ORIGINALLY BROADCAST December 14, 1998
This two hour documentary was produced with the co-operation of Scientology and features interviews with David Miscavige, Jon Atack, Vaughn Young and others.
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Description of video is in italics. VO=VOICEOVER
ANNOUNCER: On December 14, 1998, this is “Investigative Reports”.
BILL KURTIS: Hello, I’m Bill Kurtis. It is America’s most controversial religion. Some, in fact, say it’s not a religion at all. For 40 years, the Church of Scientology has flourished in this country, while under constant attack by the government, the media, and the psychiatric profession. It’s been perceived as an organization interested only in money making, which brainwashes its members and then bankrupts them; all untrue, say its leaders and its many high-profile believers, including John Travolta, have drawn hundreds of thousands to its cause. In this edition of “Investigative Reports,” a rare in-depth look into a group that says it is paying the price for its revolutionary ideas.
aerial shots of various Scn churches
VO: Scientology is one of the fastest growing new religions in the 20th century. Its impressive edifices and glittering parishioners have put the 48-year old organization on the map of global emerging philosophies.
Scn IAS ad with John Travolta, Kelly Preston and their son Jett with caption saying “Lifetime Members”
JOHN TRAVOLTA (on set of a movie in Army camouflage uniform; caption–“John Travolta, Scientologist actor”): You name me another philosophy, religion or technology where joy is the operative concept.
JENNIFER ASPEN (at Celebrity Centre party; caption–“Jennifer Aspen, Scientologist”): In this community where you learn that you want to be part of all kinds of other communities and help the rest of the world.
ISAAC HAYES (at Celebrity Centre party; caption–“Isaac Hayes, Scientologist musician”): It brings a lot of good will, it influences wonderful things out of people. It helps people.
KIRSTIE ALLEY (outside AOLA on L. Ron Hubbard Way, caption–“Kirstie Alley, Scientologist”): So I think that’s pretty spectacular. I think everybody should see this.
Scienos marching; footage of Anne Archer, Travolta, unnamed singer, Jenna Elfman; outside Scn church; montage of Scn course rooms, auditing sessions, Bridge chart; man standing on the top of a hill
VO: Scientology provokes emotion. Hollywood celebrities are often seen raving about the religion they say has changed their life. Through a series of complicated self-help courses and a confessional process known as auditing, Scientologists strive to rid themselves of negative past life memories and reach a state of “clear.”
KELLY MORAN (caption–“Kelly Moran, Scientologist): It was just like someone had removed a gauze around my head, you know, and I could think and everything was really crisp and clear, and, and it was just really great.
Scientology sign lighted up; newspaper article titled, “Scientology bizarre plot to get official”; part of British newspaper article title “In Court as ‘Evil Cult'”
VO: But despite the positive testimonials many assume that the church is an evil and dangerous cult.
ISAAC HAYES: I said, “But Scientology, I heard y’all were a cult, I heard you were a cult. I heard y’all take folks’ money, y’all brainwash people. I mean, I said what was on my mind, you know.
Aerial shot of Scn church; picture of Lisa McPherson; Fort Harrison Hotel; legal papers in Lisa McPherson civil lawsuit; autopsy report; picture of candlelight vigil with picket sign with Lisa McPherson’s picture and the caption “Lisa McPherson, 1959-1995”; autopsy photo of Lisa’s hand with cockroach bites and bruises; picture of Lisa holding her Clear Certificate, morphed into the same picture when it was on the front page of the New York Times with the headline, “Death of a Scientologist Heightens Suspicions in a Florida Town”; Scienos taking pictures; footage of December 1997 Clearwater picket (including Xenu holding sign saying www.xenu.net, other signs saying “Scientology Hates Free Speech” and “Hubbard Was a Fraud”; Scieno rally; newspaper article titled “Psychologists Rally Against Dianetics”; cover of Time magazine Scientology issue “Cult of Greed”; Scn ad for “Dianetics” with exploding volcano
VO: Why the deeply rooted suspicion of Scientology? The church has often been linked to conflict, most recently when longtime Scientologist Lisa McPherson died after convalescing for 17 days in a Scientology-owned hotel. Her family believes her death was unnecessary and the fault of Scientologists who refused to take her for medical care. After a two-year investigation, Florida prosecutors have filed charges of abuse and neglect of McPherson, the first criminal accusations brought against the U.S. church in over 20 years. Scientology vehemently denies responsibility for the ugly death and faults a scandal-hungry media for savagely transforming a personal tragedy into exploitative headlines. The organization says negative impressions about the church are the result of a 40-year-old assault by world governments, psychiatry and the media; all part of an establishment threatened by a breakthrough faith.
ARON MASON (caption–“Aron Mason, Scientologist”): It’s just a classic case of, you know, you’ve got to have sensationalism, and I think it’s why the public are fed up with the media today, is that they’ve finally seen, as we have, that it’s just, it’s never ending, and it’s a self- fulfilling prophecy. You say it’s that way and then you make it that way so you can run the story.
shot of someone getting a newspaper out of a newspaper rack; outside a government building
DAVID MISCAVIGE (caption–“David Miscavige, Ecclesiastical leader of the Church of Scientology”): We are talking about attacks from multibillion dollar media conglomerates, governments, world governments, real powers of the world. The fact that Scientology has continued to expand, and is in the position it’s in today in the face of those attacks, well, that says there really must be something to this subject.
newspaper articles–“Church Claims U.S. Campaign of Harassment”, “5 Scientologists Get Jail Terms In Plot on Files”, “Scientology–Menace to Mental Health”, (from the “National Enquirer”) “Bizarre Brainwashing Cult Cons Top Stars Into Backing Its Drug Program” (with pictures of Charlene Tilton and Gregory Harrison), “Ex-Member Cites Abuse By Church”, “Scientology: A Judge’s verdict–‘CORRUPT IMMORAL SINISTER’”; photo of L. Ron Hubbard giving a lecture demonstrating an auditing session; LRH auditing a tomato; promotional picture of LRH; pictures of LRH as a child and teenager; combat footage; LRH diaries
VO: Amidst the flurry of tales, it’s difficult to decipher the truth. To really understand Scientology it’s necessary to go back in time to the genesis of the religion and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was born in 1911 in Tilden, Nebraska. An adventuresome spirit, Hubbard made trips to Guam and China as a teenager, described romantically in his teenage diaries.
pictures of LRH in aviator uniform and in adventurer’s uniform
DAN SHERMAN (caption–“Dan Sherman, official Hubbard biographer): You are talking about a young L. Ron Hubbard, you are talking about someone who shot sharks, who scaled erupting volcanoes, who explored the jungles of Asia. I mean, you’re talking about Indiana Jones, but for real.
picture of a young LRH blowing a bugle; painting of a skull
JON ATACK (caption–“Jon Atack, former Scientologist”): He did some small thing and that just blew up in his own mind. He had a very dangerous imagination. Even when he was 19, he was starting to inhabit a fantasy world.
cover of “The Kingslayer” by LRH; picture of LRH by a typewriter; cover of “Unknown” magazine with “Slaves of Sleep” by LRH; cover of “Fear” by LRH; cover of “Fantastic” magazine with “Masters of Sleep” by LRH; Lyle Stuart in his office
VO: That fantasy would be put to use in the 1930s when Hubbard dropped out of college and began to write for a living. Unusually prolific, Hubbard moved to New York and became a popular writer of adventure and science fiction stories. But those who knew him recall that Hubbard had other ambitions.
shot of city street
LYLE STUART (caption–“Lyle Stuart, publisher”): I knew Ron Hubbard before he ever started Scientology. I was in a writing group with him in Greenwich Village and he kept saying, “You know, the only way to make any money, you can’t do it with pulp writing, you got to, you start a religion.” And nobody took him very seriously.
LRH in Navy uniform; cover of “Magick in Theory and Practice, the Master Therion” by Aleister Crowley (and “The Beast, 666”; picture of Aleister Crowley
VO: In 1945, after a four-year stint in the Navy, Hubbard became involved in ritual magic with a protege of British Satanist Aleister Crowley.
black-and-white footage of a fire burning
JON ATACK: They started performing ceremonies to find a woman who would be willing to be the mother of an incarnation of the Antichrist. Babylon. Sexual ceremonies were performed between Parsons and Cameron, with Hubbard watching, and telling them what to do, and observing things on the astral plane, and this was meant to, you know, she would become pregnant, and they would control this elemental destructive force. I can’t emphasize this too much. Hubbard was trying to incarnate pure evil so that he could control it to his own ends.
Dan Sherman at his desk
VO: But the church insists that Hubbard’s participation in the alleged rituals was part of a government mission.
DAN SHERMAN: We know about L. Ron Hubbard. He was sent in by one of the American security forces, with a brief to shut the thing down, which effectively he did.
picture of LRH giving an auditing demonstration; picture of LRH standing next to a car shaking hands with another man; cover of “Astounding Science Fiction” magazine; original edition of “Dianetics”
VO: Government agent or not, Hubbard was destined to become the pop therapist of his era. In 1950, at the age of 39 he wrote an essay in “Astounding Science Fiction,” detailing discoveries he made about the human mind in a “science” he called Dianetics. The essay became the foundation for “Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health.
L. RON HUBBARD (from Scientology video): Dianetics through mind, and this book, that, that’s the background of all of this, that’s what started all the trouble.
aerial footage of suburbs in the 1950s; song “Little boxes on the hillside, little boxes,–” playing in the background; more footage of scenes from the ‘50s; magazine pictures from the ‘50s; picture of a sunset; Bridge chart with “Clear” in big letters
DAN SHERMAN (voice of and on camera): The world into which Dianetics was released in may of 1950 was overall a world of conformity. You had soldiers returning to the United States, and they were effectively told this: You get yourself a good job, you get yourself a tract home, and you live a conformed life. And if you are lucky, you will get yourself a swimming pool after, of course, you’ve dug your bomb shelter. You will have children, and they in turn will have grandchildren, and then you will die, and you will become nothing. All of a sudden here comes Dianetics. And Dianetics is saying, wait a minute, what if you can really rise above this state of a human being into something more special. Into what ultimately became a Clear
picture of LRH; footage of a bunch of airplanes and war footage; newspaper article with pictures of LRH and title, “Dianetics: A study of the mind–fastest growing ‘movement’ in America”
VO: Hubbard claimed to have uncovered the cure of virtually every ailment known to man and professed to have healed himself from partial blindness caused by an alleged war injury. Hubbard promised his book could work wonders on anyone who tried it.
pictures supposedly of PCs being audited
JON ATACK (voice of and on camera): He said that he could take anybody who was not brain damaged, and in less than 1,000 hours of therapy, which could be done by somebody completely untrained other than having read the book, you could take this person to a state called Clear.
picture of LRH holding copy of “Dianetics”; picture of LRH from magazine article; blue plastic model of a human head
VO: Hubbard claimed that all illnesses were psychosomatic and could be cured by eliminating painful past experiences from the brain.
L. RON HUBBARD (from video): The brain is a sort of a switchboard.
video graphics of red circle with the words “reactive mind” inside it and blue circle with the words “analytical mind” inside it
ISAAC HAYES (voice of and on camera): Engrams is mental image pictures that consist of pain, where there is mental or physical pain. It’s there. We have two minds. We have the analytical mind that doesn’t make mistakes at all. We have the reactive mind. hat’s the culprit.
apparently a page of a book or magazine with cartoon drawing of a human head with diagram of parts of the brain and the caption, “A critical appraisal of a best-selling book that originated in the realm of science-fiction and became the basis for a new cult–Dianetics”; Scn promotional video of auditing session; picture of LRH on the phone
VO: Hubbard said the troubling reactive mind could be forever discarded through auditing. During an auditing session, one confesses his innermost thoughts to another, all the while monitored by an electrometer, a tool similar to a lie detector. Auditing, said Hubbard, allowed one to relieve his mind from troubling past life traumas. Hubbard was eager to share Dianetics with prominent mental health experts.
MIKE RINDER (caption–“Mike Rinder, Director, Church of Scientology International”): He said, “Yeah, you take it, use it, help people with it. They rejected it; they were afraid of it.
picture of New York Times bestseller list with “Dianetics” #4 on the list
VO: But the book was an instant best seller.
picture of printing press; newspaper article titled, “Hubbard’s disciples vary but they’ve all read THE BOOK” with picture of LRH
L. RON HUBBARD (voice of and on video): We expected this to sell about 6,000 copies and, uh, when this textbook was published, and it hit the top of the best seller list of the New York Times and it just stayed there month in, month out.
picture of Sigmund Freud
VO: Hubbard’s open contempt for the field of psychiatry and the popular theories of Sigmund Freud also caused a ripple.
INTERVIEWER (on video): Is this a form of psychoanalysis?
L. RON HUBBARD (on video): No, psychoanalysis, they lay back…Don’t associate Scientology with such people. That’s terrible, that’s bad manners, you know. I mean, that business about sex and all that sort of thing. That’s for the neurotic or the person who is insane or something like that. That has nothing to do with Scientology.
newspaper articles–“Dianetics: Noted doctors attack new treatment”, “Doctors snipe at Dianetics as ‘quack’ mental therapy”
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): The psychiatric institutions and the prominent psychiatrists kept attacking Dianetics. It became clear that what they were engaged in had nothing to do with helping anybody. It had nothing to do with making someone more capable, of making someone happier.
footage of patient getting gag put in her mouth, doctor and nurse nearby
NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER: Electroshock therapy may be recommended for other disorders.
