should not give it [the document] very much credibility,"
said John Yellow Kidney, former vice president of the tribe's
executive committee. "I don't."
And Lies Paved A Path To Prison
Web Of Criminal Conspiracy To discredit The Church's Foes
Resulted In 5-Year Sentences For 11 Defendants.
Robert W. Welkos
and Joel Sappell
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - It began with the title of a fairy tale - Snow White.
That was the benign code name Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard
gave to an ominous plan that would envelop his church in scandal
and send its upper echelon to prison, a plan rooted in his ever-deepening
fears and suspicions.
Snow White began in 1973 as an effort by Scientology through Freedom
of Information proceedings to purge government files of what Hubbard
thought was false information being circulated worldwide to discredit
him and the church. But the operation soon mushroomed into a massive
criminal conspiracy, executed by the church's legal and investigative
arm, the Guardian Office.
Under the direction of Hubbard's wife, Mary Sue, the Guardian
Office hatched one scheme after another to discredit and unnerve
Scientology's foes across the country. Guardian Office members
were trained to lie, or in their words, " to outflow false
data effectively." They compiled enemy lists and subjected
those on the lists to smear campaigns and dirty tricks.
Their targets were in the government, the press, the medical profession,
wherever a potential threat surfaced.
The Guardian Office saved the worst for author Paulette Cooper
of New York City, whose scathing 1972 book, " The Scandal
of Scientology," pushed her to the top of the church's roster
Among other things, Cooper was framed on criminal charges by Guardian
Office members, who obtained stationery she had touched and then
used it to forge bomb threats to the church in her name.
" You're like the Nazis or the Arabs - I'll bomb you, I'll
kill you!" warned one of the rambling letters.
The church reported the threat to the FBI and directed its agents
to Cooper, whose fingerprints matched those on the letter. Cooper
was indicted by a grand jury not only for the bomb threats, but
for lying under oath about her innocence.
Two years later, the author's reputation and psyche in tatters,
prosecutors dismissed the charges after she had spent nearly $20,000
in legal fees to defend herself and $6,000 on psychiatric treatment.
It seemed that no plan against perceived enemies was too ambitious
In Washington, Scientology spies penetrated such high-security
agencies as the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue
Service to find what they had on Hubbard and the church.
In nighttime raids, they rifled files and photocopied mountains
of documents, many of which the church had unsuccessfully sought
under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
The thefts were inside jobs; the Guardian Office had planted one
agent in the IRS as a clerk typist and another in the Department
of Justice as the personal secretary of an assistant U.S. attorney
who was handling Freedom of Information lawsuits filed by Scientology.
So bold had they become that one Guardian Office operative slipped
into an IRS conference room and wired a bugging device into a
wall socket before a crucial meeting on Scientology was to be
convened. The operative rigged the device so he could eavesdrop
over his car's FM radio.
The U.S. government was losing a war it did not even know it was
fighting. But that was about to change.
Two Scientologists used fake IRS credentials to gain access to
government agencies and then photocopied documents related to
the church. Their conspiracy was exposed when one of the suspects,
after 11 months on the lam, became worried about his plight and
confessed to authorities, prompting the FBI to launch one of the
biggest raids in its history.
Armed with power saws, crowbars and bolt cutters, 134 agents burst
into three Scientology locations in Los Angeles and Washington.
They carted off eavesdropping equipment, burglar tools and 48,000
documents detailing countless operations against " enemies"
in public and private life.
In the end, Hubbard's wife and the others were found guilty of
charges of conspiracy and burglary. The grand jury named Hubbard
as an unindicted co-conspirator; the seized Guardian Office files
did not directly link him to the crimes and he professed ignorance
In a memorandum urging stiff sentences for the Scientologists,
federal prosecutors wrote:
"The crime committed by these defendants is of a breadth
and scope previously unheard of. No building, office, desk, or
file was safe from their snooping and prying. No individual or
organization was free from their despicable conspiratorial minds.
The tools of their trade were miniature transmitters, lock picks,
secret codes, forged credentials and any other device they found
necessary to carry out their conspiratorial schemes."
The 11 defendants were ordered to serve five years in federal
prison. All are now free.
Church leaders today maintain that this dark chapter in their
religion's history was the work of renegade members who, yes,
broke the law but believed they were justified because the government
for two decades had harassed and persecuted Scientology.
Boston attorney Earle C. Cooley, Scientology's national trial
counsel, said the present church management does not condone the
criminal activities of the old Guardian Office. He said that one
of Hubbard's most important dictums was to " maintain friendly
relations with the environment and the public."
"The question that I always have in my mind," Cooley
said, " is for how long a time is the church going to have
to continue to pay the price for what the (Guardian Office) did.
... Unfortunately, the church continues to be confronted with
"And the ironic thing is that the people being confronted
with it are the people who wiped it out. And to the church, that's
a very frustrating thing."
Deep In Hiding, Hubbard Kept
A Tight Grip On The Church
Robert W. Welkos
and Joel Sappell
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard often said that
man's most basic drive is that of survival. And when it came to
his own, he used whatever was necessary - false identities, cover
There is no better illustration of this than the way he secretly
controlled the Church of Scientology while hiding from a world
he viewed as increasingly hostile.
Hubbard was last seen publicly in February 1980, in the desert
community of Hemet, Calif., a few miles from a high-security compound
that houses thechurch's movie and recording studio. His sudden
departure fueled wild and intense speculation.
The church said Hubbard went into seclusion to continue his Scientology
research and to resurrect his science fiction-writing career.
But former aides have said he dropped from sight to avoid subpoenas
and government tax agents probing allegations that he was skimming
Publications throughout the world ran stories about Hubbard's
disappearance. " Mystery of the Vanished Ruler" was
the headline in Time magazine.
In 1982, Hubbard's estranged son filed a probate petition trying
to wrest control of the Scientology empire. He argued that his
father was either dead or mentally incompetent and that his riches
were being plundered by Scientology executives.
The suit was dismissed after Hubbard, through an attorney, submitted
an affidavit with his fingerprints, saying that he was well and
wanted to be left alone.
No doubt, Hubbard would have chuckled with satisfaction over the
speculationsurrounding his whereabouts. For he had always considered
himself a shrewd strategist and a master of the intelligence game,
endlessly calculating ways to outwit his foes.
Hubbard took with him only two people, a married couple named
Pat and Anne Broeker.
Pat Broeker, Hubbard's personal messenger at the time, had gone
into hiding with him once before and knew how to ensure his security.
Broeker relished cloak-and-dagger operations. His nickname among
Hubbard's other messengers was " 007."
Anne had been one of Hubbard's top aides for years. She was cool
under pressure and able to defuse Hubbard's volatile temper.
Hubbard and the Broekers spent their first several years together
on the move. For months, they traveled the Pacific Northwest in
a motor home. They lived in apartments in Newport Beach and other
suburbs of Los Angeles.
Then, in the summer of 1983, they decided to settle down in a
dusty ranch town of Creston, Calif., population 270, where the
hot, arid climate would be kind to Hubbard's bursitis.
About 30 miles inland from San Luis Obispo, it was a perfect spot
for a man of notoriety to live in obscurity. In those parts, people
don't ask a lot of questions about someone else's business.
Hubbard and the Broekers concocted an elaborate set of phony names
and backgrounds to conceal their identities from the townsfolk.
Pat and Anne Broeker went by the names Mike and Lisa Mitchell.
Hubbard became Lisa's father,Jack, who impressed the locals as
a chatty old man, charismatic but sometimes gruff.
They purchased a 160-acre ranch known as the Whispering Winds
for $700,000, using 30 cashier's checks drawn on various California
banks. Pat Broeker told the sellers, Ed and Sherry Shahan, that
he had recently inherited millions of dollars and was looking
to leave his home in Upstate New York to raise livestock in California.
At the time, the Shahans were suspicious. As Ed Shahan recalled,
" They were having trouble deciding whose name to put the
In less than three years, Hubbard poured an estimated $3 million
into the local economy as he redesigned the ranch to his exacting
and elaborate specifications.
He launched one project after another, some of them seemingly
senseless, according to local residents. He ordered the construction
of a quarter-mile horse-racing track with an observation tower.
The track reportedly was never used.
The 10-room ranch house was gutted and remodeled so many times
that it went virtually uninhabited during Hubbard's time there.
He lived and worked in a luxurious 40-foot Bluebird motor home
parked near the stables.
All this was done without work permits, which meant that Hubbard
and his aides would not have to worry about nosy county inspectors.
Like Hubbard's aides in earlier years, the hired help saw extreme
sides of the man who was chauffeured around the property in a
black Subaru pickup by Anne Broeker.
Fencing contractor Jim Froelicher of Paso Robles remembers asking
him for advice on buying a camera. Several days later, Froelicher
said, Hubbard presented him with a 35mm camera as a gift.
Longtime Creston resident Ed Lindquist, on the other hand, said
painters dropped by the local tavern at lunch to talk about how
the " old man" was acting eccentric. They said he had
them paint the walls again and again because they " weren't
white enough," according to Lindquist.
Scientology officials insist that Hubbard was in fine mental and
physical health during his years in seclusion. Most of his days,
they say, were spent reading, writing and enjoying the ranch's
beauty and livestock, which included llamas and buffalo.
But Hubbard was doing much more, according to former aides. Even
in hiding, they say, he kept a close watch and a tight grip on
the church he built - as he had for decades.
As early as 1966, Hubbard claimed to have relinquished managerial
control of the church. But ex-Scientologists and several court
rulings have held that this was a maneuver to shield Hubbard from
potential legal actions and accountability for the group's activities.
Over the years, efforts to conceal Hubbard's ties to the church
were extensive and extreme.
In 1980, for example, a massive shredding operation was undertaken
at the church's desert compound outside Palm Springs after Scientology
officials received an erroneous tip of an imminent FBI raid, according
to a former aide.
" Anything that indicated that L. Ron Hubbard controlled
the church or was engaged in management was to be shredded,"
recalled Hubbard's former public relations officer, Laurel Sullivan.
For more than two days, Sullivan said, roughly 200 Scientologists
crammed thousands of documents into a huge shredder nicknamed
" Jaws." Documents too valuable to destroy, she added,
were buried in the ground or under floorboards.
In his self-imposed exile, Hubbard continued to reign over Scientology
with almost paranoid secrecy.
He relayed his orders in writing or on tape cassettes to Pat Broeker,
who then passed them to a ranking Scientologist named David Miscavige,
the man responsible for seeing that church executives complied.
Hubbard's communiques travelled a circuitous route in the darkness
of night, changing hands from Broeker to Miscavige at designated
sites throughout Southern California. To mask the author's identity,
the missives were signed with codes that carried the weight of
Sometimes Broeker himself appeared from parts unknown to personally
deliver Hubbard's instructions to church executives.
From his secret seat of power in the oak-studded hills above San
Luis Obispo, Hubbard also made sure that he would not be severed
from the riches of his Scientology empire, high-level church defectors
would later tell government investigators.
They alleged that Hubbard skimmed millions of dollars from church
coffers while he was in hiding - carrying on a tradition that
the Internal Revenue Service said he began practically at Scientology's
inception about 30 years ago. Hubbard and his aides had always
denied the allegations, and accused the IRS of waging a campaign
against the church and its founder.
While Hubbard was underground, the IRS launched a criminal investigation
of his finances. But the investigation would soon be without a
target, and ultimately abandoned.
By late 1985, Hubbard's directives to underlings had tapered off.
At age 74, he no longer resembled the robust and natty man whose
dated photographs fill Scientology's promotional literature. Living
in isolation, separated from his devoted followers, he had let
His thin gray hair, with streaks of the old red, hung without
sheen to his shoulders. He had grown a stringy, unkempt beard
and mustache. His round face was now sunken and his ruddy complexion
had turned pasty. He was an old man and he was nearing death.
On or about Jan. 17, 1986, Hubbard suffered a " cerebral
vascular accident," commonly known as a stroke. Caring for
him was Gene Denk, a Scientologist doctor and Hubbard's physician
for eight years.
There was little Denk could do for Hubbard in those final days
-the stroke was debilitating. He was bedridden and his speech
was badly impaired.
One week later, at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, Hubbard died.
Throughout the night, according to neighbor Robert Whaley, heavy
traffic inexplicably moved in and out of the ranch. Whaley, a
retired advertising executive, said that he was kept awake by
headlights shining through his windows.
For more than 11 hours, Hubbard's body remained in the motor home
where he died. Scientology attorney Earle Cooley had ordered that
Hubbard not be touched until he arrived by car from Los Angeles
with another Scientology lawyer.
The next morning, Cooley telephoned Reis Chapel, a San Luis Obispo
mortuary, and arranged to have the body cremated. With Cooley
present, Hubbard was transported to the mortuary.
Once chapel officials learned who Hubbard was, however, they became
concerned about the church's rush to cremate him. They contacted
the San Luis Obispo County coroner, who halted the cremation until
the body could be examined and blood tests performed.
When then-Deputy Coroner Don Hines arrived, Cooley presented him
with a certificate that Hubbard had signed just four days before
his death. It stated that, for religious reasons, he wanted no
Cooley also produced a will that Hubbard had signed the day before
he died, directing that his body be promptly cremated and that
his vast wealth be distributed according to the provisions of
a confidential trust he had established. His once-ornate trademark
signature was little more than a scrawl.
After the blood tests and examination revealed no foul play, coroner
Hines approved the cremation. With Cooley's consent, he also photographed
the body and lifted fingerprints as a way to later confirm that
it was the reclusive Hubbard and not a hoax.
Within hours, Hubbard's ashes were scattered at sea by the Broekers
Two days after Hubbard's death, Pat Broeker stood before a standing-room-only
crowd of Scientologists at the Hollywood Palladium. It was his
first public appearance in six years, and he had just broken the
news of Hubbard's passing.
The cheers were deafening.
Broeker announced that Hubbard had made a conscious decision to
" sever all ties" to this world so he could continue
his Scientology research in spirit form - testimony to the power
of the man and his teachings.
He " laid down in his bed and he left," Broeker said.
" And that was it."
Hubbard left behind an organization that would continue to function
as though he were still alive. His millions of words - the lifeblood
of Scientology - have now been computerized for wisdom and instructions
at the touch of a button.
In Scientology, he was - and always will be - the " Source."
Scriptures Get High-Tech Protection
Robert W. Welkos
and Joel Sappell
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - Scientology is determined that the words of L. Ron
Hubbard shall live forever.
Using state-of-the art technology, the movement has spent more
than $15 million to protect Hubbard's original writings, tape-recorded
lectures and filmed treatises from natural and man-made calamities,
including nuclear holocaust. The effort illustrates two fundamental
truths about the Scientology movement: It believes in its future
and it never does anything halfheartedly. In charge of the preservation
task is the Church of Spiritual Technology, which functions as
archivist for Hubbard's works.
It has a staff - but no congregation - and its fiscal 1987 income
was $503 million, according to court documents filed by the church.
The organization has purchased rural land in New Mexico, Northern
California and Southern California's San Bernardino Mountains
to store the Hubbard gospel.
