Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:42 am

The Good Ship Scientology
by The Observer
August 1968

IF RON HUBBARD, founder and leader of the Scientologists, lives at all, then he is well and aboard a rusting and singularly grubby ex-Irish Sea ferry undergoing repairs in the harbour here in Corfu.

The Royal Scot Man, no port of registration upon her stern, flying the flag of Sierra Leone, and the initials LRH floridly painted on her black and white funnel, arrived here from Tunis a week ago. Her owner, said his lieutenants, when they came ashore, was a millionaire named Hubbard, who was also something of a philosopher. The Scot Man was a floating college where he taught that science and love could achieve all. This an explanation the authorities here seem to have accepted happily.

For this week the Scot Man moved into harbour for the £25,000 worth of repairs, including resurfacing of the decaying lower deck, building of cabins, and conversion of the sea-water ballast tanks into fresh water ones to increase her range.

And now a few select "sightseers" come gaily ashore with written orders to "spread the instruction of LRH" and expressing particular interest in the remoter parts of the island. But most of the 220 Scientologists never step ashore or pass through Greek passport control.

The largest national group is 'the Americans, followed by the British and South Africans. Many have wives and children on board. All have been with the ship for several months.

Visitors are discouraged. When I applied to see Hubbard I was, after a few moments' hesitation, hustled firmly down the gangway which is constantly guarded by an intercom-equipped quartermaster and whatever crew happen to he in the vicinity. The few visitors who pass a careful vetting must sign a visitors' book when arriving and leaving.

The captain of the ship is Hubbard himself. The "students," who, like the "officers" wear dark blue shirts and trousers, with white cords around their necks, say they never see him. Some officers, however, have said that they have frequent consultations with him upon written request. Certainly written orders are issued daily in buff envelopes to officers, probably by Hubbard. All official correspondence is on headed notepaper of the Hubbard Explorational Company Limited. No address is given.

Where exactly Hubbard's quarters are on board is difficult to establish, but, in the middle of the upper deck a corridor leads to what few cabins there are with a notice forbidding entry.

On the lower deck, which is even rustier and dirtier than the rest of the ship, there are two cars out of sight in the stern, both registered in Britain and believed by some students to belong to Hubbard. One is a Morris 1100, the other an American make.

On the starboard side of this deck rows of desks stretch along the promenade from bow to stern. Here "officers" are engaged in feverish paperwork, and shouting to messengers. They seem obsessed by paperwork, permits and memos. Even the messengers, before they graduated from the nursery on the upper deck, had to put in formal applications and receive formal permission to undertake "tasks" which would prove them worthy or otherwise of joining in the full life of the ship as "students" .

Opposite the desks is the impressive machinery of paper moving: batteries of baskets continually emptied by these messenger boys and girls aged about 8 to 10. Even the children in the nursery seem possessed by this grim fixity of purpose. Once a day a crocodile of then set off for a walk in town, accompanied by two women, and with an orderliness never before seen in so many children on a Greek island. There is no set graduation from nursery to student or student to officer, just the ability, to perform the set tasks - just as a Boy Scout might win a star.

The crew normally work an eight hour day, spending the evenings studying Scientology. What might have once been the holds are now rudimentary lecture theatres and study rooms with desks and armchairs. There seems no time for frivolous diversions, although occasionally small parties are held.

Those who had a relevant occupation before joining the ship (such as welding, engineering or mathematics) continue to practise it. The rest apply themselves with almost fanatical perseverance to learning skills necessary for running the ship. Few, if any; appear been professional seamen. Some have a tendency to talk in the exaggerated nautical parlance of those who are not nautical.

Yet there is something unnerving about this floating city state. Something almost dreamlike. Perhaps it is the inscrutability of its busy inhabitants; even their eyes seem devoid of any expression. Many seem like rather bad actors using language they do not understand, talking only on cue. Even this small community manages to resemble rush hour on the Underground as they pass one another purpose bent, with minimum conversation, or light of recognition.

Yet, beneath this dedicated veneer, there is a shambolic element: quite a few would pass as summer beatniks.

The exact nature of all this activity is difficult to discover. Some of it is certainly directed towards the organisation of the general meeting which should have taken place in Britain. The most likely spot for it now is the Scot Man herself - which could explain the sudden need for extra cabins: most of the crew sleep in dormitories. It is possible that most of the Scientologists themselves do not know exactly what they are doing. Despite all the rigid paperwork. the channels of power and decision-making evaporate into a haze somewhere near the top.

Hubbard plays things very close to the chest. Only he, and possibly one or two officers, knew that they were bound for Greece before they arrived here. The rest only heard that they were bound for Greece, so that their leader could "study ancient Greek civilisation".
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:47 am

The Life and Death of a Scientologist: 13 Years and Thousands Of Dollars, Lisa McPherson Finally Went 'Clear.' Then She Went Insane.
by Richard Leiby
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 6, 1998; Page F01

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Dec 6, 1998 - "I am L. Ron Hubbard," the woman on the hotel room bed announced in a robotic voice. "I created time 3 billion years ago." She rambled on and on, every outburst dutifully scribbled down by those assigned to watch her.

"I can't confront force ... I need my auditor ... I want to take a toothbrush and brush the floor until I have a cognition."

The jargon of Scientology was instantly familiar to anyone who entered the room in the Fort Harrison Hotel, part of an elite training center and retreat established here by Hubbard, the science fiction writer and self-styled religious leader. It was also obvious to her fellow Scientologists that Lisa McPherson had cracked up.

"Out of control," one wrote.

Beginning Nov. 18, 1995, Scientology staffers -- following Hubbard's regimen for dealing with psychotic members -- kept McPherson isolated in that room 24 hours a day, refusing to speak to her, trying to force-feed her, plying her with vitamins and herbal concoctions and injecting her with sedatives, according to several accounts that are now part of court records. She furiously resisted: She pounded the walls, tried to escape, attacked a staffer with a potted plant. In her delirium, records say, she defecated on herself and drank her own urine.

Within 17 days, McPherson -- who'd spent most of her adult life and tens of thousands of dollars as a devotee of Hubbard's teachings -- would be dead. The once-voluptuous 36-year-old -- she stood 5 feet 9 and wore a size 12 dress -- lost an estimated 40 to 50 pounds during the ordeal, dropping to 108, her bruised body pocked by insect bites and scabs.

She was never seen by a licensed physician during that time. An autopsy attributed her death to a blood clot that developed due to "severe dehydration" and "bed rest."

Last month, after more than two years of investigation, the state attorney here filed two felony counts against the Scientology organization, alleging abuse or neglect of a disabled adult and the practice of medicine without a license. (No individuals were charged; to obtain their testimony, all Scientology witnesses were given immunity by prosecutors.) A criminal conviction would only bring fines of up to $15,000, but also would allow a court to order restitution to the victim's family and payment of law enforcement investigation costs.

The church has pleaded not guilty. Mike Rinder, senior spokesman for Scientology, would not respond to any questions about McPherson, but issued a statement calling the "circumstances" of her death "unfortunate," and contending that the church had no "intent to do any harm" to its devotee.

Church lawyers would not comment.

Meanwhile, McPherson's aunt has filed a wrongful death suit against the church, saying McPherson suffered "extreme torture" as "a prisoner of Scientology."

Church officials have said they were honoring McPherson's religious preferences; Scientology vehemently denounces all forms of psychotherapy.

This weekend, to mark the anniversary of McPherson's death, Scientology defectors and other activists picketed near the Fort Harrison Hotel. Since its founding 45 years ago, the Church of Scientology has endured more than its share of bad publicity, but the McPherson case puts on stark display a side of the religion far removed from the glowing testimonials it receives from Hollywood adherents like John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Isaac Hayes.

If, as Hubbard decreed, the ultimate aim of Scientology is its adherents' "total freedom" and "survival," then what went wrong in the case of Lisa McPherson?

"At last, here is a book ... which provides the answers to the problems of the human mind," pledged Hubbard's 1950 bestseller, "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health." It was the cornerstone of the religion he later founded. Once "cleared" of their troublesome brain "engrams," followers would be happy and healthier, have higher IQs and become "stable mentally," Hubbard believed.

In September 1995, Lisa McPherson proudly attested to reaching the state of "clear" at a Scientology ceremony. Within a few weeks, her mind began to unravel. After 13 years of intensive study, she was still failing as a Scientologist; indeed, she had become one of the worst kinds of problems -- in church lingo, a "Potential Trouble Source Type III," or what Hubbard also called an "insane being."

Out in the real world, around non-Scientologists, McPherson was dramatically breaking down, becoming a public embarrassment. Scientologists weren't supposed to do that.

The Founder, a flame-haired, swashbuckling figure, died in 1986, but his every utterance and writing is viewed by Scientologists as consecrated, immutable scripture. Hubbard seemed to take a dim view of those who suffered breakdowns.

"We have nothing to do with the insane whatsoever. The insane, well, they're insane!" he once declared in a rare television interview. Little could be done for psychotics. "Provide a relatively safe environment and quiet and rest and no treatment of a mental nature at all," he wrote in a 1965 policy letter.

"There will always be some failures," he continued, and "sometimes [they] can't be kept alive."

McPherson grew up in Dallas, the daughter of an insurance man and his homemaker wife, attending Baptist churches. She had an older brother she loved, named Steve.

When Steve was 16 he shot himself in the head in a gas station rest room. Lisa was 14. The suicide was apparently connected to a dispute with another teen, although the details remain vague to Lisa's aunt and closest living relative, Dell Liebreich. But Liebreich knows one thing: "I'm sure it had a traumatizing effect on Lisa. Her father never recovered from it. He committed suicide 10 years later." He too used a pistol.

After high school, McPherson went to work at Southwestern Bell, where her family says a supervisor recruited her into Scientology. A vivacious brown-eyed blonde, fond of frosting her hair, McPherson had an early, troubled marriage that lasted only a few years. But she did well at the phone company, and she avidly studied Hubbard's techniques. "She was always going to the mission, taking courses," recalls Liebreich, who signed on to the lawsuit against Scientology after Lisa's mother, Fannie, died last year.

The church's account of McPherson's tenure has required criminal investigators and civil case lawyers to learn another language -- Hubbard-speak. For example, a Scientology-prepared report on McPherson says that in "Dec. 86/Jan. 87 she had a PTS Rundown (items were Mom, Don and Theresa)... . This was followed by a large amount of wordclearing, False Data Stripping and O/W write ups."


Using an E-meter, a lie detector-like device that Hubbard invented, a counselor discovered that McPherson was a "potential trouble source" in Scientology because of her connection to three "suppressive" people, including her mother.

In confessional rituals, a parishioner must declare his O/Ws -- "overts and withholds" -- immoral acts that include harmful, undisclosed transgressions against Scientology. Any miscomprehensions about anything -- including the church and its teachings -- are "false data" that must be stripped away.

In Hubbard's cosmology, traumas in past lifetimes, contact with alien beings, drug use and involvement with "suppressive persons" (who include enemies of the church) all can be impediments to a "pre-clear's" success. They must be located and removed by "auditing."

According to the church, McPherson took her first courses in 1982, when she was 23, and tried but failed to go "clear" in 1986. She took a staff job and married a member of the church. In 1989, she also committed herself to serving Scientology for a "billion years," signing up for its Sea Organization, an elite group whose members wear nautical uniforms and follow a militaristic command structure, working long hours for salaries of $50 a week.

A World War II Navy lieutenant, Hubbard ran his sect for several years from aboard a 320-foot converted cattle ferry, sailing the world before establishing what he called the Flag Land Base at Clearwater, a placid town of white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. The Commodore, as Hubbard was known, lived nearby briefly in the mid-1970s. He told aides he planned to pose as a photographer in the tourist industry.

Today, about 6,000 Scientology followers and staffers live in the Clearwater area -- many based at the campus of former hotels where Hubbard's "religious technology" is offered at the most advanced (and expensive) levels. Several Scientologist-operated businesses also maintain headquarters here.

McPherson migrated to Clearwater in the early '90s after her new Scientology employers relocated their publishing firm here. She'd divorced again, and had left the Sea Organization. But she kept attempting to reach "clear." Records show she was thwarted again in 1991 and 1994 because she was a "potential trouble source" -- the E-meter sessions revealed she'd been in contact with suppressive, anti-Scientology elements.

At first McPherson flourished as a sales rep at AMC Publishing; she made $136,721 in 1994, according to her tax returns, spending more than $55,000 on Scientology courses and taking deductions for them. (The IRS, after fighting hundreds of lawsuits filed by Scientology, granted the church tax-exempt status in 1993.)

Then, turmoil. "In June 1995, Lisa caved in and actually went into a spin (psychotic break)," says the church report. This forced a brief recuperation at the Fort Harrison Hotel and a slowdown in her work. She was put into "ethics handling" -- a regimen that includes writing up "overts and withholds."

Her aunt, an old high school friend and others believe McPherson was on the verge of quitting the church -- and that was her undisclosed crime against Scientology.

"She was roller-coastering: up and down, up and down, high emotions and low emotions," says Michael Pattinson, a painter and recent Scientology defector who got to know McPherson in the months before her death. "She wanted to do something more artistic in her life, and the group's power and pressure were too much for her.

"She was having a very, very rough time at work keeping up with the quotas for sales," Pattinson recalls. "She asked for my advice. I said, 'Lisa, follow your own goals, not someone else's, or you'll end up in the soup.'"

Scientology officials say McPherson was a devoted member. And on Sept. 7, she finally reached her cherished goal: "I'm from Texas and I'm Clear!" she announced to a roomful of fellow members, reading from a script now in court files.

"Being Clear is more exciting than anything I've ever experienced. I am so thrilled about life and living that I can hardly stand it!"

McPherson's final hurdle to Clear was an incident from a past life. A saber-toothed tiger kept attacking and eating her: "Not only did I see him, I was in a cage with him for six months."

Auditing "handled" that problem, McPherson told her audience. But other problems arose.

By mid-October, church records show that officials had declared her a "liability" to Scientology, apparently after her production dropped off at her publishing job. In Hubbard's jargon, that meant McPherson had "taken on the color of an enemy" and could not be trusted. In a memo, she said she was making "amends," and working seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., in part to raise money for the church's "Winter Wonderland" holiday event.

By November, she began to act out in bizarre ways: At a business conference in Orlando, she insisted to strangers that they had to read L. Ron Hubbard's "Dianetics." She interrogated a co-worker about "suppressive people." She rousted the colleague in the middle of the night, raving about "something going on on this planet that I didn't know about."

"When I woke up at 7 a.m. I found her still in the bathroom reading" Hubbard's works, the woman wrote in a report to church officials. "She looked like hell."

One year ago, on the sidewalk in front of the Fort Harrison Hotel, Scientology critics lit candles in a memorial to McPherson. Their signs bore her grisly autopsy photos. Their T-shirts said "Scientology Kills."

A few blocks away in a counterdemonstration, thousands of church members staged a "civil rights" march on the Clearwater Police Department and the local office of the St. Petersburg Times, charging that police and media investigations of the McPherson case amounted to a hate campaign.

For many residents, the long-running McPherson case has revived unwelcome memories of Scientology's controversial past here -- in the mid-'70s the town's political, business and media establishment were targeted for what Hubbard memos termed "takeover" and "control." In 1975, Hubbard moved his sect ashore, secretly purchasing downtown properties under the guise of a group called United Churches of Florida.

The guru's plan to create a Scientology-run city -- part of an even more grandiose scheme for global domination -- foundered after FBI raids and news reports exposed his goals. Prosecutors used internal church documents to help convict Hubbard's wife and 10 other top Scientologists in a conspiracy to infiltrate, bug and burglarize federal agencies. Hubbard was named an unindicted co-conspirator in that case.

Scientology leaders, who say they purged the church of criminals 15 years ago, claim it enjoys excellent relations with the city. Last month, ground was broken for a $45 million Scientology center in the faded downtown; at 370,000 square feet, it's the largest construction project in the church's history.

Only a few bigots and "rednecks" oppose its presence here, church officials say.

"The sun never sets on Scientology," church leader David Miscavige, quoting Hubbard, said at the glitzy groundbreaking, which included a laser light show.

