them involving vengeful church actions against its critics. (More on this below.) Although the church always paints itself as the victim, its critics suggest that Scientology hasn’t been persecuted from the outside, but rather is the victim of warped and misplaced priorities inside the church. The critics, – and there are more than the church is willing to admit – assert that the fundamental problems afflicting the church are a direct reflection of the complex personality of the man who sired it, and of the power structure and money-bent of the church itself, as divorced from Scientology Practices.
Step inside the giant brass doors of Scientology headquarters’ Fountain Avenue entrance and you enter a shrine to the legend of Hubbard. Hundreds of proclamations honoring Hubbard from such luminaries as former L.A. Councilwoman Peggy Stevenson, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis and Colorado Senator Gary Hart line the walls. Several portraits and busts of Hubbard are prominently displayed. Collections of his detective, science fiction and Scientology writings are meticulously preserved. Unfortunately for Scientology, it has often proven difficult for church members to separate manufactured legend from reality in Hubbard’s life. Official church biographies have at various times described Hubbard as a nuclear physicist, an earner of a Ph.D., and a Navy hero who was crippled, blinded and twice declared dead in battle (but who completely healed his wound with Dianetics techniques).
In fact, Navy records show that Hubbard’s war record my have been exaggerated and that he was hospitalized due to minor ulcers and a fall from a ladder. In addition, evidence suggests that Hubbard obtained his Ph.D. from a diploma mill known as Sequoia University after failing class and dropping out of George Washington University.
(Hoden claims Hubbard left school because because “they couldn’t teach him what the human spirit was, so he went elsewhere.)”
Hana Eltringham Whitfield has unique insight into the man who was; Lafayette Ron Hubbard. Before leaving the church in 1983, Eltringham Whitfield served as a senior Scientology official for 18 years (after signing the requisite “billion-year contract” with the church), including a stint a a personal aide aboard Hubbard’s 320-foot yacht, the Apollo. (“Commodore” Hubbard established a naval motif throughout his church, requiring staff members to wear sailorlike uniforms and giving them various “officer” titles.) Says Eltringham Whitfield of Hubbard: “He was a very shrewd man, but he always wanted to be something more than he really was. He wanted to be a nuclear physicist, a war hero. He was an insecure man in that respect, so he felt the need in romanticize his past.”
Ken Hoden dismisses Hubbard’s biographical inconsistencies as “errors by former public relations people who have since been removed.” But whatever the cause of the confusion, there is no question that Hubbard was ambitious. After a prolific and successful career writing pulp science fiction and detective stores, Hubbard published a thin volume of his Dianetics theories in 1948. He expanded those rudimentary principles in 1949 and published his full Dianetics book in May 1950. The book was a run away best seller and a favorite among artists, writers and other intelligentsia of the day. (Dianetics has sold more than 7 million copies. Scientology officials put total sales of Hubbard’s 589 published fiction and non-fiction stories and books at more than 50 million.)
Hubbard took the profits from Dianetics and created the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation in Elizabeth, New Jersey. When this initial venture proved unsuccessful, Hubbard moved the foundation first to Kansas, then to Phoenix, where he formed the Hubbard Academy of Scientology in 1954. Later that year, a small group of Hubbard’s followers officially established the Founding Church of Scientology, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., and field offices in L.A. Hubbard was named church director and “founder of the Scientology religion.” Less than five years after reportedly telling a 1949 convention of sci-fi writers that “if a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion,” Hubbard had taken his own advice. (Although Scientology officials have in the past confirmed the quote but claimed Hubbard was only kidding, others dispute the quote entirely, attributing it instead to George Orwell.)
By then, Hubbard’s philosophy had already come under serious attack. His claim that with Dianetics auditing IQs could be greatly increased, that “arthritis vanishes, myopia gets better, heart illness decreases, asthma disappears, stomachs function properly and the whole catalogue of ills goes away and stays away,” had led to a 1951 New Jersey investigation for fraudulent medical practices. Similar claims attracted the attention of federal officials shortly after Scientology was founded, and ensuing years would see Hubbard’s religion investigated by the governments of Australia, Canada, England, France, New Zealand and South Africa (as well as the U.S.).
Scientology was banned outright in much of Australia from 1965 through 1973. From 1968 through 1980, England barred foreign nationals, including Hubbard, from entering the country to practice Scientology. (Hoden claim that the church received apologies from government officials when the bans were lifted.) French officials in 1978 convicted Hubbard and two Scientology associates ( in absentia ) of fraudulent medical practices and fined them $7,000 before higher courts overturned these decisions. Such claims have also been the basis of several lawsuits, including one last year in which a Portland woman was awarded $39 million in damages before the judge, perhaps influenced by pressure from thousands of Scientologists protesting the decision, overturned his ruling on the grounds that it violated Scientology’s right to freedom of religion.
Ken Hoden confirms that Hubbard’s early claims are still taken as gospel by Scientologists. “We’re not saying that if you lose a leg we can grow another for you,” says Hoden (who stresses that the church “encourages members to see a doctor if they are ill. “Through auditing, the psychosomatic causes of illness can be addressed. Once these are handled, the body is capable of healing itself.” Hoden did, however, reassert that church members – including himself – regularly increase their IQs while studying Scientology.
Another major assertion among Scientologists is that the investigations are not only unwarranted but are part of a global conspiracy to destroy the church, orchestrated in part by the psychiatric establishment. (Hubbard often compared psychiatrists to Hitler, and Genghis Khan.)
“Psychiatry is a self perpetuating fraud that realizes we can do a better job of helping people without shock treatment and pills”, says Hoden, who added that Scientology is now practiced without restriction throughout the world. “The governments who have harassed us are threatened by our investigations into their excesses.”
Scientology’s claims of government harassment may, in fact, have some validity. The church is a leading expert in the intricacies of the Freedom of Information Act and publishes Freedom Magazine of tough investigative reporting that has broken several stories embarrassing to its primary government targets: the FBI, CIA and IRS. (For full conspiracy details, see sidebar.)
Scientology and the IRS have long been particularly bitter opponents. Despite the controversy surrounding Hubbard, the popularity of his philosophy – and Scientology’s bank accounts – grew quickly throughout the ’50s. Money came so fast to Scientology that Hubbard, the pulp author who reportedly said he was tired of writing for a penny a word in 1949 – though Scientology officials deny this attribution – was able just 10 years later to buy a 30-room mansion and 57 acre estate I in England, originally built for the Maharajah of Jaipur.
Soon after, the IRS began examining the relationship between Hubbard and his church. The years of investigations led to a 1984 U.S. Tax Court ruling that the Church of Scientology of California (CSC) had “made a business of selling religion” It had blocked the IRS from collecting taxes by storing large amounts of cash in a trust fund controlled by high-ranking church leaders. “Money that was supposed to be used strictly for church activities was going to individuals, ” says IRS spokesman Rob Giannangeli. “That misuse, combined with other violations of public policies on the part of Scientology officials, led us to determine that the Church of Scientology was not acting as a responsible exempt organization. ”
The 1984 denial of tax exempt status led the IRS to bill Scientology for $1.4 million in back taxes for the target period Of 1970-72, with bills for other years to be forthcoming upon investigation. Scientology has appealed the decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and continues doing business as usual. Ken Hoden insists this policy is fair because we are confident [the court] will overrule the IRS,” though he added that a negative court ruling will “affect the church throughout the country.” But Giannangeli, while confirming that Scientology is technically within the law in still encouraging such donations, questions the practice’s propriety.
“If the courts ultimately uphold the IRS decision, Scientologists will have to pay back taxes on any contributions totaling more than $1,000″ says Gimmangeli. so if a Scientologist wrote off contributions of $50,000 a year, he’s going to have a pretty hefty tax bill.”
Allegations that Hubbard’s immense wealth (estimated at up to $600 million, though Hoden would only put the figure “in the millions, and we’re getting all of it”) was due in large part to funds being illegally transferred from his church’s accounts have dogged Scientology since its inception. Cash flow, certainly, has rarely been a problem for the church. Scientology bought its Berendo headquarters for $5.5 million in cash in 1976 and continues to make major real estate purchases. Former Scientology employees who once held sensitive financial positions within die church have testified that various subsidiaries were used to transfer church funds illegally to Hubbard’s European bank accounts.
But to many Scientology critics, the controversy over financial misappropriation is a secondary concern. To these critics, the true danger of Scientology is the system of “control” used by church officials to keep disgruntled members from reclaiming their money and departing if they feel their funds are being mishandled. Ken Hoden claims that members have that freedom: “If someone says they don’t like the way we do things, we say, “Fine. Leave if you want.”
But critics assert that Scientology policy and practices are designed to manipulate members to stay (and keep their money) in the church, or, if members do leave, to intimidate the “squirrels” (Scientology speak for former members) into not criticizing Scientology.
Juliann Savage is a clinical social worker in the Cult Clinic, six years a non-sectarian affiliate of Jewish Firmly Services operating out of the United Way building in Van Nuys. Savage has treated more than 70 victims of mind control, from Hare Krishnas to Moonies, in her two and a half years on staff. She insists the 10 former Scientologists with whom she has worked, have been her most difficult assignments.
“These people have given their entire lives over to Scientology in exchange for the promise of ‘total freedom,’ ” says Savage. “But what they really get is the exact opposite. Scientology is a textbook example of systematic mind control and totalism.”
To support her assertion that brainwashing techniques are an inextricable part of Scientology practice – especially with staff members — Savage refers to one of the world’s definitive works on mind control, the much heralded “Chapter 22 Ideological Totalism” of Dr. Robert Jay Lifton’s book entitled Thought Reform the Psychology of Totalism. Here, Lifton describes how such psychological tactics as ” milieu control,” “mandatory confession” and “language loading” are used to control masses of people (in his specific case, the Communist Chinese). It is Savage’s contention that Lifton’s theories, although they can be applied to many subcultures, are especially applicable to Scientology.
“What we have with Scientology is a subculture that insists on absolute control of every aspect of a person’s life,” says Savage as she sips herbal tea in her small Van Nuys office. “Adults are greatly discouraged from having relationships with non-Scientologists. They are worked so many hours per week, either doing staff activities or auditing sessions, that they have no time for outside activities. The church encourages an all or nothing, us versus them, everything-outside-the-church-is-bad-everything-inside-is-good idealogy that can be very harmful. And if you question this, you’re Labeled a ‘supressive person’ who doesn’t have the ability to understand. The insular inbreeding in Scientology is incredible.”
(Statistics and statements provided by Scientology seem to lend a least partial credence to Savage’s claim. Church demographics, indicate that nearly half of all Scientologists have family in the church, while Ken Hoden confirms that many Scientology children attend private schools run by Scientologists – such as Delphi in Monrovia – or the Apollo Training Academy, a church-operated afternoon “day-care center” that operates after regular schools let out. “But the church hopes to run its own schools soon,” added Hoden.)
One Scientology practice that critics single out as a form of control is the church’s “ethics” system. Scientologists are subject to a highly detailed code of ethics drafted by L. Ron Hubbard and governed by “ethics officers” and “justice officers.” This ethics code is divided into four categories of “offenses” against the church: “Errors … .. Misdemeanors,” “Crimes” and “High Crimes.”
Errors are defined as “minor, unintentional goofs” in auditing or administration. Misdemeanors include such offences as “mistakes resulting in financial or traffic loss,” “continued association with squirrels,” and “refusing an E-meter check.” Crimes “cover offenses normally considered criminal,” such as “placing Scientology or Scientologists at risk,” “organizing or allowing a gathering or meeting of staff members or field auditors or the public to protest the order of a senior,” and “impersonating Scientologist or staff member when not authorized.” High crimes consist of “publicly departing Scientology” or committing such “supressive acts” as “public statements against Scientology or Scientologists,” “bringing civil suit against any Scientology organization,” and “giving anti-Scientology advice to the press.”