According to Church of Spiritual Technology documents, the New
Mexico site has a 670-foot tunnel with two deep vaults at the
end. The tunnel is protected with thick concrete and has four
doors with "maintenance-free lives of 1,000 years."
Three of the doors purportedly will be "nuclear blast resistant."
All this to house mere copies of the original works, which include
500,000 pages of Hubbard writings, 6,500 reels of tape and 42
films. The originals themselves are being kept under tight security
on a sprawling Scientology complex near Lake Arrowhead, Calif.
While details of the facility are sketchy, a San Bernardino County
sheriff's deputy, who requested anonymity, said the group had
burrowed a huge tunnel into a mountainside.
At the Lake Arrowhead repository, sophisticated methods are being
used to prepare Hubbard's works for the bomb-proof vaults. Here,
according to Scientology officials and documents, is the process:
First, the original writings are chemically treated to rid the
paper of acid that causes deterioration. Next, they are placed
in plastic envelopes that church officials say will last 1,000
From there, they are packaged in titanium "time capsules"
filled with argon gas to further aid preservation.
Hubbard's writings also are being etched onto stainless steel
plates with a strong acid. Scientology officials said the plates
are so durable that they can be sprayed with salt water for 1,000
years and not deteriorate.
As for Hubbard's taped lectures, they are being re-recorded onto
special "pure gold" compact discs encased in glass that,
according to Scientology archvists, are "designed to last
at least 1,000 years with no deterioration of sound quality."
Markets Its Gospel
With High-Pressure Sales Pitch
Joel Sappell and
Robert W. Welkos
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - Behind the religious trappings, the Church of Scientology
is run like a lean, no-nonsense business in which potential members
are called "prospects," "raw meat" and "bodies
in the shop."
Its governing financial policy, written by the late Scientology
founder L. Ron Hubbard, is simple and direct: "MAKE MONEY,
MAKE MORE MONEY, MAKE OTHERS PRODUCE SO AS TO MAKE MONEY."
The organization uses sophisticated sales tactics to sell a seemingly
endless progression of expensive courses, each serving as a prerequisite
for the next. Known collectively as "The Bridge," the
courses promise salvation, higher intelligence, superhuman powers
and even possible survival from nuclear fallout - for those who
Church tenets mandate that parishioners purchase Scientology goods
and services under Hubbard's "doctrine of exchange."
A person must learn to give, he said, as well as receive.
For its programs and books, the church charges "fixed donations"
that range from $50 for an elementary course in improving communication
skills to more than $13,000 for Hubbard's secret teachings on
the origins of the universe and the genesis of mankind's ills.
The church currently is offering a "limited time only"
deal on a select package of Hubbard courses, which represent a
small portion of The Bridge. If bought individually, those courses
would cost $55,455. The sale price: $33,399.50.
As a promotional flyer for the discount observes, "YOU SAVE
To complete Hubbard's progression of courses, a Scientologist
could conceivably spend a lifetime and more than $400,000. Although
few if any have doled out that much, the high cost of enlightenment
in Scientology has left many deeply in debt to family, friends
Ask former church member Marie Culloden of Manhattan Beach, Calif.,
who describes herself as a "recovering Scientologist."
"I'm trying to recover my mortgaged home," says Culloden,
who spent 20 years in Scientology and obtained three mortgages
totaling more than $80,000 to buy courses.
The Scientology Bridge is always under construction, keeping the
Supreme Answer one step away from church members - a potent sales
strategy devised by Hubbard to keep the money flowing, critics
New courses continually are added, each of which is said to be
crucial for spiritual progress, each heavily promoted.
Church members are warned that unless they keep purchasing Scientology
services, misery and sickness may befall them. For the true believer,
this is a powerful incentive to keep buying whatever the group
Through the mail, Scientologists are bombarded with glossy, colorful
brochures announcing the latest courses and discounts. Letters
and postcards sound the dire warning, "Urgent! Urgent! Your
future is at risk! ... It is time to ACT! NOW! ... You must buy
By far the most expensive service offered by Scientology is "auditing"
- a kind of confessional during which an individual reveals intimate
and traumatic details of his life while his responses are monitored
on a lie detector-type device known as the E-meter.
The purpose is to unburden a person of painful experiences, or
"engrams," that block his spiritual growth, a process
that can span hundreds of hours. Auditing is purchased in 12-hour
chunks costing anywhere between $3,000 and $11,000 each, depending
on where it is bought.
Even Scientology's critics concede that auditing often helps people
feel better by allowing them to air troubling aspects of their
lives - much like a Catholic confessional or psychotherapy - and
keeps them coming back for more.
The church makes no apologies for the methods it uses to raise
funds and spread the gospel of its founder. Scientology spokesmen
said in interviews that it takes money to cover overhead expenses
and to finance the church's worldwide expansion, as it does for
"You can't do it on bread and butter," said one.
Church leaders will not discuss Scientology's gross income or
net worth. But they contend that Scientologists who pay for spiritual
programs are no different from, say, Mormons who tithe 10 percent
of their income for admittance to the temple, or from Jews who
buy tickets to High Holiday services or from Christians who rent
"The fact of the matter is that the parishioners of the Church
of Scientology have felt and continue to feel that they get full
value for their donations," said Scientology lawyer Earle
Many Scientologists say that Hubbard's teachings have resurrected
their lives, some of which were marred by drugs, personal traumas,
self doubts or a sense of alienation. They say that, through the
church, they have gained confidence and learned to lead ethical
lives and take responsibility for themselves, while working to
create a better world.
Scientology "works," they say, and for that, no price
is too high.
"It takes money," acknowledged Scientologist Sheri Scott.
"It took money for my father to buy his Cadillac. I wish
he'd sell the damn thing and give me the money [for Scientology]....
I have never felt cheated at all."
"I'm not glued to the sky or anything. I'm a very normal
person," she added. "I just wish more people would take
a look, would read [about Scientology], before they decide we're
While other religions increasingly advertise and market themselves,
none approaches the Church of Scientology's commercial zeal and
Its tactics come directly from Hubbard, who wrote entire treatises
on how to create a market for, and sell, Scientology.
He borrowed generously from a 1971 book called "Big League
Sales Closing Techniques." Touted as the "selling secrets
of a supersalesman," the book was written by former car dealer
Les Dane, who has conducted popular seminars at Scientology headquarters
Hubbard said that Scientology must be marketed through the "art
of hard sell," meaning an "insistence that people buy."
He said that, "regardless of who the person is or what he
is, the motto is, `Always sell something....' "
Hubbard contended that such high-pressure tactics are imperative
because a person's spiritual well being is at stake.
Among other things, he directed his followers to: "rob the
person of every opportunity to say `No.' "; "help prospects
work through financial stops impeding a sale"; "make
the prospect think it was his idea to make the purchase";
utilize the two man "tag team" approach, and "overcome
and rapidly handle any attempted prospect backout."
One of the most important techniques in selling Scientology, Hubbard
said, is to create mystery.
"If we tell him there is something to know and don't tell
him what it is, we will zip people into" the organization,
Hubbard wrote. "And one can keep doing this to a person -
shuttle them along using mystery."
Frequently, a person's first contact with Scientology comes when
he is approached by a staff member on the street and offered a
free personality test, or receives a lengthy questionnaire in
Using charts and graphs, the idea is to convince a person that
he has some problem, or "ruin," that Scientology can
fix, while assuaging concerns he may have about the church. According
to Hubbard, "if the job has been done well, the person should
With that accomplished, the customer is pushed to buy services
he is told will improve his sorry condition and perhaps give him
such powers as being able to spiritually travel outside his body
- or, in Scientology jargon, to "exteriorize."
Former church member Andrew Lesco said he was told that he "would
be able to project my mind into drawers, someone's pocket, a wallet
and I would be able to tell what's inside ...."
Church members are required to write testimonials - "success
stories" - as they progress from one level to the next.
The testimonials regularly appear in Scientology publications.
Usually carrying only the authors' initials, they are used to
promote courses without the church itself assuming legal liability
for promising results that may not occur, according to ex-Scientologists.
Here is an example:
"We were having trouble with the windshield wipers in our
car. Sometimes they would work and sometimes they wouldn't....
We were driving along, and my husband was driving. I got to thinking
about the windshield wipers, left my body in the seat and took
a look under the hood. I spotted the wires that were shorting
and caused them to weld themselves together, like they were supposed
to be. We haven't had any trouble with them since."
Scientology staffers who sell Hubbard's courses are called "registrars."
They earn commissions on their sales and are skilled at eliciting
every facet of an individual's finances, including bank accounts,
stocks, cars, houses, whatever can be converted to cash.
Like all Scientology staffers, a registrar's productivity is evaluated
each week. Performance is judged by how much money he or she brings
in by Thursday afternoon. And, in Scientology, declining or stagnant
productivity is not viewed benevolently, as former registrar Roger
Barnes says he learned.
"I remember being dragged across a desk by my tie because
I hadn't made my [sales quota]," said Barnes, who once toured
the world selling Scientology until he had a bitter break with
Barnes and other ex-Scientologists say that this uncompromising
push to generate more money each week places intense pressure
Another former Scientology salesman in Los Angeles said he and
other registrars would use a tactic called "crush regging."
The technique, he said, employed no elaborate sales talk. They
repeated three words again and again: "Sign the check. Sign
"This made the person feel so harassed," he said, "that
he would sign the check because it was the only way he was going
to get out of there."
A 1984 investigative report by Canadian authorities quoted a Toronto
registrar as saying that members of the public want to be "bled
of their money.... If they didn't, they would be staff members
eligible for free training."
The Canadian report also recounted a meeting during which Scientology
staffers chanted: "Go for the throat. Go for blood. Go for
the bloody throat."
Former Scientologist Donna Day of Ventura, Calif., said that church
registrars accused her of throwing away money on rent and on food
for her cats and dogs - "degraded beings," they called
her pets. They said the money should be going to the church.
"I was so upset, I finally left the house with them sitting
in it," said Day, who sued the church to get back $25,000
she said she had spent on Scientology.
Several years ago, church members persuaded a Florida woman to
turn over a worker's compensation settlement she received after
the death of her husband, Larry M. Wheaton, who left behind two
children, ages 3 and 7. He was the pilot of an Air Florida jet
that plunged into the Potomac River after it had departed National
Airport in Washington, D.C., in 1982.
The Wheatons were longtime church members.
Joanne Wheaton gave nearly $150,000 to the church and almost as
much to a private business controlled by Scientologists. But the
deal was blocked when a lawsuit was brought by an attorney appointed
by the court to protect the children's interests.
The suit claimed that the Scientologists had disregarded the future
welfare and financial security of the Wheaton family by taking
money that was supposed to be used solely for the support of the
children and their mother.
After protracted discussions, the money was refunded and the Scientologists
who negotiated the deal were expelled by the church for their
role in the affair.
For years, one of Scientology's top promoters was Larry Wollersheim.
He traveled the country inspiring others to follow him across
Hubbard's Bridge. Then he became disenchanted with the movement.
In 1980, he filed a Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, accusing
the church of subjecting him to psychologically damaging practices
and of driving him to the brink of insanity and financial ruin
after he had a falling out with the group.
Three years ago, a jury awarded him $30 million. The award was
recently reduced to $2.5 million.
During the litigation, Wollersheim filed a 200-page affidavit
in which he offered this analysis of what keeps Scientologists
"Fear and hope are totally indoctrinated into the cult [Scientology]
member. He hopes that he will receive the miraculous and ridiculous
claims made directly, indirectly and by rumor by the sect and
"He is afraid of the peer pressure for not proceeding up
the prescribed program. He is intimidated and afraid of being
accused of being a dilettante. He is afraid that if he doesn't
do it now before the world ends or collapses he may never get
the chance. He is afraid if he doesn't claim he received gains
and write a success testimonial he will be shunned....
"How many people could stand up to that kind of pressure
and stand before a group of applauding people and say: 'Hey, it
really wasn't good.'?"
Wollersheim said that the courses provide only a temporary euphoria.
"Then you're sold the next mystery and the next solution....
I've seen people sell their homes, stocks, inheritances and everything
they own chasing their hopes for a fleeting, subjective euphoria.
I have never witnessed a greater preying on the hopes and fears
of others than has been carefully engineered by the cult's leader."
New Man In Control
Protege Of L. Ron Hubbard Now Leads The Church, Wielding Power
With The Stern Approach Of His Mentor
Joel Sappell and
Robert W. Welkos
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - The Church of Scientology today is run by a high-school
dropout who grew up at the knee of the late L. Ron Hubbard and
wields power with the iron-fisted approach of his mentor. At 30,
David Miscavige is chairman of the board of an organization that
sits atop the bureaucratic labyrinth known as the Church of Scientology.
This organization, the Religious Technology Center, owns the trademarks
that Scientology churches need to operate, including the words
Scientology and Dianetics. The Religious Technology Center licenses
the churches to use the trademarks and can revoke permission if
a church fails to perform properly. Therein rests much, but not
all, of Miscavige's power. He is the man in control, charting
a direction for the organization that is at once expansionist
and combative - in keeping with the dictates and personality of
Hubbard, his role model. He refused repeated requests to be interviewed
for this report.
Church spokesmen say Miscavige is a tireless, no-nonsense leader
who works 15-hour days and whose vision is guiding the church's
foray into mainstream society. " He has a tremendous ability
to cut through bull and get to the point," said one Scientology
spokesman, who has worked closely with Miscavige. " He's
an initiator," said another. High-ranking former Scientologists
describe him as a ruthless infighter with a volatile temper. They
say he speaks in a gritty street parlance, punctuated with expletives.
One recalled the time that Miscavige became enraged with the performances
of Scientology staffers on a church record album. He propped its
cover against an embankment outside his Riverside County, Calif.,
office and shot it repeatedly with a .45-caliber pistol, said
the associate. To the public, the Rev. Heber Jentzsch, president
of the Church of Scientology International, is portrayed as Scientology's
top official. He appears regularly at news conferences and on
talk shows, and was one of a group of Scientologists detained
recently by Spanish officials investigating the church. In reality,
Jentzsch appears to be chiefly responsible for church public relations.
The real power is consolidated among a handful of Scientologists,
led by Miscavige, who keep low public profiles.
Miscavige's climb to prominence is a lesson in the origins and
nature of power in the church that Hubbard built. At the age of
14, with the blessing of his Scientologist parents, Miscavige
joined a cadre of trusted youngsters called the " Commodore's
messengers." In the beginning, they merely ran Hubbard's
errands. But as they emerged from adolescence, Hubbard broadened
their influence over even the highest-level church executives.
In time, the messengers controlled the communication lines to
and from Hubbard - a critical component of power in an organization
that revered him as almost saintly. When messengers spoke, they
did so with Hubbard's authority. Bad-mouthing a messenger, Hubbard
said, was tantamount to personally challenging him. When Hubbard
went into hiding in 1980, he left behind but did not forget Miscavige,
one of his favorites. It was Miscavige's job to ensure that Hubbard's
orders, secretly relayed to him, were followed by church executives.