"Scientology now, tomorrow and forever."

The dueling demonstrations over the McPherson case coincided with the opening of "Winter Wonderland," an annual holiday display erected by the church to collect food and toys for the poor. Rocker Edgar Winter, a Scientologist, welcomed the crowd and praised "this wonderful gift to the community."

Bennetta Slaughter, owner of AMC Publishing and a Scientologist for nearly 20 years, spoke of the church's dedication to children. She pointed out that a $3,400 donation by her deceased employee, Lisa McPherson, helped make it all possible.

"She was one of my very good friends and I loved her very much," Slaughter said later, bracing against the breeze in a Christmas sweater and red velvet skirt.

"It's a farce that they're demonstrating [against the church]. They're desecrating her memory, not honoring her memory."

Slaughter and her company were initially named as defendants in McPherson's aunt's suit, but were later dropped from the action. "I absolutely know that what occurred with Lisa -- " Slaughter began. She paused. "She was not denied anything. The things that have been said are complete misrepresentations on the part of those who would attack the church. They're falsehoods."

And why would people criticize her church?

"No data," she quickly replied. "Obviously there's an agenda."

"The real and inexcusable danger in Dianetics lies in its conception of the amoral, detached, 100 percent mechanical man. This is the authoritarian dream, a population of zombies, free to be manipulated by the great brains of the founder, the leader of an inner manipulative clique."

-- A review of "Dianetics" in The Nation, 1950

From the very beginning, the therapies of L. Ron Hubbard have been denounced by medical authorities as quackery, hypnotism and brainwashing. One of the first judicial investigations of Scientology, conducted in Australia in the 1960s, deemed the auditing process a form of "mental torture" and resulted in a ban on Scientology practices.

"Sometimes preclears are so distraught that they scream, develop murderous feelings, have bouts of anger, grief ... their sexual passions are aroused, they act insanely, laugh hysterically ... they become violent and try to escape and have to be restrained," the report said.

"In Scientology parlance, when such manifestations as these occur, the preclear is being 'restimulated'; in fact he is being debased and mentally crippled."

(By 1982, Australia overturned its ban and recognized Scientology as a religion. But an official commission of top legal experts recently recommended that significant psychological harm inflicted by any religious group, including Scientology, be made a crime.)

In 1978, a French court tried Hubbard in absentia for fraud and sentenced him to four years' imprisonment.

In 1986, a California jury awarded $30 million to a former Sea Organization member who said the church's advanced regimens caused him to become psychotic and actively plan suicide. (The award, later reduced to $2.5 million, has been upheld by the Supreme Court, but the former member has yet to collect because of exhaustive litigation by the church.)

In a 1984 decision, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul G. Breckenridge said Scientology "is nothing in reality but a vast enterprise to extract the maximum amount of money from its adepts by pseudo-scientific theories ... and to exercise a kind of blackmail against persons who do not wish to continue with their sect.... The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder."

Such conclusions strike especially close to the heart of Scientology, a belief system whose strongest rhetoric is reserved for its criticism of psychiatry.

Hubbard said he wanted to control "absolutely the field of mental healing on this planet in all forms." He denounced shrinks as crackpots and butchers who killed patients' souls with electroshock therapy and drugs.

But there may have been a deeper source of the Founder's ire. His eldest son, L. Ron Hubbard Jr., once swore an affidavit saying his father "ended up in psychiatric hospital at the end of the war." (Hubbard Jr. is dead; the church says the Founder never received treatment and that the son recanted his criticism.)

In a letter written to the Veterans Administration in 1947, Hubbard senior admitted to suicidal tendencies and asked for psychiatric help.

Denouncing doctors, Hubbard claimed his research revealed the true nature of the mind. "All of these things are scientific facts, tested and rechecked and tested again," he wrote in "Dianetics." But his son said the findings -- initially published in the pulp magazine Astounding Science Fiction -- was without scientific merit: "My father wrote his books off the top of his head based on his imagination. There were no case studies."

"He audited me and it didn't help," says Richard de Mille, a Dianetics believer from 1950 to 1953. "I came to understand that it was all his imagination, just a story he was telling."

De Mille, 76, son of the famous director, says Hubbard transformed his self-help discoveries into a religion to avoid having to prove them: "It became a religion very suddenly and all his magical ideas jumped back into it."

The apex of Scientology spiritual counseling is at the secret, so-called OT Levels, which promise superhuman powers. Here, members pass through what Hubbard described as the Wall of Fire. Parishioners -- who have already spent thousands to go clear -- pay several thousand more to learn that their spiritual traumas stem from an intergalactic holocaust perpetrated 75 million years ago by an alien overlord named Xenu.

During a space battle, Hubbard teaches, our spirits became infested with evil alien spirits, called "body thetans." There could be untold numbers of such bad thetans fomenting problems in each of our minds. Only through rigorous auditing can they be removed -- allowing the untormented Operating Thetan -- the OT -- to emerge.

In 1995, church financial records show, McPherson paid nearly $42,000 in "donations" for top-level courses -- including "Wall of Fire," the "Flag OT Executive Rundown" and "OT Preparations and Eligibility."

On Nov. 10, 1995, court records show, the devotee purchased her last religious item from the Church of Scientology. It was a 1996 calendar featuring L. Ron Hubbard. Price: $100.

"No one told me I was a prisoner, but I knew that I wouldn't just walk out the door.... It's embedded over the years that, once you're a Scientologist, there's nowhere to go; you just don't leave." -- Former church staff member Lori Taverna, testifying to the Clearwater City Commission in 1982.

After a minor traffic accident, McPherson stripped off her clothes and walked naked down well-traveled Belleview Boulevard. She told stunned paramedics she wasn't crazy but just wanted to get their attention: "I need help. I need to talk to someone." She spoke in a monotone, as if programmed, and said she didn't need a body to live.

"I'm an OT," she said. An Operating Thetan.

It was shortly after 6 p.m. on Nov. 18, 1995. McPherson had driven her '93 Jeep Cherokee into a boat being towed on a trailer. She wasn't hurt.

The paramedics took her to nearby Morton Plant Hospital. Nurses there said she looked calm, but they noticed her fixed stare. McPherson disclosed that her brother and father had committed suicide, but denied she wanted to kill herself or anyone else.

By 6:50, a group of Scientologists had arrived. By the church's account, McPherson had phoned her friend and boss, Bennetta Slaughter. (Hospital records contain no mention of McPherson making any calls.) The Scientologists explained that a psychiatric consultation would violate McPherson's religion.

At 7:30, a psychiatric nurse went to McPherson's bedside, where she was surrounded by church members. Again she spoke in that monotone, telling the nurse, "I want to go home with my friends from the congregation."

An emergency room doctor decided, after talking by phone with a psychiatrist, that the patient could not be involuntarily committed. "Her friends at scientology will watch her 24 hours and be sure that she gets the care that they want her to have and the patient wants to have," the doctor typed in his report. But he seemed uneasy, adding: "I told her I could not be responsible ... I will have the patient sign out against medical advice."

Around 8:30, she was taken to the Fort Harrison Hotel and put in Room 174. She would not leave again until the night of Dec. 5.

Scientologists loaded McPherson's nearly lifeless body into a church van.

Instead of calling an ambulance or driving her to Morton Plant, five minutes away, she was taken 45 minutes north to Columbia/HCA New Port Richey Hospital.

Her watchers had decided it would be best if McPherson were treated by a Scientology doctor -- an OT-course graduate named David Minkoff who worked in the emergency room at the New Port Richey hospital. Minkoff had earlier prescribed Valium for McPherson without seeing her, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement affidavit. (Minkoff, initially named in the wrongful death suit, authorized his insurers to settle with McPherson's estate for $100,000 -- what his attorney called a "pittance in comparison with the millions and millions they were asking for.")

McPherson never got the Valium. Staffers told investigators that they feared any drug might interfere with her future auditing. So instead they loaded aspirin and Benadryl into a syringe and forced it down her throat. McPherson's "case supervisor" believed the aspirin "might assist in blocking Lisa's formation of mental images," the prosecution affidavit says.

Through the 17 days since her naked stroll down Belleview Boulevard, McPherson had been attended by Janis Johnson, an unlicensed anesthesiologist who served as the Flag base medical liaison officer, by a dentist and by staffers with no medical training, including a 17-year-old. One woman assigned to McPherson's room broke down, sat in a corner and cried, records show.

The Scientologists injected McPherson with magnesium chloride and gave her the sedative chloral hydrate -- both substances apparently endorsed by Hubbard. By Dec. 1, she was so dehydrated that she needed two liters of fluid, according to Johnson's notes. The medical examiner later said it appeared that she'd gone without water for at least five days. The watchers' records are spotty, and church logs of her final 53 hours were lost or destroyed, according to the prosecution affidavit.

A reconstruction of events that Scientology turned over to lawyers for McPherson's estate, as well as prosecutors' findings, describe McPherson's final day:

By Dec. 5, she couldn't walk. She'd been lapsing in and out of consciousness, barely moving. That morning, Johnson thought McPherson looked "septic," as if suffering from a massive infection. Around 7 p.m., Johnson called Minkoff, requesting he issue a prescription for penicillin.

Minkoff says he refused and advised that the patient be taken to the nearest hospital. But Johnson said, "Lisa was not that sick." She would transport McPherson 24 miles to New Port Richey instead.

McPherson's breathing grew heavy and labored on the trip. She was loaded into a wheelchair when they reached the hospital around 9:30. Minkoff said he was shocked by her "horrific" appearance.

He pronounced her dead on arrival.

According to the charging document, "This inexcusable delay in seeking emergency help ... deprived Lisa of her only opportunity for survival."

A Scientology report on the incident begins this way: "Lisa McPherson, Flag public living in Clearwater, FL., dropped her body this evening while being taken to a hospital."

On Aug. 6, 1996, eight months after she died, the church mailed Lisa McPherson a statement showing a credit of $3,000. Her next course, called "OT Debug Service," was paid for and waiting.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:50 am

The Process Church of the Final Judgment
by Wikipedia

The Process, or in full, The Process Church of the Final Judgment, commonly known by non-members as the Process Church, was a religious group that flourished in the 1960s and 1970s, founded by the Englishman Robert DeGrimston (originally, Robert Moor) and Mary Anne MacLean. It originally developed as a splinter client cult group from Scientology,[1] so that they were declared "suppressive persons" by L. Ron Hubbard in December 1965. In 1966 the members of the group underwent a social implosion and moved to Xtul on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, where they developed "processean" theology (which differs from, and is unrelated to process theology). They later established a base of operations in the United States in New Orleans.

They were often viewed as Satanic on the grounds that they worshipped both Christ and Satan. Their belief is that Satan will become reconciled to Christ, and together will come at the end of the world to judge humanity, Christ to judge and Satan to execute judgment. Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor of the Charles Manson Family trial, comments in his book Helter Skelter that there may be evidence Manson borrowed philosophically from the Process Church, and that representatives of the Church visited him in jail after his arrest. According to one of these representatives, the purpose of the visit was to interview Manson about whether he had ever had any contact with Church members or ever received any literature about the Church. As a result of a lawsuit, the publisher of Ed Sanders' book The Family agreed to remove the chapter about the Process from this book.

In April, 1974 Robert DeGrimston was removed by the Council of Masters as Teacher. They renounced The Unity, his exposition of the above-noted doctrines, and most of his other teachings. DeGrimston attempted to restart the Process Church several times, but he could never replace his original following. Following DeGrimston's removal, the group underwent a significant change in orientation and renamed itself the Foundation Faith of the Millennium. Further changes in both name and focus followed, and the organization eventually became the Best Friends Animal Society, which is now one of America's best known animal welfare rescue groups.

A detailed account of the history of and life within the Process Church as told by a participant-observer is contained in William S. Bainbridge's book Satan's Power. (He employed a pseudonym for the name of the group, referring to it as "The Power", and disguised the names of people to preserve their identities, a procedure used for sociological studies of living groups to ensure privacy.)

Processean theology

The term "processean theology" distinguishes these ideas from the process theology derived from the thoughts of Alfred North Whitehead.

At Xtul was the first 'channeling' of God. After Xtul, Jehovah was the only recognised God. Later, with Jehovah, Lucifer and Satan were recognised as "The Three Great Gods of the Universe" and Christ as the Emissary to the Gods. The Three Great Gods represent three basic human patterns of reality:

• Jehovah, the wrathful God of vengeance and retribution, demands discipline, courage and ruthlessness, and a single-minded dedication to duty, purity and self-denial.
• Lucifer, the Light Bearer, urges us to enjoy life to the full, to value success in human terms, to be gentle and kind and loving, and to live in peace and harmony with one another. Man's apparent inability to value success without descending into greed, jealousy and an exaggerated sense of his own importance, has brought the God Lucifer into disrepute. He has become mistakenly identified with Satan.
• Satan, the receiver of transcendent souls and corrupted bodies, instills in us two directly opposite qualities; at one end an urge to rise above all human and physical needs and appetites, to become all soul and no body, all spirit and no mind, and at the other end a desire to sink beneath all human codes of behavior, and to wallow in a morass of violence, lunacy and excessive physical indulgence. But it is the lower end of Satan's nature that men fear, which is why Satan, by whatever name, is seen as the Adversary.

In between these Three Great Gods and man, is an entire hierarchy of Gods, beings and superbeings, angels and archangels, demons and archdemons, elementals and guides, and fallen angels and watchers.

There is all this and more too, in heaven and in hell and on Earth.

The Process believes that, to varying degrees, these "God-patterns" exist within all of us. The main doctrine of The Process is the unity of Christ and Satan, who exist as opposites. Jehovah and Lucifer exist as opposites and when Christ and Satan are united this will unite Jehovah and Lucifer.

In the original 1960s literature of the church, Christ, Lucifer, Satan, and Jehovah were all arranged on a mandala, with Christ at the top opposite Satan on the bottom and Jehovah on the left opposite Lucifer on the right.

(The descriptions of the Gods comes from a teaching called "The Hierarchy" published in December 1967, as a part of "The Tide of the End".)


1. Clarke, Nick (October 20, 1999). "'It is dreadful to be an onlooking parent, for the loved child is lost'". The Guardian.,,259531,00.html. Retrieved June 23, 2008.

Further reading

Bainbridge, William Sims (1978). Satan's Power: A Deviant Psychotherapy Cult., Univ of California Press. ISBN 0-5200-3546-1
Rowlett, Curt (2006). Labyrinth13: True Tales of the Occult, Crime & Conspiracy, Chapter 10, Charles Manson, Son of Sam and the Process Church of the Final Judgment: Exploring the Alleged Connections. Lulu Press. ISBN 1-4116-6083-8.
Wyllie, Timothy (1991). Dolphins, Extraterrestrials and Angels.
Wyllie, Timothy and Adam Parfrey (2009). Love, Sex, Fear, Death: The Inside Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment. Feral House.
Terry, Maury (1987). The Ultimate Evil. Doubleday & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-38523452-X.
[edit] External links
Book Review of 'Love, Sex, Fear, Death: The Inside Story of the Process Church of the Final Judgment', Tina Estlin Page,
Religious Movements, Kathryn L. Duvall, University of Virginia.
A profile of The Process, Gary Lachman
MaryAnne Moore - Obituary, The Skepticaltheurgist
Friends find their calling, Lou Kilzer, Rocky Mountain News
Preparing for the Fiery End: Process, Bill Beckett, Harvard Crimson
Chapter from Ed Sander's book "The Family",
Writings by Robert deGrimston
Interview about The Process Church & 4p2 on
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David Berkowitz
by Wikipedia

2003 New York State Department of Corrections mugshot

David Richard Berkowitz (born Richard David Falco, June 1, 1953), also known as Son of Sam and the .44 Caliber Killer, is an American serial killer and arsonist whose crimes terrorized New York City from July 1976 until his arrest in August 1977.

Shortly after his arrest in August 1977, Berkowitz confessed to killing six people and wounding seven others in the course of eight shootings in New York between 1976 and 1977; he has been imprisoned for these crimes since 1977. Berkowitz subsequently claimed that he was commanded to kill by a demon who possessed his neighbor's dog.