Errors are dealt with by “corrections, reprimand or warnings.” Misdemeanors are “subject to direct punishment,” which for a staff member is “assignment of a personal condition of Emergency for up to three weeks” and up in three months for an executive staff member. If assigned this “condition of Emergency,” a staffer has his or her pay reduced by one-third. If the staffer appeals his or her case to a “Committee of Evidence” and loses, his or her penalty may be increased to even, stiffer penalties, including minor demotion. Punishments for “crimes” against the church must be dictated by a Committee of Evidence (made up of ministers) and can include demotion or “even dismissal or arrest [for theft].” High crimes include cancellation of all auditing achievements and expulsion by the church’s ultimate ethical authority, the “justice minister.”
According to Hoden, “The purpose of ethics is to keep a person living in such a way that auditing can keep them living an ethical life.” But former members claim that its motives are less noble.
Jerry Whitfield claims to have served on “several” Committees of Evidence. They were just a reason to get people out of the church,” says Whitfield. “We were instructed by seniors on how to decide cases. If the higher-ups didn’t like a certain member they were history.”
Another Scientology policy Savage singles out as a control mechanism is known as “Disconnection,” which takes, two forms, Savage argues. First, current church members are often encouraged by auditing ministers to “disconnect” themselves from “suppressive” relatives. Ken Hoden uses an example from The Color Purple to illustrate what he feels is the positive result of such disconnection.
“In The Color Purple, Celie was connected to a suppressive husband,” explains Hoden. “He used to beat her around and treat her mean. But let’s say one day she walked up to the Church of Scientology. We’d tell her, ‘Gelie, you look like you’ve got a problem with your husband. We want you to sit down and communicate with your husband and try to work it out.’ But if that didn’t work, we’d say, ‘If you don’t disconnect from this person, then your life is going to be miserable forever.’ Disconnection is just common sense in some cases. It is left up to the individual, though.”
Critics claim, however, that Scientology encourages far more than disconnection from harmful persons, which every psychologist urges. Instead critics say, Scientologists are often urged to sever ties with loved ones whose only “problem” is their distaste for Scientology – a practice that reinforces the insular, inbred world of “milieu control” criticized by Savage.
“Robert” is a former member who agrees with Savage. Last year, after 16 years, with the church, the 37-year-old departed. He recalls that shortly after he joined the church, his parents sent him news clippings critical of Scientology. Robert claims his “ethics officer” (who determines if Scientologists stay within the ethical guidelines of the church) told him he had to disconnect from his parents if he was to achieve total freedom.
“Here I was, a 20-year-old kid looking for a little meaning in my life,” recalls Robert, “and all of a sudden there’s this ethics officer telling me I should never talk to my parents again. In retrospect, I can see that my folks were trying to look out for me. But I did what the ethics officer said. I wrote my parents a letter telling them I never wanted to hear or speak to them again.”
A second form of disconnection requires church members to sever all ties with Scientologists who leave the church, no matter how close the friendships. This on pain of being labeled “suppressive” themselves. This practice has proved effective in keeping people in the church, since no one wants to lose all their friends. And “disconnection” from the church has been found to be debilitatingly traumatic to a number of people who have left the fold.
“Betty” is one such person. After spending more than 14 years in and $80,000 on the church, she decided “it was just not economically feasible for me to stay.” Interviewing her, her pain was still apparent, as it was with other former members who agreed to talk to us.
“The entire year after I left was the worst one I ever went through,” Betty said. “I had lived for many of my Scientology years with the same, seven people in a small apartment. We did everything together. We loved each other. But when I said I had to leave, none of these people who I’d known and loved for years would even say hello to me. It was absolutely traumatic.
Robert was also disconnected from longtime friends. “I realized a couple years ago that Hubbard was in this whole thing just for the money and power,” he says, adding that he spent $50,000 to reach the highest level of Scientology study (OT-7), only to become disillusioned when the church added “revised” levels. “So I decided to leave. When I officially left the church I tried talking to the friends I had been closest to for years, tried to tell them that I now thought Scientology was a fraud. But they didn’t want to hear it. They started ignoring me. When I sent them Christmas cards this year, I got back several disconnection letters.”
One letter, from a longtime girlfriend, reads: “This is a disconnection letter. I do not wish any [thrice underlined] type of communication from you. You have chosen to be a squirrel and I am a Scientologist. It makes it very black and white. Do not have any comm to [Scientology speak for “communication with”] me until you have handled your scene and am back in good standing with the church and moving on the bridge (in Scientology, not your squirrel group).” The letter noted that copies had been sent to the church’s “International Justice Chief” and the “Advanced Organization Master at Arms”.
“[Sending copies to ethics and justice] is to let her masters know that she is a good little robot who is still properly brainwashed,” says Robert. “If she’d bothered to talk to me, she’d have found out that I’m not in any ‘squirrel group’ [a church term for groups of former members who I practice Scientology without church sanctions] She’s probably scared shitless that her cult-member peers saw her get a card from a suppressive and will file a ‘knowledge report’ on her. [A church member is required to file such a report if he or she witnesses a fellow member commit such an anti-Scientology crime.] But I don’t really blame her – she’s just another victim of Scientology’s brainwashing techniques.”
The church’s answer to this is that the only individuals considered to be “suppressive” when they leave the church are, in Hoden’ s words, “those who are expelled for doing something in violation of the ethical codes and practices of the Church of Scientology. In that case, people from the church should not associate with that person. But if a church member still wants to associate with the expelled person, fine. But he has to leave the church.” Hoden denied that this is an intimidating practice, though obviously members find it just that.
In arguing for the “thought control” vision of Scientology, Savage and other critics point to other church practices such as “Rehabilitation Project Force” (RPF) duty, “Training Routines” and “security checks,” RPF duty, they say, is forced labor intended to help the church minimize costs, and is used frequently as punishment for church members believed to be out of line. Hoden first explained the RPF as little more than “a work force where church members are assigned so they can get five hours of exercise a day while accomplishing something constructive, like repairing Scientology buildings and mowing lawns.” He later conceded that any senior Sea Org member can put any underling on the RPF as punishment for not working up to his ability. “I was RPFed for nine months in 1982,” says Hoden. “I had been slacking off in some of my administrative duties. But I liked the RPF. I could have gotten off earlier, but I asked to stay on.”
“Who wants to scrub floors or cart trash for a year?” says one former church staffer. “The idea is to make you think twice before doing or saying anything that church officials will RPF you for,”
Critics claim also that “training routines” (TRs) are used in control members in a similar fashion. Former Scientologists have testified that in TRs, Scientologists are often made to sit absolutely stiff without moving at all, not even blinking. They claim this drill is often carried out for hours at a time, every day, for weeks.
While being escorted by Hoden through the deep recesses of the basement of the Scientology “mother church,” we inadvertently stumbled upon a TR session. From a distance, we heard a man shouting. When questioned about the source of the scream, Hoden led us to a small room. As we approached, it became clear that the man was shouting “Thank you, thank you” as loudly as he could to a Scientology official. The unusual nature of the scene was not lost on Hoden, who seemed momentarily flustered. “This, is a TR,” Hoden then explained. “Did you ever know someone who was so timid that you could barely hear him speak? This man is being taught to express himself more loudly and clearly. ”
“Security checks” are yet another form of control, disgruntled former members allege. These “sec-checks” are performed while a member is hooked up to an E-meter. One sec-check form submitted as evidence in a recent trial included the following questions:
“Have you ever had any unkind thoughts about LRH [L. Ron Hubbard]?” “Have you ever had anything to do with pornography?” “Have you ever assisted in an abortion?” “Have you ever practiced sodomy?” “Have you ever been a news paper reporter?” “Do you know of any plans to injure a Scientology organization?” “How do you feel about being controlled?” (Hoden confirmed all but the “reporter” and “control” questions, while adding that numbers me asked only if they had “done” anything against Hubbard.)
To outsiders this is obviously a significant invasion of a person’s privacy, but Ken Hoden and many current and former church members insist that the ends justify the means in these practices. “I’ve been in Scientology for 10 years, and I’m here on my own free will,” says Kimberly Nesbig, a non-staff Scientologist who simply takes auditing courses. “These claims [of brainwashing] are ridiculous. Scientology has saved my life. I was on drugs and on my way out. Scientology has given me the technology to do what I want in life.”
“Claims that we’re insulated, isolated and out of touch with the world is just pure propaganda, ” adds Tim Skog, 34, who has served as a Sea Org Public Affairs staff, since 1983. “I read the papers, I listen to the radio, I go outside. More than any other religion, we don’t lead monastic lives.” (Skog added that there is no “us versus the wogs” encouragement in the church. “Definitely us against the psychiatrists, but that’s fine.”)
Says Mike Rinder, a 30-year-old administrative supervisor who’s been with Sea Org since 1973, “I consider [allegations of] cult mind control to be a joke.”
Other Scientologists also add that their practices are not unlike these of more mainstream religions, an assertion that Johanna Savage is quick to rebut. “The difference with Scientology lies in the degree to which these, control practices are carried out and the amount a Scientologist is forced to sacrifice. If a person wants to become a Catholic, they are fully apprised of what they are in for and they are given time to prepare. With Scientology, you are not told that you may have to spend $100,000 or give up your former friends and family.
“The mandatory loss of one’s self into the Church of Scientology is more severe than in my other group I’ve ever dealt with. I don’t know of my group whose members are room fearful and intensely angry after they leave.”
Breach of Faith?
One particular church policy has been partially at the root of the fear and anger: Scientology’s alleged use of personal information in members’ “confidential” PreClear (PC) folders, information confessed during auditing. There is substantial evidence that this information has been culled, perhaps to pressure members either into staying in the church or into, not criticizing the church if they do leave.
Although Hoden denies such practices, (“In all my years here, I have never known of my such action on the part of a church member; the confidentiality of a person’s folder is the most sacred rule of Scientology”), testimony and documents supplied by former church members indicate that, with or without Hoden’s knowledge, there has been abuse of confidential PC folders. According to the testimony of and an interview with one former Scientology intelligence operative, the now defunct church intelligence division known as the Guardian’s Office asked that files be culled for such desirable PC information as “specific things to use for blackmail such in sexual promiscuity, sexual problems, problems with the family, troubles with parents, any alcoholic problem … anything a person would nor want others to know about.”
Several memos from various church offices to the GO seem to confirm claims that PC Code, have been culled for incriminating information. One 1972 memo supplied to the Weekly clearly notes that “the following data was gotten from [name deleted by the Weekly] PC folders.” It then details a female member’s auditing history: “Several self-induced abortions; … two weeks psych treatment … due to alcohol problems … Drug history: Librium, Valium, Miltowns, alcohol, LSD, opium, heroin … Son is in jail … Connected to a suppressive group … probably the IRS … That’s about it. Love, [name deleted by Weekly].”
A second mid-70s memo (which Hoden claims was not culled from a PC folder but from general church files) graphically details the sex life of another female member: “She slept with four or five men during [an early Scientology course] … She has quite a record of promiscuity … She let [three men] touch her genitals during sessions … She masturbated regularly since she was 8 years old, mentioning doing it once with coffee grounds … and once had a puppy lick her.”
Presented with the memos during a recent Sunday morning meeting in the blue building, Hoden was visibly disturbed. “Okay. Fine – Good,” he said after a long pause. “But was there ever my mention that this was used against her? She’s still with the church. She’s testified for us. She knows this exists. I don’t know why someone in the GO would have needed to see this, but I can honestly say that I don’t know of one case in the Church, of Scientology [where] stuff in a person’s folder has been used against them. And this stuff as 10 years old. What I’m saying is very Simply this: Nothing has ever been used against a person out of their folders.”