MIKE RINDER (voice of): It only had to do with keeping them quiet, giving them drugs, performing electric shock treatments on them.
footage of nurse holding a teapot under a patient’s nose; patient is in some odd get-up where only her head is sticking out with a rubber sheet stretched out; picture of LRH
NEWSREEL ANNOUNCER: Hydrotherapy is useful in calming disturbed patients.
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): Those sort of things are barbarities. And I think that Mr. Hubbard was one of the first people that stood up and said, wait a minute, this is wrong, something needs to be done about it. We’re going to take responsibility for making sure that people are not being turned into vegetables at the hands of psychiatry.
picture of people doing auditing; picture of someone in a Scn bookstore; picture of LRH and another man standing in front storefront of the Hubbard Association of Scientologists; “Hollywood” sign; picture of someone writing at a desk; Food & Drug Administration building; newspaper article with headline “Controversial E-Meter Takes Aim On Impurities”; official carrying out boxes
VO: Glowing testimonies to Hubbard’s “technology,” led to the creation of the Hubbard Association of Scientologists. Based in Hollywood, the organization taught Hubbard’s courses to those willing to pay the $25 an hour for the therapy. The Food and Drug Administration was suspicious. The FDA, which believed Hubbard was making medical claims for the e-meter, paid a visit to the D.C. Organization in 1963.
MIKE RINDER: They hired a bunch of longshoreman, sent them into the church in Washington, and cleaned the place out. They took the books, they took the e-meters, they took the vitamins, they took everything out.
picture of LRH; magazine article titled, “Number One Fraud of the Year: Dianetics”; picture of the White House
VO: Hubbard, furious, was convinced that psychiatry professionals had tainted the U.S. Government against him.
magazine article titled, “100 atom bombs can knock out the U.S.”; footage of J. Edgar Hoover; magazine article with title “Hoover’s Files Haunt Congress”; footage of Martin Luther King, Jr.; picture of LRH
BILL WALSH (caption–“Bill Walsh, tax attorney, Church of Scientology”): When L. Ron Hubbard started Scientology, and created Scientology in the ’50s, he did it at the height of McCarthyism and he came across with new ideas and a whole new way of looking at things in a new perspective. And J. Edgar Hoover at the time wasn’t exactly fond of new ideas. And the whole approach of the United States government was to be suspicious of new leaders who were coming at the time. Martin Luther King was a great target of the FBI, L. Ron Hubbard was a target of the FBI.
aerial shot of White House; picture of log for American Psychiatric Association; photo of psychiatrist and an empty couch; Scieno picketers with one sign saying “Don’t let psychiatrists drug children”
VO: While Hubbard distrusted the government, he viewed psychiatry, a profession that also treated the human mind, as the number one enemy of Scientology.
photo of CIA agent
DENNIS ERLICH (caption–“Dennis Erlich, former Scientologist”) (voice of and on camera): It was part of the sort of lore that you learned when you went into the organization. Scientology has enemies, and some of them you will need to deal with very firmly.
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (caption–“Robert Vaughn Young, former Scientologist”): The enemy to Scientology is anybody that questions Scientology. Anybody that opposes it. Anybody that challenges it. Anybody, that in the Scientology language is “counter intentional.”
neon “Scientology” sign; footage of J. Edgar Hoover; neon “Scientology” sign again
VO: It was Hubbard’s belief in the existence of a global conspiracy against Scientology that would define him and his church.
ISAAC HAYES: L. Ron said that you have to fight back against your oppressor. If you don’t, he will gain strength and more strength and more strength, and wipe you out.
picture of LRH on ship; footage of ship
VO: When we return, L. Ron Hubbard feels the heat of the IRS and takes to the sea.
footage of hippies; picture of LRH with other Scienos
VO: The United States of the early ’60s saw a new generation of Americans, suspicious of traditional authority. The atmosphere was ripe for L. Ron Hubbard, a sci-fi writer gone spiritual leader, to spread his promises of do-it-yourself healing to the people.
L. RON HUBBARD (from video): We live in a world where, where, where, where we have governments and we have societies and so forth, who are desperately trying to help man. they are trying, however, to solve his problems for him.
picture of LRH; aerial shot of Scn church with Scn cross on top of the building; book “Scientology” with Scn cross on top; Scn members standing near giant photograph of LRH
VO: By 1960 Hubbard had taken Dianetics one step further, and founded the Church of Scientology. A cross appeared on Hubbard’s buildings, his writings became “scriptures,” and his students parishioners.
picture of book “The Dianetics & Scientology Technical Dictionary”; Scn church “service” with “minister” in clerical garb
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): It was an alternative therapy. A non-recognized alternative mental therapy. But Hubbard actually made us start wearing minister’s uniforms and put up the trappings of religion around so the IRS would get off his case.
picture of LRH; shot of clouds in the sky; HCOPL of March 6, 1969–“Scientology is a Religion”
VO: But Hubbard contended that since his work dealt with man as spirit separate from his body he had entered the realm of religion.
L. RON HUBBARD (from video): We have a 2,000 year history of man as a spirit, whereas we only have less than a century of considering simply mud. And, uh, therefore art my study is more traditional than most philosophies.
magazine article titled, “Attention the Minister of Health: This man is BOGUS” with picture of LRH; magazine article titled, “The red-headed maverick” with picture of LRH
VO: Hubbard and his upstart religion provoked contempt.
picture of map of the Soviet Union; footage of Richard Nixon
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): Hubbard had been kicking over rocks and exposing things, and the government didn’t like him, and the communists didn’t like him and Nixon didn’t like him and he had all these big enemies.
covers of “Freedom” magazine; one issue had cover story “South African Human Warehouses Exposed”; pictures of psychiatric patients sitting in a hallway; “Freedom” magazine article, “The living nightmare of the deep sleepers”, headline “ZOMBIE DEATHS INQUIRY”
VO: The church outlined these enemies in its publication “Freedom” magazine. “Freedom” proudly published exposes on bizarre psychiatric practices, including what it called psychiatric work camps in South Africa, and a strange deep sleep therapy in England.
magazine article titled “CIA Lab Grows Deadly Bio-Weapons”, close-up of the word “MKULTRA”
BILL WALSH: He talked about this secret program that was being conducted by the intelligence community using psychiatrists, called MKUltra that we finally found out about it, but it was using drugs, and hypnosis, in order to create in essence a “manchurian candidate.”
footage of U.S. Government buildings; Internal Revenue Service Building; newspaper article titled “Cult to pay taxes”; footage of St. Hill Org; newspaper article titled “Behind the castle’s walls”; inside and outside of luxurious estate; pictures of LRH; LRH memo titled “The War”
VO: While Hubbard went after the government, the government went after him. In 1967, the IRS revoked the Church of Scientology’s tax exemption, stating that Scientology was a commercial, not religious, organization. Hubbard lived in luxury, and was suspected of skimming huge sums of money from the church. He immediately became the subject of an IRS probe into his financial dealings. Outraged, Hubbard began penning a number of “policy letters” on how to deal with Scientology’s enemies.
Fair Game HCOPL; close-up of HCOPL with word “LOUDLY”, “BLACK PROPAGANDA” HCOPL; first page of Hubbard Communications Office Manual of Justice
GRAHAM BERRY (caption–“Graham Berry, anti-cult attorney) (voice of and on camera): The Fair Game policy refers to utterly destroying any critics. That a Scientologist can do whatever is required to destroy a critic. And the Fair Game policy is one of the policy letters in that series of documents, that also include how to conduct a noisy investigation, black propaganda. In the Manual of Justice he writes, “the purpose of the lawsuit is not to harass, but to destroy.”
Ford Greene at his desk; poster for “God Bless America Festival” with picture of Sun Myung Moon; magazine article about Greene; HCOPL with close-up of words “Investigate public”
VO: Attorney Ford Greene, a former follower of Sun Myung Moon, says Scientology’s policies did not come as a surprise.
outside Scn church; picture of Sun Myung Moon
FORD GREENE (caption–“Ford Greene, anti-cult attorney”) (voice of and on camera): All cults draw a dichotomy between those on the inside and those on the outside where those on the outside are lesser people and are treated by a whole different system of morality, that can justify misconduct from cheating, lying to killing. Scientology call it Fair Game, the Unification Church calls it heavenly deception.
Fair Game HCOPL; “Cancellation of Fair Game” HCOPL; newspaper article titled, “How sect fought ‘enemies’”
MIKE RINDER: It became misinterpreted. What it said was that if someone has left the Church of Scientology, or if someone is directly attacking the Church of Scientology, that person no longer has recourse to the internal ethics and justice procedures within the church. It was canceled. But for PR reasons, because it had been being misinterpreted.
HCOPL with close-up of words “COUNTER-ESPIONAGE”
VO: But ex-members claim that the militaristic policies remained.
HCOPL of February 16, 1969, Issue 11, Reissued September 24, 1987–“Confidential–BATTLE TACTICS”
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): You have to understand that, that the mentality of the organization is that it’s a–first of all, it’s built on a military model, it’s not a religious model. He’s got policy letters called “battle tactics”, all right? And there are battle plans.
HCOPL of March 1, 1966–“THE GUARDIAN”; HCOPL titled “Enemy Action”; picture of LRH with Navy hat and ascot; picture of Mary Sue Hubbard; picture of LRH
VO: Hubbard’s battle plan was executed by the Guardian’s Office, set up in 1966 to deal with Scientology foes. Hubbard, who had officially resigned as formal head of the church in 1966, put his wife, Mary Sue, in charge. But ex-members say Hubbard was still in charge.
JON ATACK: They were L. Ron Hubbard’s intelligence agents. That was their purpose; and indeed an intelligence specialist in the U.S. has said that they were as effective as the CIA.
GO document–“URGENT–SECRET SNOW WHITE PRIORITIES”; poster for the Freedom of Information Act, “Help Make the Government Accountable for Its Actions”; FBI files
VO: In 1973, the Guardian’s Office implemented a program known as Operation Snow White. The group began to use the Freedom of Information Act to access government files. And it proved federal agencies were circulating lies about the church.
part of newspaper headline, “Snow White”
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): He dreamed up conspiracy to explain all this problem, and he created a top secret program called Snow White to uncover and find the source of this conspiracy.
Mike Rinder sitting at his desk talking on the phone
VO: But Scientology did indeed uncover some bizarre documents in government files.
part of FBI document with close-up on words, “LSD as a sacrament”, “through Church of Scientology. And our Hubbard may be”; picture of Timothy Leary; hits of LSD; footage of hippies
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): At one point there was a document that said, aha, we have discovered Timothy Leary has, knows a man called Alfred Hubbard, Alfred Hubbard obviously is L. Ron Hubbard, therefore perhaps L. Ron Hubbard is really Timothy Leary and that there is money from LSD being channeled into the Church of Scientology. I mean, this is how absurd these reports were. There was this constant barrage of assaults coming from these government agencies, so the Guardian’s Office was set up in order to deal with those external facing matters of the church.
newspaper headline, “Scientology: A judge’s verdict: ‘CORRUPT, IMMORAL, SINISTER’”; newspaper article titled, “Here are 99 Groups on IRS Probe List”, with close-up of the words “Founding Church of Scientology” on the list; picture of Hubbard; picture of the “Apollo”
VO: The target of media scrutiny and under investigation by tax authorities, Scientology’s founder evaded growing hostility against him by purchasing a yacht and taking to sea.
footage of the ocean; picture of LRH with Sea Org members; Sea Organization flag; pictures of Sea Org members
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): He went off to begin a project of further research. He took with him a few very dedicated members of the religion, which became the nucleus of what we now know today as the Sea Organization. The most dedicated members of the religion are members of the Sea Organization. They dedicate their entire lives to accomplishing the goals and objectives of Scientology.
picture of Sea Org billion year contract
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): It’s the people who sign a billion year contract, to come back lifetime after lifetime serving Hubbard.
picture of LRH on ship; poster of “The Bridge to Total Freedom” with painting of a bridge going up side of a mountain; picture of the “Excalibur” ship; newspaper article titled, “Scientology Flagship Shrouded in Mystery”
VO: On the ship, Hubbard enhanced his Bridge to Total Freedom, creating new levels above that of Clear. Hubbard acquired more ships to accommodate the Sea Organization. The secrecy surrounding Hubbard’s mini flotilla did not help Scientology’s reputation abroad.
newspaper article titled, “50 Scientologists told to leave Britain”; footage of apparently Greek shore; apparently LRH looking through binoculars
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): Not only did he have to leave the United States, he finally had to leave the United Kingdom, then he was kicked out of Greece. He couldn’t even land his ship after a while.
VO: The animosity culminated in Portugal, in 1975.
footage with signs saying “25 de ABRIL sempre” and other banners; picture of the “Apollo”
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): A whole bunch of people were in the streets and someone got them all hyped up and they filled up a bunch of taxis with rocks, and they went down to the Apollo and they started stoning the ship. It was a time of incredible upheaval and upset and people in the streets, and this rumor went around and it went like wildfire. Pretty soon you’re seeing it on walls in the harbors: “Apollo equals CIA. Apollo equals CIA. Frankly we all thought it was pretty amusing, like, the last people in the world to be accused of the–of being the CIA, is the Church of Scientology. We had been in a pitched battle with the CIA since 1950.
footage of shore and harbor
VO: After the incident, Hubbard returned to land, determined to uncover the source of the hostility against Scientology.