Berkowitz later amended his confession to claim he was the shooter in only two incidents, personally killing three people and wounding a fourth. The other victims were killed, Berkowitz claimed, by members of a violent Satanic cult of which he was a member. Though he remains the only person charged with or convicted of the shootings, some law enforcement authorities argue that Berkowitz's claims are credible: according to John Hockenberry[1] formerly of MSNBC, many officials involved in the original "Son of Sam" case suspected that more than one person was committing the murders. Hockenberry also reported that the Son of Sam case was reopened in 1996 and, as of 2004, it was still considered open.

Early life

Berkowitz was born Richard David Falco in Brooklyn, New York. His mother, Betty Broder, was married to Anthony Falco, with whom she had a daughter before the couple separated without legally divorcing. After this, she had an affair with the married Joseph Kleinman,[2] who fathered a son. Kleinman suggested she abort the child, but she gave birth to a boy and listed Falco as the father.

Before he was a week old, the baby was adopted by hardware store owners Nathan and Pearl Berkowitz, who reversed the order of his first and middle names in addition to giving him their own surname.[2]

John Vincent Sanders wrote that Berkowitz's childhood was "somewhat troubled. Although of above-average intelligence, he lost interest in learning at an early age and began an infatuation with petty larceny and pyromania."[3] Berkowitz's adoptive mother died of breast cancer when he was thirteen, and his home life became strained in later years, particularly because he disliked his adoptive father's second wife. He later claimed his new step-sister was interested in witchcraft, sparking an interest in the occult he would later pursue more actively.

In 1969, the 16-year-old Berkowitz attended the Woodstock Festival. He joined the United States Army in 1971, and served on active duty until his honorable discharge in 1974. He avoided service in the Vietnam War, instead serving in both the United States and South Korea.

In 1974 Berkowitz located his birth mother, Betty Falco. After a few visits, she disclosed the details of his illegitimate conception and birth, which greatly disturbed him. They fell out of contact, but Berkowitz did stay in touch with his half-sister, Roslyn.[2]

After leaving the Army, Berkowitz held several blue collar jobs. At the time of his arrest, he was employed by the U.S. Postal Service.

Cult claims

Berkowitz claims that he joined a cult in the spring of 1975. Initially, he said, the group was involved in harmless activities, such as séances and fortune telling. Gradually, however, Berkowitz claimed that the group introduced him to drug use, sadistic pornography and violent crime. They began, he claims, by killing dogs, mostly German Shepherds. Over a dozen mutilated dog corpses were discovered in Yonkers, especially near Untermeyer Park, which Berkowitz claimed was a frequent meeting place for the cult.

Crimes begin

First attacks

Berkowitz claimed that his first attacks on women occurred in late 1975, when he attacked two women with a knife on Christmas Eve. One alleged victim was never identified, but the other victim, Michelle Forman, was injured seriously enough to put her in the hospital.[4] Not long afterward, Berkowitz moved to an apartment in Yonkers.

Donna Lauria and Jody Valenti shooting

Police composite sketch of the Lauria-Valenti shooter juxtaposed with a mugshot of David Berkowitz.At about 1:10 a.m. on July 29, 1976, Mike and Rose Lauria returned to their apartment in Pelham Bay after dining out. Their daughter Donna, 18, and her friend Jody Valenti, 19, were sitting in Valenti's Oldsmobile, parked outside the apartment, discussing their evening at the Peachtree, a New Rochelle discotheque. As Valenti was about to leave, Mike Lauria agreed to his daughter's suggestion that they walk the family's dog together. Before he went inside to retrieve the poodle, Lauria noticed a man sleeping in a yellow compact car parked across the street and about sixty feet behind his own car. Neighbors would report to police that an unfamiliar yellow compact car had been cruising the area for hours before the shooting.[5]

After her parents were inside, Donna Lauria opened the car door to depart, noticing a man quickly approaching them. Startled and angered by the man's sudden appearance, Lauria said, "Now what is this…"[5] From the paper sack he carried, the man produced a handgun and, crouching as he aimed, fired three shots. Lauria was struck in her chest by one bullet that killed her almost instantly, Valenti took a bullet in her thigh, and the third missed both girls. The shooter turned and quickly walked away.

Valenti, who survived her injuries, said she did not recognize the killer. She described him as a white male in his 30s with a fair complexion, standing about 5'9" and weighing about 160 lb (73 kg). His hair was short, dark and curly in a "mod style."[5] This description was echoed by Mike Lauria in his description of the man who was sitting in the yellow compact car parked behind Valenti and Lauria.

Detectives from the 8th Homicide precinct of the New York Police Department had little in the way of evidence. Most importantly, they were able to determine that the handgun used was a .44 caliber Charter Arms Bulldog. A high-power, five-shot revolver intended for use in close quarters, the .44 Bulldog was identified because the unusual manufacturing process of its barrel left distinctive marks on each slug.

Police followed two working hypotheses in the absence of further evidence: that the shooter was a spurned admirer of the popular Lauria or that the shooting was a mistaken assassination attempt of the wrong person. The neighborhood had seen recent mob activity, and police even hinted that Mike Lauria, a member of the Teamsters union, might be involved in organized crime.

Berkowitz later claimed that he shot Lauria and Valenti, and that several other cult members were involved in the crime, either by surveillance of the victims, or by acting as lookouts.[6]

Carl Denaro and Rosemary Keenan shooting

In the early morning of October 23, 1976, another shooting occurred, this time in Queens.

Carl Denaro, 25, and Rosemary Keenan, 38, were parked in a secluded residential area in Flushing, Queens. Keenan was driving her own Volkswagen Beetle, and Denaro was in the passenger seat. At about 1:30 a.m., the car's windows seemed to explode, and the duo dropped low in their seats as several bullets struck the car. Denaro and Keenan did not realize someone was shooting at them, even as Denaro was bleeding from a bullet wound to his head. They panicked and Keenan drove to Peck's, a bar about half a mile away. Keenan had only superficial injuries from the broken glass, but Denaro eventually needed a metal plate to replace a portion of his skull. Neither victim had seen whoever had made the attack.

Police determined that the slugs embedded in Keenan's car were .44 caliber bullets, but they were so damaged and deformed that they thought it was unlikely that they could ever be linked to a particular weapon.[7] Denaro had shoulder-length hair, and police would later speculate that the shooter had mistaken him for a girl. Keenan's father was a 20-year veteran police detective of the NYPD, spurring an in-depth investigation. As with the Lauria-Valenti shooting, however, there seemed to be no motive for the shooting, and police made little progress in the case. Though many details of the Denaro-Keenan shooting were very similar to the Lauria-Valenti case, police did not initially suspect a connection, partly because the shootings occurred in different boroughs of New York City and were investigated by different local police agencies.

Berkowitz later claimed that, while he observed and helped plan the crime, an unnamed female cult member actually shot Denaro.[8] The victims survived primarily, claimed Berkowitz, because the shooter was unfamiliar with the powerful recoil of a .44 Bulldog.[8]

Donna DeMasi and Joanne Lomino shooting

Late in the evening of November 26, 1976, Donna DeMasi, 16, and Joanne Lomino, 18, had walked home from a movie, and were chatting under a streetlight outside Lomino's home. A man approached to within about ten feet of the girls. They later described him as about 5'9", tall and slender, weighing perhaps 150 lb (68 kg) with straight, dirty blond hair and dark eyes. He wore a slim, knee-length coat reminiscent of military surplus gear.

Startled but not frightened by his sudden appearance, DeMasi and Lomino suspected the man was lost and asking directions. In a high-pitched voice he said, "Can you tell me how to get,"[8] then he produced a revolver. He shot each of the victims once, and as they fell to the ground injured, he fired several more times, striking the apartment building before running away. Having heard the gunshots, a neighbor rushed from their apartment and saw the blonde shooter rush by, gripping a pistol in his left hand.

DeMasi and Lomino were hospitalized with serious injuries: Lomino was ultimately rendered a paraplegic, but DeMasi's wounds were less serious.

Based on the testimony of DeMasi, Lomino, and their neighbor, police produced several composite sketches of the blonde shooter. Police also determined the gun was a .44, but the slugs were so deformed that linking them to a particular gun was all but ruled out.

Berkowitz later claimed that while he helped plan the DeMasi-Lomino shooting, the actual perpetrator was cult member John Carr, and that a Yonkers police officer, also a cult member, was involved in the crime.[8]

Christine Freund and John Diel shooting

The new year brought more shootings in Queens. In the early morning of January 30, 1977, an engaged couple, Christine Freund, 26, and John Diel, 30, were sitting in Diel's Pontiac Firebird, preparing to drive to a dance hall after having seen the motion picture Rocky.

Three gunshots penetrated the car at about 12:40 a.m. In a panic, Diel drove away for help. He suffered minor superficial injuries, but Freund was shot twice. She died several hours later at the hospital. Neither victim had seen their attacker(s).

Police determined the shooter had again used a .44 Bulldog. Police made the first public acknowledgment that the Freund-Diel shooting was similar to the earlier cases, and that the crimes might be connected: the earlier victims had been struck with .44 caliber bullets, if not confirmed Bulldog revolvers, and the shootings targeted young women with long, dark hair and/or young couples parked in cars.

NYPD sergeant Richard Conlon stated that police were "leaning towards a connection in all these cases."[9][10] Composite sketches of the black-haired Lauria-Valenti shooter and the blonde Lomino-DeMasi shooter were released, and Conlon noted that police were looking for multiple "suspects", not just one.[9]

Berkowitz later claimed that while "at least five" cult members were at the scene of the Freund-Diel shooting, the actual shooter was a cult associate nicknamed "Manson II", who was brought in from outside New York due to a special motive of which Berkowitz claimed to know no details.[8]

Virginia Voskerichian shooting

At about 7:30 p.m. on March 8, 1977, Columbia University student Virginia Voskerichian, 19, was walking home from school. She lived about a block from where Christine Freund was shot. The Voskerichian shooting differed from the other Son of Sam crimes in many respects. All the other victims were couples, and were shot on weekends in the late night or early morning.

There were no direct witnesses to the Voskerichian murder, which happened on the victim's own street. In a desperate move to defend herself, Voskerichian lifted her textbooks between herself and her killer, only to have the makeshift shield penetrated, the bullet striking her head and killing her.

Moments after the shooting, a neighborhood resident who had heard the gunshots was rounding the corner onto Voskerichian's street. He nearly collided with a person he described as a short, husky boy, 16 to 18 years old and clean-shaven, wearing a sweater and watch cap, who was sprinting away from the crime scene. The neighbor said the youth pulled the cap over his face and said, "Oh, Jesus!" as he passed by, sprinting.[11]

Other neighbors claimed to have seen the "teenager," and another matching Berkowitz's description, loitering separately in the area for about an hour before the shooting.[11] In the following days, the media repeated police claims that this "chubby teenager" was the suspect in the shooting.[11]

Berkowitz later claimed that he was at the Voskerichian murder scene, but the actual shooter was a "woman from Westchester."[12] Additionally, Berkowitz claimed the Voskerichian shooting was partly designed to confuse police by seeming to change the modus operandi established in earlier cult shootings.

Press and publicity

Press conference of March 10, 1977

In a March 10, 1977 press conference, NYPD officials and New York City Mayor Abraham Beame declared that the same .44 Bulldog revolver had fired the shots that killed Lauria and Voskerichian.[13] Official documents would later surface, however, saying that while police strongly suspected the same .44 Bulldog had been used in the shootings, the evidence was actually inconclusive.[13]

The same day, the Operation Omega task force made its public debut. Charged solely with investigating the .44 Caliber shootings, the task force was led by Deputy Inspector Timothy J. Dowd, composed of over 300 police officers. Police speculated that the killer had a vendetta against women, perhaps due to chronic social rejection, and also declared that the "chubby teenager" was regarded as a witness, not a suspect in the Voskerichian shooting. The police regarded the taller, black-haired male shooter in the Lauria-Valenti case as the shooter in all the .44 Caliber murders.

Publicity and political implications

The crimes earned considerable mass media publicity, with television, newspapers and radio publishing every detail and speculation of the case. Australian publisher Rupert Murdoch had recently purchased the New York Post, and the paper offered perhaps the most sensational coverage of the crimes, as a result vaulting from near-bankruptcy into profitability. Mayor Beame, meanwhile, helped funnel unprecedented amounts of money to the NYPD to help solve the case.

Another shooting

Alexander Esau and Valentina Suriani shooting

In the early morning of April 17, 1977, Alexander Esau, 20, and Valentina Suriani, 18, were in the Bronx, only a few blocks from the scene of the Lauria-Valenti shooting. At about 3:00 a.m., they were each shot twice and killed. Suriani died at the scene, and Esau died in the hospital several hours later without being able to describe his attacker(s).

In the days afterwards, police repeated their theory that only one man was responsible for the .44 murders: the chubby teenager in the Voskerichian case was still regarded as a witness, while the dark-haired man who shot Lauria and Valenti was considered the suspect.[14]

Berkowitz later claimed that he was responsible for the Esau-Suriani shootings.[12]

Letters and profiling

Son of Sam letter

In the street near the Esau-Suriani shooting, a police officer discovered a hand-written letter. Written mostly in block capital letters with some lower-case letters, it was addressed to NYPD Captain Joseph Borrelli.[15]

In full, with misspellings intact, it read:

I am deeply hurt by your calling me a wemon [sic] hater! I am not. But I am a monster. I am the "Son of Sam." I am a little brat. When father Sam gets drunk he gets mean. He beats his family. Sometimes he ties me up to the back of the house. Other times he locks me in the garage. Sam loves to drink blood. "Go out and kill," commands father Sam. Behind our house some rest. Mostly young — raped and slaughtered — their blood drained — just bones now. Papa Sam keeps me locked in the attic too. I can't get out but I look out the attic window and watch the world go by. I feel like an outsider. I am on a different wavelength then [sic] everybody else — programmed too [sic] kill. However, to stop me you must kill me. Attention all police: Shoot me first — shoot to kill or else keep out of my way or you will die! Papa Sam is old now. He needs some blood to preserve his youth. He has had too many heart attacks. "Ugh, me hoot, it hurts, sonny boy." I miss my pretty princess most of all. She's resting in our ladies house. But I'll see her soon. I am the "Monster" — "Beelzebub" — the chubby behemouth. I love to hunt. Prowling the streets looking for fair game — tasty meat. The wemon of Queens are prettyist of all. It must be the water they drink. I live for the hunt — my life. Blood for papa. Mr. Borrelli, sir, I don't want to kill anymore. No sur, no more but I must, 'honor thy father.' I want to make love to the world. I love people. I don't belong on earth. Return me to yahoos. To the people of Queens, I love you. And I want to wish all of you a happy Easter. May God bless you in this life and in the next. And for now I say goodbye and goodnight. Police: Let me haunt you with these words: I'll be back! I'll be back! To be interpreted as — bang bang bang, bank, bang — ugh!! Yours in murder, Mr. Monster[15]

Though discovery of the letter was an open secret, the contents were not made public. Only a few hints were leaked: police speculated that the letter-writer might be familiar with Scottish English. The phrase "me hoot, it hurts, sonny boy" was taken as a Scots-accented version of "my heart, it hurts, sonny boy"; and the police also hypothesized that the shooter blamed a dark-haired nurse for his father's death, due to the "too many heart attacks" phrase, and the facts that Lauria was a medical technician and Valenti was studying to be a nurse.[16] On July 28, New York Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin alluded to the "wemon" quirk and referred to the shooter watching the world from "his attic window."[17]

Psychological profile and other police investigations

After consulting with several psychiatrists, police released a psychological profile of their suspect on May 26, 1977. He was described as neurotic and probably suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and believed himself to be a victim of demonic possession.[17]

Police questioned the owners of 56 .44 Bulldog revolvers legally registered in New York City, and forensically tested each weapon, ruling them out as the murder weapons. Among other unsuccessful ideas, police created traps with undercover officers posed as lovers parked in isolated areas, hoping to lure the shooter.