California Superior Court judge Paul Breckenridge found differently in a 1984 decision in which he agreed with Scientology’s critics that the church has abused the “confidential” folders for unethical purposes. “Each [of the former Scientologists] has broken with the movement for a variety of reasons, but at the same time, each is still bound by the knowledge that the church has in its possession his or her most inner thoughts and confessions, all recorded [in PC folders] or other security files of the organization, and that the church or its minions is fully capable of intimidation and other physical and psychological abuse if it suits their ends,” wrote Breckenridge, siding with several former members – including former church archivist Gerald Armstrong – sued by Scientology The record is repleat with evidence of such abuse … The practice of culling supposedly confidential PC folders or files to obtain information for purposes of intimidation and/or harassment is repugnant and outrageous.”2
The GO was officially disbanded in 1981, and the church now officially disavows its activities, which Hoden insists are not currently being duplicated by other church departments. However, several former church members told the Weekly that abuse of PC folders continues. One former member claims he was contacted as recently as last month by a church operative who warned him that “if I didn’t sign a confession implicating myself and my friends in trumped-up crimes against the church, he would go to authorities with information from my folders that might be incriminating.”
Told this, Hoden again adamantly denied that such abuse of PC folders could happen under the “strict” guidelines in force today. He insisted it was unfair to quote the former member anonymously because the church could not then rebut the allegation. “Maybe the reason they want anonymity is because they are lying to you,”said Hoden and later added, “Get me the name of the person making this allegation and I’ll report it to the police.
“The thing that I find disgusting, Hoden said with an edge to his voice, “is that someone gave those memos to you. Somebody went and dug them up and said, ‘Wow, boy, this will do it . . . ‘ just so they could get some negative article in your paper. And that’s a shame.”
The Minutemen at the Ready
[A ‘suppressive Person’ is ] Fair Game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by a Scientologist without discipline of the Scientologist [sic] May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed
-L. Ron Hubbard
On February 15, six police officers, stood near the door of Lea Baeck Temple, awaiting the confrontation. They had been called by leaders of Freedom for All in Religion (FAIR), a group of former Church of Scientology members who were sponsoring a speech that evening by Boston attorney and anti-Scientology leader Michael Flynn. Flynn, who has represented marry former church members in lawsuits against the church, was appearing to discuss a new, class-action suit intended to compel Scientology to release PC folders of former members. Because of the nature of the evening’s topic, FAIR leaders anticipated a visit from a group of Scientologists who call themselves the “Minutemen” (because of their ability to mobilize quickly).
To members of FAIR and other church critics, they are known as “Scientology’s ‘Fair Game’ Gestapo.” (Though Hoden, stresses that Hubbard’s “Fair Game” doctrine was officially rescinded 20 years ago, it has emerged throughout the years in a rallying cry among former church members.)
Current church members; allegedly had made their presence felt at the temple throughout the week preceding the the speech. A prominent Jewish Scientologist had phoned temple leaders to warn that Michael Flynn attracted troublemakers. Other anonymous calls stressed similar warnings. And according to the temple’s event coordinator, Nancy Lachman, “A group of men came by claiming to be security for the Flynn speech. They asked to check out the auditorium. But since I hire all security, I knew they were not who they said they were.”
Fearing confrontation, FAIR’s leader, refused entry to what they say were 70 known Scientologists. Despite the right security, disruptions began less than a minute into Flynn’s speech to the 200 FAIR members. A man stood up in the audience and shouted, “Isn’t it true, Mr. Flynn, that you are in this for the money?” The heckler was quickly removed from the auditorium amidst a hail of boos, but minutes later another man stood up and shouted at Flynn. Then another. And before the evening’s conclusion, nearly a dozen alleged Minutemen were escorted from the temple.
“The hassle gets frustrating, but I’m used to it,”said Flynn who has been sued by the church more than a dozen times. Flynn asserts he has been followed by Scientology detectives, (including two who took the room next to his at the hotel where he stayed for the speech) and has been set up for the forgery of a $2 million check written on a Hubbard account. “It was actually a quieter evening than I expected”
Hoden dismisses Flynn’s charges with accusations of opportunism, describing Flynn as a major “point man” in the global conspiracy against the church. (See conspiracy sidebar.) Flynn does indeed have a financial stake in his cases against the church. But irrespective of his motives, the Church of Scientology’s history of harassment of its “enemies,” real or imagined, undermines its claims of humanistic priorities.
The seeds for aggressive defense were sown by Hubbard himself in several policy statements, which were fueled by increasing governmental and journalistic attacks. Hubbard was convinced that the “central agency” carrying out the concerted, global conspiracy to destroy Scientology was the World Federation for Mental Health, which he believed controlled the FBI, the CIA, the IRS, the Better Business Bureau, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the news media.
“Only attacks resolve threats,” wrote Hubbard in 1966. ” . . . Spot [anyone] who is investigating us. Start investigating them promptly for FELONIES or worse using our own professionals, not outside agencies … Start feeding lurid, blood sex crime actual evidence [sic] on the attackers to the press. Don’t ever submit tamely to an investigation of us. Make it rough, rough on the attackers all the way … Remember: Intelligence we do with a whisper. Investigations, we do with a yell.”
To carry out these intelligence and investigative activities, Hubbard formed the Guardian’s Office (GO) in 1966 and named as director, his third wife, Mary Sue. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the GO’s purpose, according to Mrs. Hubbard, was “to sweep, aside opposition sufficiently to create a vacuum into which Scientology could expand.”
“Use all possible lines of approach to obtain files, i.e., job penetration, janitor penetration, suitable guises utilizing covers, etc.,” instructed one GO policy. It wasn’t long before these counterattacks were put into practice. Hoden, a critic of the GO, confirms that the GO soon had agents working in the AMA and California Attorney General’s Office, and breaking into IRS, Justice Department and FBI offices. The World Federation of Mental Health was (coincidentally) burglarized of stationery and a list of delegates for an upcoming conference. Soon after, those delegates received notices on Federation stationery that the location of their conference had been changed from Washington, D.C., to Havana, Cuba.
The AMA was the target of an alleged GO campaign in the mid 1970s. Known as the “Sore Throat” case, it involved the leaking of international AMA memoranda detailing its often unethical political maneuvers and secret attempts to kill a 1970 generic drug bill that it publicly supported. An FBI investigation showed that the memos were most likely leaked by a Scientologist who had recently been hired by the AMA – but who also served as Pacific Secretary of the GO. (The operatives husband had been director of Scientology’s covert activities in Washington, D.C., and was later indicted by a federal grand jury for bugging a high-level IRS meeting in which Scientology’s tax-exempt status was discussed.)
Scientology officially disavowed itself of any knowledge of the “Sore Throat” case and no charges were brought against the Scientologist who had leaked the memoranda. But information made public by the leaks led to IRS, Post Office, Federal Election Commission and congressional investigations into the AMA before the case blew over.
The GO’s covert harassment was not restricted to operations against faceless government agencies. Individuals who church officials claim were “attacking” Scientology were the target of GO efforts as wall. A Hubbard policy released at the GO’s inception offered a blueprint for Scientology operations against individuals:
“As soon as one of these threats starts, you get a Scientologist or Scientologists to investigate noisily. You find out where he or she works or worked, doctor, dentist, friends, neighbors, anyone [sic] and phone up and say, ‘I am investigating Mr./Mrs…. for criminal activities as he/she as been trying to prevent Man’s freedom and is restricting my religious freedom’ just be NOISY – it’s, very odd at first, but makes fantastic sense and WORKS.”
An earlier Hubbard statement was even more explicit: “People who attack Scientology are criminals. Politician A stands up on his hind legs in a parliament and brays for condemnation of Scientology- When we look him over we find crimes – embezzled funds, moral lapses, a thirst for young boys – sordid stuff. ”
Perhaps the most damaging GO operation against an individual had as it’s target one Paulette Cooper, a Near York freelance journalist whose 1971 book “The Scandal of Scientology” examined early Scientology abuses. Upon publication of the book (which Cooper later admitted contained numerous factual inaccuracies), members of the GO initiated a comprehensive campaign, the purpose of which was, according to files uncovered in a 1977 FBI raid of the church’s L.A offices, “getting [Cooper] incarcerated in a mental institution or in jail.” (A file labeled “P.C.’s Personal Diaries” was also found.) Scientology quickly filed several lawsuits, and Cooper’s publisher chose to cease publication.
In 1973, Cooper found herself under federal investigation on bomb threat and perjury charges after a Scientology undercover agent allegedly stole her personal stationery, and used it to forge two threatening letters to a high ranking Scientology official. Only after two years of unsuccessfully defending herself in the courts did Cooper agree to take a “truth serum” test, which she passed. Cooper’s total costs in clearing her name exceeded $28,000. (Hoden says that the church has since paid Cooper’s attorney’s fees under the condition that Cooper not speak to the press regarding the case, and has “mended the fence” for this old GO activity.)
The GO’s most embarrassing operation took place in 1976, when two Scientologists were caught late at night inside the Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C. One of the insiders turned government witness, and an ensuing investigation led to the conviction of nine top Scientology leaders – among them, Mary Sue Hubbard – on conspiracy and theft charges. Although Mrs. Hubbard appealed the conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that the FBI raid on the Scientology offices that followed her indictment (in which 90,000 documents, burglar tools and electronic, surveillance equipment were confiscated) was unconstitutional”, she was sentenced to five years in prison (of which she served one) and fined $10,000.
Church documents provide startling insight into the detailed nature of the GO’s intelligence and subsequent cover-up operations. One 1975 document (marked at the top, “DO NOT COPY!!! “) notes as its “PURPOSE: To clean … files of legally actionable evidence against the GO and it personel [sic].” After first explaining the legal definition of “evidence” the memo describes the proper way to “vet”(or censor) internal intelligence reports of “illegal evidence.”
“Using a razor blade, cut out all parts of reports written by us that would indicate something illegal was happening, already did happen or was being planned,” reads the memo: “When shredding all the pieces you have to cut out please ensure you put the particle into the shredder so that the teeth of the shredder cut the line and not between the lines (put it in cross-wise.”)
The same memo outlines the types of information that should be vetted: “Evidence that anything was stolen by one of our guys … Implications of posing as a government agent … Evidence of tapping phone lines or illegal taping of conversations … Mentions of harassment of an individual … Any mention of bribery … Wordings like ‘this will get him’ or ‘let’s wipe him out’ . . – Any mentions, of entrapment setting up someone, to commit a crime either directly or indirectly. ”
Hoden is quick to admit that “a handful” of GO members were out of control. But he repeatedly stresses that “we got rid of the GO and all those people in 1981 and restructured the church to make sure those abuses never happen again. It’s unfair to keep criticizing us for things that took place 10 years ago and have since been rectified.”
In fairness, there is another light in which to view all these activities. According to Hoden, “there was not one criminal violation on the part of the church 1950 until 1966” – but then, faced coordinated attack from government agencies (see sidebar story), it had to strike back – and the GO over did it. “The fools cost us a big black eye,” Hoden says.
Scientology president Jentzsch goes even further, claiming the GO was driven to some of its acts by “agent provocateurs” infiltrated into the organization by government agencies under the federal Cointelpro program (for more information, again see sidebar). Although he cites only one person by name -Michael Meisner, a former member who became a key government witness, in the trial against Mary See Hubbard – Jentzsch, notes accurately that there is considerable documentation that U.S. government agencies did mount a Cointelpro operation against the church and that the use of infiltrated agents to drive organizations into acts they would not otherwise commit was standard Cointelpro fare. Jentzsch, however, does not deny that the GO did some ugly things on its own. “So we’ve had some bad people do some bad things. But look at the whole person. Look at who we are now.”