HCOPL with close-up of words “attack–attack”; HCOPL “Targets”
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): What do you do when you are under assault, what do you do when you’re being attacked by the biggest governments in the world? And this is not paranoia. How do you respond? How do you deal with it? Yes, there were, there were a number of directives that were written. Ultimately, when you’re in a battle with the United States government, for example, if it’s simply a war of attrition, there’s no doubt who’s gonna win a war of attrition.
BILL KURTIS: And the war was just beginning. When “Investigative Reports” returns, the Church of Scientology does battle with the FBI, and an author who dares to attack their motives.
pictures of FBI raid on Scn churches; newspaper article titled, “Secret probe sparks raid on Scientology”
VO: On July 7, 1977, 134 FBI agents stormed into Scientology centers in Washington and Los Angeles.
Washington Post newspaper article titled, “Scientologists Kept Files on ‘Enemies’
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of): We hit the front page of every newspaper in the country at that time.
footage of Scn press conference; copy of “Alaska Mental Health Act”; newspaper article titled, “Woman Sees ‘Political Siberia’ In Alaska Mental Health Bill”; footage of White House
VO: At an official press conference the church claimed that its stance against the obscure Alaskan Mental Health Bill had made it a target of the White House.
footage of Richard Nixon
MAN WITH MUSTACHE (from the Scn press conference) (voice of and on camera): We put out a publication and Richard Nixon who was vice president at that time was in favor of this bill, and we attacked the bill, and said that it’s, uh, it’s totally oppressive. And within two days the Secret Service burst into our church and threatened us never to use Nixon’s name again, and that they were sent here on express orders of Richard Nixon. So we’re not a quiet group.
supposedly Nixon’s Enemies List with “Founding Church of Scientology” on the list
BILL WALSH (voice of and on camera): It was revealed that the Church of Scientology was one of the top targets of the Nixon White House, and was on the infamous Nixon enemies list, White House list.
newspaper article titled, “Scientology office stormed by police, documents seized”; picture of Scienos picketing against the FBI and Justice Department; Guardian Office document, “SECRET: URGENT—SNOW WHITE PRIORITIES”; picture of Scienos apparently involved in “Operation Snow White”; newspaper article titled, “2 Scientology aides guilty of burglary”; picture of outside of the Department of Justice
VO: But the raids revealed that Operation Snow White had gone too far. Members of the Guardian’s Office, in an attempt to prove a conspiracy against the church, had been robbing government files and infiltrating federal agencies.
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (caption–“Robert Vaughn Young, fmr. Spokesperson, Church of Scientology”): They started burglarizing government files, burglarizing media files, burglarizing psychiatrists’ files, and one of the intelligence boys walked off and told the story to the Department of Justice, which had begun to piece some things together.
newspaper articles–closeup of the word “sentenced”, “Wife of Church of Scientology founder gets 5-year prison term”; close-up of the words, “to prison”; newspaper headline, “Scientology Founder’s Wife Gets Prison Term”; picture of outside of courthouse; picture of Mary Sue Hubbard
VO: Several top Scientologists were arrested. Hubbard’s wife Mary Sue was among those jailed for the crimes.
pictures of hippies
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): Suddenly this was no longer just a little thing on the side that some people were doing, like meditation and chanting. This was something that was taking on the federal government, taking on the media, taking on professionals, taking on judges. And that’s when Hubbard became the focus.
picture of LRH auditing a tomato
VO: But Hubbard had vanished.
magazine article titled, “The hidden Hubbard” with picture of LRH; aerial shot of mountains in California
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): After the raid of ’77, Hubbard went into serious hiding. He was at one point hiding in a place between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, out there in the edge of the desert.
aerial shot of church building
VO: Back in Los Angeles, church officials were dealing with a public relations nightmare.
HCOPL of May 11, 1971–“Black PR”; closeup of words “Whom to Suspect”]
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): With the raid of ’77 they got all of our files, they got our secret packs, they got the stuff that we studied. They began to get the directives regarding how this was all done. So suddenly, the magic act was gone.
HCOPL, “Black Propaganda”, close-up on words “dead agent caper”
VO: Most damaging were files showing that the church waged war on its critics by “dead agenting” them.
DENNIS ERLICH: And now dead agenting someone means making them not be credible any more by reason of showing the world the dirt, the real dirt on them.
picture of LRH on telephone
GRAHAM BERRY (voice of and on camera): He wrote at one point, “Investigate those who attack us. Make it as rough as possible. Spread lurid lies.”
Scn memo, “RE: Paulette Cooper”
VO: One example of this policy captured the media’s attention.
picture of Paulette Cooper
GRAHAM BERRY (voice of and on camera): The FBI discovered Scientology’s documents explaining what they were doing to Paulette Cooper and how they were doing it.
picture of Paulette Cooper’s book, “The Scandal of Scientology”
VO: In 1971 Cooper had written “The Scandal of Scientology.”
FORD GREENE: She was the first person whoever wrote a book critical of Scientology, and in furtherance of their opportunistic policy of retribution called Fair Game, set her up.
newspaper article with close-up of words “frame female”, “Operation Freakout”
VO: “Operation Freakout” was used to intimidate Cooper.
JON ATACK: An anonymous letter was sent to all the tenants in the apartment block she was in, I think it was something like 200 people, saying she was a child molester.
newspaper article titled “An Author vs. Scientology Church” with picture of Paulette Cooper, close up of excerpt from article “We’re gonna give you the .44 treatment”
GRAHAM BERRY (voice of and on camera): They also hired a private investigator to go to her door and put a gun to her head, unloaded, but pulled the trigger.
picture of Israeli flag flying; newspaper article titled, “Author of a Book on Scientology Tells of Her 8 Years of Torment” with picture of Paulette Cooper
RUSSELL MILLER (caption–“Russell Miller, author”)(voice of and on camera): The final trick was somebody somehow got her fingerprints on a piece of paper and they then wrote a bomb threat on this piece of paper and sent it to an Israeli embassy. So the FBI went around there and arrested her. Paulette Cooper was driven very very, close
newspaper article titled, “Scientology papers reveal plot to frame female writer”
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): Really, it was a pretty stupid thing to do, but they stepped outside the law. They were thrown out of the church.
picture of Paulette Cooper; picture of LRH on ship; aerial shot of Scn church
VO: Paulette Cooper refused to be interviewed for this program, citing fears of harassment by Scientology. The church claimed Hubbard knew nothing of Operation Freakout and promised it was restructuring the church.
MIKE RINDER: There was a reorganization that took place in order to structure the church so that nothing like that could ever happen again.
JON ATACK: What happened in 1982 was that the Church of Scientology expelled something like 600 members. And we were told, as you will probably remember, that we weren’t allowed to talk to these people.
newspaper article titled “Scientology is slammed in court as ‘evil cult’”; picture of protester holding sign saying, “Parents beware–Moon wants your children”; pictures of Jonestown; newspaper headline from the Los Angeles Times titled, “Jones Ordered Cultists to Drink Cyanide Potion”
VO: The bad press had damaged the church, which many began to describe as a cult. The ’80s found the anti-cult movement flourishing. The shocking images of Jim Jones and hundreds of his followers dead from cyanide-laced Kool-Aid, still fresh in the American psyche. The sensational treatment of the incident alarmed Scientology.
pictures of Jim Jones; pictures of Jonestown; part of newspaper headline with words “to expose evil cult–high court gives green light”; picture of culties in yellow outfits; newspaper article titled, “known clergy’s advice on Scientology: Steer clear of this cult–it is unacceptable” with closeup of the word “cult”
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): Jim Jones and his activity was really a fairly mainstream Christian church. They weren’t some weird gang that was, you know, just been invented by a Johnny-come-lately. They were, they were Christian. Now, what happened to them? I don’t know. But I know what happened in the world as a result of what happened in Jonestown, which was you had the new “in” word. The “c” word. Jonestown, cult. Cult, bad. Cult, Scientology.
ALEXANDER COCKBURN (caption–“Alexander Cockburn, journalist): The word cult can be used, and you can imply there is a huge threat, you can imply that suddenly this organization has got its tentacles everywhere.
aerial shot of Ft. Harrison; shot of city seal on the City Hall building in Clearwater, Florida; newspaper article from the Clearwater Sun entitled, “Scientologists plot city takeover”; footage outside Ft. Harrison; newspaper article titled “Scientology critics parade to hearings”; pictures of ex-member Scott Mayer in Sea Org uniform
VO: Was the Church of Scientology a cult? Or a religion? In 1982, the city of Clearwater called official hearings on the matter. The church was accused of plotting to take over the city. Ex-members came forward to recount their horror stories about the church. At the hearings, former Sea Organization captain Scott Mayer spoke about life on the ship with Hubbard.
pictures of LRH on ship; picture of Sea Org member being lifted up by two other Sea Orgers and held over railing of ship
SCOTT MAYER (caption–“Scott Mayer, fmr. Sea Organization member”)(voice of and on camera): We all heard him from time to time, screaming and yelling on the ship at somebody. He had an incredibly fierce temper. Anybody at any time could be put down in the bilges, or put up on the rails and tossed overboard. I mean, somebody would fish them out, but it was mostly the humiliation factor, of being, you know, like the old walking the plank.
stationery with letterhead “Operation and Transport Corporation Limited” from Panama
VO: Supposed illegal activities onboard the ships were also revealed.
apparently Hubbard and another person on board the Apollo
SCOTT MAYER (voice of and on camera): Telex transmissions were used to set up funds smuggling, and he had a couple million dollars in the strong box right on the Apollo.
apparently drive-by footage outside Scn building; Sea Org memo “The Rehabilitation Force”; Sea Org members walking down street; RPF’er bailing out water with a bucket; apparently RPF guard dressed in black
VO: The notion that Scientology was a dangerous cult was furthered by bizarre tales about the Rehabilitation Project Force, a discipline program where Sea Organization members performed hard labor.
picture inside a regular church with cross on the wall; footage inside and outside a church
ALEXANDER COCKBURN (voice of and on camera): You can make any religion sound really dumb. Supposing you said there is a cult in which the members of this cult, the Christian cult, they go around and they eat a biscuit, which they say is the body of their god, and they drink wine which they say is the blood of their god, and this is a ritual. You could make this sound absurd. What’s happened with Scientology is that it’s become like the representative demon cult.
outside a “Dianetics and Scientology information center” with sign saying “TROUBLE with relationships? Would you like to be truly happy? Find out how inside”
VO: But was Scientology a sect that endangered its own devotees, or an unjustly demonized emerging religion?
BILL KURTIS: The policies of the church were now coming under increasing scrutiny, and the critics want some definitive answers from its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. But where was he?
outside Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles; magazine “Bay Guardian” with cover story “Scientology secrets revealed in 2 million dollar consumer fraud case”; outside AOLA building in Los Angeles; news footage from Julie Christofferson Titchbourne trial in Portland, with Scienos picketing
VO: The ’80s saw a series of lawsuits brought against the Church of Scientology. Ex-members united, claiming they had been lied to and bilked out of millions of dollars. In 1985, an ex-Scientologist was awarded $39 million after she claimed the church had falsely promised to improve her eyesight. Thousands of Scientologists converged on Portland to protest the verdict.
JOHN TRAVOLTA (from 1985): I just don’t see why something that has such a good intention is being so–so persecuted, I mean, in my ten years, I’ve never had to come out to this degree.
more Scieno picketing
VO: Church members were fervent.
ANUDA GORMAN: I’m gonna call my boss Monday morning and tell him that my religion is being attacked.
JEANETTE PENWELL: Scientology works, and we want everybody on the planet to know that.
more Scieno picketing
VO: The verdict was eventually overturned.
JOHN TRAVOLTA (on set of movie dressed in Army camouflage uniform): That was a big changing point in our group, and Portland was pivotal.
newspaper article titled, “Church of Scientology loses suit, is told to pay woman $2 million”; footage of Scn members walking inside church building, red and green volumes on shelf; what looks like magazine article sidebar close-up–text says, “75 million: Years ago when billions of “Thetans” were banished to the planet Earth by Galactic ruler Xenu. 300,000+: Cost in dollars to complete Scientology training. 4,560: Cost in dollars to purchase large bronze bust of L. Ron Hubbard.”
VO: The case raised questions about the prices the church charges for its courses.
apparently clip from Scn video showing blue figure with red flashing signs saying “engram”
JON ATACK (voice of and on camera): There are people who’ve spent millions of dollars, who didn’t have millions of dollars. There are people who left Scientology ten years ago who are still paying back the money they borrowed to do it.
sign outside Scn church saying “Free personality and IQ test–film showings–bookstore”; cover of LRH book “The Cycle of Communication”; Scn ad for books saying “Find out the truth”
ERIC SHERMAN (caption–“Eric Sherman, Scientologist”)(voice of and on camera): There is a range of services which the church offers and provides which go from free to costing some money. Depending on how one is stationed and what one wishes to do. The books are charged for more or less normal rate that books are charged for. For the courses and, uh, auditing services, donations are requested. I don’t have a problem with that. They need to survive, everybody needs to survive, plus you put a value on something… That’s, that just never been an issue for me.