Breslin letter

On May 30, 1977, columnist Jimmy Breslin of the New York Daily News received a hand-written letter from someone who claimed to be the .44 shooter. The letter was postmarked early on May 30 in Englewood, New Jersey. On the reverse of the envelope was hand-printed a precisely-centered quatrain:

Blood and Family/Darkness and Death/Absolute Depravity/.44

The letter read:

Hello from the gutters of N.Y.C. which are filled with dog manure, vomit, stale wine, urine and blood. Hello from the sewers of N.Y.C. which swallow up these delicacies when they are washed away by the sweeper trucks. Hello from the cracks in the sidewalks of N.Y.C. and from the ants that dwell in these cracks and feed in the dried blood of the dead that has settled into the cracks. J.B., I'm just dropping you a line to let you know that I appreciate your interest in those recent and horrendous .44 killings. I also want to tell you that I read your column daily and I find it quite informative. Tell me Jim, what will you have for July twenty-ninth? You can forget about me if you like because I don't care for publicity. However you must not forget Donna Lauria and you cannot let the people forget her either. She was a very, very sweet girl but Sam's a thirsty lad and he won't let me stop killing until he gets his fill of blood. Mr. Breslin, sir, don't think that because you haven't heard from me for a while that I went to sleep. No, rather, I am still here. Like a spirit roaming the night. Thirsty, hungry, seldom stopping to rest; anxious to please Sam. I love my work. Now, the void has been filled. Perhaps we shall meet face to face someday or perhaps I will be blown away by cops with smoking .38's. Whatever, if I shall be fortunate enough to meet you I will tell you all about Sam if you like and I will introduce you to him. His name is "Sam the terrible." Not knowing the what the future holds I shall say farewell and I will see you at the next job. Or should I say you will see my handiwork at the next job? Remember Ms. Lauria. Thank you. In their blood and from the gutter "Sam's creation" .44 Here are some names to help you along. Forward them to the inspector for use by N.C.I.C: [sic] "The Duke of Death" "The Wicked King Wicker" "The Twenty Two Disciples of Hell" "John 'Wheaties' -- Rapist and Suffocator of Young Girls. PS: Please inform all the detectives working the slaying to remain. P.S: [sic] JB, Please inform all the detectives working the case that I wish them the best of luck. "Keep 'em digging, drive on, think positive, get off your butts, knock on coffins, etc." Upon my capture I promise to buy all the guys working the case a new pair of shoes if I can get up the money. Son of Sam[18]

Underneath the "Son of Sam" was a logo or sketch that combined several symbols. The writer's question, "What will you have for July 29?" was taken as an ominous threat: July 29 would be the anniversary of the first .44 Caliber shooting.

Police and public response to the Breslin letter

Breslin notified police, who thought the letter was probably from someone with knowledge of the shootings. Sophisticated in its wording and presentation, especially when compared to the crudely written first letter, police suspected the Breslin letter might have been created in an art studio or similar professional location by someone with expertise in printing, calligraphy, graphic design or architecture.[19]

Based on the "Wicked King Wicker" reference, police arranged a private screening of The Wicker Man, a 1970s horror film.

A week later, after consulting with police and agreeing to withhold portions of the text, the Daily News published the letter, and Breslin urged the killer to turn himself over to authorities. Reportedly, over 1.1 million copies of that day's paper were sold.[20]

The letter caused a panic in New York, and based on references in the publicized portions of the letter, police received thousands of tips, all of which proved baseless.[19]

As all the shooting victims so far had long, dark hair, thousands of women in New York cut or dyed their hair, and beauty supply stores had trouble meeting the demand for blond wigs.[21] Despite being one of the hottest summers on record, people stayed indoors at night, ignoring the longstanding tradition of spending sultry evenings outdoors.

Shootings resume

Sal Lupo and Judy Placido shooting

On June 26, 1977, there was another shooting. Sal Lupo, 20, and Judy Placido, 17, had left the Elephas discotheque in the Bayside section of Queens. The young couple was sitting in their car at about 3:00 a.m. when Placido said, "This Son of Sam is really scary — the way that guy comes out of nowhere. You never know where he'll hit next."[22] Moments later, three gunshots blasted through the car.

Both were struck by slugs, but their injuries were relatively minor, and both survived. Neither Lupo or Placido had seen their attacker(s),[23] but witnesses reported a tall, stocky, dark-haired man sprinting from the area, and a blonde man with a mustache who drove from the neighborhood in a Chevy Nova without turning on its headlights. Police speculated the dark-haired man was the shooter, and that the blonder man had observed the crime.[23]

Berkowitz later claimed that cult member Michael Carr shot Lupo and Placido.[24] Additionally, Berkowitz claimed that cult members had long wanted to shoot someone at the Elephas disco, thinking the site significant in light of their interest in the work of noted 19th century occultist Eliphas Levi.[24]

Stacy Moskowitz and Robert Violante shooting

It was near the one-year anniversary of the first .44 caliber shootings, and police set up a sizable dragnet, focusing on past hunting grounds of Queens and The Bronx. However, the next .44 shooting was in Brooklyn.

Early on July 31, 1977, Stacy Moskowitz and Robert Violante, both 20, were in Violante's car, which was parked under a streetlight near a city park. They were kissing when a man approached to within about three feet of the passenger side of Violante's car, fired several gunshots into the car, striking both victims in the head, before running into the park. Moskowitz died several hours later in the hospital. Violante survived, though one of his eyes was destroyed and he retained only very limited vision in the other eye. With her short, curly blonde hair, Moskowitz was a departure from the other female victims. Based on telephone calls to police within seconds of the shooting, the crime occurred at 2:35 a.m.

The Moskowitz-Violante crime produced more witnesses than any of the other Son of Sam murders, notably the only direct eyewitness who was not an intended victim. During the shooting, Tommy Zaino, 19, was parked with his date in a car three car lengths ahead of Violante's. Moments before the shooting, Zaino saw a peripheral glimpse of the shooter's approach and happened to glance in his rear view mirror just in time to see the crime occur. Due to the bright street light and full moon, Zaino clearly saw the perpetrator for several seconds, later describing him as 25 to 30 years old, of average height (5'7" to 5'9") with shaggy hair that was dark blonde or light brown — "it looked like a wig", Zaino said.[25]

About a minute after the shooting, a woman seated next to her boyfriend in his car on the other side of the city park saw a "white male [who was wearing] a light-colored, cheap nylon wig" sprint from the park and enter a "small, light-colored" auto, which drove away quickly.[25] "He looks like he just robbed a bank," said the woman, who wrote what she could see of the car's license plate: unable to determine the first two characters, she was certain the others were either 4-GUR or 4-GVR.[25]

Other witnesses included a woman who saw a light car speed away from the park about 20 seconds after the gunshots,[25] and at least two witnesses who described a yellow Volkswagen driving quickly from the neighborhood with its headlights off.[26] A neighborhood resident given the pseudonym Mary Lyons heard the gunshots and Violente's calls for help, and glancing from her apartment window, she saw a man she later positively identified as Berkowitz, who was walking casually away from the crime scene as many others were rushing towards the scene to render aid.[27]

Shortly after 2:35 a.m., a man given the pseudonym Alan Masters was passing through an intersection a few blocks from the park. Masters was nearly struck by what he described as a yellow Volkswagen Beetle that sped through the intersection, against the red light and without headlights, with the driver holding his door shut with his arm as he drove. Angered and alarmed, Masters followed the Volkswagen at high speed for several minutes before losing sight of the vehicle. Masters described the driver as a white male in his late 20s or early 30s, with a narrow face; dark, long, stringy hair; several days growth of dark whiskers on his face; and wearing a blue jacket.[28] Upset, Masters neglected to note the Volkswagen's license plate number, but he thought it might have been a New Jersey rather than a New York plate. Violante encountered a very similar man as he and Moskowitz were in the park shortly before the shooting, describing him as a "grubby-looking hippy" with whiskers, wiry hair over his forehead, dark eyes, and wearing a denim jacket.[29]

Berkowitz would later claim that the shooter in the Moskowitz-Violante case was a friend of John Carr, who had arrived from North Dakota for the occasion.[30] Additionally, Berkowitz would claim that after his Ford Galaxie, license plate 561 XLB, received a parking ticket at 2:05 a.m. for being parked too close to a fire hydrant near the city park, he tried to persuade two other cult members at the scene to postpone or relocate the crime.[31] Berkowitz claimed his suggestion was overruled, and he was ordered to remain in the area to make sure no police were nearby.

Police activities after the Moskowitz-Violente shooting

Police didn't learn of the Moskowitz-Violente shooting until about 2:50 a.m., and Dowd didn't think it was another Son of Sam shooting until an officer at the scene reported that large-caliber shells had been used.[32]

About an hour after the shooting, police set up a series of roadblocks, stopping hundreds of cars to question drivers and inspect vehicles. Based on extended interviews of Masters and others who described a Volkswagen speeding from the crime scene, police now suspected that the shooter owned or drove such a vehicle. In subsequent days, police determined there were over 900 Volkswagens in New York or New Jersey, and they made plans to track down each of these cars and their owners.[33]

Justice system

Suspicion and capture

The evening of the Moskowitz and Violante shooting, Cacilia Davis, who lived near the crime scene, saw Berkowitz loitering in the neighborhood and glaring menacingly at passersby for several hours before removing a parking ticket from his yellow Ford Galaxie, which had been parked too close to a fire hydrant. Two days after the shooting, she contacted police.

Despite their claims to the contrary, police initially thought Berkowitz a possible witness, rather than a suspect. Not until August 9, 1977, seven days after Cacilia Davis informed police about the man with the parking ticket, did NYPD Detective James Justis telephone Yonkers police to ask them to schedule an interview with Berkowitz. The Yonkers police dispatcher who first took Justis' call was Wheat Carr, the daughter of Sam Carr and sister of Berkowitz's alleged cult confederates John and Michael Carr.[34]

Justis asked "the [Yonkers] police for some help tracking [Berkowitz] down. Mike Novotny was a sergeant at the Yonkers Police Department. According to Novotny, the Yonkers police had their own suspicions about Berkowitz, in connection with other strange crimes in Yonkers, crimes they saw referenced in one of the Son of Sam letters. To the shock of the NYPD they told the New York City detective that Berkowitz might just be the Son of Sam."[1]

The next day, police investigated Berkowitz's car parked on the street outside his Pine Street apartment in Yonkers. Police saw a Commando Mark III rifle in the backseat. Searching the car, police found a duffel bag filled with ammunition, maps of the crime scenes and a letter to Sgt. Dowd of the Omega task force, threatening further murders. Police decided to wait for Berkowitz to emerge from the apartment rather than risk a violent encounter in the narrow apartment hallway.

Berkowitz emerged from the building shortly before 10:00 p.m., carrying a .44 Bulldog in a paper sack. Police arrested Berkowitz as he was starting the car outside his apartment on Pine Street in Yonkers on August 10, 1977. His first words upon arrest were reported to be, "You got me. What took you so long?"[35]

Police searched his apartment, and found it in disarray, with Satanic graffiti on the walls. They also found a diary wherein Berkowitz took credit for dozens of arsons throughout the New York area (some sources allege that this number might be as high as 1,411).[36]

After police had brought Berkowitz into custody, Mayor Beame came out to the public and said, "The people of the City of New York can rest easy because of the fact that the police have captured a man whom they believe to be the Son of Sam."[37]


Police were worried that, if challenged in court, their initial search of Berkowitz's vehicle might be ruled unconstitutional. Police had no search warrant, and their justification for the search of Berkowitz's car might seem flimsy. They had searched initially based on the rifle visible in the back seat, though possession of such a rifle was legal in New York State, and required no special permit.

Berkowitz quickly confessed to the shootings, however, and expressed an interest in pleading guilty in exchange for receiving life imprisonment rather than facing the death penalty. Berkowitz was questioned for about 30 minutes in the early morning of August 11, 1977, and he quickly confessed to the "Son of Sam" killings.

During questioning, Berkowitz said that the "Sam" mentioned in the first letter was Sam Carr, his former neighbor. Berkowitz claimed that Carr's black labrador retriever, Harvey, was possessed by an ancient demon, and that it issued irresistible commands that Berkowitz must kill people. Berkowitz said he once tried to kill the dog, but was unsuccessful due to supernatural interference.


During his sentencing, Berkowitz repeatedly chanted "Stacy was a whore" at a low yet audible volume.[38] He was referring, presumably, to Stacy Moskowitz, who died in the final .44 caliber shooting. His behavior caused an uproar, and the courtroom was adjourned. Berkowitz later claimed that his statement was a response to Moskowitz's mother, who frequently opined that Berkowitz should be executed.

On June 12, 1978, he was sentenced to six life sentences in prison for the murders, making his maximum term 365 years. He was first imprisoned at the Attica Correctional Facility. He was also given additional terms for assault and attempted murder.

Berkowitz's life in prison

In 1979, there was an attempt on Berkowitz's life. He refused to identify the person(s) who had attacked him with a knife, but suggested that the act was directed by the cult he once belonged to. He bears a permanent scar from the wound that took 52 stitches to close.

In 1987, Berkowitz became a born again Christian in prison. According to his personal testimony, his moment of conversion occurred after reading Psalm 34:6 from a Gideon's Pocket Testament Bible given to him by a fellow inmate.[39] In the same testimony, he stated that his obsession with and heavy involvement in the occult played a major role in the Son of Sam murders.

In March 2002, Berkowitz sent a letter to New York Governor George Pataki asking that his parole hearing be canceled, stating: "In all honesty, I believe that I deserve to be in prison for the rest of my life. I have, with God's help, long ago come to terms with my situation and I have accepted my punishment."[39] In June 2004, he was denied a second parole hearing after he stated that he did not want one. The parole board saw that he had a good record in the prison programs, but decided that the brutality of his crimes called for him to stay imprisoned. In July 2006, the board once again denied parole on similar grounds, with Berkowitz not in attendance at the hearing. He is very involved in prison ministry and regularly counsels troubled inmates.

In June 2005, Berkowitz sued his former attorney, Hugo Harmatz, claiming he had taken possession of Berkowitz's letters and other personal belongings in order to publish a book of his own. Berkowitz stated that he would only drop the lawsuit if the attorney signed over all money he makes to the victims' families. On October 25, 2006, Berkowitz and Harmatz settled out of court, with Harmatz agreeing to return the disputed items to Berkowitz's present attorney Mark Jay Heller, and to donate part of his book profits to the New York State Crime Victims Board.

Shortly before her death in 2006, Stacy Moskowitz's mother wrote Berkowitz a letter saying she had forgiven him for his crimes.[40] Moskowitz lived her final days in a Miami co-op, surrounded by pictures of her daughters, whom she talked about constantly. "...she said she did forgive everyone," said her close friend and neighbor, Sharon Denaro. "She needed to relieve herself of anger to be able to move forward with her life. She would say things like, 'This kind of anger can make you sick. Don't let anger eat you up'."

Berkowitz is housed in Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, New York. His "official" website is maintained on his behalf by a church group as he is not allowed access to a computer.[39] Berkowitz's next parole hearing is slated for May 2010; he has been denied parole four times thus far.

Berkowitz plans to write a memoir, entitled Son of Hope: The Prison Journals of David Berkowitz, which will be published through Morning Star Communications. Berkowitz himself will receive no money from publication, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the New York state crime victims board for distribution to the victims of his crimes.[39]

He is also corresponding with an advocate of murder victims and working to stop the sales of memorabilia related to murderers[41]


One major side effect of Berkowitz's murder spree were the "Son of Sam laws" enacted in several states in the 1980s.

The first of these laws was enacted in New York state after rampant speculation about publishers offering Berkowitz large sums of money for his story. The new law, named for Berkowitz, authorized the state to seize all money earned from such a deal from a criminal for five years, with intentions to use the seized money to compensate victims.