In effect, Miscavige became the sole link between church leaders
and Hubbard. Miscavige also was put in charge of a profit-making
firm called Author Services Inc., which was established in 1981
to manage Hubbard's literary and financial affairs. The job further
enhanced Miscavige's reputation as having Hubbard's confidence.
Church defectors say Miscavige wasted no time flexing his new
muscles. Among other things, he spearheaded a purge in 1981 of
upper-echelon Scientology executives accused of subverting Hubbard's
teachings and plotting to seize control of the organization. He
also cracked down on owners of Scientology franchises, or missions,
who pay the church roughly 10 percent of their gross income. At
a 1982 church conference, Miscavige accused the mission owners
of cheating the " mother church." He and his aides announced
that " finance police" would audit the missions to ensure
that the church was getting its fair share of money. And the audits
would cost the missions $15,000 a day. In taking command of Scientology
after Hubbard's death, Miscavige survived a challenge from two
other Hubbard lieutenants once thought to be his likely successors:
Pat and Anne Broeker, who had been in hiding with Hubbard.
The power struggle was so intense at one point that even Hubbard's
final Scientology writings, revered as sacred scriptures, became
the object of a tug of war between Miscavige and Pat Broeker,
who threatened to use them to start his own church. Miscavige
today has achieved exalted status within the Scientology movement.
He has personal aides who walk his dog, shine his shoes and run
his errands, according to Vicki Aznaran, a top Scientology executive
who left the church in 1987 after a falling-out. In his rare public
appearances, he is surrounded by respectful subordinates. And
like Hubbard, who was frequently referred to by his initials,
David Miscavige is called D.M.
Courting Of Celebrities
of the famous are prominent in the church's
push for acceptability. John Travolta and Kirstie Alley
are the current headliners.
Joel Sappell and Robert W. Welkos
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - The Church of Scientology uses celebrity spokesmen
to endorse L. Ron Hubbard's teachings and give Scientology greater
acceptability in mainstream America.
As far back as 1955, Hubbard recognized the value of famous people
to his fledgling, off-beat church when he inaugurated "Project
Celebrity." According to Hubbard, Scientologists should target
prominent individuals as their "quarry" and bring them
back like trophies for Scientology.
He listed the following people of that era as suitable prey: Edward
R. Murrow, Marlene Dietrich, Ernest Hemingway, Howard Hughes,
Greta Garbo, Walt Disney, Henry Luce, Billy Graham, Groucho Marx
and others of similar stature.
"If you bring one of them home you will get a small plaque
as a reward," Hubbard wrote in a Scientology magazine more
than three decades ago.
Although the effort died, the idea of using celebrities to promote
and defend Scientology survived - though perhaps not as grandly
as Hubbard had dreamed.
Today, the church's most famous celebrity is actor John Travolta,
who credits Hubbard's teachings with giving him confidence and
"All I've had are benefits," said Travolta, a church
member since 1975.
Another Scientology celebrity is actress Kirstie Alley, co-star
of the television series "Cheers." Last year, Alley
and Travolta teamed up in the blockbuster comedy film, "Look
Alley is international spokeswoman for the Scientology movement's
controversial new drug and alcohol treatment center in Chilocco,
Okla., which employs a rehabilitation regimen created years ago
A former cocaine abuser, Alley has said she discovered Hubbard's
Narconon program in 1979 and that it "salvaged my life and
began my acting career."
Alley also has become active in disseminating a new 47-page booklet
on ways to preserve the environment. The booklet, entitled "Cry
Out," was named after a Hubbard song and was produced by
Author Services Inc., his literary agency. Author Services is
controlled by influential Scientologists.
In April, Alley provided nationwide exposure for the illustrated
booklet - which mentions Hubbard but not Scientology - when she
unveiled it on the popular Arsenio Hall Show. Since then, it has
been distributed to prominent environmental groups throughout
Besides Alley and Travolta, the Scientology celebrity ranks also
include: jazz pianist Chick Corea; singer Al Jarreau; actress
Karen Black; opera star Julia Migenes; Priscilla Presley and her
daughter Lisa Marie Presley, and Nancy Cartwright, who is the
voice behind Bart Simpson, the wisecracking son on the animated
TV hit, "The Simpsons."
U.S. Olympic gymnast Charles Lakes also is a prominent Scientologist.
After the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, Lakes appeared on the cover
of Celebrity magazine, a Scientology publication that promotes
church celebrities. In an interview with the magazine, Lakes credited
Dianetics for his success and strength.
"I am by far the healthiest person on the team," he
said. "They [other team members] are actually resentful of
me because I don't have to train as long as they do."
Celebrities are considered so important to the movement's expansion
that the church created a special office to guide their careers
and ensure their "correct utilization" for Scientology.
The church has a special branch that ministers to prominent individuals,
providing them with first-class treatment. Its headquarters, called
Celebrity Centre International, is housed in a magnificent old
turreted mansion on Franklin Avenue, overlooking the Hollywood
In 1988, the movement tried to associate itself with a non-Scientology
celebrity, race driver Mario Andretti, by sponsoring his car in
the GTE World Challenge of Tampa, Fla. But the plan backfired.
When Andretti saw seven Dianetics logo decals stripped across
his Porsche, he demanded that they be removed.
"It's not something I believe in, so I don't want to make
it appear like I'm endorsing it," he was quoted as saying.
For years, Scientology's biggest celebrity spokesman was former
San Francisco 49ers quarterback John Brodie.
Brodie said that when pain in his throwing arm threatened his
career, he applied Dianetics techniques and soon was "zipping
the ball" again like a young man.
Although he still admires Hubbard's teachings, Brodie said he
gave up promoting them after some of his friends in Scientology
were expelled and harassed during a power struggle with church
"There were many in the church I felt were treated unfairly,"
Recount Lives Of Hard Work, Punishment
Robert W. Welkos
and Joel Sappell
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - Doris Braine says the transformation of her Patty
Jo was heartbreaking.
"It was," she said, "like my darling daughter had
Before Patty Jo went to work for the Church of Scientology at
the age of 20, she had been "fun and pretty and a joy to
be with," recalled her 72-year-old mother. "Suddenly,
she became a totally different person, shooting fire from her
There were those hateful looks, and the dozens of letters that
Patty Jo returned unopened. For two years, she would not even
speak to her mother, who had criticized Scientology and refused
to hand over $2,000 for church courses.
And Patty Jo had taken to calling Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard
"I would cry all the time," recalled Braine, a retired
college dean. "I had to psych myself up to go to work, be
charming and do a good job. But all day long I thought about her.
I prayed my head off that someday she would be able to get out
"It took 15 years, but I think it was worth every prayer
In 1982, Patricia Braine left Scientology, disillusioned with
the church and disappointed with herself for succumbing to an
environment that, she said, twisted her thinking and isolated
her from a world she had hoped to make better.
Scientology, she said, "promises you euphoria but ends up
taking your body, heart, mind, soul and family.... We were so
brainwashed to believe that what we were doing was good for mankind
that we were willing to put up with the worst conditions."
Over the years, defecting Scientologists have come forward with
similar accounts of how their lives and personalities were upended
after they joined the church's huge staff. They say the organization
promised spiritual liberation but delivered subjugation.
In interviews and public records, former staffers have said they
were alienated from society, stripped of familiar beliefs, punished
for aberrant behavior, rewarded for conformity and worked beyond
exhaustion to meet ever-escalating productivity quotas.
"Slave labor" is how Canadian authorities in 1984 described
the Scientology work force.
Worldwide, there are nearly 12,000 church staff members, many
of whom are in Los Angeles, one of the organization's largest
strongholds. They have kept Scientology afloat through a turbulent
history that, arguably, would have sunk any other newly emerging
Day and night they labor single-mindedly at jobs ranging from
the meaningful to the menial. Some work in administrative areas
such as promotion, legal affairs, finance, public relations and
fund raising. Thousands of others deliver the church's religious
programs. Still others proselytize on city sidewalks, sell books
and wash dishes.
Scientology spokesmen insist that the staff is treated well and
not exploited. They say that the detractors simply lacked the
devotion to advance the religion's aims and the morality to abide
by its high ethical standards.
Current staff members say that their lifestyle is no more unusual
or harsh than that of a monk. Joining the Scientology staff, they
say, was the supreme expression of their devotion to create, in
Hubbard's words, "a civilization without insanity, without
criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest
beings can have rights."
The elite of Scientology's workers, at least 3,000 of them, belong
to a zealous faction known as the Sea Organization and are given
room, board and a small weekly allowance.
They sign contracts to serve Scientology in this and future lifetimes
- for a billion years. Their motto is: "We come back."
Dressed in mock navy uniforms adorned with ribbons, they bark
orders with a clipped, military cadence. They hold ranks such
as captain, lieutenant and ensign. Officers, including women,
are addressed as "Sir."
Hubbard called himself "The Commodore," a reflection
of his infatuation with the U.S. Navy. "The Sea Org is a
very tough outfit," he once said. "It's no walk in the
park.... We are short-tempered, but we do our job."
Scientology staffers enter a clannish world of authoritarian rules
and discipline based on Hubbard writings. His works govern every
detail of the operation, from how to disseminate his teachings
to how to cook baby food.
When staffers observe transgressions of Hubbard's dictums, they
are required to inform on each other. The church says "knowledge
reports" help the organization correct problems and ensure
a high standard of operation. But critics contend that the practice
works to stifle expressions of discontent or doubts about the
church, even between husbands and wives.
To break the group's rules or fall below work quotas can subject
even top Scientologists to grueling interrogations on a lie detector-type
device called the E-meter, and perhaps land them in the Rehabilitation
Project Force, or RPF.
The Rev. Ken Hoden, a church spokesman in Los Angeles, once described
the RPF like this: "You just do some grounds work for a few
weeks. That's all."
Others, however, have called it in hindsight the most degrading
ordeal of their lives - although one that they believed at the
time was leading them to spiritual salvation.
RPFers, as they are called, are separated from their family and
friends for days, weeks, months or even longer. They cannot speak
unless spoken to, they run wherever they go and they wear armbands
to denote their lowly condition.
The RPF provides the church with a pool of labor to perform building
maintenance, pull weeds, haul garbage, clean toilets or do anything
else church executives deem necessary for redemption.
Former Sea Organization member Hana Eltringham Whitfield said
in an affidavit that she once saw an RPF work crew eating like
"unkempt convicts," digging their hands into a large
communal pot of food because there was no cutlery or plates.
"The Church of Scientology, which was dedicated to saving
the planet from insanity, had succeeded in turning these human
beings into savages," said Whitfield.
Bill Franks, the church's former international executive director,
said that he once lived in a crowded garage for seven months while
assigned to the RPF.
"We were indoctrinated on a continuous, daily basis that
we were suppressive people, that we were anti-social people, that
we were criminals," said Franks, who had a falling out with
the church in the early 1980s. He was accused by senior Scientologists
of engineering a coup to wrest control of the church from them.
The Church of Scientology says that the RPF was established in
1974 so that errant Sea Organization members would have a place
to both work and study Hubbard's writings without distractions
or substantive duties.
But Hubbard's former public relations officer, Laurel Sullivan,
testified in a Scientology lawsuit that Hubbard told her the RPF
was created because "he wanted certain people segregated"
whom he believed were "against him and against his instructions
and against Scientology."
In Scientology, a staff member is evaluated based on his or her
productivity. Hubbard made it clear in a 1964 directive that there
is no excuse - short of death - for missing work.
"If a staff member's breath can be detected on a mirror,"
Hubbard said, "he or she can do his or her job."
Measuring weekly productivity, Hubbard said, eliminates personality
considerations from staff evaluations. Critics, however, say the
system is dehumanizing.
"There is no time for anything else, for compassion, for
talking or going out," said Travers Harris, who left the
Sea Organization in 1986 after nearly 14 years. "The only
communication is about work. When work is finished you are too
tired [and] you have to go to bed."
Several years ago, some branches of the church initiated a pilot
program to boost productivity even higher.
Under the so-called Team Share Program, staffers who repeatedly
failed in their jobs could be exiled to cramped living quarters
called "pigs berthing" and fed only rice and beans.
Those who kept their productivity up would be afforded special
privileges and the distinction of wearing a silver star.
Staffers become so consumed by their jobs that their children
sometimes get lost in the shuffle, according to former staff members
who had youngsters and those who cared for them.
At best, they say, children see their parents one hour a day at
dinner and perhaps late in the evening. Sometimes, according to
ex-staffers, youngsters have gone for days without a visit from
their parents, who believe that their work for the group is transcendent.
In 1984, a British justice cited the case of a staff member who
left her job to seek medical help for a daughter who had broken
"She was directed to work all night as a penalty," the
He recounted the case of another woman who refused to take a church
job that would have separated her from her daughter for two months.
"She was shouted at and abused because she put the care of
her child first," the justice wrote in connection with a
child custody battle between a father who was a Scientologist
and a mother who had defected. The mother was awarded custody.
Former staff members say that they tolerated the harsh conditions
for many reasons. They say they were captives both of their dreams
of creating an enlightened world through Scientology and of their
fears of leaving the organization.
Staff members are continuously told that there is no safe refuge
for them outside the group because society is a breeding ground
for criminals, the insane and people too ignorant to see that
Scientology is the answer to mankind's problems.
In the church, non-Scientologists are derisively called "wogs,"
defined by Hubbard as "a common, ordinary, run-of-the-mill
garden variety humanoid.... Somebody who isn't even trying."
A recruitment flyer for a school run by Scientologists exemplifies
"If you turn your kids over to the enemy all day for 12-15
years, which side do you think they will come out on?" the
flyer asks rhetorically. The enemy, in this case, is public education.
The organization's fear of hostile outside influences is so institutionalized
that potential staff members are grilled about whether they are
government agents or reporters or whether they harbor critical
thoughts of Hubbard. Their answers are monitored on the E-meter.
Security around church buildings is elaborate and sophisticated.
Remote cameras sweep the streets outside. Scientologists with
walkie-talkies scout the perimeters.
In time, the staff member's world orbits ever more tightly around
one man - Hubbard.
"You finally are to the point where you do not examine, logically,
Scientology," said former Scientologist Vicki Aznaran, who
until two years ago was one of the most powerful figures in the
church and is now locked in litigation with Scientology.
"You are cut off from anything that might give you another
viewpoint," she said.
Some stay because they fear calamity will befall them if they
are denied church courses they have been told are vital to spiritual
and physical stability.
Former Sea Organization member Janie Peterson, for one, once testified
that she was "so indoctrinated into Scientology that I felt
... I would die" upon leaving.
Other former members said they felt trapped by the church's "freeloader
Many Scientologists join the staff as a way to obtain the church's
expensive services for free. But should they leave before the
expiration of their employment contracts - ranging from two years
to 1 billion years - they must pay for the programs they had received
at no cost. This "freeloader debt" can reach thousands
And on top of all this is the haunting fear that they will be
ostracized by family and friends for shunning the religion.