ARON MASON: If people didn’t want it, if it wasn’t setting–if it wasn’t helping them lead better lives, they wouldn’t, they wouldn’t pay for it.
three Scienos on-stage at Scn event; newspaper article titled, “Church of Scientology sues IRS, alleging 33 years of harassment”
VO: Scientology was proving persistent in its battles. In the ’80s, the church continued its fight with the IRS.
promotional brochure or poster saying “Get your copies of this booklet” with picture of booklet, “How to Protect Your Rights As a Taxpayer”
ARON MASON (voice of and on camera):We co-founded the National Coalition of IRS Whistle Blowers, and this gave a forum to these former IRS agents and also people working in other areas of government who knew about IRS crimes or dirty tricks.
picture of LRH on board ship; footage of L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. on TV talk show; legal papers with close-up of words “Re the Estate of L.RON HUBBARD, A Missing Person,”; outside Scn church
VO: And throughout all of this, not a word from L. Ron Hubbard. In fact, in 1982, Hubbard’s estranged son claimed his father was dead.
INTERVIEWER (from TV talk show): When was the last time you saw him?
picture of LRH
L. RON HUBBARD, JR. (voice of and on TV talk show): September 1959. Everybody else hasn’t seen him since March, 1980.
SECOND INTERVIEWER (from a second TV show): There’s got to be more to it than that. You’re taking this to court.
L. RON HUBBARD JR. (from second TV show): Well, I think we have enough evidence to show that he is probably dead. But, of course, we don’t have his body.
footage from Scn press conference
VO: The church moved fast to defuse the rumor.
newspaper article titled, “Hubbard body fingerprints to be verified”
NEWS ANCHOR (voice of and on video footage): The Church of Scientology today produced what it called evidence to quell rumors that its founder L. Ron Hubbard is dead.
copy of handwritten document supposedly written by LRH with fingerprints
HEBER JENTZSCH (from Scn press conference video) (voice of and on video): I have here my own personal copy with the two colored spots of ink, and with Mr. Hubbard’s personal fingerprint over the ink, scientifically proving that Mr. Hubbard had to be signing this document and putting together after February 2, 1983.
apparently video of Jentzsch holding tape recorder–closeup of portrait of LRH
VO: Church officials also produced greetings from Hubbard.
close-up of cassette in tape recorder–cassette titled, “LRH RJ 36–December 31, 1982—‘Your New Year’”
L. RON HUBBARD (on audio tape): With inexorable promptitude, 1983 is upon us.
INTERVIEWER (off camera): Is that Ron Hubbard?
HEBER JENTZSCH (on video): You bet your life.
aerial shot of what looks like Hemet area in California; picture of Scn video
VO: The church said Hubbard was not hiding nor dodging subpoenas, but writing and directing internal technical films.
picture of director’s chair with “L. Ron Hubbard Director” on back; picture of LRH talking through bullhorn; match lighting
JON ATACK (voice of and on camera): There would be six messengers on duty when he was filming. One would hold his chair, one would hold a packet of cigarettes, and as soon as she saw that the cigarette he had was going out, would have to light another and give it to him. One held the ashtray, one held his pen, and so on. There were six of them round him. One of them was put on the humiliating Rehabilitation Project Force where she probably served for several months because she didn’t get a chair there fast enough.
picture of LRH standing next to camera
VO: Conflicting reports began to emerge about how Hubbard was spending his final years.
picture of LRH at desk; picture of “Battlefield Earth” book; picture of “Mission Earth” series
DAN SHERMAN (voice of and on camera): He suddenly found himself with a little spare time on his hands. So, he turned to the world of fiction. What came out of that was “Battlefield Earth,” and the 10-volume “Mission Earth” series.
picture of sunset over the ocean
SCOTT MAYER (caption–“Scott Mayer, former Scientologist”)(voice of and on camera): The last time I saw him, he was shaking, virtually uncontrollable, he was kind of dithering around trying to explain something about the sunlight.
picture of LRH; Scn document with picture of LRH and the message “Hubbard in Heaven”; newspaper clipping with picture of LRH and headline “L. Ron Hubbard Dies”; newspaper article titled, “Hubbard–Dead or Alive?”
VO: On January 27, 1986, the news broke: L. Ron Hubbard was dead. The announcement provoked wild media speculation.
newspaper article titled, “Scientology founder’s fate: Dead or alive?”
ERIC SHERMAN (caption–“Eric Sherman, Scientologist”)(voice of and on camera): The people who were more or less having difficulty with Scientology were trying to prove that he was dead when he was alive. When he died, they were trying to prove he was alive. (laughs) So, you know, this is the media.
aerial shot of Big Blue building; picture of LRH; picture of an HCOPL; lighted sign outside AOLA church building
VO: Some cried that with Hubbard unable to cancel policies and make new proclamations, Scientology would be unable to change with the times.
PRISCILLA COATES (caption–“Priscilla Coates, anti-cult activist): According to Scientology’s definitions, scripture is what was written and spoken by L. Ron Hubbard.
GRAHAM BERRY: It can’t change. Scientology’s policies and practices are written in stone.
ISAAC HAYES: We will not allow it to become aberrated. We will not change it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
inside auditorium at Scn event
VO: To Scientologists who believe in reincarnation, the news was hopeful.
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG: The last thing that was really wanted was for Hubbard to be, sort of dead. Like a mortal man. So something had to be dreamed up. And so what was dreamed up was that he had moved on to a new level of research.
footage from Scn video showing bronze Hubbard bust, various plaques; pictures of LRH in adventurer’s uniform, aviator’s uniform, and naval uniform; picture of LRH holding camera; space shot picture of the moon
VO: Despite the ridicule by outsiders, Scientologists were certain: Hubbard had merely discarded his body to move on to the next level of research. Hubbard had achieved his goal: To operate at a state outside the body.
L. RON HUBBARD (from video): A being is a being, he is a spirit, and he actually can exist independent of his body. This is one of the more interesting discoveries in Scientology.
shot of outer space
VO: The charismatic leader of the Church of Scientology had passed on. Could Scientology outlive its founder?
picture of LRH; pictures of books “L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?”, “Bare-Faced Messiah]
VO: Scientology lost its founder in 1986. And the news that Hubbard was no longer sparked a flurry of unofficial biographies.
Russell Miller walking down road; picture of LRH
RUSSELL MILLER (voice of and on camera): I knew that there was some question mark over L. Ron Hubbard’s background. The church presents a picture of L. Ron Hubbard as being a very extraordinary individual, and was almost prepared, rather in the manner of Jesus Christ, to become this extraordinary guru.
video clip from TV talk show “Central Weekend Live”
TALK SHOW HOST (from video): We have with us Russell Miller, the author of “The Bare-Faced Messiah.”
picture of military medals; picture of LRH; war newsreel footage; talk show audience member
RUSSELL MILLER (voice of and on camera, from talk show segment): Now, the church says that he was born into a distinguished naval family; it’s a lie. The church says that he was an explorer; it’s a lie. The church says that, um, he was a war hero; it’s a lie. He was a bigamist, he was a child abductor, and in the later stages of his life, he descended into the classic symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. (audience members protesting )
TALK SHOW HOST (from video): Isn’t this totally to discredit the, the, the history, as published, of the life of Ron Hubbard, and therefore to discredit the church totally?
WOMAN TALK SHOW GUEST, (apparently a Scientologist)(from video): I know for a fact that the people in his book– and I’ve read it– are all people who are not active Scientologists. How on earth could he give a balanced picture?
footage of two Scienos outside talking
VO: Practicing Scientologists were mystified by the attacks on their hero.
picture of Thomas Jefferson; picture of U.S. Constitution; picture of LRH
ERIC SHERMAN (voice of and on camera): Did Thomas Jefferson have affairs, or did he not have affairs? Does that change the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? The question is what is the work, what is the legacy? And I believe that what Hubbard said about life and living is helpful; we can improve the conditions of life. I don’t care, much care whether he was a man, woman, black, white, Asian, Span–I really don’t care. And I mean that, I actually don’t care!
Russell Miller walking down road
VO: Miller claimed he was a victim of Fair Game for his tough portrayal of Hubbard.
newspaper article titled, “The cult and a private eye”
RUSSELL MILLER (voice of and on camera): I had a call from the police, saying that I’d been identified as a suspect in the murder of a private detective in south London, a man who’d been stabbed. I said, “I think I know what’s going on.” And I explained to them that I suspected the Church of Scientology, or an over-enthusiastic Scientologist had fingered me for this crime.
newspaper article titled, “Author of cult book victim of new plot” with picture of LRH; newspaper article titled, “Court Halts Distribution Of Hubbard Biography”
VO: The church sought injunctions to stop the book, which was never published in America.
magazine article titled, “A religious belief in lawsuits”; Sea Org member photographing license plate of car driving by
GRAHAM BERRY (voice of and on camera): A number of lawyers commented that life was too short to litigate against the Church of Scientology because of what the church puts lawyers through who go up against it. They have told me on several occasions, “We make life rough for people who sue us.”
man holding large camera; footage of Scientology church buildings; “Time” magazine Scientology issue “Scientology: The Cult of Greed”
VO: The media ignored those warnings and began covering Scientology with a vengeance. In April 1991, Time magazine published “Cult of Greed,” a scathing cover story on the Church of Scientology.
WOMAN NEWS REPORTER (from news footage): The Time magazine article charged that the Church of Scientology wasn’t a religion, but rather an organization obsessed with making money.
“Time” magazine article; footage of Big Blue building; legal papers in lawsuit by Scientology against “Time” magazine; newspaper article titled, “Church sues Time for $416M”
VO: The relentless article called Hubbard “a lying flimflam man,” accused the church of mind control, and contended that the church’s parent organization was squirreling away over $400 million in offshore bank accounts. Scientology fought back by slapping Time with a $416 million libel suit.
“Time” Scientology issue magazine cover; Scn promotional material titled “The Story That TIME Couldn’t Tell”
RICHARD BEHAR (caption–“Richard Behar, journalist) (voice of and on camera):After our cover story, the church launched a multimillion-dollar ad campaign smearing me and smearing Time magazine.
Scn promotional material; assembly line with bottles of Prozac; apparently Scn ad saying “What U.S. Drug Company Produced Heroin and LSD?” with bottle of elixir heroin compound with the word “Lilly” printed on the label
VO: The church accused Time magazine of being at the hands of Eli Lilly, makers of Prozac and a Scientology foe.
ad saying “PROZAC: Eli Lilly’s ‘Miracle’ Drug?”; pictures of Eli Lilly company
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): That article was the product of a campaign that was being waged to discredit the church for exposing the dangers of Prozac. And Eli Lilly and company purchased 750,000 copies of that magazine before it went to print.
“Freedom” magazine with cover story “Prozac Crash! Investors Abandon Killer Drug”; “Freedom” magazine article, “Psychiatrists: The Men Behind Hitler” with picture of Adolf Hitler
JON ATACK (voice of and on camera): They have depressed the share value of Eli Lilly, which probably concerns Eli Lilly. And I believe it’s part of Hubbard’s vendetta against psychiatry.
picture of Eli Lilly building; footage of Time-Life building
VO: Eli Lilly refused to comment on the Church of Scientology. After spending $10 million in legal fees, Time won the suit.
newspaper article titled, “Scientology vs. Time”; Supreme Court building
NADINE STROSSEN (caption–“Nadine Strossen, President, A.C.L.U.”)(voice of and on camera): Defamation lawsuits can really serve as a deterrent to people who engage in provocative or controversial or offensive expression. What the Supreme Court has called this kind of effect is a chilling effect.
FORD GREENE: Is the job of the press to just look at somebody’s mask and to say “Oh, well, of course that’s what you are” or is the job of the press to dig behind and see really what the substance is, and to really see what’s going on?
newspaper article titled, “Scientologists Infiltrated Forbes Magazine”; newspaper article titled, “Scientologists sue Times, 2 Reporters for $1 Million”
VO: Journalists who have covered Scientology have long held that they are harassed and investigated.
Scn DA brochure titled “The Boston Herald, Merchants of Sensationalism”; newspaper article titled “Church of Scientology probes Herald reporter”; footage inside Boston Herald office
JOSEPH MALLIA (caption–“Joseph Mallia, journalist”) (voice of and on camera): I believe that Scientology tries to make reporting about Scientology a traumatic experience in the hopes that it will prevent reporters or deter reporters from writing about them.
close-up of someone’s hand typing on computer keyboard; footage of Richard Behar in his office
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): And, of course, you never go into an interview without doing a background check on the reporter. So you run that reporter through the voting records, through the bankruptcy records, through court records. You interview his friends, you see what else they’ve done. So you get a feel of this, whether or not this is an enemy reporter.
apparent church memo about how the church is being portrayed in the media with close-up on the word “cult”
ALEXANDER COCKBURN (voice of and on camera): Well, of course, Scientology for journalists has become like a target of opportunity. It’s like you can portray it as this demonic organization, you can portray it as greedy, as relentless, as a dangerous foe, which of course gives the impression that you’re very courageous to be going after it.
footage of Mona Boutros and German TV crew being followed by OSA
VO: German reporter Mona Boutros recently experienced Scientology’s tough policy on unfriendly journalists.