Later claims

Satanic cult claims

Within a few weeks of his arrest, Berkowitz was hinting that others were involved in the .44 murders. In a letter to the New York Post dated September 19, 1977, Berkowitz repeated the possessed dog story, but closed out his missive with the warning, "There are other Sons out there, God help the world."[42]

In later years, he has discussed the cult claims in greater detail, but alleges that he cannot divulge all he knows without putting his family at risk. The cult had roughly two dozen core members in New York, the "twenty-two disciples of hell" mentioned in the Breslin letter. The cult had ties across the U.S., claimed Berkowitz, and was deeply involved in drug smuggling and other illegal activities. Berkowitz reportedly invited the former priest and exorcist Malachi Martin to visit him to discuss his past Satanic cult involvement.[43]

Hockenberry asserts that, even aside from the Satanic cult claims, many officials doubted the single-shooter theory, writing, "[w]hat most don't know about the Son of Sam case is that from the beginning, not everyone bought the idea that Berkowitz acted alone. The list of skeptics includes both the police who worked the case and the prosecutor from Queens where five of the shootings took place."[1]

Son of Sam case reopened based on cult claims

Journalist Maury Terry began investigating the Son of Sam shootings before Berkowitz was arrested. Doubtful of the single shooter theory favored by police, Terry dug deeper into the case, noting a number of unresolved questions and inconsistencies that he first publicized in a March 1978 newspaper article.

Eventually interviewing Berkowitz several times, Terry uncovered evidence that he argues strongly support the idea that a violent offshoot of the Process Church was responsible for the Son of Sam murders and many other crimes. After consulting with police and agreeing to withhold some names and other details, Terry publicized his conclusions first in a series of newspaper articles distributed by the Gannett syndicate in 1979, and later in his book The Ultimate Evil, which has been expanded several times since its initial 1987 publication.[38] Queens' district attorney John Santucci, who thought the case against Berkowitz was riddled with inconsistencies and unresolved questions, was so impressed with Terry's research that, "he agreed to reopen the Son of Sam case ... But to date no-one else has ever been charged in connection with the crimes."[22]

Arlis Perry claims

In October 1978 Berkowitz mailed a book about witchcraft and other occult subjects to police in North Dakota. He had underlined several passages, offering some marginal notes, including the phrase: "Arliss [sic] Perry, Hunted, Stalked and Slain. Followed to Calif. Stanford University."

Arlis Perry, a newlywed 19-year-old North Dakota native, had been killed in a chapel on the grounds of Stanford University on October 12, 1974. Her murder remains unsolved. Berkowitz mentioned the Perry murder in a few letters, suggesting that he heard details of the crime from "Manson II", the culprit and a member of the violent Satanic cult. In the San Jose Mercury News, Jessie Seyfer noted that "investigators interviewed him in prison and now believe he has nothing of value to offer" regarding the Perry case.[44]

Real-life sons of Sam

Berkowitz claimed that brothers John and Michael Carr, the real life sons of Yonkers resident Sam Carr, were members of the same Satanic cult. John was the "John Wheaties, rapist and suffocator of young girls" mentioned in the Breslin letter.

Both Carr brothers died within two years of Berkowitz's arrest. John Carr was discovered dead in February 1978 in his girlfriend's North Dakota home; police initially viewed his death as suspicious, but it was ultimately ruled a probable suicide. Michael Carr died in a single-car traffic accident in October 1979, on Manhattan's West Side Highway.

Berkowitz claims that both Carr brothers were probably murdered by Satanic cult members because their heavy drug use marked them as untrustworthy and likely to become informants.


• The 1985 CBS film Out of the Darkness, the first to deal with the Son of Sam killings, was told from the point of view of Ed Zigo, one of the detectives responsible for capturing Berkowitz by poring over parking tickets given to an illegally parked car in Brooklyn near where Stacy Moskowitz was murdered. Zigo was played by Martin Sheen, and Berkowitz was played by Robert Trebor.
• The 1999 film Summer of Sam, directed by Spike Lee, depicts the tensions that develop in a Bronx neighborhood during the shootings. Berkowitz was played by Michael Badalucco.
• The 2007 ESPN mini-series The Bronx is Burning features the murders as a backdrop.
• Son of Sam is a 2008 Lionsgate film by Ulli Lommel focusing on Berkowitz's satanic cult connection.


1. Hockenberry, John. "Did 'Son of Sam' really act alone?". Retrieved May 17 2006.
2. Bardsley, Marilyn. "Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, famous serial killer - Letter 17". The Crime library. ... er_17.html. Retrieved October 9 2007.
3. "I am the Son of Sam!". Fortean Times. August 2002. ... f_sam.html. Retrieved 2008-09-24.
4. Montaldo, Charles. "David Berkowitz - The Son of Sam". About Crime. Retrieved September 27 2006.
5. Terry, 1999, p 23-24.
6. Terry, 1999, p 528.
7. Terry, 1999, p 27.
8. Terry, 1999, p 529
9. Terry, 1999, p 32
10. New York Daily News. February 1, 1977.
11. Terry, 1999, p 36-37
12. Terry, 1999, p 530
13. Terry, 1999, pp 38-40
14. Terry, 1999, p 43
15. Bardsley, Marilyn. "Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, famous serial killer". The Crime Library. ... ter_1.html. Retrieved March 21 2007.
16. Terry, 1999, pp 43-44
17. Terry, 1999, p 47
18. Terry, 1999, pp 48-50
19. Terry, 1999, 51
20. "Son of Sam - David Berkowitz". Altered Dimensions. Retrieved September 27 2006.
21. "Bath in New York". ... s/id3.html. Retrieved April 19 2007.
22. Summers, Chris. "Crime Case Closed - David Berkowitz". Archived from the original on 2007-02-19. ... itz1.shtml. Retrieved September 27 2006.
23. Terry, 1999, 53
24. Terry, 1999, p 539.
25. Terry, 1999, p 70
26. Terry, 1999, p 70; pp 71-72
27. Terry, 1999, pp 71-72
28. Terry, 1999, p 79
29. Terry, 1999, p 68
30. Terry, 1999, p 530-531
31. Terry, 1999, p 66
32. Terry, 1999, p 78
33. Terry, 1999, p 91
34. Terry, 1999, p 98
35. Terry, 1999, p 113
36. Scott, Shirley Lynn. "What Makes Serial Killers Tick? - Pyromania." The Crime Library.
37. ... 3-1/#title "Son of Sam, 1977 Year in Review."
38. Terry, Maury (1987). The Ultimate Evil: An Investigation into America's Most Dangerous Satanic Cult. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-23452-X.
39. "The Official Home Page of David Berkowitz."
40. "A Mom Dies - Forgiving Son Of Sam". NY September 28, 2006.
41. ... 02063.html
42. quoted in Terry, 1999, p. 147
43. Martin, Malachi. "An Article on Exorcism". Retrieved 2008-09-24.
44. Snyder, Jessie. "Detective searches for 1974 Stanford church killer". ... iller.html. Retrieved 2008-09-24.

Further reading

Breslin, Jimmy and Dick Schaap (1978). .44: a Novel. Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-32432-9.
Klausner, Lawrence D. (1980). Son of Sam: Based on the Authorized Transcription of the Tapes, Official Documents and Diaries of David Berkowitz. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0070350272.
Newfield, Jack and Paul DuBrul (1977). The abuse of power: the permanent Government and the fall of New York. Viking Press. ISBN 0-670-10204-0.
Rowlett, Curt (2006). Labyrinth13: True Tales of the Occult, Crime & Conspiracy. Chapter 10, "Son of Sam and the Process Church of the Final Judgment: Exploring the Alleged Connections". Lulu Press. ISBN 1-4116-6083-8.
Terry, Maury (1987). The Ultimate Evil: An Investigation into America's Most Dangerous Satanic Cult. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-23452-X.

External links

David Berkowitz section from
Journal Caso abierto David Berkowitz
Arise and Shine Journals and other information about David Berkowitz
I Am the Son of Sam An article asking whether Berkowitz was the only killer using the Son of Sam MO and if he was linked to a Black Magic underground
"David Berkowitz television interview". Archived from the original on 2007-12-11. ... 65131.html. May 2007, WCBS-TV in New York
1977 Coverage of the Case from WCBS-AM in New York
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:20 am

The Scientology Story
by Joel Sappell and Robert W. Welkos
June 24, 1990 - June 29, 1990
Site Admin
Posts: 29163
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:21 am

The Technical Bulletins of Dianetics and Scientology
by L. Ron Hubbard
Founder of Dianetics and Scientology
Volume XIV
The O.T. Levels

Founder of Dianetics and Scientology

I will not always be here on guard.
The stars twinkle in the Milky Way
And the wind sighs for songs
Across the empty fields of a planet
A Galaxy away.
You won’t always be here.
But before you go,
Whisper this to your sons
And their sons —
“The work was free.
Keep it so.”

Table of Contents:

• OT Levels
o OT 1
 OT 1 Checksheet
 Clear And OT
 An Open Letter To All Clears
 Floating Needles
 OT 1 Instructions
 OT 1 Steps.
NEW OT 1 (pdf)
 New OT 1 Instructions
o OT 2 (pdf)
 OT 2 Course Checksheet
 Keeping Scientology Working
 Technical Degrades
 O.T. Course - Section Two Instructions
 Additional Data Re: Dates
 Clearing Course Instruction Booklet
 The State Of Clear
 Floating Needles
 Glossary Of Terms For The Section II OT Course
 The State Of Clear
 The Nature Of A Being
 The Difference Between The Comm Cycle In Regular Auditing
 And The Comm Cycle In Solo Auditing
 OT II Handwritten Additional Instructions
 Electrical GPM
 Tocky GPM
 Big Being GPM
 House GPM
 Psycho GPM
 Banky GPM
 Forerunner GPM
 Non Line Plot Incidents
 The Arrow
 Woman
 White - Black
 Hot - Cold
 Laughter - Calm
 Dance Mob
 Double Rod
 Foreign Language Caution
 Basic Basic GPM
 Basic GPM
 The One Command GPM
 Lower LP GPM
 Body GPM
 Lower Bank
o OT 3
NEW OT 3 (pdf)
 OT 3 Course Checksheet
 Data
 Additional Tech Data
 Definitions, Sect III
 Character Of Body Thetans
 2nd Note
 1st Note
 The Basic On BTs
 Dianetics Forbidden On Clears And OTs
 Dianetics Deleted From OT III Materials
 Revised Instructions
 Section III Additional Data - Notes On Running
 Stuck Pictures
 Section III Running
 3RD Note
 Overt-Motivator Sequence
 Cross Auditing
 Overrun On III
 Running OT III
 OT III Errors
 Addition To OT III Pack
 Cluster Formation
 OT III Case Supervision
 Ruds Going Out On BTs
 Dianetic Auditing And OT III
 S E C R E T
 III Completion
 EP’s
 Handling Correction Lists On OTs
 Flying Ruds On Solo OT III And Above
 Incident II
 List Of Volcanoes
 Incident I
 List Of LRH Handwritten Materials
 Auditing By R3R
 Solo & R3R
 OT III And OT III Attest
 The Green Green Form Revised
o OT 4
 OT IV Rundown
 Valence Shifter And Rudiments
 Valence Shifter
 Valence Shifter And Low TA
 OT IV Solo Instructions
NEW OT 4 (pdf)
 OT Drug Rundown
o OT 5
 Instructions
NEW OT 5 (pdf)
 NED For OTs - Checklist - Pre-OT Advance Pgm
o OT 6
 OT 6 Instructions
NEW OT 6 (pdf)
 NED For OTs Course Checksheet
 NED For OTs RD - Theory Of
 Why You Can’t Run Engrams After Clear
 Assists
 Word Clearing And Information
 Definitions
 Information For Pre-OTs
 Misconceptions
 Blowing BTs And Clusters
 Valences
 Basic Principles Upon Which The NED For OTs Rundown Is Based
 OT III And Dormant BTs
 The First Step Of NED For OTs
 Repairing And Blowing BTs And Clusters
 FESing Of Folders
 Out-Int, “Went In”, “Went On”
 The “Solidity” Of The Body
 “Exterior” Vision, BT Perception
 Prediction Factors On Length And Progress
 Session Factors
 TA And Needle Behavior
 How You Operate A Meter
 Revivication
 Anaten
 Remnant Ridges
 NED For OTs - Repair List
 Resistance To Change
 NED For OTs - Checklist - Pre-OT Advance Pgm
 “NED For OTs” - Checklist
 Stuck Flows, The Genus Of A BT
 Flow Assessment Sheet
 Rest Points
 Program Departures
 The Thetan Hand Technique
 Chronic Somatics, Missed BTs
 Perimeter Masses
 The Sequence For Handling A Physical Condition
 Notes On PTS
 Rockslams
 Collective Identities
 Basic Fear
 More On Dianetic Chain Errors
 Auditor Role
 Handling BTs Messed Up On OT III
 Repair List For Errors In OT III
 Additional Action
 Wrong Items
 Partially Blown BTs
 BTs With Misunderstood Words
 Valence Technique Addition
 Acknowledging The “Me” Answer
 NOTs OT Drug Rundown
 Audit BTs Conceptually
 NOTs What/Who L & N Step
 Clarification On Acknowledging
 Varying The Areas
 Advanced NOTs Procedure
 Handling Correction Lists On OTs
 Qual Corrective Actions On OTs
 OT III And OT III Attest
o OT 7
 OT 7 Instructions
NEW OT 7 (pdf)
 New OT 7 Instructions
o OT 8
 Why Thetans Mock Up
NEW OT 8 (pdf)
 Study And Procedure
o The L Rundowns (pdf)
Introduction (pdf)
 Set Ups
 Method 6
 Purpose Of The L’s
o L 10 (pdf)
 Class 10 Checksheet For L 10 (Export)
 L 10 Introduction
 L 10 End Phenomenon
 L 10 Basic Approach
 L 10 Rundowns
 L 10 Prior Assessment
 8 Dynamic R/D
 Overts By Dynamics R/D
 Considerations R/D
 Connections R/D
 Enemy R/D
 Greatest Overt R/D
 Muliple Flow Evil Purpose R/D
 Lie R/D
 L 10 Results Assessment
 L’s Correction List
o L 11 (pdf)
 Introduction
 L 11 Program Steps
 Justification
 C/S 37R R/D
 Harm Implant R/D
 Evil Purpose R/D
 List 9S
 Nature Of Man
o L 12 (pdf)
 Introduction
 L 12 Program Steps
 Cluster Handling
 Character List
 PTS Beam Handling
 OCA Trait Handling
 Management Words
 Admin Scale
 Group Sanity
 Simon Bolivar Policy
o New Vitality Rundown (pdf)
 Theory
 Two Way Communication Techniques
 Two Way Comming Traits
 Other Two Way Comms
 End Phenomenon
 Notes On Programming
o Bright Think Rundown (pdf)
 Revivication
 NOTs Series 21 - Revivication
 Bright Think R/D
o Super Power (pdf)
 Introduction
 Condition Below Confusion
 Eighth Dynamic Process
 Ethics Repair List
 Eighth Dynamic Viewpoint
 Actual Super Power Process
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:10 am

The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power: How the Growing Dianetics Empire Squeezes Millions From Believers Worldwide
by Richard Behar
Time Magazine
May 6, 1991 page 50.
Special Report (cover story)
Copyright © 1991 Time Magazine


Ruined lives. Lost fortunes. Federal crimes. Scientology poses as a religion but really is a ruthless global scam -- and aiming for the mainstream

By all appearances, Noah Lottick of Kingston, Pa., had been a normal, happy 24-year-old who was looking for his place in the sun. On the day last June when his parents drove to New York City to obtain his body, they were nearly catatonic with grief.

This young Russian-studies scholar had jumped from a 10th-floor window of the Milford Plaza Hotel and bounced off the hood of a stretch limousine. When the police arrived, his fingers were still clutching $171 in cash, virtually the only money he hadn't turned over to the Church of Scientology, the self-help "philosophy" group he had discovered just seven months earlier.


His death inspired his father Edward, a physician, to start his own investigation of the church. "We thought Scientology was something like Dale Carnegie," Lottick says. "I now believe it's a school for psychopaths." Their so-called therapies are manipulations. They take the best and the brightest people and destroy them." The Lotticks want to sue the church for contributing to their son's death, but the prospect has them frightened. For nearly 40 years, the big business of Scientology has shielded itself exquisitely behind the First Amendment as well as a battery of high-priced criminal lawyers and shady private detectives.