"For those like myself who had been in Scientology for years,
Scientology was our entire life, our friendships, our work, our
home," said ex-Sea Organization member Whitfield, who spent
nearly two decades on the staff. "The organization had made
us grow so entirely dependent on it, it was almost inconceivable
"After all, we had no job skills, no jobs and we believed
we would be immediately hit with thousands of dollars of freeloader
Whitfield said that she, like others, defected after reaching
the conclusion that the church seemed "only interested in
controlling" its members.
"I have looked back and said to myself, 'What an indoctrinated
fool I was. What a fool.' "
Courts Power Brokers To Help Expansion
Politicians To The Leaders Of Business, The Courts and The Media,
The Church Works To Win Allies To Smooth The Way For Expansion.
Joel Sappell and
Robert W. Welkos
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - To create a favorable environment for Scientology's
expansion, church executives are working to win allies among society's
power brokers and opinion leaders.
It is a theme expounded in church publications.
"We need to be able to approach the right people in order
to get things done," wrote Heber Jentzsch, president of the
Church of Scientology International, in the newspaper Scientology
Today. "We need to find out how to reach key people in the
media, in government, in the control points of society, the people
who run things."
Underscoring the campaign's breadth and determination, a pull-out
questionnaire entitled "Communication Lines to the World"
was inserted in the newspaper. It asked Scientologists to list
their connections to people in six areas:
POLITICS: "This would be political figures on a local, state
or national level, such as local city officials, mayors, governors,
senators, congressmen, and members of parliaments. It would also
include government agency officials and civil servants."
MEDIA: "This would be any media terminals that you know,
such as owners or proprietors of magazines, newswire services,
newspapers or publishing houses, TV and radio networks or stations
and publishers and editors of any type of news media."
LEGAL: "This would be any judges, law enforcement officials,
lawyers, barristers and so on."
FINANCIAL-CORPORATE: "This would be any members of the board
or presidents, vice presidents or other senior officials-executives
with banks or other financial institutions (such as savings and
loan companies, credit unions, etc.) financiers (this could be
government or private industry) stockbrokers, financial advisers
and commodities brokers."
ENTERTAINMENT / CELEBRITIES: "This would be any producers
or directors in the stage, motion pictures or television; actors,
artists, writers and any opinion leaders in these areas."
OPINION LEADERS: "This would be anyone who is respected by
or who influences the opinion of individuals in the above categories."
While developing support in the secular community, Scientology
has also been working hard to gain support from mainstream religious
Spearheading this effort is the Religious Freedom Crusade, a Scientology
group that has attracted officials of various faiths. The crusade's
rallying cry is that court actions brought against the Church
of Scientology by disaffected members or government agencies pose
a constitutional danger to all religions.
In 1988, Scientologists mustered a multi denominational coalition
to push a bill through the California Legislature requiring judicial
approval before religious groups or non-profit organizations can
be sued for punitive damages.
The Church of Scientology had a special interest in the legislation:
It has been ordered at least twice to pay huge punitive awards
to ex-Scientologists, although one award was reduced on appeal
and the other was set aside.
Scientologists not sure how to recruit religious allies got some
tips in a document provided to the Los Angeles Times by an ex-member,
who said it was distributed at a Scientology meeting in the mid-1980s.
The document suggested that Scientologists, after selecting an
appropriate church, should attend Sunday services and praise the
minister: " 'Your sermon was brilliant! Would you be willing
to speak at our church?' (He'll have a hard time refusing that
It advised them to establish good communication with the minister's
wife because "she can be an ally or an enemy and you want
her support if possible."
After the service, "make friends with other congregation
members," the document added. "... Circulate, but be
sure to spend a few minutes with the minister and to meet his
wife and family. ... If you haven't gotten the minister's phone
number earlier, get it before you go."
Finally, the document urged, get the ministers to write a notarized
affidavit or letter stating that "Scientology is a bona fide
Scientology Seeks Broader Role
In Schools, Business, And Scientific Community
Robert W. Welkos
and Joel Sappell
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - Emerging from years of internal strife and public
scandal, the Scientology movement has embarked on a sweeping and
sophisticated campaign to gain new influence in America.
The goal is to refurbish the tarnished image of Scientology founder
L. Ron Hubbard and elevate him to the ranks of history's great
humanitarians and thinkers. By so doing, the church hopes to broaden
the acceptability of Hubbard's Scientology teachings and attract
millions of new members.
The campaign relies on official church programs and a network
of groups run by Scientology followers. Here is a sampler of their
-Scientologists are disseminating Hubbard's writings in public
and private school classrooms across the U.S., using groups that
seldom publicize their Scientology connections.
-In the business world, Scientologists have established highly
successful private consulting firms to promote Hubbard as a management
expert, with a goal of harvesting new, affluent members.
-Scientologists are the driving force behind two organizations
active in the scientific community. The organizations have been
busy trying to sell government agencies a chemical detoxification
treatment developed by Hubbard.
The Scientology movement's ambitious quest to assimilate into
the American mainstream comes less than a decade after the church
seemed destined for collapse, testifying to its remarkable determination
to survive and grow.
In 1980, 11 top church leaders - including Hubbard's wife - were
imprisoned for bugging and burglarizing government offices as
part of a shadowy conspiracy to discredit the church's perceived
Today, Scientology executives insist that the organization is
law-abiding, that the offenders have been purged and that the
church has now entered an era in which harmony has replaced hostility.
But as the movement attempts to broaden its reach, evidence is
mounting that Hubbard's devotees are engaging in practices that,
while not unlawful, have begun to stir memories of its troubled
and the Schools
Scientology movement has launched a concerted campaign to gain
a foothold in the nation's schools by distributing to children
millions of copies of a booklet that Hubbard wrote on basic moral
The program is designed to win recognition for Hubbard as an educator
and moralist and, at the same time, introduce him to the nation's
The pocket-size booklet, entitled "The Way to Happiness,"
is a compilation of widely agreed upon values that Hubbard put
into writing in 1981. Its 96 pages include such admonitions as
"take care of yourself," "honor and help your parents,"
"do not murder" and "be worthy of trust."
The booklet notes in small print that it was written by Hubbard
as "an individual and is not part of any religious doctrine."
But Scientology publications have called the campaign "the
largest dissemination project in Scientology history" and
"the bridge between broad society and Scientology."
Scientologists estimate that 3.5 million copies have been introduced
into 4,500 elementary, junior high and senior high schools nationwide.
Altogether, more than 28 million copies have been translated into
at least 14 languages and distributed throughout the world.
The booklet is distributed by the Concerned Businessmen's Association
of America, an organization not officially connected to the church
but run by Scientologists.
The Scientology connection is downplayed by the group. Its leader,
Barbara Ayash of Marina del Rey, a Los Angeles seaside community,
said that she launched the association after five of her children
became involved with drugs.
Her group runs a nationwide contest encouraging students to stay
off drugs by following the precepts in Hubbard's booklet. Participants
in the "Set a Good Example" contest must come up with
projects using the booklet as their guide. By focusing on the
drug issue, the association has won the backing of school officials
and political figures unaware of its links to Scientology.
In Louisiana, a junior high school distributed Hubbard's booklet
to students and then had them pledge in writing:
"I promise to do my best to learn, practice and use the 21
points of good moral conduct contained in 'The Way to Happiness'
book to improve myself, set a good example for my friends, and
to help my family, my community and my country."
As an incentive to get campus administrators on board, the association
awards $5,000 to the winning elementary, junior high and senior
At contest awards ceremonies, the winners and Hubbard's book share
For example, during a ceremony at the Charleston, W. Va., civic
center, then-Gov. Arch Moore and other dignitaries were each presented
a leather-bound copy of "The Way To Happiness."
Scientology critics contend that the contest is being used to
enlist new church members, who, as the theory goes, may be so
inspired by "The Way to Happiness" that they will reach
for Hubbard's other writings. They argue that the booklet's distribution
in public schools violates constitutional mandates separating
church and state.
But Ayash of the businessmen's association insists that her group
has no motive other than to help children lead better lives. "The
Way to Happiness," she said, shows them the path in simple,
For the most part, school officials whose campuses have participated
in the contest said they were unaware of Hubbard's Scientology
connection or that his followers were directing the contest. They
said Scientology was not openly promoted and they did not regret
But one California public school system recently banned the contest
after administrators conducted an investigation and learned that
Hubbard was the author of Scientology's doctrine.
For three years, students at El Capitan Middle School in Fresno
participated in the nationwide contest. In spring 1989, the students
won second place for organizing an anti-drug relay in which they
passed each other a symbolic "torch" - Hubbard's booklet.
Deluxe leather-bound copies were presented to mayors of the 15
cities along the relay route.
Last fall, the contest's sponsors decided to accelerate their
efforts in Fresno County, urging the entire 5,000-student Central
Unified School District to participate, instead of just one school.
But they ran up against Geoff Garratt, the district's director
of educational services and personnel.
Garratt said that, while he was aware of Scientology, he had never
heard of Hubbard. He said he learned of the connection at the
local library, where he went to investigate Hubbard's background.
"The more I investigated," Garratt said, "I found
it [the businessmen's association] represented a very small self-interest
group: Scientology." Among other things, he said, he discovered
that the association had the same phone number and address as
the local Dianetics center.
Garratt said he rejected the association's plea to expand the
contest, fearing that the booklet's distribution in the public
schools might violate constitutional prohibitions against mixing
matters of church and state.
Garratt said that the association refused to consider the possibility
of holding the contest without Hubbard's booklet. "They said
flat out, 'Without the book, there is no contest.' "
Scientologists also are attempting to install a Hubbard tutorial
program in public schools, using a church-affiliated organization
called Applied Scholastics.
Yellow posters advertising Applied Scholastics have appeared in
storefront windows throughout Los Angeles. They promise better
learning skills but make no mention of the church.
Applied Scholastics currently has plans to build a 1,000-acre
campus, where the organization would train educators to teach
Hubbard's tutorial program. A recent Applied Scholastics mailer
predicted that the training center will be a "model of real
education for the world" and "create overwhelming public
popularity" for Hubbard.
Developed for students of Scientology, the Hubbard program is
built upon an elementary premise: learning difficulties arise
when students read past words they do not understand.
"The misunderstood word in a subject produces a vast panorama
of mental effects and is the prime factor involved in stupidity,"
Hubbard wrote in 1967. "This is a sweepingly fantastic discovery
in the field of education."
The chief solution he propounds is simple: students must learn
to use a dictionary when they encounter an unfamiliar or confusing
In recent years, Applied Scholastics has targeted predominantly
minority schools, where many students tend to do poorly on standardized
tests. Applied Scholastics considers these schools fertile ground
because campus administrators are willing to try new approaches
to improve scores.
The Compton (Calif.) Unified School District in 1987 and 1988
allowed the Hubbard program to be tested with 80 students at Centennial
Senior High School. The program there was run by a substitute
teacher named Frizell Clegg, a Scientologist who was an Applied
Clegg, who refused to be interviewed, was suspended from his teaching
duties in 1988 after he reportedly gave discourses on Scientology
in a history class. He no longer teaches at the school.
In applying for district financing, Clegg said that the educational
program was "developed by American writer and educator L.
Ron Hubbard." Excluding any reference to Hubbard's Scientology
connection, he persuaded the board to provide $5,000 to tutor
30 sophomores with low reading scores and to conduct a parent
After the program grew to 50 students, Applied Scholastics submitted
a proposal increasing the number of students to 125 and the cost
District officials killed the program, believing that Applied
Scholastics was seeking to expand too quickly. Officials were
also displeased that the group, without district approval, was
using its involvement with Centennial to market the program elsewhere,
according to Acting Superintendent Elisa Sanchez.
In promotional literature, Applied Scholastics made claims of
remarkable success at Centennial High. While some parents said
that the program helped their children, Sanchez said the claims
made by Applied Scholastics were unsubstantiated.
is using a network of private consulting firms to gain a foothold
in the U.S. business community.
The firms promise businessmen higher earnings but appear to be
mainly interested in recruiting new members for the church.
Although these profit-making firms operate independently of each
other, they sell the same product: Scientology founder Hubbard's
methods for running a profitable enterprise. The Church of Scientology
has for years employed these same methods - heavy marketing, high
productivity and rigid rules of employee conduct - to amass hundreds
of millions of dollars for itself.
Critics contend that the consulting firms are concealing their
Scientology links so they can attract to the church prosperous
people who might otherwise be put off by Scientology's controversial
The strategy appears to have proven effective.
A Scientology publication in 1987 reported that the consultant
network earned a combined $1.6 million a month selling Hubbard's
management methods to a variety of professionals, many of whom
have reported improved incomes. It also said that 50 to 75 businessmen
were recruited monthly into the church, where each week they spent
a total of $250,000 on Scientology courses.
Two of the movement's firms have been ranked by Inc. magazine
as among the fastest growing private businesses in America.
The consulting firms use seminars and mailers to attract health
professionals, salesmen, office supply dealers, marketing specialists
Those who have dealt with the firms describe the process this
Businessmen are drawn into Scientology after they have gained
confidence in Hubbard's non-religious management methods. They
are often told that, to achieve true business success, they should
get their personal lives in order. From there, the church takes
over, encouraging them to purchase spiritual enhancement courses
and begin a process called "auditing."
During auditing, a person confesses his innermost thoughts while
his responses are monitored on a lie detector-type device known
as the E-meter. Auditing must be purchased in 12-hour chunks,
costing between $3,000 and $11,000 each, depending on where it
Spearheading all this is an arm of the church called World Institute
of Scientology Enterprises, or WISE.
In recent months, WISE has been encouraging Scientologists nationwide
to become consultants within their respective professions. The
appeal is simple: make money while disseminating your religion.
In the process, WISE profits, too. It trains and licenses the
firms to sell Hubbard's copyrighted "management and administrative
technology." WISE charges roughly $12,000 for its basic no-frills
training course. For consulting services, it charges $1,875 a
On top of this, the consulting firms that sell Hubbard's business
methods must pay WISE 13 percent of their annual gross income.
At the heart of Hubbard's business system is a concept he called
"management by statistics," which he said guarantees
optimum office efficiency. Scientology critics maintain, however,
that it creates an oppressive and regimented workplace environment.
An employee is judged solely upon his productivity, which is charted
on a graph each week. Sagging productivity could bring a rebuke
from the boss. Or it could lead to an employee's firing.
The management techniques promoted by the consulting firms are
identical to those used by the church, except that all Scientology
references have been deleted from the materials. The consultants
even employ the most basic instrument used by the church to recruit
new members off the street - a 200-question personality test that
purports to let people know if they have ruinous personality flaws.
The consultants encourage businessmen and their employees to purchase
Scientology courses to remedy personality problems uncovered by
One of the most successful consulting firms licensed by WISE is
Sterling Management Systems, which targets dentists and other
health care professionals. For the past two years, Inc. magazine
has ranked it among America's fastest-growing privately held businesses.
Sterling, based in Glendale, Calif., claims to be the "largest
health care management consulting group in the U.S."