MAN (in vehicle with Boutros; from footage): …Person’s with you. He has been physically threatened by the Church of Scientology, and they are the ones following us. They’re stalking us.
Scieno taking pictures; Scienos following somebody around on foot and by car; close-up of a hand tracing on a deposition about forced abortions in the Sea Org
MONA BOUTROS (caption–“Mona Boutros, television producer)(voice of and on camera): Our main objective in “The Dark Side of Scientology” was to inform the public about criminal activities of the church. Once we began shooting, the angle changed. Once the church found out about our project, once they observed us gathering information and filming, they didn’t leave us alone after that. They followed us and they put pressure tactics and prevented us from working independently as journalists.
MONA BOUTROS (from footage while filming “The Dark Side of Scientology”): The BMW is… Yes, three cars, and we would like to come to the closest police station.
MAN (in vehicle with Boutros, from footage): You’ve got to say it’s stalking ’cause that’s the felony.
newspaper headline clippings–“Scientology”, “Attacks”, “Investigators”, “and Critics”; Scn promotional material, “The true story of Scientology” with picture of LRH; close-up of someone’s hand underlining a sentence in a document; Scieno taking pictures; footage of Mona Boutros holding folder
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): The only time that we have done anything to investigate a journalist who was doing an investigation into Scientology was when they wouldn’t come to us. When they wouldn’t ask us “What is it? What’s the truth about this?” When they wouldn’t accept any of the information that we gave them. When they were clearly operating on some other agenda. Now, when someone like that shows up and they feel like they have the right to be digging around and investigating and finding out all the dirt and stuff that they can dig up to put in a story about us, I see nothing wrong with going and investigating what is it that’s motivating them. Who said that a journalist is immune from someone looking into their methods and activities?
newspaper article titled, “San Diego Paper Sued for $10,000”; newspaper article titled, “Church out to even the score”; Scieno taking pictures; cover of “Spy” magazine issue with article “Infiltrating Scientology: A Spy Investigation”; picture of Mark Ebner
VO: Despite the possible headaches of covering Scientology, an interest in getting the inside story persists, leading to undercover investigations by reporters who delight in provoking the church.
photograph from “Spy” magazine article with caption “Hello?” and Ebner holding one of the e-meter cans to his ear and the other to his mouth
MARK EBNER (caption–Mark Ebner, journalist): I’m not gonna lie and say I had a completely open mind, I mean, I thought, you know, ‘cause I noticed the scam working, you know, as soon as I walked in the door– them making a play for my credit card. I’m an Introductory to Dianetics graduate. I got my hands around those cans of that e-meter, and, baby, my needle floated. It floated good.
pages from “National Lampoon” article “Elron Hubbard–Over 10,000,000 Purged–Diarrhetics”
VO: The church says the cynicism comes from a media in search of the sensational.
front page of “Weekly World News” magazine with headline “GEORGIA FLOWERS CAME FROM OUTER SPACE!”; footage from a newspaper office
MIKE RINDER: The media’s interest in, uh, three-headed babies, in people that have been impregnated by outer space UFO aliens… ‘Cause I think it’s very easy for the media– particularly people that are doing a short program or writing a short story that’s something they got to bang out in a couple of hours–to take and try and reduce things to sound bites.
ARON MASON (caption–“Aron Mason, editor, “Freedom” magazine): And because Scientology doesn’t reduce to a sound bite, it just doesn’t lend itself to media coverage. It doesn’t lend itself to some kind of accurate treatment. We’re not just a “blank.”
copies of “Freedom” magazine mounted on Scn office wall
VO: Scientology often expresses frustration with the press, and has taken to conducting its own investigations, publishing them in Scientology magazines.
page from “Freedom” magazine with caption “We believe human rights are worth fighting for” superimposed over picture of the U.S. Constitution]
ARON MASON (voice of and on camera): From our perspective, the more you know, the less likely you are to be victimized, the less likely you are to become a target. To actually be safe.
Scn ad with caption “’The [IRS] organization will get you.’” with picture of IRS agent; another ad with picture of John Wayne and caption “What he didn’t know about the IRS could affect you, too.”
VO: In 1991, the church utilized national newspapers to air their gripes with the IRS.
footage of someone getting copy of “USA Today” from newspaper rack; Scn ad with caption “’I’ll take your income for the rest of your life–’” and picture of evil agent standing in front of woman; another ad with caption “Q: How do you spell IRS in Russian? A: KGB” and picture of USSR flag
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): We figured, you know… (laughs) we’re not gonna get the IRS any more upset with us than they already are, so we published a series of ads in USA Today, and they documented the fact that the IRS was, in fact, abusing all sorts of people.
ALEXANDER COCKBURN: You know, when Scientology, like, goes after an institution, they don’t just pick on little guys (laughs), as people might– I mean, they pick on the IRS. ‘Cause they obviously wanted tax exempt status, they felt they deserved it.
picture of someone getting copy of “Washington Post” from newspaper rack; outside of Washington Post building; Scn ad with caption, “What magazine gets it wrong in 1991?” and picture of Time magazine cover; outside Los Angeles Times building; “St. Petersburg Times” newspaper article titled, “Scientologists bar reporter”; Sea Org security guard taking pictures
VO: Scientology continues to utilize media channels to make its opinions known, but the organization is still notorious for pestering critics.
Sea Org security guard walking up to camera person
RUSSELL MILLER (voice of and on camera): When this program goes out, I can assure you, assure the producer of this program, and the network, that they will get exactly the same happening to them that has happened to me. Absolutely; it’s a promise. I guarantee it.
BILL KURTIS: The Church of Scientology recently launched a multi-million-dollar public relations blitz. Church leadership says it’s aimed at increasing membership, and promoting its unique programs. Critics say it’s merely an attempt to counter the growing negative publicity surrounding the church. In our next hour, we hear from current and former Scientologists as they speak out passionately about the church and its members. Also, a rare interview with a man who is now the group’s spiritual leader, as he prepares his flock for the 21st century. I’m Bill Kurtis. Stay tuned.
BILL KURTIS: Since its emergence in the 1950s, the Church of Scientology has been a source of great fascination. It has spent many of those years at war with the U.S. government, the press, and portions of the public. But behind the headlines are real people who have experienced Scientology firsthand. In this second hour of a special A&E presentation of “Investigative Reports,” we hear directly from those who remain members of the church, and from those who have now left it. As you will see, their stories vary dramatically.
ISAAC HAYES: Remember, whatever you do, you do it to yourself.
black-and-white footage of Dennis Erlich walking down sidewalk; chart of “The Bridge to Total Freedom”
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): Well, it was a–it was a period in my life when I was having all kinds of different marital and adjustment problems. I went to visit a friend of mine, and he had changed remarkably since I had seen him the last time, and he was raving about Scientology and pointing at this chart on the wall, how you can… At this point you’ll have this ability, and up here you have the ability to, you know, exteriorize, and it’s this whole progression thing that kind of interested me.
Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles
KELLY MORAN (caption–“Kelly Moran, Scientologist”) (voice of and on camera): Well, actually I had a boyfriend who was a Scientologist, and he brought me down to Celebrity Centre, and I had a tour. And I looked around, and I said, “oh, this is nice,” you know. And I signed up and I did a basic course.
JON ATACK I went through nine years of Scientology. As a client of the organization, I paid them a lot of money, and they, in turn, gave me something back.
TAMMY TERRENZI (caption–“Tammy Terrenzi, Scientologist”): I remember there was a time when I couldn’t look at people. I couldn’t look people in the eye. I was very sort of withdrawn, you know. And you sort of get the skill, and you–and you drill it, and you become better and better at it.
close-up of course description chart–“Success Through Communication Course”
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): And you were taught to sit and have eye contact with another individual for hours on end; I’m talking not move, not blink, not twitch, not sweat, not anything, for two hours at a stretch. And that’s to pass one of these drills.
ERIC SHERMAN (caption–“Eric Sherman, Scientologist”): When I have received the Scientology or Dianetics auditing, I experience a similar thing: A freedom and a getting back in touch with myself and my actual views and opinions, with which I can go back into life and do better.
ISAAC HAYES: I felt great and I got rid of some stuff that I didn’t realize that I was dragging around. And I said, “Whoa, I think I’ve become a Scientologist.”
close-up of e-meter; close-up of course description chart–“The Way to Happiness Route”; black-and-white footage of apparently a pre-clear in an auditing session
SCOTT MAYER (voice of and on camera): You get a lot of things out of Scientology that are workable up to a certain point, and that’s when it sets the hook. And you find yourself on a series of upper-level OT levels wherein you’re not able to discuss your case with anybody else, you know. You’re supposed to be acquiring superhuman powers; you’re really not. It’s emotional blackmail.
DENNIS ERLICH: The idea is that this is a whole spectrum of ability that goes all the way up to telekinesis, that you could move things, people, with your mind. But in the beginning, you have to just drag them. (laughs)
ISAAC HAYES: I hadn’t seen my band in about three months, and we went to Zurich, Switzerland. And I came in and they looked at me real weird. Said, “Man, something’s—something’s different about you. You look younger. Uh, this look in your eye.” And, of course, I was eager to tell somebody.
sign outside Scn church–“Free Personality and IQ testing–Film showings, bookstore–Come Inside”
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): If you had a problem, you came and talked to me, I could–I could what we call “reg” you. Sign you up for something. Hubbard’s techniques are, “It doesn’t matter, just tell them you can solve it.”
JON ATACK: I was becoming increasingly worried about the high cost of Scientology. You know, we were up paying $200 per hour for counseling. Which seemed excessive to me. You know, as professional therapists probably charge $50 to $100.
KELLY MORAN: What I would do is I would just say, “What do I want to do next?” You know, and I would say, “Well, I want to do that next. That sounds like something I would be interested in.” And then I would just, you know, gradually pay on it, and before you know it, you’ve got it paid.
flag with emblem and the words “Sea Organization”; Sea Org members walking down street; sign outside Flag organization; close-up of Scn memo about RPF with close-up on “2. Has no Liberties.”
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): I became a Sea Org member, and from there on, I was a 24-hour a day Scientologist. I had no personal life. I–I lived in Scientology buildings, I was fed by Scientology, I was paid my $17.50 a week, when I got paid at all. In 1979, I was put in the Rehabilitation Project Force because I made a joke about, about one of Hubbard’s policies.
picture of Sea Org members; footage of RPF’er wheeling what looks like a copy machine down the sidewalk
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): RPF stands for Rehabilitation Project Force. It is a program that is exclusively for the benefit of Sea Organization Members. If they are stressed out, if they’re not doing well on their job, if they’re having problems, have them do menial type work, and five hours a day of auditing and Scientology training. It’s a fabulous program.
footage outside the Fort Harrison Hotel–apparently filmed during the December 1997 Lisa McPherson picket as there was sign outside the Fort Harrison saying “We’re not here right now. We’re out doing good for the community. See you at the Pinellas Trail opening.”
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): I was locked in a chicken wire cage that was in the basement of the Fort Harrison Hotel where there’s just huge boilers and dripping pipes–real gothic, you know, (laughs) kind of scene.
footage outside Scn building apparently where the RPF’ers are held, with young man dressed in black walking outside
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): They came banging on the door one night, early morning, at 4:00 AM. once, and they took my wife. It really lets you know what it’s like to live with the Gestapo. When, when you can be so controlled and so afraid that they can just say your wife’s leaving, grab a couple of things, you’re coming with us, and tell me to just go back to bed, and I’d go back to bed.
headline from “Clearwater Sun” newspaper titled “Defectors Paint Unnerving Picture of Scientology”
JON ATACK (voice of and on camera): The stories I began to hear were incredible. My membership was relatively soft. I was never on the staff of Scientology. Nobody had told me that people were thrown off the ships into the water, put into the chain lockers. I didn’t know. In nine years. That’s how secretive Scientology is. And it’s the mentality that it creates in members.
illustration of monk kneeling; photograph of Middle Eastern family
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): If a monk that was in a Catholic order left the monastery, and he went out and he went to the media, and he said, “You know, when I was in that monastery, I was not able to talk to anybody; I was never able to see my family; I had to sleep on a bed of straw, or on concrete; I got woken up seven times a night to say prayers,” do you think that if someone went out with those sort of allegations to the media that anybody would give them even the time of day?
family photographs of Dennis Erlich when he was a child
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): If you’re connected with somebody who is against Scientology principles, you are required to disconnect from them. If you want to continue in Scientology, you have to disconnect from them. Disconnect means exactly what it sounds like: You can have no contact with the person, they can’t–you don’t let them call you, you don’t let them write you, you don’t answer their letters. They are out of your life.
family photograph of Dennis Erlich when he was a child, apparently with his brother
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): If you have someone who is antagonistic to you and your objectives in life, and you are unable to get that person to stop being antagonistic towards doing that, then you have two choices. You either stop doing what you’re doing that they are complaining about, or you don’t pay any attention to what they’re saying any more, and you (makes “swish” sound like he’s cutting something) cut off the line.
family photograph of Dennis Erlich when he was a child, apparently with his brother
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): I was required to disconnect from my brother. And I nearly disconnected from my parents.
photograph of Scott Mayer when he was younger
SCOTT MAYER (voice of and on camera): You know, people were living in misery. They weren’t getting what they were supposed to be getting, which was spiritual enlightenment. I never heard the word “God” used once in all of that time. I never saw a church service. All I ever did was see people worked into the ground to make money for Hubbard, and after a while, I just couldn’t stomach it anymore. I had to leave.
footage of Dennis Erlich walking down sidewalk
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): That’s all you have to do in a cult is say, “Uh-uh, I’m not going to go along with it.” And they got no use for you any more. So 15 years later, I was shown the door.
picture of Stacy Young; apparently footage of where RPF’ers are housed; footage of Scn security guard
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): They came after me and I could hear the motorcycles. ‘Cause they had the motorcycles, they start out. And they came looking for me. I went to, uh… a home of somebody on the reservation, I just knocked on the door and said, “Excuse me, but I–my car broke down over here. Do you mind if I just use your phone? I’ll pay you.” And I just had some money, and I have to call, so I called my wife. And I called her, and I was crushed because she said, “They’re here with me.” ‘Cause by the time I had gotten to the phone, they had gone up there and they had grabbed a hold of her, and they had her under guard. And I knew I was trapped. They let me call a cab, and I, and as I got out of the cab, there was one of the guards in one of the trucks behind me and he says, “Hi, Vaughn.” And I said, “Just get away from me,” and I made it into the motel. I knew they wouldn’t try to physically threaten me; they don’t do that, it’s all just coercion. They smile–“Everything’s going to be fine, come on back,” et cetera, and so I was talked back in. That’s why I make this comparison to the drug addict and the alcoholic, you know, “oh, yeah, we’ll talk about your alcohol problem. Here, have a drink, let’s talk about it.”
pictures of two of Dennis Erlich’s daughters
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): I had, I had two children, my oldest and my youngest children were living with me. The oldest had signed a Sea Org contract, at–at age nine. I said, you know, “Do you want to stay or do you want to come with me? I’m leaving Scientology.” She decided she wanted to stay, and it took her another year to get out of there. And she almost didn’t.