The Church of Scientology, started by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard to "clear" people of unhappiness, portrays itself as a religion. In reality the church is a hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner. At times during the past decade, prosecutions against Scientology seemed to be curbing its menace. Eleven top Scientologists, including Hubbard's wife, were sent to prison in the early 1980s for infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping more than 100 private and government agencies in attempts to block their investigations. In recent years hundreds of longtime Scientology adherents -- many charging that they were mentally of physically abused -- have quit the church and criticized it at their own risk. Some have sued the church and won; others have settled for amounts in excess of $500,000. In various cases judges have labeled the church "schizophrenic and paranoid" and "corrupt, sinister and dangerous."

Yet the outrage and litigation have failed to squelch Scientology. The group, which boasts 700 centers in 65 countries, threatens to become more insidious and pervasive than ever. Scientology is trying to go mainstream, a strategy that has sparked a renewed law- enforcement campaign against the church. Many of the group's followers have been accused of committing financial scams, while the church is busy attracting the unwary through a wide array of front groups in such businesses as publishing, consulting, health care and even remedial education.

In Hollywood, Scientology has assembled a star-studded roster of followers by aggressively recruiting and regally pampering them at the church's "Celebrity Centers," a chain of clubhouses that offer expensive counseling and career guidance. Adherents include screen idols Tom Cruise and John Travolta, actresses Kirstie Alley, Mimi Rogers, and Anne Archer, Palm Springs mayor and performer Sonny Bono, jazzman Chick Corea and even Nancy Cartwright, the voice of cartoon star Bart Simpson. Rank-and-file members, however, are dealt a less glamorous Scientology.

According to the Cult Awareness Network, whose 23 chapters monitor more than 200 "mind control" cults, no group prompts more telephone pleas for help than does Scientology. Says Cynthia Kisser, the network's Chicago-based executive director: "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members." [Note: since publication of this article, the Cult Awareness Network has been taken over by Scientology. Do not contact them!] Agrees Vicki Aznaran, who was one of Scientology's six key leaders until she bolted from the church in 1987: "This is a criminal organization, day in and day out. It makes Jim and Tammy [Bakker] look like kindergarten." To explore Scientology's reach, TIME conducted more than 150 interviews and reviewed hundreds of court records and internal Scientology documents. Church officials refused to be interviewed. The investigation paints a picture of a depraved yet thriving enterprise. Most cults fail to outlast their founder, but Scientology has prospered since Hubbard's death in 1986. In a court filing, one of the cult's many entities -- the Church of Spiritual Technology -- listed $503 million in income just for 1987. High-level defectors say the parent organization has squirreled away an estimated $400 million in bank accounts in Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Cyprus. Scientology probably has about 50,000 active members, far fewer than the 8 million the group claims. But in one sense, that inflated figure rings true: millions of people have been affected in one way or another by Hubbard's bizarre creation.


Scientology is now run by David Miscavige, 31, a high school dropout and second-generation church member. Defectors describe him as cunning, ruthless and so paranoid about perceived enemies that he kept plastic wrap over his glass of water. His obsession is to obtain credibility for Scientology in the 1990s. Among other tactics, the group:

Retains public relation powerhouse Hill and Knowlton to help shed the church's fringe-group image.

Joined such household names as Sony and Pepsi as a main sponsor of Ted Turner's Goodwill Games.

Buys massive quantities of its own books from retail stores to propel the titles onto best-seller lists.

Runs full-page ads in such publications as Newsweek and Business Week that call Scientology a "philosophy," along with a plethora of TV ads touting the group's books.

Recruits wealthy and respectable professionals through a web of consulting groups that typically hide their ties to Scientology.

The founder of this enterprise was part storyteller, part flimflam man. Born In Nebraska in 1911, Hubbard served in the Navy during World War II and soon afterward complained to the Veterans Administration about his "suicidal inclinations" and his "seriously affected" mind. Nevertheless, Hubbard was a moderately successful writer of pulp science fiction. Years later, church brochures described him falsely as an "extensively decorated" World War II hero who was crippled and blinded in action, twice pronounced dead and miraculously cured through Scientology. Hubbard's "doctorate" from "Sequoia University" was a fake mall-order degree. In a I984 case in which the church sued a Hubbard biographical researcher, a California judge concluded that its founder was "a pathological liar."

Hubbard wrote one of Scientology's sacred texts, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, in 1950. In it he introduced a crude psychotherapeutic technique he called "auditing." He also created a simplified lie detector (called an "E-meter") that was designed to measure electrical changes In the skin while subjects discussed intimate details of their past. Hubbard argued that unhappiness sprang from mental aberrations (or "engrams") caused by early traumas. Counseling sessions with the E-meter, he claimed, could knock out the engrams, cure blindness and even improve a person's intelligence and appearance.

Hubbard kept adding steps, each more costly, for his followers to climb. In the 1960s the guru decreed that humans are made of clusters of spirits (or "thetans") who were banished to earth some 75 million years ago by a cruel galactic ruler named Xenu. Naturally, those thetans had to be audited.

An Internal Revenue Service ruling in 1967 stripped Scientology's mother church of its tax-exempt status. A federal court ruled in 1971 that Hubbard's medical claims were bogus and that E-meter auditing could no longer be called a scientific treatment. Hubbard responded by going fully religious, seeking First Amendment protection for Scientology's strange rites. His counselors started sporting clerical collars. Chapels were built, franchises became "missions," fees became "fixed donations," and Hubbard's comic-book cosmology became "sacred scriptures.'

During the early 1970s, the IRS conducted its own auditing sessions and proved that Hubbard was skimming millions of dollars from the church, laundering the money through dummy corporations in Panama and stashing it in Swiss bank accounts. Moreover, church members stole IRS documents, filed false tax returns and harassed the agency's employees. By late 1985, with high-level defectors accusing Hubbard of having stolen as much as S200 million from the church, the IRS was seeking an indictment of Hubbard for tax fraud. Scientology members "worked day and night" shredding documents the IRS sought, according to defector Aznaran, who took part in the scheme. Hubbard, who had been in hiding for five years, died before the criminal case could be prosecuted.

Today the church invents costly new services with all the zeal of its founder. Scientology doctrine warns that even adherents who are "cleared" of engrams face grave spiritual dangers unless they are pushed to higher and more expensive levels. According to the church's latest price list, recruits -- "raw meat," as Hubbard called them -- take auditing sessions that cost as much as $1,000 an hour, or $12,500 for a 12 1/2-hour "intensive."

Psychiatrists say these sessions can produce a drugged-like, mind-controlled euphoria that keeps customers coming back for more. To pay their fees, newcomers can earn commissions by recruiting new mem- bers, become auditors themselves (Miscavige did so at age 12), or join the church staff and receive free counseling in exchange for what their written contracts describe as a "billion years" of labor. "Make sure that lots of bodies move through the shop," implored Hubbard in one of his bulletins to officials. "Make money. Make more money. Make others produce so as to make money . . . However you get them in or why, just do it."


Harriet Baker learned the hard way about Scientology's business of selling religion. When Baker, 73, lost her husband to cancer, a Scientologist turned up at her Los Angeles home peddling a $1,300 auditing package to cure her grief. Some $15,000 later, the Scientologists discovered that her house was debt free. They arranged a $45,000 mortgage, which they pressured her to tap for more auditing until Baker's children helped their mother snap out of her daze. Last June, Baker demanded a $27,000 refund for unused services, prompting two cult members to show up at her door unannounced with an E-meter to interrogate her. Baker never got the money and, financially strapped, was forced to sell her house in September.

Before Noah Lottick killed himself, he had paid more than $5,000 for church counseling. His behavior had also become strange. He once remarked to his parents that his Scientology mentors could actually read minds. When his father suffered a major heart attack, Noah insisted that it was purely psychosomatic. Five days before he jumped, Noah burst into his parents' home and demanded to know why they were spreading "false rumors" about him -- a delusion that finally prompted his father to call a psychiatrist.

It was too late. "From Noah's friends at Dianetics" read the card that accompanied a bouquet of flowers at Lottick's funeral. Yet no Scientology staff members bothered to show up. A week earlier, local church officials had given Lottick's parents a red-carpet tour of their center. A cult leader told Noah's parents that their son had been at the church just hours before he disappeared -- but the church denied this story as soon as the body was identified. True to form, the cult even haggled with the Lotticks over $3,000 their son had paid for services he never used, insisting that Noah had intended it as a "donation."

The church has invented hundreds of goods and services for which members are urged to give "donations." Are you having trouble "moving swiftly up the Bridge" -- that is, advancing up the stepladder of enlightenment? Then you can have your case reviewed for a mere $1,250 "donation." Want to know "why a thetan hangs on to the physical universe?" Try 52 of Hubbard's tape-recorded speeches from 1952, titled "Ron's Philadelphia Doctorate Course Lectures," for $2,525. Next: nine other series of the same sort. For the collector, gold-and-leather-bound editions of 22 of Hubbard's books (and bookends) on subjects ranging from Scientology ethics to radiation can be had for just $1,900.

To gain influence and lure richer, more sophisticated followers, Scientology has lately resorted to a wide array of front groups and financial scams. Among them:

CONSULTING. Sterling Management Systems, formed in 1983, has been ranked in recent years by Inc. magazine as one of America's fastest-growing private companies (estimated 1988 revenues: $20 million). Sterling regularly mails a free newsletter to more than 300,000 health-care professionals, mostly dentists, promising to increase their incomes dramatically. The firm offers seminars and courses that typically cost $10,000. But Sterling's true aim is to hook customers for Scientology. "The church has a rotten product, so they package it as something else," says Peter Georgiades, a Pittsburgh attorney who represents Sterling victims. "It's a kind of bait and switch." Sterling's founder, dentist Gregory Hughes is now under investigation by California's Board of Dental Examiners for incompetence. Nine lawsuits are pending against him for malpractice (seven others have been settled), mostly for orthodontic work on children.

Many dentists who have unwittingly been drawn into the cult are filing or threatening lawsuits as well. Dentist Robert Geary of Medina, Ohio, who entered a Sterling seminar in 1988, endured "the most extreme high-pressure sales tactics I have ever faced." Sterling officials told Geary, 45, that their firm was not linked to Scientology, he says. but Geary claims they eventually convinced him that he and his wife Dorothy had personal problems that required auditing. Over five months, the Gearys say, they spent $130,000 for services, plus $50,000 for "gold-embossed, investment-grade" books signed by Hubbard. Geary contends that Scientologists not only called his bank to increase his credit card limit but also forged his signature on a $20,000 loan application. "It was insane," he recalls. "I couldn't even get an accounting from them of what I was paying for." At one point, the Gearys claim, Scientologists held Dorothy hostage for two weeks in a mountain cabin, after which she was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown.


Last October, Sterling broke some bad news to another dentist, Glover Rowe of Gadsden, Ala., and his wife Dee. Tests showed that unless they signed up for auditing Glover's practice would fail, and Dee would someday abuse their child. The next month the Rowes flew to Glendale, Calif., where they shuttled daily from a local hotel to a Dianetics center. "We thought they were brilliant people because they seemed to know so much about us," recalls Dee. "Then we realized our hotel room must have been bugged." After bolting from the center, $23,000 poorer, the Rowes say, they were chased repeatedly by Scientologists on foot and in cars. Dentists aren't the only once at risk. Scientology also makes pitches to chiropractors, podiatrists and veterinarians.

PUBLIC INFLUENCE. One front, the Way to Happiness Foundation, has distributed to children in thousands of the nation's public schools more than 3.5 million copies of a booklet Hubbard wrote on morality. The church calls the scheme "the largest dissemination project in Scientology history." Applied Scholastics is the name of still another front, which is attempting to install a Hubbard tutorial program in public schools, primarily those populated by minorities. The group also plans a 1,000 acre campus, where it will train educators to teach various Hubbard methods. The disingenuously named Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a Scientology group at war with psychiatry, its primary competitor. The commission typically issues reports aimed at discrediting particular psychiatrists and the field in general. The CCHR is also behind an all-out war against Eli Lilly, the maker of Prozac, the nation's top-selling anti-depression drug. Despite scant evidence, the group's members -- who call themselves "psychbusters" -- claim that Prozac drives people to murder or suicide. Through mass mailings, appearances on talk shows and heavy lobbying, CCHR has hurt drug sales and helped spark dozens of lawsuits against Lilly.

Another Scientology linked group, the Concerned Businessmen's Association of America, holds antidrug contests and awards $5,000 grants to schools as a way to recruit students and curry favor with education officials. West Virginia Senator John D. Rockefeller IV unwittingly commended the CBAA in 1987 on the Senate floor. Last August author Alex Haley was the keynote speaker at its annual awards banquet in Los Angeles. Says Haley: "I didn't know much about that group going in. I'm a Methodist." Ignorance about Scientology can be embarrassing: two months ago, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, noting that Scientology's founder "has solved the aberrations of the human mind," proclaimed March 13 "L. Ron Hubbard Day." He rescinded the proclamation in late March, once he learned who Hubbard really was.

HEALTH CARE. HealthMed, a chain of clinics run by Scientologists, promotes a grueling and excessive system of saunas, exercise and vitamins designed by Hubbard to purify the body. Experts denounce the regime as quackery and potentially harmful, yet HealthMed solicits unions and public agencies for contracts. The chain is plugged heavily in a new book, Diet for a Poisoned Planet, by journalist David Steinman, who concludes that scores of common foods (among them: peanuts, bluefish, peaches and cottage cheese) are dangerous.

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop labeled the book "trash," and the Food and Drug Administration issued a paper in October that claims Steinman distorts his facts. "HealthMed is a gateway to Scientology, and Steinman's book is a sorting mechanism," says physician William Jarvis, who is head of the National Council Against Health Fraud. Steinman, who describes Hubbard favorably as a "researcher," denies any ties to the church and contends, "HealthMed has no affiliation that I know of with Scientology."

DRUG TREATMENT. Hubbard's purification treatments are the mainstay of Narconon, a Scientology-run chain of 33 alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers -- some in prisons under the name "Criminon" -- in 12 countries. Narconon, a classic vehicle for drawing addicts into the cult, now plans to open what it calls the world's largest treatment center, a 1,400-bed facility on an Indian reservation near Newkirk, Okla. (pop. 2,400. At a 1989 ceremony in Newkirk, the Association for Better Living and Education presented Narconon a check for $200,000 and a study praising its work. The association turned out to be part of Scientology itself. Today the town is battling to keep out the cult, which has fought back through such tactics as sending private detectives to snoop on the mayor and the local newspaper publisher.

FINANCIAL SCAMS. Three Florida Scientologists, including Ronald Bernstein, a big contributor to the church's international "war chest," pleaded guilty in March to using their rare-coin dealership as a money laundry. Other notorious activities by Scientologists include making the shady Vancouver stock exchange even shadier (see box) and plotting to plant operatives in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Export-Import Bank of the U.S. The alleged purpose of this scheme: to gain inside information on which countries are going to be denied credit so that Scientology-linked traders can make illicit profits by taking "short" positions in those countries' currencies.

In the stock market the practice of "shorting" involves borrowing shares of publicly traded companies in the hope that the price will go down before the stocks must be bought on the market and returned to the lender. The Feshbach brothers of Palo Alto, Calif. -- Kurt, Joseph and Matthew - have become the leading short sellers in the U.S., with more than $500 million under management. The Feshbachs command a staff of about 60 employees and claim to have earned better returns than the Dow Jones industrial average for most of the 1980s. And, they say, they owe it all to the teachings of Scientology, whose "war chest" has received more than $1 million from the family.

The Feshbachs also embrace the church's tactics; the brothers are the terrors of the stock exchanges. In congressional hearings in 1989, the heads of several companies claimed that Feshbach operatives have spread false information to government agencies and posed in various guises -- such as a Securities and Exchange Commission official -- in an effort to discredit their companies and drive the stocks down. Michael Russell, who ran a chain of business journals, testified that a Feshbach employee called his bankers and interfered with his loans. Sometimes the Feshbachs send private detectives to dig up dirt on firms, which is then shared with business reporters, brokers and fund managers.