A company spokesman said that the firm charges clients $10,000
for its complete line of Hubbard courses and 30 hours of private
consultation. The spokesman said that Sterling has helped dentists
increase their income an average of $10,000 a month.
He insisted that the company has "no connection" to
the church, but added: "If people are interested in Scientology,
we will make it available to them."
Sterling publishes a tabloid called "Today's Professional,
the Journal of Successful Practice Management." Mailed free
to 300,000 health care professionals nationwide, it is filled
with "management" articles by Hubbard that are actually
excerpts from Scientology's governing doctrines.
The company also holds nationwide seminars that, according to
its promotional literature, have been drawing 2,000 people a month.
Sterling Management was founded in 1983 by Scientologist Gregory
K. Hughes, at the time a prosperous dentist in Vacaville, Calif.
Hughes holds seminars across the country, offering himself as
evidence that Hubbard's methods work.
In promotional publications for Sterling, Hughes has said that
his annual income soared from $257,000 in 1979 to more than $1
million in 1985. In one month alone, he has claimed to have seen
350 new patients.
Sterling's paper, Today's Professional, has boasted that "the
techniques that produced amazing results when applied to Greg's
practice are being applied all over the U.S."
But neither the paper's readers nor those who attend Hughes' seminars
are told that his dental office, which employed the high-volume
Hubbard techniques that he imparts to others, has been accused
by former patients of dental negligence and malpractice.
Hughes currently is under investigation by the California Board
of Dental Examiners. The board already has turned over some of
its findings to the state attorney general's office, which will
determine whether action should be taken against Hughes' dental
To date, there are more than 15 lawsuits are pending against Hughes
and his dental associates, alleging either negligence or malpractice.
He has denied the allegations.
Attorney E. Bradley Nelson is representing most of those who have
"It is my opinion," he said, "that the overall
quality of care took second place to the profit motive. ... I've
never seen anything approaching this volume of complaints against
one dentist in such a short period of time."
In mid-1985, Hughes closed his office without warning to devote
full time to Sterling. He left behind a reputation so tarnished
that he was unable to sell his million-dollar-a-year practice,
according to dentists in the area.
"He actually had to walk away," said Roger Abrew, co-chairman
of the peer review committee of the local dental society.
He also left behind patients with worse problems than they had
before they were treated by Hughes' office, according to Abrew
and other dentists, who have since been treating them. The dentists
said that, based on their examinations, Hughes' office performed
both substandard and unnecessary work.
"I think its kind of ironic to see a guy who did such a botched
job of dentistry teaching others," said dentist David C.
Aronson, summing up the sentiments of most of his colleagues in
the small Northern California community.
Hughes, who continues to conduct his "Winning With Dentistry"
seminars, refused to be interviewed for this story. But Frederick
Bradley, an attorney defending him in the lawsuits, suggested
that the Vacaville dentists may simply resent his client's success
because their patients had deserted them for Hughes.
Another firm once licensed by Scientology's WISE organization
to sell Hubbard's management techniques was Singer Consultants.
Before it merged with another management company, Singer was ranked
as one of the nation's fastest growing private businesses.
The company focused its training on America's chiropractors. It
brought hundreds of new members into the church and triggered
a nationwide controversy among chiropractors over its links to
Scientology. In fact, a chiropractic newspaper devoted almost
an entire issue to letters praising and condemning Singer Consultants,
which was located in Clearwater, Fla., where Scientology is a
"We felt that there were young doctors who didn't know they
were being solicited to do something above and beyond the practice
of their profession," said Dynamic Chiropractic editor Donald
M. Peterson, explaining why his Huntington Beach, Calif.-based
newspaper entered the controversy.
Singer Consultants was headed by Scientologist David Singer, an
accomplished speaker and chiropractor who held nationwide seminars
to pitch Hubbard's business methods.
Two years ago, the company was absorbed into another management
firm owned by Scientologists.
Although Singer refused to be interviewed by the Los Angeles Times,
he told Dynamic Chiropractic: "Hubbard was a prolific writer
and wrote on a multitude of subjects. We do not, have not and
will not make part of our program the teaching of any religion."
was so proud of a detoxification treatment he developed - and
so hungry for plaudits - that he openly talked with his closest
aides about winning a Nobel Prize.
Although the man is gone, Scientologists are keeping the dream
alive. They have embarked upon a controversial plan to win recognition
for Hubbard and his treatment program in scientific and medical
The treatment purports to purge drugs and toxins from a person's
system through a rigorous regimen of exercise, saunas and vitamins
- a combination intended to dislodge the poisons from fatty tissues
and sweat them out.
Physicians affiliated with the regimen have touted it as a major
breakthrough, and a number of patients who have undergone the
treatment say their health improved. But some health authorities
dismiss Hubbard's program as a medical fraud that preys upon public
fear of toxins.
In the Church of Scientology, the treatment is called the "purification
rundown." Church members are told it is a religious program
that, for about $2,000, will purify the body and spirit. In the
secular arena, however, Scientologists are promoting it exclusively
as a medical treatment with no spiritual underpinnings. In that
context, it is simply called the "Hubbard Method."
The treatment is being aggressively pushed in the non-Scientology
world by two organizations that sometimes work alone and sometimes
in tandem. They have no formal church ties but both are controlled
by church members.
Seeking customers and credibility, the two groups have targeted
government and private workers nationwide who are exposed to hazardous
substances in their jobs. They have pressed public agencies to
endorse the method, lobbied unions to recommend it and written
articles in trade journals that seem to be little more than advertisements
for the treatment.
One of these groups is the Los Angeles-based Foundation for Advancements
in Science and Education. The non-profit foundation has forged
links with scientists across the country to gain legitimacy for
itself and, thus, for Hubbard's detox method.
Among its key functionaries is a toxicologist for the Environmental
Protection Agency, whose advocacy of the treatment has raised
Building credentials and allies, the foundation has channeled
tens of thousands of dollars in grants to educators and researchers
studying toxicological hazards, most of whom were unaware of the
organization's ties to the Scientology movement.
In 1986, for example, the foundation gave $10,000 to the Los Angeles
County Health Department for a study of potentially harmful radon
gas. County officials say that they were not apprised of the organization's
links with the Scientology movement.
Bill Franks was instrumental in creating the foundation in 1981
when he served as the Church of Scientology's executive director,
a post from which he was later ousted in a power struggle. Franks
described the foundation in an interview as a Scientology "front
"The concept," he said, "was to get some scientific
recognition" for Hubbard's treatment without overtly linking
it to the church.
Buttressing Franks' account, the foundation's original incorporation
papers state that its purpose was to "research the efficacy
of and promote the use of the works of L. Ron Hubbard in the solving
of social problems; and to scientifically research and provide
public information and education concerning the efficacy of other
The document was later amended, however, to remove Hubbard's name,
obscuring the foundation's ties to the Scientology movement and
its founder in official records.
Hubbard's name, however, continues to appear regularly in the
foundation's slick newsletter. In the latest edition, for instance,
three different articles advocate the "Hubbard method"
as an effective therapy for chemical and drug detoxification.
A fourth article did not mention Hubbard by name, but reported
favorably on Narconon, his drug and alcohol rehabilitation program,
which is run by Scientologists.
The other organization in the outreach effort is HealthMed Clinic,
which administers Hubbard's treatment from offices in Los Angeles
and Sacramento, Calif., and is run by Scientologists.
An independent medical consultant in Maryland who reviewed the
program for the city of Shreveport, La., dismissed Hubbard's treatment
The foundation and HealthMed have attempted to create an impression
that they are linked only by a shared concern over toxic hazards.
In reality, however, they operate symbiotically.
The foundation, for its part, tries to scientifically validate
the Hubbard method through studies and articles by individuals
who either are Scientologists or hold foundation positions. HealthMed
then uses the foundation's credibility, writings and connections
to get customers for the treatment.
According to state corporate records, the foundation also holds
stock in HealthMed. Moreover, the foundation's vice president,
Scientologist Jack Dirmann, has served as HealthMed's administrator.
In 1986, four doctors with the California Department of Health
Services accused HealthMed of making "false medical claims"
and of "taking advantage of the fears of workers and the
public and about toxic chemicals and their potential health effects,
including cancer." The doctors also criticized the foundation
for supporting "scientifically questionable" research.
The state physicians, who evaluate potential toxic hazards in
the workplace, leveled the accusations in a letter that triggered
an investigation by the state Board of Medical Quality Assurance.
That probe was concluded last year without a finding of whether
the detox treatment works. Investigators said that they were stymied
by HealthMed's refusal to provide patient records and by a lack
of complaints from those who had undergone the regimen.
The four physicians who prompted the investigation said that they
decided to study the Hubbard treatment after receiving calls from
union representatives, public agencies and individual workers
throughout the state who had been solicited by the clinics. Among
them were the California Highway Patrol, the International Brotherhood
of Electrical Workers, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and the
Los Angeles County Fire and Sheriff's departments.
"It was the accumulation of these calls that led us to say,
'Hey, this is going on all over the state. Let's look into it,'
" recalled Gideon Letz, one of the doctors.
The foundation and HealthMed have worked particularly hard to
tap one large pool of potential clients: firefighters. The Hubbard
method has been pitched to them as a cure for exposure to a carcinogen
sometimes encountered during fires. Known as PCBs, the now-banned
chemical compound was once widely used to insulate transformers.
City officials in Shreveport, La., said they paid HealthMed $80,000
- and were ready to spend a lot more - until they hired a consultant,
who denounced the treatments as unnecessary and worthless.
What happened in Shreveport is a case study of how the foundation
and HealthMed have worked together to draw customers through methods
that critics contend are exploitative.
In April 1987, dozens of Shreveport firemen were exposed to PCBs
when they responded to an early morning transformer explosion
at the Louisiana State University Medical Center. In the aftermath,
some began to complain of headaches, dizziness, skin rashes, memory
loss and other symptoms that they attributed to the exposure.
Blood and tissue tests by the university medical center showed
no abnormal levels of PCBs in their systems. But the firemen wondered
if the university was trying to protect itself from liability
because the explosion had occurred there.
Searching for alternatives, one of the firemen came across an
article in Fire Engineering magazine. Headlined "Chemical
Exposure in Firefighting: The Enemy Within," it was written
by Gerald T. Lionelli, "senior research associate for the
Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education."
Lionelli discussed the frightening consequences of chemical exposure
and then got to the point. He said that the foundation had found
an effective detoxification technique developed by "the late
American researcher L. Ron Hubbard" and delivered by HealthMed
The article did not mention another of Hubbard's notable developments
The firemen contacted HealthMed, and, before long, were sold on
the program. They went next to Howard Foggin, then the city's
medical claims officer, and gave him HealthMed literature and
a Washington, D.C., phone number the clinic had provided them.
It was for the office of EPA toxicologist William Marcus.
Marcus, a non-Scientologist, is a senior adviser to the foundation.
But it is his authoritative position with the EPA's office of
drinking water that helps impress potential HealthMed clients.
When Shreveport officials called Marcus, he vouched for HealthMed.
The EPA had spoken, or so the city's claims manager thought back
"All he told me was, it seemed I had no alternative but to
send those people to Los Angeles" for HealthMed's treatment,
Foggin said, adding: "I felt I had to get moving on it fast."
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Marcus acknowledged
that he recommended HealthMed, but he denied any conflict of interest.
"They called me and I talked to them," Marcus said.
"I told them that basically there was no other game in town.
... I think L. Ron Hubbard is a bona fide genius."
Marcus said he receives only travel-related expenses for the foundation
His boss, Michael Cook, said he is satisfied that Marcus did not
act improperly. He said that Marcus has insisted "he made
it clear that he was not speaking as an EPA employee. Certainly
that is what we would hope and expect he [would] do."
In all, HealthMed brought about 20 Shreveport firefighters to
Los Angeles to treat what the clinic described as high levels
of PCBs in their blood and fatty tissues. For the most part, the
firemen returned home saying that they felt better.
Although city officials had learned of Hubbard's Scientology connection,
they were unconcerned.
Then, as HealthMed's bills mounted, two private insurance carriers
for Shreveport suggested that city officials hire an independent
analyst to review the treatment before doling out more money.
The city agreed and commissioned a study by National Medical Advisory
Service Inc., of Bethesda, Md.
The report, prepared by Dr. Ronald E. Gots, was an indictment
of HealthMed's professionalism and ethics. The bottom line:
"The treatment in California preyed upon the fears of concerned
workers, but served no rational medical function. ... Moreover,
the program itself, developed not by physicians or scientists,
but by the founder of the Church of Scientology, has no recognized
value in the established medical and scientific community. It
Gots' 1987 report ended the city's involvement with HealthMed.
"I think we were misled," lamented city finance director
Jim Keyes. "Somebody should have laid everything out on the
Neither HealthMed nor the foundation would return phone calls
from The Times.
Costly Strategy Continues To Turn Out Bestsellers
Robert W. Welkos
and Joel Sappell
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - Call it one of the most remarkable success stories
in modern publishing history.
Since late 1985, at least 20 books by Scientology founder L. Ron
Hubbard have become bestsellers.
In March of 1988, nearly four decades after its initial publication,
Hubbard's "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health"
was No. 1 on virtually every best-seller list in the country -
including The New York Times.
Ten hardcover science fiction novels Hubbard completed before
his death four years ago also became best sellers, four of them
simultaneously on some lists.
The selling of L. Ron Hubbard was envisioned, planned and executed
by members of the Church of Scientology, who say that worldwide
sales of Hubbard's books have topped 93 million. The sales have
been fueled by a radio and TV advertising blitz virtually unprecedented
in book circles, and has put on the map a Los Angeles publishing
firm that eight years ago did not even exist.
In some cases, sales of Hubbard's books apparently got an extra
boost from Scientology followers and employees of the publishing
firm. Showing up at major book outlets like B. Dalton and Walden
books, they purchased armloads of Hubbard's works, according to
As a writer, Hubbard was extremely prolific. He wrote short stories.
He wrote books. He wrote screenplays. And, for more than 30 years,
he wrote thousands of directives and scores of personal improvement
courses that form the doctrine of Scientology.
The promotion of Hubbard's books is part of a costly and calculated
campaign by the movement to gain respect, influence and, ultimately,
new members. In the process, Hubbard's followers hope to refurbish
his controversial image and position him as one of the world's
great humanitarians and thinkers.
Hubbard's writings have become a means by which to spread his
name in a society that often equates celebrity with credibility.
It is not with whimsy that the church often calls its spiritual
father "New York Times best-selling author L. Ron Hubbard."
The church once summed up the strategy in a letter recruiting
Scientologists for Hubbard's public relations team, an operation
that thrives despite his death. Sign up now, the letter urged,
and "make Ron the most acclaimed and widely known author
of all time."
But apparently Hubbard's followers have not trusted sales of Hubbard's
books entirely to the fickle winds of the marketplace.
Sheldon McArthur, former manager of B. Dalton Booksellers on Hollywood
Boulevard in Los Angeles, said, "Whenever the sales seem
to slacken and a [Hubbard] book goes off the best sellers list,
give it a week and we'll get these people coming in buying 50
to 100 to 200 copies at a crack - cash only."