JON ATACK: It gets inside people, it saturates people. In a study of cults done by Conway and Siegelman in the U.S., they studied 1,000 ex-cult members, and at the end, they said Scientology has the most debilitating set of rituals of any cult in America. They reckon that recovery time, unassisted, for somebody who left Scientology would average 12½ years.
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG: It’s like getting on a boat, pushing off from shore, and not even knowing what’s out there, and not even knowing if there’s an edge of the world you might fall off, but all you know is I would rather die on the open seas and die a free man than die inside that organization, with what I’ve come to see is, is just complete totalitarian mind control.
SCOTT MAYER: You know, I mean, I made it through Vietnam, I’ve made it through more… I should have been dead years ago. If I go now, I go now, you know. But if I can do something to keep someone else from getting hurt or someone else from being conned, someone else’s life from being messed up by these creeps, I’m more than willing to do it. It’s a small price to pay. That’s the way I feel about it.
video effect with bright ray of light on dark screen
ISAAC HAYES (voice of and on camera): Sometimes when you veer off the road to total freedom, you can get back on. If you get off, you might get chewed up. If you stay on, you will get through it. You got to trust it. But if you freak out– “Oh, I don’t want to do this no more”– things can happen.
aerial shot of Big Blue building; newspaper article titled, “Ex-Member Cites Abuse By Church”
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): If, if one-tenth of what these people say goes on in Scientology really did go on, there would be no Church of Scientology. This same small group of people, the ones that manage to get themselves into the media, the ones that go around–probably the ones that have contacted you and told you stories, those exact people are the people that have demanded tens, hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars from the church to shut up. Now if it really was true, what they were saying, why would they be demanding money to stop?
GIF with alternating message saying “The Church of Scientology–afraid of the real world” and “CENSORS the Net for members!”
VO: When “Investigative Reports” returns, the Church in cyberspace!
“Operation Clambake” web page
VO: The ’90s brought with it a new challenge for the Church of Scientology in the form of the Internet.
newspaper article titled “Showdown in Cyberspace”; David Gerard’s web page; web page that says “Why I hate Scientology”
GRAHAM BERRY (voice of and on camera): The Internet has been a disaster for Scientology. Netizens, or people who spend a lot of time on the net, have a particular wild west attitude towards the First Amendment. They believe in freedom of speech, and any attempt to circumvent their freedom of speech is resisted.
http://www.scientology-kills.net web page; GIF with message saying “The Church of Scientology–afraid of the real world”
VO: Anti-Scientology web sites have sprouted up, giving a louder voice to Scientology’s dissident community.
Scientology’s official web site
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of): I just called them liars. I just called them liars from every different angle.
Dennis Erlich at his computer
VO: Erlich and others began denouncing Scientology and its founder.
web page saying “Racist quotes by the King of Con, L. Ron Hubbard;”
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): They were on the newsgroup making false representations, lying, and I just… I just pointed it out in very graphic terms that they were lying. And when proof was required, I quoted to give them the proof.
Scn course description chart with close-up of “OT III”; what looks like the back of a “Scientology Kills” shirt with first page of OT III in white print on black background; space shot of Earth; outer space video
VO: Ex-Scientologists also began disseminating the mysterious OT III, an advanced level in Scientology that is said to trace the source of man’s pain to over 70 million years ago.
Scn course description chart with someone’s finger pointing toward the phrase “The materials of OT III (Confidential)”
TAMMY TERRENZI (voice of and on camera): I think it’s really irresponsible. It happens to be confidential material. And people, when they get to that level, they read and see that material. And it’s placed at that level for a reason.
cover of “Freedom” magazine with story “Freedom of speech at risk in cyberspace”
MARK EBNER (voice of and on camera): Whenever something goes wrong in terms of public relations, it’s called, in Hubbard-speak, it’s called a PR flap. This is the granddaddy of PR flaps.
magazine article titled “alt.scientology.war”
VO: The church wasted no time in getting their attorneys on the case.
EARL COOLEY (caption–“Earl Cooley, Scientologist lawyer”): This is simply a matter of property rights being protected. It is not a freedom of the press issue; it is not a news gathering issue; it is not a freedom of speech issue.
ALEXANDER COCKBURN: Everybody has documents and things they don’t want to be seen. And, you know, which is proprietary information. Everybody wants that. Why do the Scientologists go after people who attack them? I think they do feel, they have acquired over the years, a siege mentality. And they have been under a certain amount of siege.
video of raid on Arnie Lerma’s house in 1995; picture of Arnie Lerma by computer which had a yellow “Police Line–Do Not Cross” banner across it
VO: In 1995, the Church of Scientology, assisted by U.S. Marshals, raided the homes of three of its harshest detractors. Arnaldo Lerma caught the raid of his home on video. Church officials confiscated materials relating to Scientology on the grounds that the copywritten works were being exploited on the net.
MAN (from video): You have a court order permitting you to be the substitute custodian for this search and seizure?
WOMAN (from video): If you want to see the court order, you can…
more of the video of raid on Arnie Lerma’s house
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): They went through my house, cupboard by cupboard. They went through my computer, file by file. They copied whatever they wanted off of my…They copied my hard disk, they deleted whatever they wanted off my hard disk. They packed up books that belonged to me and to other people. Seven hours later, after going through and photographing everything in my house, looking in every, you know, closet, cupboard, drawer, they packed up and left.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON (from video): Are you here with the Church of Scientology?
MAN (from video): No comment.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON (from video): No comment? What authority do you have to be taking these records?
WOMAN (from video): Do you think it’s okay for him to steal property?
newspaper article titled “Scientology Snags a Dissident” with picture of Dennis Erlich
VO: Erlich and others claim their rights have been violated.
Scientology official web page (I think www.lronhubbard.org)
FORD GREENE (voice of and on camera): Scientology has insured protection of its market share by suppressing speech. Because the more speech there is, the less successful Scientology is going to be.
“Freedom” magazine web page
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): They are really their own worst enemy. They are the ones that make the critics; then they force the critics to become enemies, and then these people become lifelong warriors. And they fulfill their own conspiracy theories by creating enemies by their treatment of people.
close-up of somebody at a computer; front page of “Glendale News-Press” with headline “Scientologists raid house, seize files” with picture of Dennis Erlich; apparently picture of raid at Dennis Erlich’s house (?); newspaper article titled, “A Posting On Internet Is Ruled To Be Illegal”
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): I believe that on the Internet, freedom of speech is a primary. And the more that we let fascistic, totalistic groups like Scientology erode our rights, the less of this fantastic new medium, the less it’s gonna mean.
picture of Ex-Mudder’s Lisa McPherson page–“WARNING! – this page is not of the faint of heart, or for the young of age” with links to Lisa McPherson autopsy photos; www.scientology-kills.net page; www.entheta.net page
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): The cry that these people give in justification is “The Internet is an anarchy, we are anarchists, you can’t stop us,” so therefore by trying to enforce the law, somehow that gets translated into “You’re trying to stamp out free speech!”
newspaper article titled “Church of Scientology plotted to quiet critic”
MONIQUE YINGLING (caption–“Monique Yingling, tax attorney, Church of Scientology”) (voice of and on camera): I think it’s curious the way the Church of Scientology is attacked for harassing its critics or trying to silence its critics, but the Church of Scientology also has a right to freedom of speech. They want to make the record straight and say what their position is, and they have the same right to do that as their critics do.
JEREMIAH GUTMAN (caption–“Jeremiah Gutman, religious rights attorney”) (voice of and on camera): A religion has no more and no less right than anyone else to copyright material and to protect it from infringement. I think it’s a kind of strange position for a religion to take, saying we have a message that will save your soul and, and make you better, but you may not read it unless you pay me.
newspaper article titled “Marshals Seize Computer Files of Man Sued by Scientologists”; footage of Bob Minton at his computer; close-up of screen where he’s reading ARS
VO: Such incidents got the attention of those outside the Scientology debate.
Electronic Freedom Foundation web page; picture of D.C. org with big group of Scienos outside it
BOB MINTON (caption–“Bob Minton, funds litigation against Church of Scientology”) (voice of and on camera): I first became aware of the Church of Scientology when I read an Electronic Freedom Foundation newsletter in January of ’95 which indicated that the Church of Scientology had tried to close an Internet newsgroup which was a haven for critics of Scientology.
footage of Bob Minton walking down street; newspaper article titled “Boston Man in Costly Fight With Scientology” and picture of Bob Minton
VO: Minton quickly became involved in the anti-Scientology movement, spending almost $2 million to fund ex-members litigating against the church.
GIF with alternating messages saying “The Church of Scientology–afraid of the real world” and “CENSORS the Net for members!”; web page with words “Censored by Scientology” inside a red circle with diagonal line across; web page from www.xenu.net which tells about the Scieno Sitter
BOB MINTON (voice of and on camera): Scientologists are given filtering software to allow them to go on the Internet, because they do not want Scientologists to be subjected to critical information.
Ron Newman’s page, “The Church of Scientology vs. The Net”
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): You’re dissuaded from contact with the outside world, reading papers, watching television, whatever it is. You might see something that is upsetting. If it’s upsetting, you might need to get a session, or go to ethics.
footage of Bob Minton walking down street and going into building
VO: Minton has recently come under investigation by Scientology for his activities.
GRAHAM BERRY: He was attacked. And the more he was attacked, the more he got involved.
footage of Bob Minton outside door, laughing; footage of woman going into Scn church
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): He’s a freak. He’s a, a media freak. He is an animal of the media. He knows nothing about Scientology. (sniffs) He doesn’t have a clue. He’s never been in a Church of Scientology until I invited him in to sit down and talk to him, to see if I could find out what his beef was.
BOB MINTON: They have hate, basically, at the, at the core of this cult, masquerading in the form of love.
footage of Mark Ebner; Dennis Erlich at his computer with his “Scientology Kills” shirt hanging up on door; Bob Minton at his computer with close-up of his computer screen–“Agent (alt.religion.scientology)”
VO: Scientology detractors hope that leaking secret materials on the web will discourage church membership.
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG: The Internet will be to Scientology what Vietnam was to the United States. It’s gonna be a battle that they can’t win.
close-up of person’s hands typing on keyboard
MARK EBNER (voice of and on camera): The trade secrets that they’re trying to protect, all that science fiction space opera stuff at the end of the road, it’s already on the hard load–hard drives of millions of people. In other words, the cat’s out of the bag. So anybody that cares to investigate this organization are just a few keystrokes away from finding the truth– and it’s out there.
BILL KURTIS: While those opposed to Scientology are busy recounting their stories on the Internet, the church continues the intense effort to tell its story. When we return, a mission the Scientologists say will save the world.
Clearwater picket 1997–Xenu picketing with sign saying “L. Ron Hubbard: Psychotic CON MAN”, other picketers with signs saying “www.scientology-kills.net” “Xenu Crossing (inside a yellow sign on picket sign)”; Deana Holmes with sign saying “Did Standard Tech kill Lisa?”; lecture at Scientology church
VO: While church administration is busy dealing with a steady stream of conflict, individual Scientologists are out among the people, spreading Hubbard’s word at every opportunity.
MIKE RINDER: Well, you know, the aims of Scientology are a civilization without war, without criminals, without insanity, where the able can prosper, where honest beings have rights and man is free to rise to greater heights.