Hoden, confirmed, however, the existence of the Minutemen, describing them as “a loose organization of church people who stay in very close contact with each other and can be instantly called to respond very quickly to a problem.” Hoden stresses, however, that “they rally against court attacks on the church, not against individuals.” One such Minutemen operation, said Hoden, took place last year when thousands of Scientologists converged on a Portland, Oregon courthouse to protest a $39-million penalty against the church. (That decision was subsequently overturned and must be retired.) Another occurred last November, when 3,000 Scientologists jammed three floors of the L.A. County Courthouse to block public access in the OT-3 “Xenu” documents temporarily made public by a judge in the Wollersheim trial.
Nevertheless, Hoden insists that the disruption of the FAIR meeting at the Leo Block Temple was not a church-sanctioned Minutemen effort. “If I had wanted to organize something, we could have put 4,000 people in there,” says Hoden. “But I feel they have a First Amendment right to do what they’re doing, though what they’ve trying to do is create a fight, create a disturbance so it’ll get covered by the Press and make the church look like it’s something it’s not. They sent a mailer to people within the church announcing the meeting. That’s really stupid. That’s like running into a Jewish temple and saying it was great what Hitler did to the Jews. But, no, we didn’t do anything out there.”
Hoden added that he would definitely know of my such harassment operations. However, in a letter to temple Rabbi Leonard Beerman dated February 13, Hoden made it clear that such harassment can take place without his knowledge and that he has no intention of intervening or stopping it. “[Scientologists] are, as a rule, strong-minded, independent and ready to voice their opinions and feelings,” wrote Hoden. “If my of these protests have been distressing to your temple’s staff, I apologize. However, I cannot control the individual lives of members of my congregation, nor would I consider doing so.”
When asked on another occasion about a recent “Stamp Out Squirrel Tech” demonstration at an independent auditing center (the Advanced Ability Center in Santa Barbara) – one of 20 such incidents identified by church critics as alleged Minutemen operations over the past two years – Hoden admitted, “Oh yeah, I heard something about that.”
Church critics adamantly dispute Hoden’s assertion that the Minutemen do not carry out church-sanctioned, GO-like harassment campaigns. David Mayo, who claims he was abducted by Scientology agents and “imprisoned” on ethics charges in Gilman Hot Springs (the Scientology compound near Palm Springs when Hubbard resided before going underground) before “escaping,” as he puts it, to form the Advanced Ability Center, claims that Scientologists and private investigators hired by the church have harassed him.
“They’ve held demonstrations out front, physically attacked members and circulated wanted posters putting a price on our heads,” says Mayo. “I feel Scientology is a religion or philosophy, and I feel people who believe in it should be allowed to practice it … [ The attitude of church leaders is a huge contradiction. The church says it can give you the ability to reach self-determination, yet it handles dissent in exactly the opposite way.”
Three alleged Minutemen incidents involved Fred Stanfield, a disaffected church member who was one of Hubbard’s earliest followers in the mid ’50s- Stansfield claims he received a death threat from a Scientologist “friend” on March 24, 1984 (a threat reported to the FBI). On October 20, 1985, incident allegedly involved a physical attack on Stansfield by four long time church members who also pelted his house with eggs, while a November 11 attack saw Stansfield verbally harassed by several people who identified themselves as Minutemen.
“These Minutemen and Hoden’s office work as the new GO,” says Stansfield. “The harassment is even more prevalent now than it used to be.”
Hoden dismisses the claims of Mayo and Stansfield and, indeed, of most church critics – as a combination of sour grapes, and financial motivation. “We kicked these people out of the church because we didn’t want them anymore,” says Hoden, who notes that a federal court judge recently ruled that Mayo must refrain from using certain religious scriptures until it is determined whether they were stolen from the church. “And many are new involved in lawsuits against the church. But those few people aren’t our problem. They’re just pawns being manipulated. Our actual problem is that we have cut across various plans by psychiatric associations and certain people in government, backed with millions of dollars, to control man with drugs. That’s our real problem.”
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free J.W. von Goethe
The question of who is enslaved and who is free – Scientologists or their critics – is a matter of personal judgment. However, two things seem evident. First, Scientologists should be allowed to practice their religion as long as it operates within the law. The majority of Scientologists seem happy (whether they are, being controlled or not) and the First Amendment guarantees their right to freely choose their beliefs. However, it’s equally clear that if Scientology is to achieve the mantle of “major religion” it insists it deserves, it must set aside its hyperparanoia and consider the constructive criticisms offered by people who obviously care about the Scientology process.
Whether Scientology’s problems are due to a global conspiracy outside the church or misplaced priorities and a “greedy, power hungry” ruling elite inside, as critics charge, or a combination of both, the stubborn insistence of church leaders that, the Church of Scientology is without fault and that everyone who offers criticism is a “wog” pawn of psychiatrists and politicians who most be silenced- betrays, at best, an irresponsible tunnel vision or, at worst a dangerous misunderstanding of the First Amendment and the church’s own putative creed.
As one former member puts it: “‘The Scientology process has done wonderful things for me and can help a lot of people. But the people who run the church have to realize that these problems of high prices and aggressive defense are like engrams blocking Scientology’s road to total freedom. Until they identify these problems and work to solve them, they can’t fault people for questioning their motives.”
The Government’s War Against SCIENTOLOGY
Scientologists say the church is engaged in “a war for the human spirit” against a global conspiracy involving psychiatrists, the Rockefeller family, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and the U.S. government (including the FBI, CIA and IRS). According to Ken Hoden, Scientologists feel that although each of these diverse entities have different reasons for attacking the church, their enemies have banded together as one to achieve a common end — “destroying the Church of Scientology. ’’
Whether a conspiracy as vast as this exists is problematical, but certainly Scientology has come under unwarranted investigation and unconstitutional attack from most if not all of these agencies, to an extent that might make any organization paranoid and defensive.
Scientology’s adversarial relationship with the psychiatric community doubtless began with L. Ron Hubbard, whose 1950 Dianetics viliﬁed Freudian psychiatry. Hubbard frequently compared psychiatrists to Hitler and Genghis Khan throughout the ﬁnal 35 years of his life. In return, in the early ’50s psychiatrists were quick to accuse Hubbard of quackery for his promises of what auditing could do. As the governmental and journalistic investigations into his controversial new religion multiplied during the mid-’S0s, Hubbard focused his attention on the World Federation for Mental Health, a psychiatric society he claimed orchestrated worldwide criticism of the church.
Scientology ofﬁcials still regard the psychiatric community, fearful of Hubbard’s “bridge to total freedom,” as the driving force behind the church’s problems.
Scientologists believe, in fact, that it was a prominent German psychiatric clinic, one of the Max Planck Institutes, that ﬁrst drew the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) into a “conspiracy” against the church. The Max Planck Institutes, named after the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, were organizations reconstituted after World War II from the Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science and its subsidiary societies. A German Scientology magazine noted the connections between the Max Planck Institute’s psychiatric wing and its predecessor, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Brain Research, believed responsible for the murder of 275,000 people during the Nazi era. Scientologists claim the Planck Institute arranged for Interpol to execute an elaborate smear campaign against the church.
To counter this, one of the church’s “reform” groups, the National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice, soon began an investigation of Interpol. Scientologists say its commission discovered that Interpol, until as recently as 1972, had been led by former Nazis. (Their information was accurate.) The allegation infuriated Interpol leaders, who then turned to the U.S. government. Scientologists say the Nixon administration’s shadowy Counter-Intelligence Program (Cointelpro) devised an international network of “harassment and black propaganda” against the church. (Cointelpro, of course, achieved notoriety the Watergate era for its illegal activities against American citizens exercising their rights to freedom of speech and assembly. Two high-ranking FBI ofﬁcials were ultimately sentenced to prison terms for their roles in Cointelpro.)
According to church ofﬁcials, government operations involving the FBI, CIA and IRS had sought to undermine Scientology’s credibility since the program’s earliest days. “The strength of those government groups lies in control and manipulation,” says Ken Hoden. “We encourage freedom, so there was immediate conﬂict. Cointelpro has since infiltrated and disrupted our church, accused us of selling drugs, and generally slandered our church around the world, just like it did to Martin Luther King.”
Although there is considerable documented evidence that some Cointelpro actions against the church took place (including FBI insertion of undercover agents in the church), their extent is not clear. But certainly government agencies sought to get other agencies involved in a campaign against the church and, as Scientologists charge, its freedoms were not respected.
Whether or not at Interpol’s prompting, the church and the U.S. government have been at each other’s throats for more than 30 years. Scientology’s Founding Church in Washington, D.C., was listed on Richard Nixon’s infamous IRS “enemies list,” along with such groups as the Black Panthers and Students for a Democratic Society. Scientologists claim several key letters between Scientology churches have mysteriously found their ways to IRS ofﬁces in Fresno and Ogden, Utah. And the FBI staged a massive raid on the church’s Berendo headquarters in 1977 after Scientology operatives were caught in federal courthouses trying to steal government ﬁles on Scientology.
The conﬂict has escalated in recent years as the church, desperate to ward off harassing government investigations and illegal government actions, stepped up its counter-investigation against the government. Scientology’s Freedom magazine has broken several major stories embarrassing to its government targets, including a report of the Army’s mid-1960s experiments in which unsuspecting travelers in Washington, D.C. ’s National Airport were exposed to dangerous bacteria in simulation of a germ-warfare attack. Freedom has also printed conﬁdential IRS memos documenting questionable IRS tax auditing practices, and the magazine continues to solicit testimony on IRS abuses through prominent newspaper ads.
According to church leaders; the current point man for the “legal assault” against Scientology is Michael Flynn, a Boston-based attorney who has represented several former church members in lawsuits against the church. Ken Hoden accuses Flynn of carrying out a “premeditated and very exact plan to destroy the church,” backing the claim with alleged notes removed from Flynn’s trash by Scientologists which detail a plan to enlist witnesses against the church, though not beyond what any good lawyer would do to support his case. Scientologists also accuse Flynn of forging a $2 million check against a personal Hubbard account, a charge that is currently being investigated by a Boston grand jury.
Flynn denies these accusations, and in turn accuses the church of hiring private detectives to follow him around the country and harass his family. Hoden concedes that detectives hired by church attorneys have followed Flynn around the country, but claims the act was justiﬁed. “He [Flynn] has worked with the government and taken money to sue the church from the Rockefellers, who feel that Scientology is a threat to their psychiatry and pharmacological interests, in an orchestrated effort to bring down the church.” (Documents show that Flynn has received about $135,000 in grants from a Rockefeller philanthropic trust.)
Critics insist that church leaders have invented this conspiracy scenario to unify members into an “us against them” army ﬁghting for mankind’s freedom. But Ken Hoden and other church leaders express unwavering conﬁdence in their conspiracy theory. “The proof is there,” says Hoden. “Who’s harassing whom?”
“Everybody always points at what the church has done, which was only to defend ourselves,” says church president Heber Jentzsch. “But the real story that nobody wants to look at is what was done to us by government agencies acting illegally. That’s the story.” -R.C.