After Hubbard's first novel, a Western adventure called "Buckskin
Brigades," was re-released in 1987, the book "just sat
there," recalled McArthur, whose store was across from a
"Then, in one week, it was gone," he said. "We
started getting calls asking, 'You got 'Buckskin Brigades?' "
I said, 'Sure, we got them.' 'You got a hundred of them?' 'Sure,'
I said, 'here's a case.' "
Gary Hamel, B. Dalton's former manager at Santa Monica Place,
a mall in the Los Angeles beach suburb of Santa Monica, had similar
experiences. He said that "10 people would come in at a time
and buy quantities of them and they would pay cash."
Hamel also speculated that some copies of a Hubbard science fiction
novel were sold more than once.
He said that while he was working at the B. Dalton in Hollywood,
some books shipped by Hubbard's publishing house arrived with
B. Dalton price stickers already on them. He said this indicated
to him that the books had been purchased at one of the chain's
outlets, then returned to the publishing house and shipped out
for resale before anyone thought to remove the stickers.
"We would order more books and ... they'd come back with
our sticker as if they were bought by the publisher," Hamel
Hubbard's U.S. publisher is Bridge Publications Inc., founded
and controlled by Scientologists - something that Bridge does
not publicize. Company officials refused to be interviewed about
book sales or any facet of the firm's operations.
But former employees alleged in interviews with the Los Angeles
Times that Bridge encouraged and, at times, bankrolled the book-buying
Mike Gonzales, a non-church member who worked in accounts receivable,
said that one supervisor gave him hundreds of dollars for weekend
forays into bookstores.
In one month alone, he said, he bought and returned to Bridge
43 books in Hubbard's "Mission Earth" science fiction
series. And, according to Gonzales, he was not alone.
"We had 15 to 20 people going all over L.A," he said.
During a shopping spree at B. Dalton in the Glendale Galleria,
a Glendale, Calif., shopping center, Gonzales said, he bumped
into three Bridge co-workers.
"There we were, four people in line buying 'Buckskin Brigades,'
and [the clerk] blurted out, 'You know why they do that? To get
on the best sellers list!' "
Corinda Carford, who was Bridge's sales manager for the East Coast,
said she was instructed by two superiors to go to bookstores and
buy Hubbard's books if sales were sluggish.
"They would tell me to go and count the books and ... if
it looks like they're not selling, go and buy some books,"
Carford recalled. She said she was troubled by the request and
bought only four copies of one Hubbard paperback.
Carford said that Bridge executives also asked her in late 1988
and again in early 1989 to obtain the names of bookstores whose
sales are the basis for The New York Times best-seller list.
"It happened more than once," she said. " ... My
orders for the week were to find the New York Times' reporting
stores anywhere in the East so they could send people into the
stores to buy [Hubbard's] books."
Carford said she questioned several bookstore operators but they
refused to cooperate.
"That is confidential information," she said.
Carford said she left Bridge after a pay dispute and now works
for another publishing firm.
Another former Bridge employee, salesman Tom Fudge, said a supervisor
once handed him a list of booksellers purportedly monitored by
The New York Times. He said he was instructed to promise each
one that Hubbard's books would "sell well" if they stocked
"I was told that they [Bridge] had Scientologists who would
go out to specific stores and buy copies of the books," Fudge
An attorney who represents Bridge and Scientology denied that
the publishing firm possessed a list of bookstores The New York
Times uses to determine best sellers.
"The list does not exist," insisted Boston lawyer Earle
Cooley, who characterized the former employees as "disgruntled"
and "antagonistic" toward Bridge and Scientology.
Adam Clymer, a New York Times executive, said the newspaper had
examined the sales patterns of Hubbard's books. In a two-year
span, Hubbard logged 14 consecutive books on The New York Times
Clymer said that, although the books had been sold in sufficient
numbers to justify their best-seller status, "we don't know
to whom they were sold."
He said that the newspaper uncovered no instances in which vast
quantities of books were being sold to single individuals.
Science fiction and self-improvement books have always been big
sellers in America, and Hubbard's works have long had a strong
But Bridge learned quickly that to make him a best-selling author
in the 1980s, it had to aggressively market his writings, especially
within the bookselling industry.
As part of its campaign Bridge has purchased full-page ads on
the cover of Publishers Weekly, an important trade magazine.
For a time, the firm was enticing book distributors to place large
orders by offering them free television sets and VCRs.
Marcia Dursi, director of book operations for ARA Services in
Maryland, which distributes paperbacks to supermarkets and airports,
said she was offered a TV for the employee lunchroom.
"I don't have to be bribed," Dursi said she responded.
Former Bridge consultant Robert Erdmann said that, although other
publishers offer incentives, he stopped the practice at Bridge
because "it could be perceived as influence peddling."
Erdmann, a non-Scientologist, was an industry veteran hired by
Bridge to help make inroads in the competitive publishing world.
Because the Scientologists at Bridge "did what we told them
to do," Erdmann said, "Dianetics" is no longer
"the passion fruit of the Pacific that people in the Midwest
are afraid to eat."
When it was first published in 1950, "Dianetics" rode
best-seller lists for several months before sales dwindled. But
it has remained the bedrock - "Book One" - of Hubbard's
In "Dianetics," Hubbard said that memories of painful
physical and emotional experiences accumulate in a specific region
of the mind, causing illness and mental problems. Hubbard said
that, once those experiences have been purged through cathartic
procedures he developed, a person can achieve superior health
So revered is the book that Hubbard scrapped the conventional
calendar and renumbered the years beginning with the date of its
publication. To Scientologists, 1990 is "40 AD" (After
From the outset, the Scientology movement has made the book the
centerpiece of its campaign to generate broad interest in Hubbard's
In the last few years, millions of dollars have been spent on
"Dianetics" advertising to reach a targeted audience
of young professionals who want to improve their lives and careers.
The ads have appeared on television, radio, billboards and bus
"Dianetics" has been a sponsor of the California Angels
and Los Angeles Rams games on radio. Race cars in world-class
competitions like the Indianapolis 500 have sported "Dianetics"
decals. In New York City recently, 160 billboards promoting Hubbard
were purchased in subway stations.
Next month, in what may be the Scientology movement's biggest
promotion yet for the book, Dianetics will be a sponsor of Turner
Broadcasting System's 1990 Goodwill Games, an Olympics-style event
bringing together 2,500 athletes from more than 50 countries for
two weeks in Seattle.
Among other things, there will be Dianetics commercials during
the internationally televised competition and Dianetics signboards
at sporting venues. Goodwill Games spokesman Bob Dickinson said
that Dianetics and 12 other sponsors - including Pepsi, Sony and
Anheuser-Busch - have paid "lots and lots of money"
for the exposure, but he would not provide a specific figure.
"It is safe to say it is in excess of several million dollars,"
Word of the sponsorship has triggered more than 100 complaints
from disaffected Scientologists and critics of the church to TBS,
the Atlanta-based cable network owned by media entrepreneur Ted
Turner. Most have accused the network of providing a global forum
for the Church of Scientology.
But Dickinson said that Dianetics, not Scientology, is the event's
sponsor and that "we really don't make any value judgment
in terms of the product of the sponsors. They have a right to
advertise." He added that Dianetics for years has been buying
air time on TBS.
Although Dianetics advertisements never mention Scientology, the
book's promotion is a key component of the church's efforts to
win new converts. Scientology literature calls the strategy the
"Dianetics route." The idea is to attract readers to
Dianetics seminars and then enroll them in Scientology courses.
Given the success of the Dianetics campaign, Bridge now seems
confident that the public will clamor for Hubbard's Scientology
Hubbard books that for decades had no audience outside Scientology
are scheduled to be mass-marketed into the next century, complete
with costly promotional campaigns as big as that for "Dianetics."
One of them, Hubbard's 1955 "Fundamentals of Thought,"
has "Scientology" splashed across its cover, the first
test of whether Hubbard's image has been so greatly improved that
the public is finally ready to accept his religion.
Even long-forgotten science fiction that Hubbard wrote back in
the 1930s will be dusted off, dressed in eye-grabbing covers and
pushed as though it were written today.
In recent months, billboards have appeared along Los Angeles freeways
and such well-traveled thoroughfares as Sunset Boulevard.
With the sea as a backdrop, they show a smiling Hubbard of earlier
years, the wind tousling his red hair. Below his robust image
is the phrase: "22 national bestsellers and more to come.
The selling of the late L. Ron Hubbard has only begun.
Lawyer Learns What It's Like To Fight Scientology
Yanny represented the movement until a falling out.
Now he says lengthy litigation and mysterious harassment
indicate he's become 'Public Enemy No. 1.'
Robert W. Welkos
and Joel Sappell
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles attorney Joseph Yanny was driving through
rural Ohio in the pre-dawn hours in 1988 when he was pulled over
by police, who had received a tip that he was carrying a cache
of cocaine and guns in his rental car.
A telephone caller had supplied authorities in Ohio with Yanny's
name, the car's description and license number, and the route
he would be traveling to his sister's house after a rock concert
by one of his clients, the Grateful Dead.
Yanny was frisked and the vehicle was searched. No drugs or firearms
were found, and he was released.
Police later concluded that the tipster had given a false name,
leading them to speculate that Yanny had been set up for harassment.
And Yanny, though he can't prove it, is certain he knows by whom:
his former client, the Church of Scientology.
"I am," he said with some pride, "probably Public
Enemy No. 1 as far as they are concerned."
Today, Yanny and Scientology are locked in bitter litigation.
Their dispute illustrates how battles with the Church of Scientology
often degenerate into nasty, costly wars of retribution and endurance.
Yanny worked for the church from 1983 to 1987, earning, by his
estimate, $1.8 million in legal fees.
His chief job was to represent Scientology in a suit it brought
against a former top church executive accused of conspiring to
steal the church's secret teachings. In 1986, Yanny scored a major
victory for the church during a pretrial hearing.
But then Yanny and Scientology had a falling out. He says he severed
ties because he disagreed with the tactics the group uses against
its critics. Scientology says Yanny was dismissed because his
performance was "inadequate." They call him an "anti-church
Scientology lawyers sued Yanny, accusing him of switching allegiances
and of violating the canons of his profession. They say he fed
confidential church information to former members locked in legal
battles with Scientology. He denies the accusation.
They further accused him of submitting "extremely inflated"
bills and of working while intoxicated, an allegation that was
Since the litigation began, Yanny says, he and his friends have
been the target of harassment.
He says that his Century City Los Angeles law firm was burglarized
four times and that Scientology-related documents turned up missing;
that he has been spied upon by a church "plant" working
as a secretary in his office; and that private investigators have
camped outside his Hermosa Beach residence and shadowed him when
Jon J. Gaw, a Riverside, Calif.-area private investigator who
has handled a number of Scientology-related probes in recent years,
said in a deposition that he used as many as "seven or eight"
investigators to conduct surveillance of Yanny between June 1988
and March 1989. Two of his operatives took up residence on a nearby
street, Gaw said, and tailed Yanny whenever he ventured outside.
Gaw said he later learned that private detectives for another
agency hired by Scientology lawyers had been spying on Yanny at
the same time. That agency employed a woman to live next door
The woman, Michelle Washburn, said in a deposition that she was
hired by Al Bei, a former Los Angeles police officer who has worked
as a private investigator on Scientology-related cases.
She said that Bei instructed her to take notes on Yanny's "comings
and goings." She also sat by her window photographing everyone
who visited him. She said she regularly gave Bei the film and
her notes. Bei declined to comment.
In Bellaire, Ohio, police who searched Yanny's rental car for
drugs and guns later discovered that a team of out-of-state private
investigators in four vehicles had been tailing the attorney.
Police Capt. Robert Wallace said that one of the private detectives
he questioned initially tried to mislead officers, claiming that
the detectives were there to subpoena someone in a neighboring
Wallace said that the private detective then said he had been
hired to follow Yanny by Williams & Connelly, a prominent
Washington, D.C., law firm that represents Scientology on tax
issues. An attorney who handles Scientology matters at the firm
declined comment when questioned by the Los Angeles Times recently.
In a published report in late 1988, however, he said that he had
no knowledge of the episode.
Yanny, for his part, is pursuing a strategy that is reminiscent
of the take-no-prisoners tactics of the church.
He and his anti-Scientology allies have submitted sworn court
declarations designed to discredit the church.
Earlier this year, a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury agreed
that Yanny had not submitted inflated bills to the church and
awarded him $154,000 in damages. The judge who presided over the
case is now weighing whether Yanny should be allowed to assist
individuals in litigation against his former client, the church.
Yanny said that he initially agreed to be one of Scientology's
lawyers because he thought the controversial church was being
denied its day in court.
"There came a point where I was rudely awakened that Scientology
wanted their day in court," Yanny said, "but they wanted
to assure nobody else got them."
Protests Fuel A Campaign Against Psychiatry
part of its strategy, the movement created a nationwide uproar
over the drug Ritalin, used to treat hyperactive children.
Joel Sappell and
Robert W. Welkos
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - In recent years, a national debate flared over Ritalin,
a drug used for more than three decades to treat hyperactivity
Across the country, multimillion-dollar lawsuits were filed by
parents who contended that their children had been harmed by the
Major news organizations, including the Los Angeles Times, devoted
extensive coverage to whether youngsters were being turned into
emotionally disturbed addicts by psychiatrists and pediatricians
who prescribed Ritalin.
Protests were staged at psychiatric conferences, with airplanes
trailing banners that read, "Psychs, Stop Drugging Our Kids,"
and children on the ground carrying placards that pleaded, "Love
Me, Don't Drug Me."
In 1988, the clamor reached a point where 12 U.S. congressmen
demanded answers from the Food and Drug Administration and three
other federal agencies about the safety of Ritalin. The FDA assured
the legislators that the drug is was "safe and effective
if it is used as recommended."
The Ritalin controversy seemed to emerge out of nowhere. It frightened
parents, put doctors on the defensive and suddenly called into
question the judgment of school administrators who authorized
the drug's use to calm disruptive, hyperactive children.
The uproar over Ritalin was triggered almost single-handedly by
the Scientology movement.
In its fight against Ritalin, Scientology was pursuing a broader
agenda. For years, it has been attempting to discredit the psychiatric
profession, which has long been critical of the self-help techniques
developed by the late L. Ron Hubbard and practiced by the church.
The church has spelled out the strategy in its newspaper, "Scientology
"While alerting parents and teachers to the dangers of Ritalin,"
the newspaper stated, "the real target of the campaign is
the psychiatric profession itself. ... And as public awareness
continues to increase, we will no doubt begin to see the blame
for all drug abuse and related crime move onto the correct target
The contempt Scientologists hold for the psychiatric profession
is rooted in Hubbard's writings, which constitute the church's
doctrines. He once wrote, for example, that if psychiatrists "had
the power to torture and kill everyone, they would do so. ...
Recognize them for what they are; psychotic criminals - and handle
Hubbard's hatred of psychiatry dated back to the 1950 publication
of his best-selling book "Dianetics: The Modern Science of
Mental Health." It was immediately criticized by prominent
mental health professionals as a worthless form of psychotherapy.