JOHN TRAVOLTA (on movie set, in Army camouflage uniform): I get relief every time I hear those words, because that’s the world I want, you know, for my son and for my family, and for myself. And for everybody, you know, it’s a, it’s a, it’s an ideal scene.
Scientology church “service”; Scn classroom; newsreel footage of soldiers
VO: At the heart of this missionary zeal is the Scientologist’s belief that his religion is the best, perhaps only, way to rescue a planet in danger.
space shot of Earth; footage of person shooting up drugs; footage of someone breaking into a car; footage of police carrying body out of a house on a stretcher; picture of person in jail
ERIC SHERMAN (voice of and on camera): Life on planet Earth is not a real happy place, and yet we’re all immortal spiritual beings. If something is not done to improve the quality of life, I think there will be more drugs, I think there will be more sad and upset and messed-up people. And more criminals, and more inequities in the society. We’ve got to turn the situation around, if life means anything to you.
sign in window of HELP (Hollywood Education and Literacy Project)
VO: Scientology-supported drug and literacy programs are multiplying around the country.
outside entrance to French Scn church; picture of people holding up banner saying “Hollywood Education and Literacy Project”; footage of students in reading class
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): I’d like people to know that the activities of the church are helping millions of people around the world, every day. There are a lot of people who have found something that helps them. And that that help is available to anybody who would like to have it.
footage of young child in reading class; picture of LRH book “Communicating Is Fun Course”; footage of student in reading class; sign outside door saying “WORLD Literacy Crusade Genesys Academy”; newspaper article titled “Cult’s Cover-up Is Blown”
VO: Scientology says the programs, which use books written by Hubbard, are secular. Skeptics call them recruitment fronts that hide their ties to the church.
front page of Boston Herald, “School Ties–L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology teachings find way into Bay State schools” with picture of LRH
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): We can become a drug rehabilitation program, we’ve got nothing to do with religion. We become pious priests. “You are threatening my freedom of religion.” We can become educational programs– “Oh, we’re just here to help your son learn to read.” We can become all those things, but really all it is is it’s just one master plan to infiltrate all of these areas according to Hubbard’s doctrine, and you become whatever it needs to become to protect it, and you infiltrate it and take it over.
footage outside a Narconon building; front page of Boston Herald, “Scientology unmasked”
VO: Narconon, a drug rehab program with ties to Scientology, has recently come under scrutiny.
Scn promotional video footage of Purification Center
JOSEPH MALLIA (voice of and on camera): Scientology was collecting money from local school boards, and also collecting money from corporations and businesses, and using that money to finance their lectures in the schools, which promoted the Purification Rundown, which is a religious practice in the Church of Scientology.
TAMMY TERRENZI (caption–“Tammy Terrenzi, executive director, Criminon International”): It’s not a religious program, it’s not a religious organization, it’s not run by the church. It’s very supported by the church.
footage outside and inside Ensenada State Prison; footage of Joe Domingo; man holding “Narconon” booklet; footage of Narconon classes; prisoners inside sauna
VO: Narconon recently set up shop inside the Ensenada State Prison, a Mexican penitentiary where inmates have easy access to heroin. The program, run by Joe Domingo, son of famed tenor Placido Domingo, utilizes Hubbard’s drug “technology” to help prisoners kick drugs. Inmates helped build saunas at the prison in order to utilize Narconon’s Purification Rundown.
JEANNIE TRAHANT (caption–“Jeannie Trahant, executive director, Narconon Newport”): I was a heroin addict, and, uh, I had a long-term heroin addiction and, problem with substance abuse, and, uh, went to jail three times, uh, tried other programs, almost died, basically. And, uh, the Narconon program saved my life.
more footage from Ensenada prison of prisoners in courses
VO: Despite the church’s involvement in these social programs, critics still say the motives are sinister.
black-and-white footage of prisoners walking through gates past guard
TAMMY TERRENZI (voice of and on camera): I don’t know of any church, anywhere, who would want to get its base of members, cri–murderers and rapists and criminals; I don’t–that doesn’t make any sense. And me being a Scientologist, I have a very strong desire to help these people and to help the problem, because there’s such a problem. But I don’t know that I want to fill my church up with, um–you know.
footage of students in reading classes
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): If you go out and voluntarily help a thousand people in the inner city to learn how to read, there are some people in the world that have to find something wrong with that. They have to figure out how there’s something wrong. So you know what they say? “Ha! That’s just all a trick. It’s all a front group. It’s all just to get these people into the Church of Scientology.” Well, you know what? It isn’t.
footage of reading classes; picture of box set of LRH’s “The Key to Life” Course books
VO: The church’s learning programs have often been scrutinized by outsiders. Practicing Scientologists swear by Hubbard’s technology.
footage of Travolta walking around on the set in his Army camouflage outfit; footage of Travolta giving an interview
JOHN TRAVOLTA (on movie set in Army camouflage outfit)(voice of and on camera): I have used the study technology for 23 years. Uh, prior to that, I was, uh… I think I was your, your average guy as far as what one knows from what they learned in school. It gives you a kind of confidence, and a braveness. Almost no subject matter seems unstudyable. I’m a jet pilot seven times over, I–meaning I have seven separate licenses to fly, just because I’m not afraid to ask the right questions to understand fully what I’m, um, I’m studying.
Isaac Hayes talking with young boy
VO: Isaac Hayes is the spokesperson for the World Literacy Crusade.
ISAAC HAYES (to young boy): –Do whatever you want to do.
footage of Isaac Hayes with young children at literacy class
ISAAC HAYES (voice of and on camera): If a building is on fire and my child is on the second or third floor, do you care, do you think I care about who comes to save my child? We’re just simply talking about saving lives, and some people try to confuse the issues. “Oh, don’t take that stuff ’cause they’re going to try to make you become a Scientologist.” No, no, no, no, no.
footage of students in reading class
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): What if the people down there really got something out of what they learned, in learning how to read, and they wanted to find out more, they wanted to find out if there was something else that was written by L. Ron Hubbard that might help them.
picture of Pope John Paul II; Scn ad for LRH books–“Find out the truth.”
JEREMIAH GUTMAN (voice of and on camera): The Pope has an agenda to spread Catholicism to all the people that he can reach. I think Scientology, like any other religious group, believes that it has a mission to spread their truth as they perceive it.
Church of Scientology commercial for “A New Slant on Life” book
CRAZED SCIENTIST (in commercial): Your emotions, your personality: They’re just chemical reactions. Man is nothing more than a brain. A B-R-A-A-I-I-N!!!!
caption–“Great Lie #38 Exposed”
VOICE OF MAN IN COMMERCIAL: Forget the phony brain theories. Find out who you really are.
studio where another commercial is being edited, man at control board
VOICE ON ANOTHER COMMERCIAL: Dianetics–it’s the most popular and effective book on the human mind ever published.
clip from another commercial where explorer is looking through telescope; picture of LRH book “Fundamentals of Thought”; footage inside and outside of Golden Era Productions
VO: Scientology continues to exercise its freedom to spread Hubbard’s message to the world. The church recently built a multimillion-dollar facility on its desert compound to house Golden Era Productions, its film and video studios. There, hundreds of Sea Organization members live and produce every aspect of Scientology technical films.
inside studio, people working on commercial
MAN IN COMMERCIAL: Dianetics and Scientology are, in fact, the very successful study of life itself.
more footage of people working at Golden Era Productions; picture of video “Confessional TRs”; footage of people building e-meters; footage of person reading LRH work in Spanish
VO: Members work round the clock shooting, processing and scoring music for massive worldwide distribution. The films are purchased by Scientologists who want assistance with their course work. The studio also mass produces e-meters, and translates Hubbard’s lectures into over 50 languages.
Clearwater picket 1997–sign saying “Scientology Hates Free Speech”, Dave Touretzky with sign “Hubbard Was a Fraud”; Xenu carrying sign saying “www.xenu.net”
VO: But as Scientology attempts to spread its message, there are those who work equally hard to stop it.
footage of hippies apparently meditating
PRISCILLA COATES (caption–“Priscilla Coates, former president, Cult Awareness Network”)(voice of and on camera): The Cult Awareness Network, founded in 1974 as Citizens Freedom Foundation, their purpose was to educate the public about what they called at that time spiritual fraud. It was never meant to be an adversarial organization, we never intended, um, to put anyone out of business.
newspaper article titled “Cult girl ‘frightened’ to talk”; young girl with sign pinned to her shirt saying “I am on power processes, please do not ask me questions, audit me, or discuss my case with me.”
VO: CAN had for years criticized Scientology and provided so-called deprogrammers to parents desperate to bring their children out of cults.
Scienos picketing CAN with signs saying “Stop hate mongering in Los Angeles, don’t support CAN”, “Get kidnappers out of L.A.”, “CAN is a hate group”
MARK EBNER (voice of and on camera): They did referrals, offered exit counseling, and in the old days I guess they used to call it deprogramming. Of course, like psychiatry, CAN became a mortal enemy of Scientology.
“Freedom” magazine issue about the Cult Awareness Network; “Freedom” magazine article “What to Do About the Cult Awareness Network”
VO: After several bloody lawsuits, the Cult Awareness Network went bankrupt, but Scientology did not stop there.
picture outside U.S. court house; letter on CAN stationery from April 17, 1997 announcing new ownership of CAN
PRISCILLA COATES (voice of and on camera): In bankruptcy court, a man presented himself, Steven Hayes, who is a Scientologist and an attorney, and he offered to buy the name Cult Awareness Network, the telephone number, and the, the furnishings. Immediately, or almost immediately, scientology began an organization called Cult Awareness Network.
picture of someone on phone at CAN office
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): What they did with the Cult Awareness Network, of finally becoming your critic, and now carrying your critic’s name–I mean, you talk about body snatchers. Now you call up the Cult Awareness Network and guess what you’re talking to?
MARK EBNER: You have a Scientologist answering the phone there, and that’s how they operate. It doesn’t get any darker than that.
outside Scn church at night with lighted-up “Church of Scientology” sign on top of building
VO: Such aggressive moves point to Scientology’s determination to spread its word at any cost.
footage of grimy smokestacks, buildings being demolished; atomic bomb detonating; prisoners walking out of prison cells
ISAAC HAYES (voice of and on camera): In another life, in the next life, do I want to come back to something that’s charred, in cinders, because of a nuclear holocaust? Or do you think I want to come back to a world where crime and violence had been escalated enormously? No. So we need–if we want to save it, we need to work now. We’re racing against the clock.
BILL KURTIS: Next–why celebrities are so important to the Scientology movement. When we come back, how fame and stardom are used to promote a religion worldwide.
Crowd of people outside Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles; picture of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
VO: The high profile role of Scientology’s celebrities– which include America’s most popular actor, Tom Cruise– adds to Scientology’s mystique.
footage of Travolta being presented with a “1998 Celebrity with glamour of the year” (?) award from somebody (glass trophy with red and blue hand prints painted on it)
JOHN TRAVOLTA (on movie set in Army camouflage outfit) (voice of and on camera): I’m part of a, of a frontier in a way, you know, that very few people ever get to be part of. Like a pioneer in many, in many ways, and I’ve, I’ve seen my efforts come to fruition.
picture of LRH; picture of Walt Disney
JOHN RICHARDSON (caption–“John Richardson, journalist”)(voice of and on camera): There is a famous letter written by L. Ron Hubbard saying go out and get celebrities, uh, that appears to be authentic, and it seems, yeah, he’s… Walt Disney and a number of other names were listed on it.
outside Celebrity Centre; Anne Archer; Nancy Cartwright; musicians on stage at Celebrity Centre underneath picture of LRH
VO: The Hollywood Celebrity Centre has long been a haven for entertainers who take specialized Scientology courses.
SCIENO MAN (on stage at Scieno function, presenting an award to a woman): Certificate of special congressional recognition…
JENNA ELFMAN (caption–“Jenna Elfman, Scientologist actress”): The Celebrity Centre is just like, you know, the stable datum of like, growth and sanity, and growing as an artist, and, um, it’s just like I’m always safe when I come here.
DANNY MASTERSON (caption–“Danny Masterson, Scientologist actor”): It’s the place to be. Like, everybody here is jamming, you know. Everybody’s doing what they want to do, and if they’re not, they’re finding out why they’re not, and they’re getting to what they want to do.
ANNE ARCHER (caption–“Anne Archer, Scientologist actress”): There are organizations on this planet where artists can go and find support and find the true measure of their creativity.
footage of Kirstie Alley and James Wilder
VO: Why do fame and Scientology intersect?
JOHN RICHARDSON: They’re spiritual freelancers. They’re really out on the line with their emotions as their, as their… medium. And it’s an insecure profession for both practical reasons and emotional reasons.
footage of Hollywood Boulevard
JOHN TRAVOLTA (on movie set in Army camouflage outfit) (voice of and on camera): We’re one of the–the few groups, let’s say, that really cares about the survival of Hollywood and the way it should be. Not only from the cleanliness of the streets of Hollywood, but to the, the kind of profile that one imagines Hollywood could be or should be.