The Feshbachs, who wear jackets bearing the slogan "stock busters," insist they run a clean shop. But as part of a current probe into possible insider stock trading, federal officials are reportedly investigating whether the Feshbachs received confidential information from FDA employees. The brothers seem aligned with Scientology's war on psychiatry and medicine: many of their targets are health and bio- technology firms. ""Legitimate short selling performs a public service by deflating hyped stocks," says Robert Flaherty, the editor of Equities magazine and a harsh critic of the brothers. "But the Feshbachs have damaged scores of good start-ups."

Occasionally a Scientologist's business antics land him in jail. Last August a former devotee named Steven Fishman began serving a five-year prison term in Florida. His crime: stealing blank stock-confirmation slips from his employer, a major brokerage house, to use as proof that he owned stock entitling him to join dozens of successful class-action lawsuits. Fishman made roughly $1 million this way from 1983 to 1988 and spent as much as 30% of the loot on Scientology books and tapes.

Scientology denies any tie to the Fishman scam, a claim strongly disputed by both Fishman and his longtime psychiatrist, Uwe Geertz, a prominent Florida hypnotist. Both men claim that when arrested, Fishman was ordered by the church to kill Geertz and then do an "EOC," or end of cycle, which is church jargon for suicide.

BOOK PUBLISHING. Scientology mischief-making has even moved to the book industry. Since 1985 at least a dozen Hubbard books, printed by a church company, have made best-seller lists. They range from a 5,000-page sci-fi decology (Black Genesis, The Enemy Within, An Alien Affair) to the 40-year-old Dianetics. In 1988 the trade publication Publishers Weekly awarded the dead author a plaque commemorating the appearance of Dianetics on its best-seller list for 100 consecutive weeks.

Critics pan most of Hubbard's books as unreadable, while defectors claim that church insiders are sometimes the real authors. Even so, Scientology has sent out armies of its followers to buy the group's books at such major chains as B. Dalton's and Waldenbooks to sustain the illusion of a best-selling author. A former Dalton's manager says that some books arrived in his store with the chain's price stickers already on them, suggesting that copies are being recycled. Scientology claims that sales of Hubbard books now top 90 million worldwide. The scheme, set up to gain converts and credibility, is coupled with a radio and TV advertising campaign virtually un- paralleled in the book industry.

Scientology devotes vast resources to squelching its critics. Since 1986 Hubbard and his church have been the subject of four unfriendly books, all released by small yet courageous publishers. In each case, the writers have been badgered and heavily sued. One of Hubbard's policies was that all perceived enemies are "fair game" and subject to being "tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed." Those who criticize the church journalists, doctors, lawyers and even judges often find themselves engulfed in litigation, stalked by private eyes, framed for fictional crimes, beaten up or threatened with death. Psychologist Margaret Singer, 69, an outspoken Scientology critic and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, now travels regularly under an assumed name to avoid harassment.

After the Los Angeles Times published a negative series on the church last summer, Scientologists spent an estimated $1 million to plaster the reporters' names on hundreds of billboards and bus placards across the city. Above their names were quotations taken out of context to portray the church in a positive light.

The church's most fearsome advocates are its lawyers. Hubbard warned his followers in writing to "beware of attorneys who tell you not to sue . . . the purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win." Result: Scientology has brought hundreds of suits against its perceived enemies and today pays an estimated $20 million annually to more than 100 lawyers.

One legal goal of Scientology is to bankrupt the opposition or bury it under paper. The church has 71 active lawsuits against the IRS alone. One of them, Miscavige vs. IRS, has required the U.S. to produce an index of 52,000 pages of documents. Boston attorney Michael Flynn, who helped Scientology victims from 1979 to 1987, personally endured 14 frivolous lawsuits, all of them dismissed. Another lawyer, Joseph Yanny, believes the church "has so subverted justice and the judicial system that it should be barred from seeking equity in any court." He should know: Yanny represented the cult until 1987, when, he says, he was asked to help church officials steal medical records to blackmail an opposing attorney (who was allegedly beaten up instead). Since Yanny quit representing the church, he has been the target of death threats, burglaries, lawsuits and other harassment.

Scientology's critics contend that the U.S. needs to crack down on the church in a major, organized way. "I want to know, Where is our government?" demands Toby Plevin, a Los Angeles attorney who handles victims. "It shouldn't be left to private litigators, because God knows most of us are afraid to get involved." But law-enforcement agents are also wary. "Every investigator is very cautious, walking on eggshells when it comes to the church," says a Florida police detective who has tracked the cult since 1988. "It will take a federal effort with lots of money and manpower."

So far the agency giving Scientology the most grief is the IRS, whose officials have implied that Hubbard's successors may be looting the church's coffers. Since 1988, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the revocation of the cult's tax-exempt status, a massive IRS probe of church centers across the country has been under way. An IRS agent, Marcus Owens, has estimated that thousands of IRS employees have been involved. Another agent, in an internal IRS memorandum, spoke hopefully of the "ultimate disintegration" of the church. A small but helpful beacon shone last June when a federal appeals court ruled that two cassette tapes featuring conversations between church officials and their lawyers are evidence of a plan to commit "future frauds" against the IRS.

The IRS and FBI have been debriefing Scientology defectors for the past three years, in part to gain evidence for a major racketeering case that appears to have stalled last summer. Federal agents complain that the Justice Department is unwilling to spend the money needed to endure a drawn-out war with Scientology or to fend off the cult's notorious jihads against individual agents. "In my opinion the church has one of the most effective intelligence operations in the U.S., rivaling even that of the FBI," says Ted Gunderson, a former head of the FBI's Los Angeles office.

Foreign governments have been moving even more vigorously against the organization. In Canada the church and nine of its members will be tried in June on charges of stealing government documents (many of them retrieved in an enormous police raid of the church's Toronto headquarters). Scientology proposed to give $1 million to the needy if the case was dropped, but Canada spurned the offer. Since 1986 authorities in France, Spain and Italy have raided more than 50 Scientology centers. Pending charges against more than 100 of its overseas church members include fraud, extortion, capital flight, coercion, illegally practicing medicine and taking advantage of mentally incapacitated people. In Germany last month, leading politicians accused the cult of trying to infiltrate a major party as well as launching an immense recruitment drive in the east.

Sometimes even the church's biggest zealots can use a little protection. Screen star Travolta, 37, has long served as an unofficial Scientology spokesman, even though he told a magazine in 1983 that he was opposed to the church's management. High-level defectors claim that Travolta has long feared that if he defected, details of his sexual life would be made public. "He felt pretty intimidated about this getting out and told me so," recalls William Franks, the church's former chairman of the board. "There were no outright threats made, but it was implicit. If you leave, they immediately start digging up everything." Franks was driven out in 1981 after attempting to reform the church.

The church's former head of security, Richard Aznaran, recalls Scientology ringleader Miscavige repeatedly joking to staffers about Travolta's allegedly promiscuous homosexual behavior. At this point any threat to expose Travolta seems superfluous: last May a male porn star collected $100,000 from a tabloid for an account of his alleged two-year liaison with the celebrity. Travolta refuses to comment, and in December his lawyer dismissed questions about the subject as "bizarre." Two weeks later, Travolta announced that he was getting married to actress Kelly Preston, a fellow Scientologist.

Shortly after Hubbard's death the church retained Trout & Ries, a respected, Connecticut-based firm of marketing consultants, to help boost its public image. "We were brutally honest," says Jack Trout. "We advised them to clean up their act, stop with the controversy and even to stop being a church. They didn't want to hear that." Instead, Scientology hired one of the country's largest p.r. outfits, Hill and Knowlton, whose executives refuse to discuss the lucrative relationship. "Hill and Knowlton must feel that these guys are not totally off the wall," says Trout. "Unless it's just for the money." One of Scientology's main strategies is to keep advancing the tired argument that the church is being "persecuted" by antireligionists. It is supported in that position by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Council of Churches. But in the end, money is what Scientology is all about. As long as the organization's opponents and victims are successfully squelched, Scientology's managers and lawyers will keep pocketing millions of dollars by helping it achieve its ends.


Mining Money in Vancouver

[Sidebar; page 54]

One source of funds for the Los Angeles-based church is the notorious, self-regulated stock exchange in Vancouver, British Columbia, often called the scam capital of the world. The exchange's 2,300 penny-stock listings account for $4 billion in annual trading. Local journalists and insiders claim the vast majority range from total washouts to outright frauds.

Two Scientologists who operate there are Kenneth Gerbino and Michael Baybak, 20-year church veterans from Beverly Hills who are major donors to the cult. Gerbino, 45, is a money manager, marketmaker and publisher of a national financial newsletter. He has boasted in Scientology journals that he owes all his stock-picking success to L. Ron Hubbard. That's not saying much: Gerbino's newsletter picks since 1985 have cumulatively returned 24%, while the Dow Jones industrial average has more than doubled. Nevertheless Gerbino's short-term gains can be stupendous. A survey last October found Gerbino to be the only manager who made money in the third quarter of 1990, thanks to gold and other resource stocks. For the first quarter of 1991, Gerbino was dead last. Baybak, 49, who runs a public relations company staffed with Scientologists, apparently has no ethics problem with engineering a hostile takeover of a firm he is hired to promote.

Neither man agreed to be interviewed for this story, yet both threatened legal action through attorneys. "What these guys do is take over companies, hype the stock, sell their shares, and then there's nothing left," says John Campbell, a former securities lawyer who was a director of mining company Athena Gold until Baybak and Gerbino took it over.

The pattern has become familiar. The pair promoted a mining venture called Skylark Resources, whose stock traded at nearly $4 a share in 1987. The outfit soon crashed, and the stock is around 2 cents. NETI Technologies, a software company, was trumpeted in the press as "the next Xerox" and in 1984 rose to a market value of $120 million with Baybak's help. The company, which later collapsed, was delisted two months ago by the Vancouver exchange.

Baybak appeared in 1989 at the helm of Wall Street Ventures, a start-up that announced it owned 35 tons of rare Middle Eastern postage stamps -- worth $100 million -- and was buying the world's largest collection of southern Arabian stamps (worth $350 million). Steven C. Rockefeller Jr. of the oil family and former hockey star Denis Potvin joined the company in top posts, but both say they quit when they realized the stamps were virtually worthless. "The stamps were created by sand-dune nations to exploit collectors," says Michael Laurence, editor of Linn's Stamp News, America's largest stamp journal. After the stock topped $6, it began a steady descent, with Baybak unloading his shares along the way. Today it trades at 18 cents.

Athena Gold, the current object of Baybak's and Gerbino's attentions, was founded by entrepreneur William Jordan. He turned to an established Vancouver broker in 1987 to help finance the company, a 4,500-acre mining property near Reno. The broker promised to raise more than $3 million and soon brought Baybak and Gerbino into the deal. Jordan never got most of the money, but the cult members ended up with a good deal of cheap stock and options. Next they elected directors who were friendly to them and set in motion a series of complex maneuvers to block Jordan from voting stock he controlled and to run him out of the company. "I've been an honest policeman all my life and I've seen the worst kinds of crimes, and this ranks high," says former Athena shareholder Thomas Clark, a 20-year veteran of Reno's police force who has teamed up with Jordan to try to get the gold mine back. "They stole this man's property."

With Baybak as chairman, the two Scientologists and their staffs are promoting Athena, not always accurately. A letter to shareholders with the 1990 annual report claims Placer Dome, one of America's largest gold-mining firms, has committed at least $25.5 million to develop the mine. That's news to Placer Dome. "There is no pre-commitment," says Placer executive Cole McFarland. "We're not going to spend that money unless survey results justify the expenditure."

Baybak's firm represented Western Resource Technologies, a Houston oil-and-gas company, but got the boot in October. Laughs Steven McGuire, president of Western Resource: "His is a p.r. firm in need of a p.r. firm." But McGuire cannot laugh too freely. Baybak and other Scientologists, including the estate of L. Ron Hubbard, still control huge blocks of his company's stock.

[ Caption: ATHENA GOLD'S WILLIAM JORDAN. Cult members got cheap stock, then ran him out of the company ]


[The following part was only in the international version of TIME]

Pushing Beyond the U.S.: Scientology makes its presence felt in Europe and Canada
by Richard Behar

In the 1960s and '70s, L. Ron Hubbard used to periodically fill a converted ferry ship with adoring acolytes and sail off to spread the word. One by one, countries -- Britain, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Venezuela -- closed their ports, usually because of a public outcry. At one point, a court in Australia revoked the church's status as a religion; at another, a French court convicted Hubbard of fraud in absentia.

Today Hubbard's minions continue to wreak global havoc, costing governments considerable effort and money to try to stop them. In Italy a two-year trial of 76 Scientologists, among them the former leader of the church's Italian operations, is nearing completion in Milan. Two weeks ago, prosecutor Pietro Forno requested jail terms for all the defendants who are accused of extortion, cheating "mentally incapacitated" people and evading as much as $50 million in taxes. "All of the trial's victims went to Scientology in search of a cure or a better life," said Forno, "But the Scientologists were amateur psychiatrists who practiced psychological terrorism". For some victims, he added, "the intervention of the Scientologists was devastating."

The Milan case was triggered by parents complaining to officials that Scientology had a financial stranglehold on their children, who had joined the church or entered Narconon, its drug rehabilitation unit. In 1986 Treasury and paramilitary police conducted raids in 20 cities across Italy shutting down 27 Scientology centers and seizing 100,000 documents. To defend itself in the trial, the cult has retained some of Italy's most famous lawyers.

In Canada, Scientology is using a legal team that includes Clayton Ruby, one of the country's foremost civil rights lawyers, to defend itself and nine of its members who are to stand trial in June in Toronto. The charges: stealing documents concerning Scientology from the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Canadian Mental Health Association, two police forces and other institutions. The case stems from a 1983 surprise raid of the church's Toronto headquarters by more than 100 policemen, who had arrived in three chartered buses; some 2 million pages of documents were seized over a two-day period. Ruby, whose legal maneuvers delayed the case for years, is trying to get it dismissed because of "unreasonable delay."

Spain's Justice Ministry has twice denied Scientology status as a religion, but that has not slowed the church' s expansion. In 1989 the Ministry of Health issued a report calling the sect "totalitarian" and "pure and simple charlatanism." The year before, the authorities had raided 26 church centers, with the result that 11 Scientologists stand accused of falsification of records, coercion and capital flight. "The real god of this organization is money," said Madrid examining magistrate Jose Maria Vasquez Honrnbia, before referring the case to a higher court because it was too complex for his jurisdiction. Eugene Ingram, a private investigator working for Scientology claims he helped get Honrubia removed from the case for leaking nonpublic documents to the press.

In France it took a death to spur the government into action: 16 Scientologists were indicted last year for fraud and "complicity in the practice of illegal medicine" following the suicide of an industrial designer in Lyon. In the victim's house investigators found medication allegeally provided to him by the church without doctor's prescription. Among those charged in the case is the president of Scientology's French operations and the head of the Paris-based Celebrity Centre, which caters to famous members.

Outside the U.S., Scientology appears to be most active in Germany where the attorney general of the state of Bavaria has branded the cult "distinctly totalitarian" and aimed at "the economic exploitation of customers who are in bondage to it." In 1984 nearly 100 police raided the church in Munich. At the time, city officials were reportedly collaborating with U.S. tax inspectors and trying to prove that the cult was actually a profitmaking business. More recently, Hamburg state authorities moved to rescind Scientology's tax reduced status, while members of parliament are seeking criminal proceedings. In another domain, church linked management consulting firms have infiltrated small and middle sized companies throughout Germany, according to an expose published this month in the newsmagazine DER SPIEGEL; the consultants, who typically hide their ties to Scientology, indoctrinate employees by using Hubbard's methods. A German anticult organization estimates that Scientology has at least 60 fronts or splinter groups operating in the country. German politics appears as well to attract Hubbard's zealots. In March the Free Democrats, partners in Chancellor Helmut Kohl' s ruling coalition in Bonn, accused Scientology of trying to infiltrate their Hamburg branch. Meanwhile the main opposition party, the Social Democrats, has been warning its members in the formerly com- munist eastern part of the country against exploitation by the church. Even federal officials are being used by the church: one Scientology front group sent copies of a Hubbard written pamphlet on moral values to members of the Bundestag. The Office of Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher unwittingly endorsed the Scientologists' message: "Indeed, the world would be a more beautiful place if the principles formulated in the pamphlet, a life characterized by reason and responsibility, would find wider attention."