Hubbard used his church as a pulpit to attack psychiatrists as
evil people, bent on enslaving mankind through drugs, electroshock
therapy and lobotomies. He convinced his followers that psychiatrists
were also intent on destroying their religion.
A church spokesman said that psychiatrists are were "busy
attempting to destroy Scientology because if Scientology has its
voice heard, it will most assuredly remove them from the positions
of power that they occupy in our society."
Scientologists call Ritalin a "chemical straitjacket"
leading to delinquency, violence and even suicide. They claim
that it is being used to indiscriminately drug hundreds of thousands
of schoolchildren each day. Medical professionals say that the
Scientology claims cannot be supported and are causing undue panic.
Known generically as methylphenidate hydrochloride, Ritalin is
intended for youngsters afflicted with "attention deficit
disorder," more commonly known as hyperactivity. It is a
central nervous system stimulant that, paradoxically, produces
calmer behavior in young people. The government classifies it
as a controlled substance.
FDA statistics show that between 600,000 and 700,000 people (70
percent of them children or adolescents) are being treated with
Ritalin. Between 1980 and 1987, the latest period for which statistics
are available, the FDA received 492 complaints of serious problems
resulting from the drug. The agency said this level number of
complaints indicates the drug is safe.
Medical experts agree that some doctors may be too quick to prescribe
Ritalin as the sole treatment for problems that warrant a more
moderate or creative approach. But, they add, the drug itself
is not to blame.
Scientologists have waged their war against Ritalin and psychiatry
through the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a Los Angeles-based
non-profit organization formed by the church in 1969 to investigate
mental health abuses.
Its members often wear shirts reading "Psychiatry Kills"
and "Psychbusters." They have recently broadened their
campaign against psychiatric drugs to include Prozac, the nation's
top selling anti-depressant, with 1989 sales estimated at $350
Throughout the world, the commission has consistently fought against
electroshock therapy and lobotomies, practices that Scientologists
believe are barbarous and should be banned.
In the United States, the commission has encouraged parents to
file lawsuits against doctors who have prescribed Ritalin to their
children and then has provided nationwide publicity for the suits.
The commission's president is veteran Scientologist Dennis Clarke.
Although he is not a doctor, Clarke has positioned himself as
the country's most quoted Ritalin expert. In public appearances,
Clarke cites a litany of alarming statistics, some of which are
exaggerated, unsubstantiated or impossible to verify.
Some medical experts agree that the use of Ritalin in the schools
has grown dramatically over the last two decades, but not to the
level claimed by Clarke.
For example, Clarke has maintained that in Minneapolis, 20 percent
of children under 10 attending mostly white schools in 1987 were
on Ritalin and the percentage was double that in predominantly
"If they are saying that is the statistic in Minneapolis,
they are lying," said Vi Blosberg, manager of health services
in the 39,000-student district. She said that fewer than 1 percent
of students districtwide were taking Ritalin or other drugs used
to control hyperactivity during the year in question.
Using its statistics, the Citizens Commission in late 1987 lobbied
the congressional Republican Study Committee to push Congress
for an investigation of Ritalin.
Its campaign attracted the attention of Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C.,
who is on the House Education and Labor Committee.
Ballenger's legislative director, Ashley McArthur, said that she
met with the Citizens Commission because the statistics about
Ritalin abuse "caught our attention." She said that
Ballenger and 11 congressional colleagues sent letters to four
federal agencies, including the FDA, requesting reports on Ritalin
usage and safety.
McArthur said she later learned that Scientologists were behind
the Citizens Commission and that some of the information they
provided did not "add up."
"Once we knew their whole organization was run by Scientologists,
it put a whole different perspective on it," McArthur said.
"I think they'll try to use any group they can."
A recent Scientology publication said that the anti-Ritalin effort
was "one of [the commission's] major campaigns in the 1980s."
"Hundreds of newspaper articles and countless hours of radio
and television shows on this issue resulted in thousands of parents
around the world contacting [the commission] to learn more about
the damage psychiatrists are creating on today's children,"
the article stated.
"The campaign against Ritalin brought wide acceptance of
the fact that [the commission] and the Scientologists are the
ones effectively doing something about the problems of psychiatric
drugging," the publication added.
Side Blinks - Yet
its many adversaries, the Church of Scientology's longest-running
feud has been with the Internal Revenue Service. So far, neither
combatant has blinked. Over the past three decades, the IRS has
revoked the tax-exempt status of various Scientology organizations,
accusing them of operating in a commercial manner and of financially
benefiting private individuals. From the late 1960s through mid-1970s,
IRS agents classified Scientology as a "tax resister"
and "subversive," a characterization later deemed improper
by a judge.
In 1984, the IRS's Los Angeles office launched a far-ranging criminal
investigation into allegations by high-level Scientology defectors
that the movement's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, had skimmed millions
of dollars from the church.
The probe was dropped after Hubbard's death in 1986. A Justice
Department source told The Times that, with the primary target
gone, the point was moot. But church executives say the IRS had
no case because the allegations were untrue.
Scientology, for its part, has brought numerous lawsuits against
the IRS, accusing the agency of everything from harassment to
illegally withholding public records. In the 1970s, overzealous
Scientologists went so far as to bug an IRS office in Washington,
D.C. - a crime that led to their imprisonment.
More recently, through a group called the National Coalition of
IRS Whistleblowers, Scientologists have embarrassed the very branch
within the agency that initiated the criminal investigation of
The coalition, founded in the mid-1980s by the Church of Scientology's
Freedom magazine, helped fuel a 1989 congressional inquiry into
alleged wrongdoing by the former chief of the IRS's Criminal Investigations
Division in Los Angeles and other agency officials.
Based on public records and leaked IRS memos, the coalition disclosed
that the former Los Angeles supervisor and several colleagues
bought peoperty from an El Monte firm being audited by the IRS.
Soon after, the audit was dropped with a finding that the firm
owed no money. The supervisor has denied acting improperly.
The whistle-blowers coalition, whose members also include past
and present IRS employees, provided the information to a House
subcommittee, which was investigating the IRS at the time. The
allegations received nationwide exposure during later hearings
by the subcommittee, prompting a promise from IRS Commissioner
Fred T. Goldberg, Jr. to toughen ethical standards in the agency.
The coalition's spokeswoman, Scientologist Lisa Lashaway, also
appeared on NBC's "Today" show with a subcommittee member,
where the two criticized the conduct of the IRS unit.
Although Scientologists do much of the legwork for the coalition,
its president and chief point man is retired IRS agent Paul Des
Fosses, a non-Scientologist who left the IRS in 1984 after a stormy
relationship with the agency.
"They've given us a lot of support," DesFosses said
of the Scientologists in a recent interview. "That's understandable
because people who are under attack by the IRS are suddenly very
concerned with IRS abuse."
Despite his close working relationship with Scientology, DesFosses
said church members never told him that Hubbard was under criminal
investigation by the IRS when they offered to organize and assist
his whistle-blowers group.
"No, I wasn't aware of it," DesFosses said when informed
by The Times. "I would be very surprised to learn that."
(Ed Note: In late 1993, the IRS exonerated many of the Scientology
Organizations with which it had been feuding for years, even some
in which the court system, on whose docket the cases were already
placed, later agreed that the IRS' position was correct.
-ROBERT W. WELKOS and JOEL SAPPELL
When The Doctrine Leaves Scientology
Robert W. Welkos
and Joel Sappell
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
The Church of Scientology hates "squirrels."
That is the scornful word L. Ron Hubbard used to describe non-church
members who offer his teachings, sometimes at cut-rate prices.
Most are ex-Scientologists who say that they believe in Hubbard's
gospel but left the church because its hierarchy was too oppressive.
"We call them squirrels," Hubbard once wrote, "because
they are so nutty."
Hubbard contended that only church members are were qualified
to administer his self-improvement-type courses. Outsiders, he
said, inevitably misapply misapplied the teachings, wreaking spiritual
harm on their subjects.
But those who have launched "independent" Scientology-style
centers say that Hubbard concocted this as an excuse to eliminate
competition so he could charge exorbitant prices for his courses.
As far back as 1965, Hubbard demonstrated his disdain for breakaway
groups, ordering his followers to "tear up" the meetings
of one such organization and "harass these persons in any
The intolerance still exists.
In 1988, the California Association of Dianetic Auditors - the
oldest Scientology splinter group in existence - said that it
uncovered a scheme by more than 100 Scientologists to secretly
infiltrate the association and seize control of its board of directors.
The association's then-vice president, Jana Moreillon, said that
she discovered the infiltration after scanning some Scientology
publications. There, she found the names of many of her group's
newest members listed among Scientologists who had just completed
Moreillon said the association eventually purged or denied membership
to 116 suspected Scientologists.
In recent years, a shadowy group of church members dubbed the
"Minutemen" crashed meetings of independent Scientologists.
They heckled speakers, screamed obscenities and threw eggs. Los
Angeles police officers had to be summoned by the owner of a Chinatown
restaurant to evict militant Scientologists who disrupted a fund-raising
dinner held there by breakaway church members.
The church has denied any direct involvement in the raids. But
a former top Scientology official said in a recent court declaration
that the harassment campaign was ordered by church executives.
Hubbard's Plan For Improving On
'80Trillion Years' Of Management
Robert W. Welkos and Joel Sappell
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - A key element of the management techniques that
Scientologists sell to businessmen is L. Ron Hubbard's "organizational
Used also by the Church of Scientology, the "Org Board"
divides an organization into seven divisions - executive, personnel,
sales, finance, training, marketing and qualifications. Each division's
duties are spelled out, along with the basis for evaluating employee
In describing the Org Board's virtues, Scientology consultants
omit Hubbard's colorful account of its origins - an account reminiscent
of one of his science fiction tales.
During a 1965 lecture to Scientologists in England, Hubbard said
that his board is a refined version of one that was used for "80
trillion years" by an "old galactic civilization."
Hubbard said that the civilization died (he did not say when)
because its organizational board lacked one division that he incorporated
into his modern-day version.
Declared Hubbard: "We don't want these temporary fly-by-night
Foundation Funds Assist
Celebrated School Teacher
By Robert W. Welkos and Joel Sappell
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - The Scientology movement's Foundation for Advancements
in Science and Education has befriended one of America's most
celebrated teachers, Jaime Escalante of Garfield High School.
Escalante is the East Los Angeles teacher profiled in the hit
1988 film "Stand and Deliver," which chronicled his
success in teaching advanced calculus to barrio students.
During the last few years, the foundation has provided Escalante
with tens of thousands of dollars for computers, audiovisual aids,
tutors and scholarships. In addition, the foundation has solicited
contributions from major corporations to help Escalante's Garfield
High mathematics program grow in size and sophistication.
In fact, the foundation has been Escalante's primary benefactor.
He is now teaming up with the foundation to develop a series of
12 educational videos for distribution by the Public Broadcasting
System. Called "Futures," the series is intended to
motivate students by showing them the relevancy of math in the
workplace. The foundation's president will be the executive producer,
while Escalante will be host of the series.
Escalante says he was unaware of the foundation's links to Scientology.
"No, no," he said, "they [foundation officials]
never mentioned that name." But, he added, it makes no difference.
"From my point of view," he said, "I really don't
mind what they are. The only thing I care about is that they help
my students, my kids. That's my main goal."
The foundation, for its part, has not been reticent about publicizing
its support of Escalante. Its promotional literature regularly
includes photographs of Escalante in his classroom or standing
side-by-side with beaming foundation executives.
Scientology Takes Offensive
Against An Array Of Suspected Foes
Joel Sappell and
Robert W. Welkos
(c) 1990, Los Angeles Times
treat a war like a skirmish. Treat all skirmishes like wars."
- L. Ron Hubbard
ANGELES - The Church of Scientology does not turn the other cheek.
mingle with private detectives. "Sacred scriptures"
counsel the virtues of combativeness. Parishioners double as paralegals
for litigious church attorneys.
Consider the passage that a prominent Scientology minister selected
from the religion's scriptures, authored by the late L. Ron Hubbard,
to inspire the faithful during a gala church event.
attack Scientology," the minister quoted Hubbard as saying.
"I never forget it; always even the score."
far back as 1959, Hubbard warned that illness and even death can
befall those seeking to impede Scientology, known within the church
as "suppressive persons."
it kills them," Hubbard wrote, "and if you don't believe
me I can show you the long death list."
told the story of an electrician who bilked the organization.
"Within a few weeks," Hubbard said, "he contracted
seems committed not only to fighting back, but to chilling potential
opposition. For years, the church has been accused of employing
psychological warfare, dirty tricks and harassment-by-lawsuit
to silence its adversaries.
church has spent millions to investigate and sue writers, government
officials, disaffected ex-members and others loosely defined as
of private detectives have been dispatched to the far corners
of the world to spy on critics and rummage through their personal
lives - and trash cans - for information to discredit them.
one investigation, headed by a former Los Angeles police sergeant,
the church paid tens of thousands of dollars to reputed organized
crime figures and con men for information linking a leading church
opponent to a crime that it turned out he did not commit.
last year, an American Scientologist was arrested in Spain for
possessing dossiers containing confidential information on a member
of Parliament and a Madrid judge who oversaw a fraud and tax evasion
probe of the church. The dossiers included personal bank records
and family photographs, according to press accounts.
a British author's critical biography of Hubbard was even released
two years ago in Europe, the church had him and his publisher
tied up in a London court for alleged copyright infringement.
The writer speculated that Scientology sympathizers had somehow
managed to obtain pre-publication proofs of the book.
spokesmen insist that the organization is doing nothing illegal
or unethical, and is merely exercising its constitutional rights
argue that Scientology has been targeted by hostile government
and private forces - including the Internal Revenue Service, the
FBI, the press, psychiatrists and unscrupulous attorneys - that
have persecuted the church since its founding three decades ago.
a matter of self-preservation, lamented Scientology attorney Earle
C. Cooley, the church has been forced to fight back and then has
been unfairly chastised for its aggressiveness.
"When we were attacked at Pearl Harbor we didn't just sit
back and defend there," Cooley declared. "We tried to
get out on the offensive as quickly as possible. ... To sit back
and ward off the blows is ridiculous."
the church's aggressive response to criticism is a belief that
anyone who attacks Scientology is a criminal of some sort. "We
do not find critics of Scientology who do not have criminal pasts,"
Hubbard wrote back in 1967. "Over and over we prove this."
When Scientology takes the offensive, L. Ron Hubbard's writings
provide the inspiration. Here is a sampling of what Hubbard wrote:
purpose of the [lawsuit] is to harass and discourage rather than
attacked on some vulnerable point by anyone or anything or any
organization, always find or manufacture enough threat against
them to cause them to sue for peace.... Don't ever defend. Always
do not want Scientology to be reported in the press, anywhere
else than on the religious pages of newspapers.... Therefore,
we should be very alert to sue for slander at the slightest chance
so as to discourage the public presses from mentioning Scientology."
agree to an investigation of Scientology. Only agree to an investigation
of the attackers. ... Start feeding lurid, blood, sex crime, actual
evidence on the attack to the press. Don't ever tamely submit
to an investigation of us. Make it rough, rough on attackers all
to these rules is not discretionary. They are scripture and, as
such, have guided a succession of church leaders in their responses
to perceived attacks.