DECLARATION OF MICHAEL J. FLYNN1
I, Michael J. Flynn, hereby depose and state under the pains and penalties of perjury that I have personal knowledge or information and belief as to the following:
1. The purpose of this affidavit is to respond to charges made by the Church of Scientology and its counsel against me and my colleagues in connection with our activities and conduct in Scientology-related litigation. An additional purpose of the affidavit is to place in perspective our role in the commencement, prosecution and defense of Scientology cases, particularly in the context of (1) alleged personal harassment of ourselves and our clients, (2) the alleged tactics of the Church of Scientology to inundate various courts with massive docket filings, (3) the filing of allegedly frivolous and malicious lawsuits, bar complaints, and distribution of defamatory publications on the streets and in the media, (4) allegedly engaging in a systematic pattern to infiltrate our law offices, steal documents therefrom, disrupt our law practice, and (5) generally engaging in an assortment of abusive and unlawful conduct to deprive our clients of their legal rights and access to the courts. The affidavit will demonstrate to the court that in light of the facts, we have acted with professional restraint, diligence and within the bounds of the canons of ethics in seeking to prosecute the claims of our clients in the face of extensive, malicious, personal harassment as well as legal harassment through the filing of frivolous lawsuits, bar complaints, etc. Although Scientology and its counsel have, to some degree, succeeded in creating the impression in various courts throughout the United States that Scientology litigation in general is the product of a personal campaign between the lawyers on both sides to use the judicial system to vindicate personal animosities, it has always been our intention to obtain legal redress for our clients. We submit that the Church of Scientology is engaged in an elaborate and concerted plan to
create that impression by besieging each of the courts with such a massive amount of paperwork together with incessant charges against me that a true and just adjudication of the rights of the victims have become secondary. An examination of the dockets in virtually every case will reveal that we have been required to continually respond to personal attacks which have cluttered the docket entries. These continued personal attacks, such as motions for disqualification, depositions of counsel, lawsuits against counsel, contempt proceedings against counsel, bar complaints against counsel, and personal harassment of counsel, have resulted in a cluttering of the court dockets and the misdirection of the subject cases. The foregoing approach adopted by the Church pursuant to its written policies has been designed to confuse and obfuscate the legitimate factual and legal issues in the subject litigation. The attack by the Church of Scientology has been uncalled for, distorted, and unlawful.
2. In late June or early July, 1979, La Venda Van Schaick engaged me to obtain a refund of funds paid by her to the Church of Scientology in the amount of approximately $12,800.00. At that time, I knew nothing about the Church of Scientology, and was reluctant to undertake Van Schaick’s request because she informed me about the operating practices of the Church towards its so called “enemies”. However, at the request of several individuals and after preliminary investigation, I sent a letter to the Church dated July 17, 1979 requesting a refund of all funds paid by Van Schaick. (Exhibit 1 attached.) After sending Exhibit 1, I received a letter from the Church stating that no refund would be paid. (Exhibit 2 attached.) During the pendency of the aforestated correspondence, an individual holding himself out to be one “Chuck North” contacted me and asked to be engaged as a private investigator/
consultant in connection with “researching and investigating cults.” North specifically asked and requested to have access to any “cult files” in my office for the purpose of assisting
his research and investigation. I became suspicious about the coincidental mailing of the Van Schaick correspondence and the solicitations of North. As it later turned out, North was in
fact an agent of the Church seeking to infiltrate our offices. (Exhibit 3, Affidavit of Warren Friske, attached.)
3. During the period between July to September, 1979 when the correspondence concerning Van Schaick refund was being exchanged, I began to receive telephone calls from clients,
relatives, and friends stating that they had received strange telephone calls from various individuals requesting information about me. During the same period of time, in connection with numerous telephone calls and correspondence involving non-Scientology related clients and cases, many strange and suspicious incidents occurred which suggested that my telephone calls and office affairs were either being monitored, intercepted, or knowledge about them otherwise obtained. For example, an individual called one of my clients and told her that I should be reported to the bar because I had not turned over all of the funds I had received in the trial of a case. In fact, the client was present at the trial, received a trial judgment upon a jury verdict, and was paid in full. During the same period of time, namely between July and September, 1979, Van Schaick alleges that she began to be followed, her apartment kept under surveillance, her employment activities monitored, and numerous strange and suspicious circumstances occurred in connection with her daily life, too numerous for purposes of this affidavit. The only activity of mine involving the Church at that point in time had been to send one letter requesting a refund!
4. After receiving the letter denying the request for a refund, I received a letter dated September 11, 1979 from the “Church of Scientology of Boston”. (Exhibit 4 attached) This letter, together with the other prior strange occurrences, together with the allegations made to me by Van Schaick as to the nature and operating practices of the Church, resulted in the decision by me to initiate an investigation into the entire matter. The September 11 letter stated that the Church would be willing to pay approximately 50% of the funds paid to the Church by Van Schaick and at the same time suggested that Van Schaick should not sue the Church for the balance of the funds because she had an extensive drug history, had “three abortions”, had “attempted suicide”, had severe marital problems, and had signed an agreement never to sue the Church or the Hubbards. I had been informed by Van Schaick that all of the foregoing information came from her confidential, “auditing” or “confessional files” and that it was a regular practice of the Church to send such a letter to any person claiming refunds or to their counsel. Van Schaick stated that the auditing information had been given in strict confidence but that the Church, pursuant to written policy, regularly utilized such information to block legal recourse and for other purposes including blackmail and extortion even though it also had a written policy covering refunds.
5. Shortly after the receipt of the foregoing letter, I received several anonymous telephone calls suggesting that representation of Van Schaick was a dangerous matter, that no one “messes with the Church”, that if I had any doubts about this issue, to contact other people who had sought to “interfere” with the Church. During September and early October, 1979, I, as a result of all of the foregoing, was involved in an active and extensive investigation of the allegations made by Van Schaick in order to determine the propriety of a lawsuit against the Church. Because of the many strange events that occurred during this period of time in connection with this investigation, I concluded that the Church or its agents were monitoring my activities, telephone calls, and my investigation. Among the numerous incidents that confirmed this were several occasions when I observed individuals following me, defamatory calls were made to various clients shortly after I had called these clients on the phone, and an employee at the small airport where I maintained any airplane observed unidentified individuals viewing the airplane and seeking information about it.
6. Between that date and the ensuing several months, Van Schaick, was allegedly subjected to numerous incidents of personal harassment involving the surveillance of her home and her child, being run off the road in her car, numerous telephone calls to her neighbors suggesting that she was an unfit mother, calls to her employer resulting in the loss of her job as a
waitress, attempts to convince her that I was engaging in harassive conduct against her, attempts to separate her from her husband, and other forms of harassment. In one instance, she
states that the Church sent an agent from Los Angeles to convince Van Schaick that the “harassive things” being done to her were initiated by me! (A copy of that agent’s note is attached as Exhibit 5.)
7. In November 1979, nine of the highest officers of the Church of Scientology were convicted of a variety of crimes, and approximately 30,000 documents seized by the F.B.I. from the
Church were released to the general public. I sent an employee to the Federal Court in Washington to copy thousands of these documents. These documents in large part verified the
allegations of Van Schaick and validated my belief that the Church was responsible for the numerous inexplicable and harassive incidents that had occurred in the prior several months.
The documents revealed a 15-year pattern of infiltration, burglary, bugging, harassment, and elaborate policies and operations to commit the foregoing pursuant to specific and detailed training manuals. The documents also contained hundreds of documents pertaining to the use of auditing information by the Church against individuals such as Van Schaick for the purpose of blocking and frustrating their legal rights, even specifying the use of extortion and blackmail. In fact, the specific written operations authorized by Mary Sue Hubbard to conduct this type of operation were among these documents.
8. During the same period of time, I conducted an extensive legal analysis and case research involving the Church of Scientology and learned that the publications of the Church of Scientology had been declared fraudulent in the case of United States v. Article or Device, 333 F.Supp. 357 (D.D.C., 1971) and that the Church had never complied with the decree in said case. Further, I learned that the Church had brought in excess of 100 cases against a variety of individuals and entities for the purposes of frustrating the legal rights of those parties and for the purpose of harassing them pursuant to a specific written policy of the Church which calls for the use of the judicial system to harass and destroy critics.
9. Finally, after approximately six months of research and investigation at a cost in excess of $20,000.00, we decided to bring a class action suit against the Church of Scientology to recover not only for the damages inflicted on Van Schaick, but also to seek relief for the class as a whole, for the failure of the Church to comply with the Article or Device decree. That suit was initiated on December 13, 1979, resulting in unsolicited contact by the news media to Van Schaick and me. After the news relative to the class action suit was disseminated in the press, the floodgates unexpectedly and surprisingly opened. My office was literally swamped in a period of weeks with hundreds of telephone calls by a variety of individuals and organizations including parents whose children had committed suicide while in the Church, individuals who had been hospitalized as a result of Church involvement, authors, reporters, individuals who had been allegedly defrauded by the Church, various law enforcement agencies, and other assorted contacts.
10. After the commencement of the Van Schaick action, the Church immediately attempted to infiltrate the class with an agent posing as a prospective client (see affidavit of Garrity attached as Exhibit 6), intensified its harassment of individuals associated with me, attempted to disrupt non-Scientology cases I was involved in, and generally initiated a campaign of
unrelenting personal and legal harassment. This campaign included the following:
a) Approximately three weeks after the commencement of the Van Schaick case, without filing a counter-claim in that action, and without filing a Motion to Dismiss within the time allowed by the rules, the Church initiated a lawsuit in the Federal District Court in Nevada against Van Schaick, Kevin Flynn, (my brother and an employee of my office), Thomas Hoffman, Esq., (a colleague), and Edward Walters, (a client). That suit alleged a conspiracy by these individuals to deprive the Church of its First Amendment rights. The suit was
dismissed by the Federal Court within 120 days.
b) At the same time as the filing of this action, the Church filed in succession four separate bar complaints against me alleging a variety of things including conspiracy to violate the Church’s First Amendment rights, the unlicensed practice of law by Kevin Flynn, and a variety of other charges. The first three complaints were filed on January 15, 1980, February 7, 1980 and April 3, 1980, all of which were dismissed on April 10, 1980 by the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers. (See Exhibit 7 attached.) On November 19, 1980, the Church filed yet another complaint which was dismissed on May 4, 1981. (See Exhibit 8 attached.)
c) After the dismissal of the Federal Nevada action, the Church then commenced an action against Van Schaick, Kevin Flynn, Edward Walters, and other clients of mine in the state court in Nevada, which was nearly identical to the federal action. As to Van Schaick and Kevin Flynn, this suit was also dismissed.
d) The Church also filed an action against me and four of my clients in the Massachusetts Suffolk Superior Court alleging that the clients had stolen materials from the Church of Scientology of Boston and turned them over to me. These materials primarily included the auditing files of the four clients who had left the Boston Church and taken their auditing files with them because they were aware the Church used them for purposes of blackmail. Also allegedly taken were some financial graphs and some Sea Org organizations. I stipulated in open court to filing the voluminous auditing files under seal with the court, returning the financial graphs, and maintaining possession of the Sea Org communications. The court adopted this offer and issued an injunction based upon it. In subsequent litigation around the United States, particularly in the recent case of the Church of Scientology v. Gerald Armstrong, California Superior Court, Los Angeles, C420153, the Church has attempted to use this litigation and the stipulated injunction to misinform and mislead the court into the belief that I had behaved unethically as reflected by the injunction, when in fact, I stipulated to the injunction, and the suit was prosecuted for the purpose of harassing me pursuant to the written policy of the Church.
e) Subsequently, the Church filed an additional action against me in the Las Vegas state court alleging essentially that I was engaged in a conspiracy against the Church and abusing judicial process. Church counsel attempted to procure a false affidavit from an ex-member to support the case. (See Exhibit 6 at page 8.) The court granted my Motion Judgment in that action.
f) Between January and May, 1980, for Summary I was subjected to hundreds of instances of personal harassment, which I believe, based upon the Friske and Garrity affidavits and other information, to have been conducted by the Church. These included inter alia, contacting my insurance agent and informing the agent that I had murdered the husband of one of my clients, making a bomb threat to my building resulting in its evacuation, throwing rocks at my building, sending a post card threatening to poison me, harassive telephone calls at and night to me, my wife, and my children, phone calls to neighbors and suggesting in all hours of the day making obscene telephone calls to neighbours and suggesting in these calls that I was making them, and process servers arriving at my home at all hours disturbing my wife and children. (See generally, Exhibit 9.)
g) Between approximately November, 1979 and up to and including at least May, 1982, the Church allegedly stole approximately 20,000 documents either directly from my office or from a trash dumpster in my private office condominium compound. This theft is established by the following evidence. Kevin Tighe formerly of the Guardian’s Office has testified under oath that he stole documents from my law office garbage. (Exhibit 10.) Warren Friske, former head of B-2 in Boston, admits he sorted the stolen documents and sent the materials to the U.S.G.O. and to CSC’s attorneys. (Exhibit 11.) Joe Lisa, former head of the U.S.G.O., has admitted in a sworn deposition that he ordered the document theft operation. (Exhibit 12.)