“Celebrity” magazine with Jenna Elfman on the cover; Scn International Association of Scientologists ad with John Travolta, Kelly Preston and their son Jett with caption “Lifetime Members”
MARK EBNER (voice of and on camera): Well, it’s like–it’s like a cult within a cult, you know. You have the cult of celebrity, and you have the cult of Scientology, and you’ve got a perfect match. What’s sad, what’s, what’s really sad about this is that when, you know, the public at large sees John Travolta on national television, you know, you know, thanking L. Ron Hubbard at a Golden Globe Awards ceremony, or attributing his success to Scientology, and then they see that this guy’s got planes, he’s got, um, you know, sports cars– he’s got it all– people automatically think, “Hey, maybe I can, too.”
ISAAC HAYES: Those who…go against the status quo and stand up for their beliefs usually comes under scrutiny. We as entertainers, I feel– and this is a personal belief here– I feel I have a responsibility as to how I live my life because people of note, they influence people.
footage of Isaac Hayes and his wife
VO: Celebrity members are offended by the insinuation that they are pawns of the church.
more footage of Isaac Hayes at a party
ISAAC HAYES (voice of and on camera): My fans respect me, and if I thought that I was giving them something that was detrimental to their survival, I wouldn’t do it. I would not do it. And it would be remiss if I didn’t share this.
Scieno rally in Berlin, Scienos chanting “Freedom now! Freedom now!”; cover of “George” magazine with article about Scientology, “The battle between Germany and Scientology”
VO: Celebrity parishioners recently came out in defense of the church, which is currently at odds with the German government
first page of “George” magazine article about Scientology, “Clash of the Titans”
BILL WALSH (tax attorney, Church of Scientology) (voice of and on camera): Right now in Germany, we’ve had over 19 human rights reports issued by some of the most prestigious organizations in the world condemning Germany’s targeting Scientologists. They’re ostracized, they’re alienated, they’re disenfranchised. If you’re identified as a Scientologist in Germany, you’re going to be boycotted, blacklisted, your children will be kicked out of private school. Your life will be ruined.
GRAHAM BERRY: Germany believes that it is, at best, a commercial organization, uh, a political organization, uh, bent upon creating a totalitarian state, and under their constitution, uh, because of their recent history, they are constitutionally prohibited from permitting totalitarian organizations to exist there.
picture of woman at Berlin Scieno rally dressed up as the Statue of Liberty holding a copy of “What Is Scientology?”; picture of Isaac Hayes giving speech at Berlin rally; more footage of Scieno rally in Berlin
ISAAC HAYES (voice of and on camera): Germany, they’re attacking the church. They’re violating the very thing that they swore to uphold. That is, to protect and respect religions.
picture of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
JOHN TRAVOLTA (on movie set in Army camouflage outfit) (voice of and on camera): The first time I heard about Germany, and there was a problem with not only, um, Scientology but other minority religions, was right around the “Mission Impossible” time when they were boycotting Tom’s film, and then shortly after, there was an attempt to boycott one of mine, and I guess the idea was if we were having trouble at a distance, then what about the people that actually were living there?
newspaper article titled “U.S. Celebrities Defend Scientology in Germany”
VO: Celebrity Scientologists took their concerns to Congress.
JOHN TRAVOLTA (footage from C-Span2 broadcast of Congressional hearings about religions persecution in Europe): No one has died, no one has been put in camps, uh, but if, if you observe that these facts are comparable to early ’30s, uh, treatment, then that’s, you know, that’s for you to observe.
more footage from Berlin Scieno rally
ISAAC HAYES (voice of and on camera): By standing up, you are doing the other religions a favor, actually. Because religious suppression is suppression no matter where it’s from. Or whenever it happens.
footage of celebration of the opening of L. Ron Hubbard Way in Los Angeles; short footage of John Travolta at ceremony
VO: Celebrity members recently appeared at the opening of L. Ron Hubbard way. The street, found in the heart of Hollywood, is dedicated to the man to whom many stars attribute their success.
JOHN TRAVOLTA (inside Scn church–caption, “John Travolta, Scientologist”): I do simply live a better life, and a happier life, and a more, um, successful life because of Mr. Hubbard.
more footage of opening of L. Ron Hubbard Way
VO: The enthusiastic words of glamorous Scientologists help the church into the mainstream.
KIRSTIE ALLEY (outside AOLA building on L. Ron Hubbard Way–caption, “Kirstie Alley, Scientologist”): The one thing that was really cool about L. Ron Hubbard was that he really got the concept that if people united, and not in some airy-fairy way, but if they united and they put their, you know, muscle and brawn together and they worked really hard, you could create a better civilization.
Scieno event in auditorium; David Miscavige walking down stairs on to stage
VO: In October 1993, the church called thousands of parishioners together for an announcement by Scientology’s top official, David Miscavige.
DAVID MISCAVIGE (on stage, giving speech): On October 1, 1993, the IRS issued letters recognizing Scientology and every one of its organizations as fully tax exempt! The war is over! (cheering and applause)
more footage of Scieno event with fireworks and laser lights, audience giving ovation; pictures of David Miscavige; footage of David Miscavige walking down hall, sitting at desk talking on telephone
VO: Many attribute the breakthrough with the IRS to David Miscavige. A lifelong Scientologist, Miscavige took the reigns of the church at the age of 22. Miscavige, who has not granted a TV interview in seven years, sat down with “Investigative Reports” to discuss his church
Scieno rally in Berlin
DAVID MISCAVIGE (interview; caption–“David Miscavige, ecclesiastical leader of the Church of Scientology”) (voice of and on camera): All great religions have been attacked during their formative years. Scientology is no different. And the fact that we have emerged through this and come through says a great deal about our tenacity and our ability to persevere.
DAVID MISCAVIGE (on stage, giving speech): Scientologists are, if nothing else, the anti-matter of quitters. There’s an old saying: When the going gets tough, pit bulls call a Scientologist. (cheering and applause)
more footage of Scieno event with laser lights; Scientology logo
DAVID MISCAVIGE (interview) (voice of and on camera): In any war, there’s casualties on both sides. Okay, we’ve overcome the obstacles, but certainly on our side throughout that time period, we’ve made our mistakes. And in answer to that, all I can say is that a testament to the validity of Scientology is that we’ve also cleaned house, corrected our mistakes. You’ve just seen a religion emerge in the 20th century.
outside Celebrity Centre; newspaper article titled “Scientology–A Long Trail of Controversy”; another shot of Celebrity Centre; part of newspaper article title “struggle for credibility”
VO: Over its rocky 45- year history, Scientology has driven for mainstream acceptance.
DAVID MISCAVIGE (interview): People have been searching for thousands of years for spiritual release and freedom, and what we have in Scientology is the answer. How to achieve that.
JOHN TRAVOLTA (on movie set in Army camouflage outfit): Ultimately, the whole purpose is to help everybody else, and that’s all it is.
world map montage with footage of people walking down street; footage outside different Scn churches
VO: The church claims eight million members, while outsiders say the number is around 300,000. Regardless, the Church of Scientology continues to expand, especially in eastern Europe and Asia.
JOHN TRAVOLTA (on movie set in Army camouflage outfit): Well, it’s truly the, the religious philosophy that we need to get through at the turn of the century.
picture of LRH, bust of LRH; footage of California desert area; another bronze bust of Hubbard; footage of atomic bomb detonating
VO: L. Ron Hubbard continues to be revered by Scientology. The church has purchased land in New Mexico and California to store the Hubbard gospel. There, it will be protected from natural disasters or a nuclear holocaust.
L. RON HUBBARD (from video): Whatever else man was trying to do, whether he was cultured or primitive, and so on, he was attempting to survive.
DAVID MISCAVIGE (interview): We’re unique amongst other great religions of Earth in that all of our “source” materials, the original teachings of our religion, have been recorded. So, as a result, we expect that our religion will be taught and practiced the same way 50 years from now, 100 years from now, a thousand years from now.
Scieno rally in Berlin; footage of Washington Monument; outside Eli Lilly building; outside Time-Life building; footage of clouds and sunset; Bridge course description chart; clips of other religious churches
VO: Scientology’s startling battles with world governments and multimillion dollar companies represent more than a cheap play for money or power. By insisting that it has discovered the key to human happiness, Scientology has thrown itself into the ring with other religions in a fight for the hearts and minds of the people.
DAVID MISCAVIGE (interview): Where does it say that God helps those who help themselves. Well, in Scientology we’re engaged in helping people help themselves so they can fully comprehend and understand God.
photo of “Religious Freedom Crusade”
NADINE STROSSEN (caption, “Nadine Strossen, president, A.C.L.U.”)(voice of and on camera): Freedom of religion means that every individual has the right to believe whatever it is that he or she wants and to engage in any kind of religious practice, so long as that practice does not actually harm another human being or cause a great danger to society as a whole.
outside courthouse; statue of Jesus; outside a church; aerial shot of Fort Harrison; Scieno photographing somebody; U.S. flag flying
FORD GREENE (voice of and on camera): In this country, the government is terrified of religion. They are terrified of taking a hard look and a hard stand, and saying “This kind of activity is religious, this kind of activity is not.” When you have an organization that has a tax exemption and a staff that will say or do anything in order to get their point of view across, I consider that to be an intrinsic threat to what I love about America.
U.S. flag with Sea Organization flag flying underneath it; aerial footage of White House
GRAHAM BERRY (voice of and on camera): The only ethics in the world are Scientology ethics, for the purpose of expanding Scientology, taking over the heads of government and ruling the world according to Scientology, uh, technology.
“Dianetics” sign or billboard
ERIC SHERMAN (voice of and on camera): We’re here, we’re doing our thing, we’re not trying to aggrandize or take over anybody. At the same time, we want to be left alone. Nobody’s got to do it, nobody’s forced to do it. I’ve never been forced to do it. It’s always been my choice, always been my choice. If somebody tampers with that choice, it’s un-American.
more footage from Clearwater 1997 picket (Dave Touretzky with “Hubbard Was a Fraud”, Xenu with sign “www.xenu.net”; “Scientology Hates Free Speech” sign; Scieno taking pictures of somebody; somebody putting their hand in front of camera lens
JON ATACK (voice of and on camera): I don’t think that Scientology should be banned, and I’m not seeking to stop Scientology from existing. I do want people to know the facts, I want them to know the truth about it so that they can make their own decision.
Scn promotional video of somebody holding the cans of the e-meter
ARON MASON (voice of and on camera): The way to understand Scientology is to see it for yourself. We in Scientology don’t tell you what you should conclude concerning any part of the religion, but when you’ve seen it in action, well, then you can make some conclusions.
TAMMY TERRENZI: It’s all about you. It’s not about what anyone else says or thinks; it’s about just an individual becoming a better, stronger, more powerful individual.
web page saying “Why I hate Scientology”
DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): The only thing that I can see really occurring is that more and more people find out more and more about what Scientology is really about, and they’ll sort of be ridiculed into history.
ISAAC HAYES: People don’t want to accept new ideas, a new and better way to look at something. They don’t want to do that. It’s just a natural, uh… A habit of man.
footage of Scienos marching at Berlin rally
ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): Reality is just agreement, nothing else. All this is held together only because we agree it’s held together. And that’s all Scientology is. It’s a bunch of people saying and agreeing and chanting: “This is the truth, this is the truth, this is the truth.” And when you stop chanting it, there’s nothing left. There ain’t no truth. There ain’t no truth, and suddenly you find out that the only way you can be a Scientologist is to not be a Scientologist.
outside Scn church
MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): You don’t have to come into Scientology. You don’t have to participate in it. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. But if you’re looking for answers, there are a lot of answers in Scientology.
picture of LRH
L. RON HUBBARD (from video)(voice of and on video): The aim and goal of Scientology is to take an individual and put them in a position where they can confront their own problems and solve their own problems, and so bring themselves up by their own bootstraps.
picture of LRH holding copy of “Dianetics” book
JOHN TRAVOLTA (on movie set in Army camouflage outfit) (voice of and on camera): Probably my favorite concept of L. Ron Hubbard’s is a world without criminality, a world without war, and a world without insanity. And I know of no other group, uh, that their goals are that clear.
video of solar system
ISAAC HAYES (voice of and on camera): We want a clear planet. And what do I mean by clear? To totally eradicate the reactive mind. And that brings you to a state of clear.
footage of rocket launch; neon “Scientology” sign
DAVID MISCAVIGE (interview) (voice of and on camera): When you truly understand or have, have found the answers to life itself, and you truly understand the nature of the spirit, what flows from that are all the answers. The advances in the sciences are monumental, they’re mind-boggling. What about a similar advance in the field of spiritualism or religion? Why not? Scientology, we believe, is the point where science and religion have truly met.
L. RON HUBBARD (from video): Scientology is for an able guy like you or like me, able to function in life, able to make his own way, does his work, and so forth– all right, that’s the man that should be helped.
space photo of Earth
VO: With Hubbard’s word as their guide, Scientologists fan across the globe, resolved to “clear the planet” for everyone.
BILL KURTIS: While the U.S. now views Scientology as a religion, that is not the case in other countries where the church has attempted to establish itself. Germany, as we briefly reported, is one. It has taken the official view that Scientology is not only not a religion, but an enterprise out to bilk its members of money. The German government has also said the Scientologists are a threat to democracy. The Scientologists have charged the Germans of using Nazi tactics and of practicing religious persecution. While some members of Congress have protested, the American government has taken no official action in the dispute.
snip promo for upcoming show
BILL KURTIS: I’m Bill Kurtis. Thanks for watching this special edition of “Investigative Reports” here on A&E.
Transcript courtesy of Xenubat