Hubbard's doctrinal dictums have often served only to escalate
conflicts and reinforce the cultish image that the church has
been trying to shake.
the early 1970s, British lawmaker Sir John Foster offered a seemingly
timeless observation on Scientology in a report to his government.
wrote that "anyone whose attitude is such as Mr. Hubbard
displays in his writings cannot be too surprised if the world
treats him with suspicion rather than affection."
its antagonists is considered so vital to the religion's survival
that the church has a unit whose mandate is to bring "hostile
philosophies or societies into a state of complete compliance
with the goals of Scientology."
the Office of Special Affairs, its duties include developing legal
strategy and countering outside threats.
predecessor was the Guardian Office, whose members became so overzealous
that Hubbard's wife and 10 other Scientologists were jailed for
bugging and burglarizing U.S. government agencies in the 1970s.
Scientology spokesmen say, attorneys are hired to handle conflicts
with church adversaries to ensure that history does not repeat
itself. The attorneys, they say, employ private detectives to
help prepare court cases - a role that, in the past, would have
been filled by Scientologists from the Guardian Office.
some former Scientologists contend that the private detectives
have simply replaced church members as agents of intimidation.
The detectives are especially valued because they insulate the
church from deceptive and potentially embarrassing investigative
tactics that the church in fact endorses, according to this view.
of the first private detectives hired by the church was Richard
Bast of Washington, D.C. In 1980, he investigated the sex life
of U.S. District Judge James Richey, who was presiding over the
criminal trial of Hubbard's wife and the 10 other Scientologists.
Richey had issued rulings unfavorable to them.
investigators found a prostitute at the Brentwood Holiday Inn
in Los Angeles who claimed that Richey had purchased her services
while staying at the hotel during trips to Los Angeles. Bast's
men gave her a lie detector test and videotaped her account.
and other information obtained by Bast's investigators was leaked
to columnist Jack Anderson, and appeared in newspapers across
the country. Soon after, Richey resigned from the case, citing
1982, Bast surfaced again, this time in Clearwater, Fla., where
the church's secretive methods of operating had stirred community
detectives, posing as emissaries of a wealthy European industrialist,
lured some of the community's most prominent businessmen aboard
a luxurious yacht. Their pitch: the industrialist wanted to invest
$100 million in Clearwater's decaying downtown.
there was a catch, recalled developer Alan Bomstein, one of the
businessmen being wooed. The emissaries said that their boss was
dismayed by the conflict between Clearwater and Scientology, and
wanted the businessmen to help quash a public inquiry into the
the businessmen refused, Bomstein said, the emissaries vanished.
Two years later, Bast revealed the deception in a court declaration.
He said the undercover operation was necessary to learn whether
Clearwater's elite were conspiring to run the church out of town.
recently, Scientology investigations have been run by former Los
Angeles Police Department sergeant Eugene Ingram, who was fired
by the department in 1981 for allegedly running a house of prostitution
and alerting a drug dealer of a planned raid (In a later jury
trial, Ingram was acquitted of all criminal charges).
he needs help, Ingram has sometimes turned to former LAPD colleagues.
Ex-officer Al Bei, for example, played a key role in a 1984 investigation
of David Mayo, an influential Scientology defector who had opened
a rival church near Santa Barbara. Scientologists believed that
Mayo was using stolen Hubbard teachings.
and other investigators questioned local businessmen, handing
out business cards that said, "Special Agent, Task Force
on White Collar Crime."
questions suggested - falsely - that Mayo was linked to international
terrorism and drug smuggling, according to court records. At a
local bank, Bei tried without success to obtain Mayo's banking
records and implied that Mayo was engaged in money laundering,
an executive of the bank said.
investigators rented an office directly above Mayo's facility
and leaned from the windows to photograph everyone who entered.
eventually obtained a court order barring Ingram Investigations
and church members from going near Mayo or his facility. The judge
said the investigation amounted to "harassment."
another occasion, Bei surfaced on a quiet residential street in
Burbank, Calif, where he questioned neighbors of two highly critical
former Scientologists, Fred and Valerie Stansfield. The Stansfields
had established a competing center in their home to provide Scientology
of the neighbors said in a declaration that Bei attempted to "slander"
the Stansfields with such questions as: "Did you know that
Valerie told someone that she had pinworms two years ago?"
Angeles police officer Philip Rodriguez is another who has assisted
Ingram in Scientology investigations.
late 1984, he provided Ingram with a letter on plain stationery
saying that Ingram was authorized to covertly videotape a hostile
former member suspected by church authorities of plotting illegal
acts against the church.
the letter was written without official police department approval,
Rodriguez's action lent an air of legitimacy to the investigation.
In fact, when church officials disclosed its results, they described
the operation as "LAPD sanctioned" - a characterization
that Police Chief Daryl F. Gates angrily disputed.
was suspended for six months for his role in the affair.
when the clandestine videotapes were introduced in an Oregon court
to discredit testimony by the former member, the presiding judge
said: "I think they are devastating against the church. ...
It [the investigation] borders on entrapment more than it does
on anything else."
former LAPD officer, Charles Stapleton, worked part time for Ingram
while teaching law at Los Angeles City College.
is a very thorough investigator," Stapleton said in an interview.
"He is determined to do the finest job he possibly can and
he will employ whatever methods or tactics are necessary to do
said he "bailed out" after Ingram asked him to tap telephones.
going to know?" he quoted Ingram as saying.
"I will know," Stapleton said he replied.
"I was told that if I didn't want to do it, he knew somebody
who would," Stapleton said, adding that he did not know whether
any telephones had, in fact, been monitored.
denied ever asking Stapleton to tap telephones. "I've never
done it and I've never asked anyone to do it," Ingram said.
"It's just not worth it. It's a crime. You're going to get
caught, so why do it?"
also said that he had not harassed anyone during his probes. He
describes himself simply as "aggressive."
who claim that I have conducted an improper investigation against
them probably have so many things to hide," said Ingram.
lawyer Cooley backed the investigator, saying: "I know of
no impropriety that has ever been engaged in by Mr. Ingram or
any other [private investigator] for the church. Mr. Ingram has
done nothing wrong."
year, Ingram and his colleagues surfaced in the small town of
Newkirk, Okla., to investigate city officials and the local newspaper
publisher. The publisher has been crusading against a controversial
Scientology-backed drug treatment program called Narconon.
At the core of the dispute is a contention by publisher Bob Lobsinger
that Narconon concealed its Scientology connection when it leased
an abandoned school outside town to build the "world's largest"
drug rehabilitation center.
weekly newspaper has written about Scientology's troubled past,
and published internal documents on the drug program. In the process,
he has helped rally community opposition.
back, Scientology attorneys in September mailed an "open
letter" to many of Newkirk's 2,500 residents announcing that
Ingram had been hired to investigate Narconon's adversaries. The
letter said that "a few local individuals have sought to
create intolerance by broadsiding the Churches of Scientology
in stridently uncomplimentary terms."
arriving in town, Ingram tracked down the mayor's 12-year-old
son at the local public library, handed him a business card and
told the boy to have his father call, Lobsinger said. "It
was just a subtle bit of intimidation," he said. "It
certainly did not do the mother much good. She was very unnerved."
said that investigators also camped out at the local courthouse,
where they searched public records for "dirt" on prominent
were checking up on the banker, the president of the school board,
the president of the Chamber of Commerce and, of course, the mayor
and his family, and me," Lobsinger said.
Mayor Garry Bilger, who opposed the drug treatment program, said
that a man who he believed was a church member tried to coax him
into disclosing personal information. Bilger said the man showed
up without an appointment and claimed that he was helping his
daughter with a report on small-town government for a class at
a nearby high school.
wanted to interview me and take pictures around the office but
I didn't allow that," the mayor recalled. "Finally,
I said, 'Are you with Scientology or Narconon?' He said, 'I don't
know about those people.' But he did, because he got outta there
in a hurry."
the man left, he gave Bilger the name of his daughter. The mayor
then checked with the school system and was told that no such
girl was enrolled.
have a standard pattern," Bilger said of the Scientologists.
"They try to be very aggressive. They try to intimidate.
This is not the kind of atmosphere we need in the Newkirk community.
... This tells me they are far from being harmless."
critics contend that one church writing, above all others, has
guided the organization and its operatives when they fight back.
It is called the Fair Game Law.
by Hubbard in the mid-1960s, it states that anyone who impedes
Scientology is "fair game" and can "be deprived
of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without
any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied
to or destroyed."
spokesmen maintain that Hubbard rescinded the policy three years
after it was written because its meaning had been twisted. What
Hubbard actually meant, according to the spokesmen, was that Scientology
would not protect ex-members from people in the outside world
who try tried to trick, sue or destroy them.
various judges and juries have concluded that while the actual
labeling of persons as "fair game" was abandoned, the
harassment continued unabated.
example, a Los Angeles jury in 1986 said that Scientologists had
employed fair game tactics against disaffected member Larry Wollersheim,
driving him to the brink of financial and mental collapse. He
was awarded $30 million. In July, the state Court of Appeal reduced
the amount to $2.5 million but refused to overturn the case.
Justice Earl Johnson Jr.: "Scientology leaders made the deliberate
decision to ruin Wollersheim economically and possibly psychologically.
... Such conduct is too outrageous to be protected under the Constitution
and too unworthy to be privileged under the law of torts."
a recent lawsuit, former Scientology attorney Joseph Yanny alleged
that the church and its agents had implemented or plotted a broad
array of fair-game measures against him and other critics, including
intensive surveillance and dirty tricks.
this year, a Los Angeles County Superior Court jury awarded Yanny
$154,000 in legal fees that he said the church had refused to
other things, Yanny said in his lawsuit that he attended a 1987
meeting at which top church officials and three private detectives
discussed blackmailing Los Angeles attorney Charles O'Reilly,
who won the multimillion-dollar jury award for Wollersheim.
to Yanny, the plan was to steal O'Reilly's medical records from
the Betty Ford Clinic near Palm Springs, then exchange them for
a promise from O'Reilly that he would "ease off" during
the appeal process.
who later had a bitter break with Scientology, said he objected
and the idea was dropped. The church denies such a discussion
ever took place.
is not a scintilla of independent evidence that Yanny's counsel
was ever sought for any illegal or fraudulent purpose," church
attorneys argued in court papers.
other church detractors have said in court documents and interviews
that they, too, were victims of fair game tactics even after the
policy supposedly was abandoned.
G. Clark, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard
Medical School, said he once criticized the church during testimony
before the Vermont Legislature. Scientology "agents"
retaliated, Clark alleged in a 1985 lawsuit, by trying to destroy
his reputation and career.
said in the lawsuit that they filed groundless complaints against
him with government agencies, posed as clients to infiltrate his
office, dug through his trash, implied that he slept with female
patients and offered a $25,000 reward for information that would
put him in jail.
"My sin," Clark said in an interview, "was publicly
saying this is a dangerous and harmful cult. They did a good job
of showing I'm right."
for their part, have described Clark as a "professional deprogrammer,"
who in court cases has diagnosed members of religious sects as
mentally ill without conducting direct examinations of them. They
have branded his professional work as fraudulent and his psychiatric
theories as "childish and nonsensical."
the words of one Scientology spokesman: "It's a crime that
he's walking on the street right now."
1988, the church paid Clark an undisclosed sum to drop his lawsuit.
In exchange for the money, Clark agreed never again to publicly
the opposite coast, psychiatrist Louis "Jolly" West,
who formerly directed the UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute at
the University of California, Los Angeles, said that he also has
had felt the wrath of Scientology.
an expert on thought-control techniques, said his problems began
in 1980 after he published a psychiatric textbook that called
Scientology a cult.
said that Scientology attempted to get him fired by writing letters
to university officials suggesting that he is was a CIA-backed
fascist who has had advocated genocide and castration of minorities
to curb crime.
said that Scientologists once managed to get inside a downtown
Los Angeles banquet room before guests arrived for a dinner celebrating
the Neuropsychiatric Institute's 25th anniversary. On each plate,
West said, was placed "an obscenely vicious diatribe"
against him and the institute -neatly tied with a pink ribbon.
consumed are some Scientologists by their zeal to punish foes
that they have violated the confidentiality of one of the religion's
most sacred practices, according to a number of former members.
former members accuse others in the church of culling confessional
folders for information that can be used to embarrass, discredit
or blackmail hostile defectors -a practice once called "repugnant
and outrageous" by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.
Some of these former members say they themselves took part in
confidential folders contain the parishioners' most intimate secrets,
disclosed during one-on-one counseling sessions that are supposed
to help devotees unburden their spirits. The church retains the
folders even after a member leaves.
year, former church attorney Yanny said in a sworn declaration
that he was fed information from confessional folders to help
him question former members during pretrial proceedings. Yanny
said he complained but was informed by two Scientology executives
that it was "standard practice."
executives have steadfastly denied that the confidentiality of
the folders has been breached. They maintain that "auditors"
-Scientologists who counsel other members -must abide by a code
of conduct in which they promise never to divulge secrets revealed
to them "for punishment or personal gain."
that trust," the code states, "is sacred and never to
those who buck the church say their lives are suddenly troubled
by unexplained and untraceable events, ranging from hang-up telephone
calls to the mysterious deaths of pets.
Los Angeles attorney Leta Schlosser, for one, said someone developed
"an unusual interest" in her car trunk while she was
part of the legal team in the Wollersheim suit against Scientology.
She said it was broken into at least seven times.
said her co-counsel, O'Reilly, discovered a tape recorder, wired
to his telephone line, hidden beneath some bushes outside his
there is the British author, Russell Miller. After his biography
of Hubbard was published, an anonymous caller to police implicated
him in the unsolved ax-slaying of a South London private eye.
was interrogated by two detectives, who concluded that he was
innocent. Det. Sgt. Malcolm Davidson of Scotland Yard told the
Los Angeles Times that the caller "caused us to waste a lot
of time investigating" and "caused Mr. Miller some embarrassment."
is no evidence that ties the church to any of these incidents,
and Scientology officials deny involvement in clandestine harassment
or illegal activities. They suggest that church foes may themselves
be responsible as part of an effort to discredit Scientology.
the Scientology movement is engaged in a sweeping effort to gain
influence across a broad swath of society, from schools to businesses,
in hopes of winning converts and creating a hospitable environment
for church expansion.
Hubbard's followers apparently consider his theology of combat
an important component.
1987, they elevated to high doctrine a warning he wrote two decades
ago in a Scientology newspaper, addressed to "people who
seek to stop us."
you oppose Scientology we promptly look you up - and will find
and expose - your crimes," he wrote. "If you leave us
alone we will leave you alone. It's very simple. Even a fool can
don't underrate our ability to carry it out. - Those who try to
make life difficult for us are at once at risk."