11. Between January and May, 1980, hundreds of former Church members contacted my office seeking legal recourse against the Church. One of these individuals, Tonja Burden, had
worked directly for L. Ron Hubbard, who had ultimate and absolute control over all Church activities. Burden, between the ages of 13 and 17, worked for the Church without receiving any education, essentially served for a long period as Hubbard’s personal slave, dressing and undressing him, and was involved in coding and de-coding telexes in double and triple codes regarding operations against the United States government, state agencies, and numerous individuals. She was defrauded of approximately five years of labor, a high school education, was made to sign promissory notes in the thousands cf dollars, she was tendered a bill in the amount of approximately $61,000.00, was subsequently kidnapped, harassed and taken over state lines when she left the Church, and was generally tortiously injured by the Church without receiving the benefits promised to her and based upon false representations made to her. With co-counsel in Tampa, Florida, we commenced an action in the Federal District Court on or about April 25, 1980 on behalf of Ms. Burden. This was only the second suit initiated by my office in connection with Scientology litigation. Yet, most of the items referred to in paragraph 10 against my office were either in process, completed, or being planned. The Church proceeded to literally swamp the court docket with motions, pleadings, and discovery, the great bulk of which motions have been denied,
resulting in a massive amount of paper that stands approximately two feet high to date. Although ex-Scientologists have come forward and acknowledged a consistent pattern of abuses against individuals such as Van Schaick and Burden with regard to the wrongful dissemination of auditing information, fraudulent and deceptive recruitment and sales practices, campaigns of harassment pursuant to the “Fair Game Doctrine” and other such operations, and thousands of documents exist to support such allegations, the Church and its counsel have engaged in a pattern of litigation designed to wear down the plaintiffs, their counsel, and the court system rather than attempt to resolve the injury claims in a judicious and good faith approach based upon specific and extensive evidence. The latter strategy is reflected by the activities of the Church and its correspondence to me prior to the commencement of the Van Schaick action as well as the aforesaid dismissed lawsuits, bar complaints, and harassment techniques.
12. Between May, 1980 and December, 1980, my office continued to be besieged with contacts from former members, parents, state and federal law enforcement agencies, the news media, etc. with regard to the activities of the Church. During that period of time, my office brought several additional actions in the Massachusetts Superior Court on behalf of former
members who sought to obtain legal redress against the Church. During the same period of time, the continuous theft of documents from my office and compound took place and the general campaign of harassment continued. The hundreds of instances involved in this harassment are too extensive to set forth in this affidavit but they consisted of a general pattern of what has been previously described including contacts with non-Scientology clients. (See several statements of clients attached hereto as Exhibit 9.) Throughout this period of time
the Church continually attempted to take my deposition and depositions of my employees and colleagues on numerous occasions in different cases.
13. In January, 1981, after living through a year and a half of the activities and conduct previously described, I flew to Los Angeles, California, together with my colleagues, for the purpose of discussing settlement of the Scientology litigation with Church counsel. During these settlement discussions, the Church agreed to repay all of the monies paid by two claimants, Donald and Peggy Bear, in the amount of approximately $107,000.00. Although releases were signed and the Church represented to numerous courts that it had a policy to
refund monies paid to it, the Church failed to deliver a check for the proceeds, the settlement negotiations fell through, and a suit was later commenced on behalf of the Bears. (See Exhibit 14 attached.) At the time of the preparation for these settlement negotiations, my office prepared an extensive analysis of approximately 50 cases that it was considering filing on behalf of former members, which analysis related to the costs of such litigation for both sides, the factual issues involved in the various cases, peripheral issues such as probate matters, media problems, etc., That analysis was prepared specifically for these settlement negotiations. The analysis was subsequently stolen from our offices and later became the subject of an additional bar complaint and a suit brought by the Church against my colleagues and I in the Los Angeles District Court, discussed infra.
14. After the settlement negotiations failed, and after spending several weeks in Los Angeles, we returned to Boston and prepared to conduct a conference in May 1981, for the purpose of meeting with several lawyers in connection with the proposed commencement of some of the 50 cases included in the settlement analysis. Portions of the settlement analysis were included in a packet of information given to the lawyers who attended the May conference. Those documents were also subsequently stolen by the Church of Scientology from our offices or our trash dumpster. At the conference, attended by approximately eight attorneys, the nature of Scientology litigation was explained, fee relationships were discussed involving the traditional contingent fee type relationship and a sharing of the fees between the attorneys based upon the amount of work done on each case. Other peripheral issues set forth above in the settlement analysis were discussed. This meeting was infiltrated by an agent of the Church posing as a client, Ford Schwartz, on behalf of the Church. (See attached Exhibit 15.) The Church, therefore, was aware of the nature of the meeting, what was discussed, and the fee relationships that existed between the clients and the attorneys.
15. Between May, 1981 and July, 1981, Kevin Flynn, who had ceased being an employee of mine in mid-1980 and who had commenced working as an independent contractor, submitted a proposal to me and my colleagues whereby Kevin Flynn’s corporation, Flynn Associates Management Corporation, would perform services on behalf of the various attorneys as a researcher and investigator in consideration of receiving a percentage of the funds recovered in the cases. After research by me and my colleagues, the proposal was rejected, although ethical opinions of several states indicated that such a proposal was not improper. This proposal was also stolen from the offices of mine and/or the trash dumpster in the private office compound.
16. During the summer of 1981, as a result of the ongoing theft of documents from my office and compound, most of which constituted attorney-client communication and/or work-
product, the Church knew that I and counsel from various other states were considering the commencement of various actions in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles. It also knew that Flynn Associates Management Corporation played no role in connection with these suits, that the May meeting among counsel was ethically proper, and that I was still seeking to resolve the cases without litigation.
17. In June, 1981, Church counsel again initiated settlement discussions, this time with my co-counsel in the Burden case in Tampa, which resulted in a series of correspondence between me and Church counsel. (See attached Exhibit 16.) In fact, the Church offered 1.6 million dollars to resolve all existing and impending litigation, and I accepted their
offer on behalf of the various clients involved, in a good faith effort to resolve the entire matter. My motivation in accepting this settlement offer of the Church on behalf of my clients
involved numerous considerations including: a) the desire of clients and counsel to end the torrent of legal and personal harassment; b) the expense and time consumption inherent in the litigation for all parties; c) the promised efforts of the Church to reform and discontinue many of its unlawful practices; and, d) the financial remuneration of clients and counsel.
18. Between approximately April and June, 1981, I was contacted by the City of Clearwater to prepare a report relative to the Church of Scientology and the tax-exempt aspects of organizations such as the Church. Because of the continued theft of materials from my office, the Church was fully aware of the fact that various City officials had contacted me during that period of time. The Church therefore knew, through the acquisition of illegally obtained information, when it made its 1.6 million dollar offer to settle all Scientology-related litigation matters, that hundreds of individuals had contacted our office, that several counsel in various areas of the U.S. had agreed to undertake litigation on behalf of injured clients, that the City of Clearwater was commencing an investigation into the Church, that it had been engaged in a two-year campaign of legal and personal harassment against me and my office, that it had been engaged in at least a ten-year pattern of burglary, larceny, obstruction of justice, etc., of which its highest leaders had been convicted, and that there were thousands of people across the United States who were seeking refunds from the Church. Because of the close monitoring and surveillance of my office, the Church also knew that my colleagues and I were willing to resolve the litigation primarily because of our desire to terminate the persistent harassment of us and our clients. At this point in connection with the litigation, I had personally expended in excess of $200,000.00.
19. Upon information and belief provided by recently defected members of the Church, in the summer of 1981, when all of these matters were occurring, an internal power struggle took
place within the Church resulting in the purge of several highly-placed members and the resulting take-over of the Church by several young members of the “Commodore’s Messenger Org,” who had served personally for L. Ron Hubbard throughout their teen-age years, who were then approximately 21 or 22 years of age, and who were fanatical adherents of Hubbard. These individuals who took over the Church adopted a plan in the summer of 1981 to conduct an all-out campaign against me and my clients pursuant to the “technology” of the Church doctrine, to wit, the Fair Game Doctrine, to destroy me and all opposition to the Church. Upon information and belief, the foregoing involved a highly secretive written plan adopted by the highest members of the Church to revoke the offer of settlement, revert to “Hubbard technology,” and to attack and destroy me pursuant to the following Hubbard policies:
Don’t ever defend. Always attack. Find or manufacture enough threat against them to sue for peace. Originate a black PR campaign to destroy the person’s repute and to discredit them so thoroughly they will be ostracized. Be very alert to sue for slander at the slightest chance so as to discourage the public presses from mentioning Scientology. The purpose of this suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win.
(Level 0 Checksheet attached as Exhibit 17.)
Pursuant to this plan, the Church then embarked on a campaign beginning in August, 1981, and continuing up to the present date, to “attack”, “sue”, and “destroy” me. This campaign has included the following:
a. In August, 1981, the Church, through its counsel, Harvey Silverglate, filed a bar complaint against me and my colleagues attaching numerous documents that had been stolen from my office and compound. The thrust of this complaint was that I was unlawfully selling shares of Flynn Associates Management Corporation to finance prospective lawsuits against the Church. Although the Church knew that this allegation was false, the Church and its counsel wove together the settlement analysis prepared in January, 1931, the materials assembled for the May conference, and the proposal of Kevin Flynn, then attempted to create a false and deceptive impression with the Board of Bar Overseers and subsequently in the courts. The Church knew at the time of this bar complaint that the allegations of its counsel, Silverglate, were false, because it had agents who had attended the May conference, it had stolen the settlement analysis at the time it was prepared in January, 1981, and the Church had stolen the Kevin Flynn proposal when it had been prepared
and rejected in June, 1981.
b. In addition to this bar complaint, the Church and its counsel then proceeded to file an additional three bar complaints against myself and my colleagues, including, inter alia, the allegation that I improperly attempted to avoid service of process by one of the many process servers in connection with suits and depositions that the Church was attempting to initiate against our office. These bar complaints were filed through-out the period from August to December, 1981. Notwithstanding the foregoing complaints, I have received a letter from the Board stating that it does not consider that I have any “Complaints” presently against me. (See Exhibit 18.)
c. At the same time that the bar complaints were being filed, the Church was engaged in operations to steal documents from the trash of at least one of the members of the Board of Bar Overseers. (See affidavit of Warren Friske attached as Exhibit 3.)
d. In August, 1981, the Church commenced an action in the Los Angeles Federal District Court through one of its members, Steven Miller, against me, my brother, Kevin, a medical doctor, and several others, on the theory that the defendants had “deprogrammed” Miller and violated his civil rights. At the time of the filing of the suit, I had never heard of Steven Miller and had never had any contact with him before. The attorneys’ fees in connection with the defense of that case, upon information and belief, are currently in excess of $200,000.00, which have been paid by the parents of Steven Miller, I have also sustained attorneys’ fees and expenses in connection with the defense of that case and other litigation initiated by the Church of Scientology.
e. In August, 1981, the Church commenced an action in the Boston Federal District Court through its members, Ellen and Chris Garrison, on the same theory of deprogramming. This suit was brought against Kevin Flynn and Paulette Cooper after specific planning and meetings were held by the Church to bring this suit against these individuals for the purpose of harassing them and my office. (See Affidavit of Warren Friske attached as Exhibit 3.)
f. During the same period of time, and in the ensuing months, the Church filed motions to disqualify me in the cases of Garrity, et al. v. The Church of Scientology, Los Angeles Federal District Court, Burden v. Church of Scientology, District Court in Tampa, and in the Van Schaick case. These Motions for Disqualification were all part of the plan to personally and legally harass me and my colleagues.
g. Between August, 1981 and December, 1981, the Church literally swamped the court dockets in every case that it was involved in, including both those it had initiated and those that had been brought by claimants, with hundreds of pleadings, motions, discovery requests, etc. An examination of the dockets in almost any of the pending cases will illustrate the intense campaign of legal harassment specifically adopted by the Church during this period of time to destroy me, my office, and my clients.
h. My office utilized a long distance telephone code which unauthorized individuals, allegedly the Church, intercepted and thereafter used to charge in excess of $1,000.00 in telephone calls to our code. In a similar “operation,” it has been alleged that the Church intercepted the code of a third party in California and made telephone calls to our clients charging the calls to the third party’s code. All of these matters and many others have been turned over to the F.B.I.
i. After we spent in excess of one hundred hours defending the Motions to Disqualify filed in the Garrity, Van Schaick, and Burden cases, the Church dropped these Motions and instead undertook a new round of lawsuits against my office. The Church commenced an abuse of process action in the Los Angeles Federal District Court in connection with the Garrity, et al. case and also brought another civil rights action against me and the City of Clearwater in the Tampa Federal District Court.
20. The Church timed commencement of the abuse of process action in the Los Angeles Federal District Court to coincide with certain hearings being conducted by the City of Clearwater involving the Church of Scientology in which our office was involved. In connection with these hearings, the Church adopted a specific operation to harass me as follows:
In the second week in March, 1982, the Clearwater hearings were scheduled to begin on April 21, 1982. On March 25, Church counsel in the case of Cazares v. Church of
Scientology, Circuit Court in Daytona, sent a letter to me scheduling my deposition for April 23, 1982 in Tampa during the middle of the hearings. Although the hearings were
subsequently continued until May 5, 1982, on April 19, 1982, while appearing in the Burden case in Tampa, I was served with a deposition subpoena. I filed a Verified Motion to Quash the Subpoena stating that the demands of my law practice prevented me from remaining in Florida throughout the “time” required for the deposition, 2:00 p.m. on Friday, April 23, to continue from day-to-day over the week-end and the following Monday, as required by the deposition subpoena. I sent a letter on two occasions to Church counsel indicating that I could not appear for the deposition, that I had no personal knowledge of the subject matter of the case in which the deposition was to be taken, but that I would be willing to schedule another date when I would voluntarily appear. Subsequently, after the Church learned that the hearings would be continued to May 5, 1982, it issued a second subpoena, from the Los Angeles Federal Court in the case of Church of Scientology v. F.B.I. I had no personal knowledge relevant to this case but the Church sought to take my deposition, again during the middle of the hearings. I communicated to counsel in that case that I would be unable to appear on that date. Subsequently, during the middle of the Clearwater hearings, the Church filed motions to hold me in contempt in the Los Angeles Federal District Court and in the Daytona Circuit Court because of my failure to appear at the depositions. In connection with the Daytona contempt proceeding, I informed the Court of the foregoing, informed the Court that under Florida law I was immune from service in Florida, under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure my deposition had to be taken in Massachusetts, but that I was still willing to appear without need of going forward with the contempt matter. Notwithstanding the foregoing, and after the Church counsel specifically misrepresented the facts, without a trial, without any witnesses being called at the contempt matter, and without complying with Florida rules with regard to “indirect criminal contempts,” Church counsel procured a contempt finding against me from the Court. The matter was appealed and the appellate court reversed and vacated the finding of contempt by the trial court. The trial court judge has since left the bench after being implicated in an unrelated bribery scheme.
21. In the face of this harassment and abuse, the intention of our office throughout the subject litigation has been to obtain redress on behalf of our clients for alleged fraud in the taking of their money and labor and for outrageous conduct in blocking their access to judicial relief. We submit that the Church of Scientology operates based on policies such as “Fair Game” and “Attack the Attacker” because it must use such means to perpetuate its fraudulent sales and recruitment practices. These operating policies of the Church carry over to its activities and conduct in dealing with the judicial system and attorneys, such as ourselves who represent clients against the Church. We are among many attorneys and judges who have been attacked by the Church through motions for disqualification, lawsuits, bar complaints, and personal harassment. The Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Washington criminal cases, several federal judges, and the attorney for the F.D.A. are such examples. (See attached Exhibit 19.) While utilizing the operational policies such as Fair Game, the Church presents a religious front to the Court in order to frustrate legitimate claims for tortious injury and to create the appearance of a personal conflict amongst the lawyers in the swamping of the dockets with every conceivable filing. Abuse of the legal system is reflected by the massive litigation instituted by Scientology in courts throughout the United States. (See Lexis scan attached as Exhibit 20.)
22. My colleagues and I have never before been subjected to the legal harassment which has occurred in the subject litigation. Our background is not one of using the judicial system abusively or without just cause. I was ranked first in my class in law school, served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, served as a law clerk to a Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, have been married for 16 years with 3 children, and I have always endeavored to practice law with discretion, professional restraint and within the bounds of the canons of ethics. In contrast, the highest officials of the Church have served time in Federal Prison, there are literally thousands of individuals and families seeking legal redress, and the fraudulent, tortious, and often times criminal activities and policies of the Church are becoming increasingly evident. These victims have come to us in the hundreds, often with substantial financial claims and evidence of overt physical and mental abuse. As a result of my assistance to these people, I have been “declared” an “enemy” by the Church and appear on its enemies list.” (See Exhibit 21 attached.)
23. It has always been the policy of my office to resolve claims against the Church of Scientology without litigation. The efforts at settlement between January and July, 1981 were such an example. The Church is now using those confidential settlement negotiations to further attack me, although the Church insisted in writing on their confidentiality, and
accepted, but later reneged upon, the settlement.
24. It is the intent of my office and clients to obtain legal redress for legitimate claims in the context of substantial supporting evidence. It is not my intent to use the judicial process to harass the Church. The fact that the Church has a written policy mandating such judicial abuse, together with a 20-year history of employing it, is evidence of the fact that the Church, not myself or my clients, is intent upon creating a distorted and false perception of the nature and purposes of each of the Scientology related cases.
25. I am not collaborating with forces who are trying to destroy freedom of religion and churches in America.
26. I am not collaborating with anyone using brutal “deprogramming” and “depersonalizing” techniques. I have never deprogrammed or depersonalized anyone.
27. I have exercised my First Amendment rights to speak out and oppose an organization whose top leaders have gone to prison. However, I have never sought to manipulate the media or use libel, forgery, or other improper means in connection with any of the litigation.
28. I have made no fraudulent representations of any nature or description but have merely sought to expose the misrepresentations made by the Church of Scientology.
29. Dr. John Clark has never been part of any operations of FAMCO of any nature or description, nor has Kevin Flynn through FAMCO or otherwise, attempted to involuntarily kidnap or brutalize anyone.
30. The charge that I have solicited an individual named “Jim Gray” to enlist him to sell shares in FAMCO is totally false. Gray was never offered any position, no shares were ever offered to him, and I have no idea why he would make such allegations in a so-called “sworn affidavit.”
31. The charge that I have solicited clients in connection with the Church of Scientology is absurd. Indeed, the reverse is true. There are thousands of Scientologists throughout the United States seeking to obtain legal counsel to obtain redress against the Church. The problem is that it is very difficult to get lawyers to take on such cases. I have been unfortunately refusing clients, not soliciting them. Although my law firm has endeavored to help all of these people, and has never solicited any of them, we are, in fact, incapable of representing the thousands of people who desperately need representation.
32. The Church of Scientology claims that I “resorted to the use of force and coercion in the form of psychiatric…not unlike the insidious, painful brainwashing techniques on American servicemen by Chinese Communists during the Korean War.” First of all, I have never advocated nor would I ever participate in any such activity. Second, “brainwashing” is a technique used and taught by the Church in its G.O. intelligence courses. (Exhibit 22.) Third, as explained above, I never met nor even heard of Steven Miller prior to his filing a Church sponsored lawsuit against me which has since been dismissed.
33. The probate case relating to Ronald DeWolf and the “missing person status” of L. Ron Hubbard was brought for the simple reason that L. Ron Hubbard’s own attorney, Alan Goldfarb, stated that L. Ron Hubbard was missing, and that he could not appear in one of the many suits that had been brought against him because no one knew where he was and no one from the Church of Scientology had communicated with him since February 1980. It was the conduct of Hubbard’s own lawyers and the group that now run the RTC (Religious Technology Center) and the failure of Hubbard to appear and defend himself in Court or even to appear and defend or assist his wife for that matter, which resulted in the
Hubbard filed a to be appointed Ron Hubbard was probate case being brought. It was only after legal declaration, the day before a trustee was in the probate case, that the Court held that L. Ron Hubbard was not a missing person.
34. The finding of contempt against me was one of the numerous legal proceedings brought against me at the same time. The Church of Scientology fails to state that I did not even appear and defend the contempt proceeding because of the onslaught of other harassment brought against me by the Church, and, later when I moved to vacate the order, the judge stated that no bad faith or misconduct was involved, but merely a technical violation of one of the court orders regarding disclosure of information about Hubbard.
35. The allegations contained in Paulette Cooper’s affidavit are perhaps the most absurd portion of the Church of Scientology’s charges. Since I was Ms. Cooper’s attorney, I feel ethically bound to hold inviolate the communications we had regarding L. Ron Hubbard, other than to say that Ms. Cooper’s declaration is totally false. The accompanying declaration of Joseph Flanagan2 explains how Ms. Cooper came to testify for CSC.
36. The idea that Kevin Flynn, Thomas Hoffman, or I, or anyone associated with us, had anything to do with the forgery of one of L. Ron Hubbard’s checks, is simply too fanciful to warrant extensive discussion. Suffice it to say that I brought to the attention of the public and the courts the fact that one of L. Ron Hubbard’s checks, in the possession of individuals controlling the RTC, was forged and an attempt to pass it was made at the time in May-June, 1982 when Hubbard wrote a will and in the will turned over control of Scientology to the RTC. It was at the same time that the RTC began to assert total dictatorial control throughout the Church of Scientology. Any intelligent observer can put two and two together to conclude that I would not participate in the forgery of a two-million dollar check and then do everything in my power to investigate it.
37. Recently, I received a letter and telegram from Mr. Tamimi, whose sworn declaration was procured by Eugene Ingram, an investigator employed by Church of Scientology, who has been removed from the L. A. Police Force for his purported involvement in assisting narcotic dealers, pimping, and other criminal activities. In the note and telegram Tamini states that the declaration procured by Ingram is false and that he is now prepared to tell the truth. Tamini’s declaration, attached to Peterson’s declaration, should be viewed with great scepticism in light of Tamini’s letter and telegram. (A copy of this letter and telegram is attached as Exhibit 23.) This letter has been turned over to law enforcement authorities to permit further investigation. This letter was the first communication of any type which I have ever had with Mr. Tamini.
Signed under the pains and penalties of perjury this ____ day of July, 1985 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Michael J. Flynn
Source “PR Newswire”
Author Brian Anderson
Date March 21st, 19851
LOS ANGELES, March 21/PRN – In a surprise move, in federal court here today,
attorney John Peterson – representing the Church of Scientology of California – filed a
sworn affidavit by former Scientology attacker and litigant Paulette Cooper, exposing her
former lawyer, Michael Flynn, the church said.
The document revealed for the first time a billion-dollar plot of extortion and perjury
aimed at the Church of Scientology.
Ms. Cooper, in a reversal of her previous antagonistic posture against the church,
reportedly revealed the motives and methods behind her former attorney Flynn’s assault
on the religion of Scientology.
Peterson said Flynn’s campaign of soliciting suits against the church has reached a
staggering total demand of more than $1 billion.
Ms. Cooper stated in her affidavit that Flynn knew that the founder of Scientology, L.
Ron Hubbard, did not control the church and that Flynn had personally told her “by 1979,
Mr. Hubbard had severed his ties with the church.”
She further revealed that Flynn, by his own statements to her, admitted “his whole
strategy was based upon conducting an attack against Scientology founder Hubbard by
naming Hubbard as a defendant in my lawsuits … he believed that Mr. Hubbard would
never appear in any of the lawsuits in which he was named.”
Flynn further told her “the litigation would be quickly terminated … either by obtaining a
default judgment against Mr. Hubbard, or by having the Church of Scientology settle the
litigation in order to protect Mr. Hubbard.”
Ms. Cooper, until now Flynn’s star witness and ally in nearly all of what the church
called Flynn’s “spurious” legal actions against the Scientologists, said in her sworn
“My attorney (Flynn) filed in my lawsuits sworn statements alleging that Mr. Hubbard
was in control of Scientology activities.” In what the church termed a devastating blow to the extortion plot, she said, “I never had
any real evidence or reason to believe that Mr. Hubbard was in control of the activities of
the Church of Scientology.”
Ms. Cooper concluded her affidavit by categorically stating:
“It is clear to me, on the basis of my conversation with Mr. Flynn on this subject, that the
allegations concerning Mr. Hubbard’s control over day-to-day Scientology activities had
no basis in fact, but were being made solely for strategic purposes in pursuit of a default
Peterson, counsel for the Church of Scientology, stated: “This defection of Paulette
Cooper from the camp of Michael Flynn brings with it a complete exposure of the sordid
and extortive aims of Flynn and his unfounded attacks on Scientology’s founder, L. Ron
In his declaration, he detailed “the pattern of harassive, abusive and illegal conduct
instigated and executed against the churches of Scientology by … Flynn and a number of
co-conspirators. These persons have operated on their own and in unison as a front group
called Flynn Associates Management Corp. (FAMCO).”
Peterson said that key elements in this pattern of illegal conduct included:
“ … conspiracy in the form of a money-making scheme in which Flynn, via FAMCO,
promised investors up to a 400 percent ‘quick’ return on their investment in exchange for
buying shares to support massive litigation against the Church of Scientology”;
“ … collaboration with and funding of agents and operatives using brutal psychiatric
‘depersonalizing’ techniques in an attempt to sway members of the Church of
Scientology away from their religion and channel them into suits against the religion of
“ … abuse of the judicial process by inundating the courts with massive filings of
frivolous, unfounded and duplicative lawsuits”;
“ … the planned usage of lies and inflammatory statements in order to manipulate the
media and government and thus influence pending litigation”; and
“ … the use of libel, forgery and other criminal means in order to negatively influence
The following is the full text of the sworn affidavit by Paulette Cooper filed today in U.S.
District Court in Los Angeles as part of a libel suit brought against Boston lawyer
Michael Flynn by the Church of Scientology of California:
Affidavit of Paulette Cooper
(State of New York, County of New York)
Paulette Cooper, being first duly sworn according to law, deposes and says:
– I am Paulette Cooper, a resident of the City of New York, State of New York.
– I have a long history of conflict with the Church of Scientology, and I have been
involved in substantial litigation against the church between 1971 and earlier this year.
All litigation between the church and me has been settled and terminated.
– In 1978, one such lawsuit commenced between me and the Church of Scientology in the
United States District Court for the Central District of California sitting in Los Angeles,
Church of Scientology of California Inc. v. Paulette Cooper, Case No. 78-2053-RMT.
While the church claimed that I had breached a prior settlement agreement with it, the
principle focus of the lawsuit soon became my counterclaim for personal injuries against
the church. I was represented in that case by Attorney John McNicholas.
During the year 1980, Boston Attorney Michael J. Flynn convinced me that he should file
on my behalf a lawsuit in Boston, Mass., against Scientology, alleging some of the
matters that were the subject of my lawsuit pending in Los Angeles.
I retained Attorney Flynn to file such a lawsuit in my behalf in the United States District
Court for the District of Massachusetts, captioned Paulette Cooper v. Church of
Scientology of Boston, et al., Civil Action No. 81-681-MC.
– I allowed Mr. Flynn to file the Boston case, and replaced my counsel in Los Angeles
with an attorney selected by Mr. Flynn because Mr. Flynn explained to me that he had
devised a strategy for quickly and easily winning my litigation against Scientology and
collecting money on a judgment.
He explained that his whole strategy was based upon conducting an attack against
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard by naming Mr. Hubbard as a defendant in my
lawsuits. Mr. Flynn said that he believed that Mr. Hubbard would never appear in any of
the lawsuits in which he was named, for any one of a number of possible reasons.
Mr. Flynn told me that it was his belief that by approximately 1979, Mr. Hubbard had
severed his ties with the church. The litigation, said Mr. Flynn, would be quickly
terminated, either by obtaining a default judgment against Mr. Hubbard, or by having the
Church of Scientology settle the litigation in order to protect Mr. Hubbard.
– In pursuit of this strategy of winning by seeking default judgments, my attorney filed in
my lawsuits sworn statements alleging that Mr. Hubbard was in control of Scientology’s
activities, and that he directed a campaign against me.
However, I never had any real evidence or reason (other than the word of my lawyers) to
believe that Mr. Hubbard was in control of the activities of the Church of Scientology,
and my attorneys never presented me with any evidence that such was the case.
It is clear to me, on the basis of my conversation with Mr. Flynn on this subject, that the
allegations concerning Mr. Hubbard’s control over day-to-day Scientology activities had
no basis in fact, but were being made solely for strategic reasons in pursuit of a default
Sworn to before me this 4th day of March, 1985. Alda N. Boyrie, Notary Public
Contact – Brian Anderson, 213-662-8095 or 213-666-3424, or John Peterson, 213-659-
9965, both of the Church of Scientology.
- Retrieved on September 22, 2014 from www.xenufrance.net/osa-so-called-press-releases-year-1985.pdf ↩
DECLARATION OF JOSEPH M. FLANAGAN1
I, Joseph M. Flanagan, being sworn, hereby state and declare:
1. I have known Paulette Cooper since June of 1979. She has told me, and others, on several occasions that she considers me one of her closest friends. She has frequently confided in me, especially on matters concerning Scientology.
2. In late January, 1985 Paulette called me to tell me that there was a realistic possibility that she could settle her numerous lawsuits with the Church of Scientology by herself. From that point on she kept me informed of her settlement negotiations.
3. In early February, Paulette indicated that negotiations had reached a critical stage and asked me to come to New York in order to discuss the negotiations with her. She was negotiating with the Scientologists by herself, and refused to allow her lawyers to get involved.
4. When we met on February 8, 1985 in her apartment, she told me that she realized just how much the Scientologists hated her attorney, Michael J. Flynn. She was convinced that they hated him more than her and that their hatred was so fanatical that they were willing to deal with even her. Paulette desperately wanted to settle and realized that Flynn was the Scientologists’ “button;” they would do anything to attack him. In order to further settlement talks, she told me that she had hinted to the Scientologists that she had information regarding a “conspiracy” which the Scientologists were convinced existed. She told me that she knew of no such “conspiracy,” but had made these comments in order to keep them interested in settling her case. She made it clear to me that she was telling them what she thought they wanted to hear.
5. Paulette now told me that the Scientologists would only settle if she gave them a deposition detailing information she had about Michael Flynn’s “conspiracy” against Scientology.
When I asked her “what information,” she replied something to the effect, “I don’t know. I’ll make it up as I go along.” Scientology indicated to her that they would pay her extra for testimony against Michael Flynn. Paulette told me that “the trick is to get as much money as possible” while the group is in a paying mood.
6. Originally, Paulette told me that she was going to negotiate for as much money as possible in the settlement and in extra payments. Having the money safely in hand, in the Scientology deposition she would tell the truth about what she knew of the “conspiracy:” namely, that there is no “conspiracy.” She was nervous, however, that her prior oblique references to the “conspiracy” were proving too vague to the Scientology negotiator. She felt that to close the deal and get more money, she needed to come up with more credible information about this imaginary “conspiracy.”
7. On Saturday, February 9, 1985, Paulette began to create events and scenarios which she would tell the Scientologists were part of the “conspiracy.” She bounced them off me to see if they were plausible. For example, she said that she could tell them Michael Flynn showed us sealed documents relating to Gerald Armstrong’s case after the court ordered all such documents to be sealed and returned to the court. I agreed that this is the kind of thing they might nibble on. Paulette and I knew that this never happened. I have never seen the Armstrong documents. This story was made up solely for the possible consumption of the Scientologists.
8. Paulette created similar stories such as Michael Flynn had knowingly filed frivolous lawsuits and had suborned perjury. These were stories; Paulette knew that none to these incidents had ever happened. She was going to imply that they had in order to enhance her negotiating status and obtain more money.
9. I left New York on Saturday afternoon. Paulette kept me informed throughout the week. The structure of the final deal was that Paulette would be paid a “settlement” of $400,000. Unknownst to her attorneys, she would be required to give a sworn deposition about the Flynn “conspiracy” for which she was to receive at least $50,000. (She also told me that she could receive as much as $10,000 for additional affidavits incriminating Flynn.) The settlement could not be consummated unless she agreed to the deposition. I was horrified to learn that Paulette no longer intended to tell the truth about the “conspiracy”–that it did not exist–but would instead tell under oath the stories that she had fabricated when I was with her on the weekend of February 8. I asked her in a heated conversation if she did not consider this a betrayal of her attorney, Michael Flynn, and others. She rationalized by stating that if a court found out that she had been paid $50,000 for a deposition, it would not believe her anyway.
10. I know through Paulette that the initial phase of the settlement was completed and that she received the $400,000. She told me that her deposition was scheduled to Saturday, February 23, 1985. I do not know how much she was paid for it or if it went forward.
11. Shortly before Paulette received her settlement, she called me somewhat excitedly and told me that she could get me out of the Garrison suit (a lawsuit brought against Paulette, myself, and others in which two individual Scientologists claimed we had involuntarily deprogrammed them.) I am a defendant in that case and I do not have a counterclaim in that case or any other lawsuit against any Church of Scientology. Yet Paulette informed me that the Scientologists would pay me $10,000 and dismiss the suit if I apologized in writing to the Garrisons and gave a deposition confirming that Michael Flynn had violated the court order and showed us sealed documents. I was shocked. I told Paulette that I could not give such a deposition because we never saw any documents. I told her that it was wrong to take money for false testimony and that she was getting in over her head.
12. Later that I called Michael Flynn and told him what Paulette was doing. Paulette learned of the phone conversation and called me on Monday, February 25. She was livid and told me that I may have cost her $400,000. She also called me early the next morning. She told me that I had possibly “ruined everything,” reiterated that I may have cost her $400,000, and ordered me not to tell Michael Flynn anything more about our conversations. I have not spoken with her since then.
Signed and sworn this 9th day of March, 1985 in Boston, Massachusetts under the pains and penalties of perjury under the laws of the State of California.
JOSEPH M. FLANAGAN