[end of Internationl Edition-only section]


The Scientologists and Me

[Sidebar, page 57]

Strange things seem to happen to people who write about Scientology. Journalist Paulette Cooper wrote a critical book on the cult in 1971. This led to a Scientology plot (called Operation Freak-Out) whose goal, according to church documents, was "to get P.C. incarcerated in a mental institution or jail." It almost worked: by impersonating Cooper, Scientologists got her indicted in 1973 for threatening to bomb the church. Cooper, who also endured 19 lawsuits by the church, was finally exonerated in 1977 after FBI raids on the church offices in Los Angeles and Washington uncovered documents from the bomb scheme. No Scientologists were ever tried in the matter.

For the TIME story, at least 10 attorneys and six private detectives were unleashed by Scientology and its followers in an effort to threaten, harass and discredit me. Last Oct. 12, not long after I began this assignment, I planned to lunch with Eugene Ingram, the church's leading private eye and a former cop. Ingram, who was tossed off the Los Angeles police force In 1981 for alleged ties to prostitutes and drug dealers, had told me that he might be able to arrange a meeting with church boss David Miscavige. Just hours before the lunch, the church's "national trial counsel," Earle Cooley, called to inform me that I would be eating alone.


Alone, perhaps, but not forgotten. By day's end, I later learned, a copy of my personal credit report -- with detailed information about my bank accounts, home mortgage, credit-card payments, home address and Social Security number -- had been illegally retrieved from a national credit bureau called Trans Union. The sham company that received it, "Educational Funding Services" of Los Angeles, gave as its address a mail drop a few blocks from Scientology's headquarters. The owner of the mail drop is a private eye named Fred Wolfson, who admits that an Ingram associate retained him to retrieve credit reports on several individuals. Wolfson says he was told that Scientology's attorneys "had judgments against these people and were trying to collect on them." He says now, "These are vicious people. These are vipers." Ingram, through a lawyer, denies any involvement in the scam.

During the past five months, private investigators have been contacting acquaintances of mine, ranging from neighbors to a former colleague, to inquire about subjects such as my health (like my credit rating, it's excellent) and whether I've ever had trouble with the IRS (unlike Scientology, I haven't). One neighbor was greeted at dawn outside my Manhattan apartment building by two men who wanted to know whether I lived there. I finally called Cooley to demand that Scientology stop the nonsense. He promised to look into it.

After that, however, an attorney subpoenaed me, while another falsely suggested that I might own shares in a company I was reporting about that had been taken over by Scientologists (he also threatened to contact the Securities and Exchange Commission). A close friend in Los Angeles received a disturbing telephone call from a Scientology staff member seeking data about me -- an indication that the cult may have illegally obtained my personal phone records. Two detectives contacted me, posing as a friend and a relative of a so-called cult victim, to elicit negative statements from me about Scientology. Some of my conversations with them were taped, transcribed and presented by the church in affidavits to TIME's lawyers as "proof" of my bias against Scientology.

Among the comments I made to one of the detectives, who represented himself as "Harry Baxter," a friend of the victim's family, was that "the church trains people to lie." Baxter and his colleagues are hardly in a position to dispute that observation. His real name is Barry Silvers, and he is a former investigator for the Justice Department's Organized Crime Strike Force. (RB)

[Photograph, page 51]
The Lotticks lost their son
[photograph of the couple standing beside the grave of their son.]

[Photograph, page 53]
Harriet Baker, 73, lost her house
[photograph of Harriet Baker on front of her old home.]

[Chart, page 52-53]
The Bridge to enlightenment
[shows costs of various "courses" ranging from a free Personality Test to more than $1,000 an hour for "finding and releasing" "body thetans" (BTs).]
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:17 am

This Man Made $500 Million Disappear, and These People Would Like to Know Where It Went
by Kim Masters
October, 2001


An incredibly strange and complex tale involving Scientology, EarthLink, Hollywood and this man, Reed Slatkin.

-- You know, there's a policy in Scientology talking about motivation. I'm just going to read it into the record. It's very short. It talks about money motivation. And it says here, "People in business that are motivated only by money are wobbly people. The primary cause of failure is money motivation. The scale of motivation from the highest to the lowest is duty. Below that, money, and it's indicated lowest." So you know, these people have got to know that I consider this to be my duty to be taking care of them. - Reed Slatkin, from the transcript of his interview with federal investigators, January 2000 --

John Poitras was not looking to get rich when he handed $15 million to his friend Reed Slatkin to invest for him last year. Poitras was already rich - but perhaps he wouldn't have minded getting just a bit richer. A brash fifty-seven-year-old retired venture capitalist who limps because of a bad back, Poitras lived in Silicon Valley but often visited Santa Barbara because his girlfriend, a professional pilot, lived there. And for some time, Poitras had been working his way into local society. He bought property. He joined the yacht club. And he became interested in an elite if irreverent arts group called Sings Like Hell, which brought singers and songwriters such as Tracy Chapman, Randy Newman, and Tom Rush perform for music lovers at Santa Barbara's six-hundred-seat Lobero Theatre. Poitras puts up $5000 to become a Sings like Hell Patron.

The Sings Like Hell klatch included some prominent and very rich few friends. Reed Slatkin and his wife, Mary Jo, appeared to be particularly fine people to meet. A founder of EarthLink, Slatkin was a member of the new-establishment aristocracy who lived with his wife and two sons in a richly landscaped, hacienda-style home in the exclusive Hope Ranch area of Santa Barbara. With a fortune of more than $100 million, Slatkin had a private jet on twenty -four hour call. He owned houses and other property in California, Oregon, and New Mexico. He took great pride in his collection of traditional American Art. And he seemed to take an affable interest in Poitras.

Soon after becoming a Sings Like Hell patron, Poitras hosted a festive dinner at the Wine Cask with the Slatkin and another music-loving couple, Hale and Anne Milgrim. The bearded Hale was the former head of Capitol Records and renowned Deadhead. That night, he bought expensive wine for the table. "Sings Like Hell is going to be a big money hole," Poitras told Slatkin jovially. "I think of this as venture capital for the soul."

Poitras knew that Slatkin invested money for many of his friends. And while Slatkin didn't solicit anything from Poitras, he wasn't modest about his skills. Last year, as tech stocks were flaming out, the two met at a benefit for the Santa Barbara Bowl. "Centimillionaires are going to be wiped out, but I made 14 per-cent last quarter," Slatkin boasted. And Poitras was impressed.

A few months later, Poitras sold four acres of expensive Silicon Valley Property for nearly $25 million as a prelude to buying himself a house in Hope Ranch. Slatkin, now not only a friend but also a prospective neighbor, had visited Poitras' home and knew that he was sitting on a pile of cash. He told Poitras about sophisticated computer models that he used for day-trading. Poitras was intrigued and agreed to join a new fund that Slatkin was creating to dabble in investments.

"I didn't need more money," Poitras says. "I did the partnership with Reed to be connected to Santa Barbara , to meet people and have some fun." He did a little homework and found that Slatkin "checked out impeccably". On December 28, 2000 he put up $5 million toward the new investment fund. In February, he gave Slatkin another $10 million to invest in specialized cash instruments that could be liquidated on very short notice. Slatkin was supposed to get him significantly higher return than the rates typically paid by money-market funds. Poitras planned to use some of the money to buy a house near Slatkin's.

As it happens, Poitras was one of the last pigeons to be plucked in an alleged Ponzi scheme that attorneys are now calling one of the biggest investment frauds in American history - a fifteen year operation involving as many as 850 investors. A preliminary filing in a California bankruptcy court this summer says that Slatkin owes more than $575 million and appears to have assets of less than $45 million. Although the amount said to be owed is probably inflated by dubious investment records, the final tally is still expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The dimensions of the scheme began to emerge at the end of April, when investors learned that their money was all but gone. in early May, Slatkin was forced to seek refuge in bankruptcy court. The horror was compounded when investors realized that the Securities and Exchange Commission has been suspicious of Slatkin since at least 1997; federal lawyers had even interrogated him and his bookkeeper at length more than a year before the investors finally ran him to ground. Month after month, the government did nothing while Slatkin sucked in tens of millions of additional dollars from those who now have little hope of recovering more than a fraction of their money.

-- You know, we've had no complaints from any investor. I don't know, if you have, you've got me fooled. I mean, maybe that's where this all started, I don't know. But I have, you know, a lot of very happy people and people I've been a stable point for, and I've kept their money really safe. -- Reed Slatkin, first SEC interview. --

LAST NOVEMBER, not long before Poitras turned over his first $5 million, Slatkin flew to New Jersey to meet with one of his long-term investors, the seriously ill Sidney Azeez. Other investors say the sixty-eight-year-old Azeez regarded Slatkin as a son. Together with his actual son, Michael (who was also a longtime investor), Azeez handed over another $10 million before he died a few weeks later.

Slatkin was actively luring in new investors last winter at the same time that his attorneys were repeatedly promising federal regulators that he was getting out of the business altogether. All told, from late last year through the first few months of 2001, Slatkin raised as much as $50 million from friends in the form of loans and investments.

Soon after giving *his* money to Slatkin, however, Poitras had become anxious. "I didn't feel comfortable at all," he says. "I thought about it and thought about it." He decided to get his $10 million back and invest it in a more plain-vanilla account. When Slatkin started stalling, Poitras called a lawyer. Slatkin seemed so rich and successful that it hardly seemed likely that anything was seriously amiss, the lawyer said. "He said, 'You must be a pimple on this guy's butt. He just doesn't have time for you,'" Poitras recalls.

Over the next four weeks, Poitras sent four letters asking for his money with interest. He started leaving unpleasant messages on Slatkin's machine. "You're not going to win," he said in one. "I'm smarter than you are. I'm tougher than you are. My lawyers are better than yours."

Poitras wasn't the only one getting upset. Slatkin told financial manager Stuart Stedman, who had invested $18.4 million on behalf of a wealthy Texas family, that the funds were frozen because of some sort of far-reaching money-laundering investigation. By this point, another investor -- a screenwriter who wishes to remain anonymous -- also was becoming alarmed. He wanted to retrieve his money to pay a tax bill, but when he talked to Slatkin's bookkeeper, Jean Janu, he was shocked to hear that his money was in a Swiss account and, for the time being, inaccessible. Janu said she didn't know when the situation might change.

Early in April, the screenwriter drove up to the Santa Barbara suburb where Slatkin maintained his office in a drab house that he'd occupied before he became seriously rich. "When I saw it before, it was buzzing with activity," the writer says. "There were four of five Young Turks, and it just looked so real." But now he found "one secretary who was manning the phones like a deer in headlights... I knew by then I was pretty much had."

Meanwhile, Poitras had sent a letter to Slatkin with the heading "GAME OVER". The FBI would be picking up documents from him that day, Poitras warned. "Reed, this is as serious as it can get," he wrote. "If we do not get all the funds due me ... by noon on Wednesday, we cannot stop the train."

THE TRAIN FINALLY HIT SLATKIN in late April. His attorneys held a meeting of the many "friends" who had entrusted their money to him and announced that Slatkin was preparing to file for bankruptcy protection. The room was packed with frightened investors, and dozens of others were connected by phone. Some were still wealthy; others were looking at utter devastation. "A bunch of lawyers were arguing," remembers an investor who was there, " and this woman from "Florida blurted out, 'What am I going to do about my mother? I have no money!' There was a moment's pause. And then the lawyers ran over her like a dove in the road."

No one at the meeting was sure where anyone else stood. Some had taken more money out of Slatkin's accounts than they had put in, but no one knew who was on that list and whether any of the creditors had colluded in the alleged scheme. "It was one of the worst days of my life," says one of the biggest losers. "Everybody was suspicious of everybody else."

Several days later, some of the major investors met in Santa Barbara to organize a creditors' committee. Among those headed to the meeting were George Kriste, the six-foot-eight-inch chief executive of broadcast company called New Century Media, and Gregory Abbott, an early EarthLink backer who had bolstered the company by helping to bring in billionaire George Soros as an investor. Abbott and Kriste had tens of millions on the line and decided to stop at Slatkin's house. They stood at the gate before the long, sloping driveway and rang the bell. Suddenly, a red Mercedes sedan peeled off the road and a paunchy man with wavy white hair emerged. "Who are you?" Kriste asked, expecting that this was another disappointed investor.

The stranger in sweatpants identified himself as Ron Rakow, Slatkin's neighbor and friend. "What do you mean, who am I?" Rakow demanded. "Who are you?" You're menacing Reed?" Kriste and Abbott were trespassing, he continued. "Reed's doing his best," he said. "I got hurt like everybody else. We're all hurt. We're all in this together."

The two men left without seeing Slatkin.

In the meantime, Poitras wasn't nearly satisfied with the sluggish pace of the government investigation. So he and his attorney, Richard Conn, alerted the Los Angeles Times to the unfolding story. Days after the newspaper weighed in this May, the SEC finally swung into action. The FBI and the IRS weren't far behind. When they raided Slatkin's house in Hope Ranch, sources familiar with the case say, they found a couple of passports and some silver bullion.

The search was just the beginning. In late June, the FBI also raided Ron Rakow's house. Rakow turned out to be more than just Slatkin's concerned neighbor. A onetime manager of the Grateful Dead, Rakow was a Scientologist and sometime art dealer who had gone to federal prison for mail fraud in connection with a cosmetics scam in 1985. According to someone close to him, Slatkin told associates that he had driven Rakow to prison in 1987, weeping all the way.

After the FBI and the IRS finally raided Slatkin's office and then his home, a federal grand jury was impaneled. And a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee began sifting through cartons of documents -- many apparently fake -- in search of the loot. But for the investors, it was far too late. They were left to ponder a couple of shattering questions: Who was Reed Slatkin -- a man who has seemed to be a genial nerd in a baseball cap -- and where in the world were the missing millions?

FOR MOST OF THE LAST TWENTY YEARS, Slatkin, now fifty-two, was a personable if somewhat eccentric private investor who didn't appear to have the slightest need to trouble himself with other people's money. Some of his investors say they were charmed because Slatkin was so unassuming. "His brilliance is how ordinary he is," says a movie producer who lost money. "He asks you, 'Hey, how're your kids? God, your son is good-looking. Family life is the greatest.' The market goes down and you call him and he goes, 'We're on the sideline.' And you get off the phone and you say 'He's good news.'"

"He was so regular," remembers another wealthy investor who joined the "friends" account last year. "He wore sensible shoes and battered chinos and old shirts and baseball hats which he would change for luck. Kind of an adorable guy."

"A bad hairpiece," adds his wife. But the husband says Slatkin dazzled prospective investors with his knowledge of the market and his web of contacts. He was brisk and, above all, reassuring.

But what really gave Slatkin his credibility, what was far more attractive than mere manner, was his position as a titan of the tech revolution. That association had seemingly come to Slatkin as a gift from his friend and fellow Scientologist Kevin O'Donnell.

In 1994, O'Donnell invited Slatkin to meet a young man named Sky Dayton, who had been a schoolmate of O'Donnell's son. Then just twenty-two years old, Dayton had graduated at age sixteen from the Delphinian School, a Scientology-affiliated boarding school in Oregon. Slatkin and O'Donnell listened as Dayton explained his idea for a company that would make the Internet more accessible. After hearing what Dayton had to say, Slatkin glanced at O'Donnell and made a funny face. Dayton's idea sounded crazy.

But O'Donnell persisted. "He's a friend," he said significantly. So O'Donnell and Slatkin agreed to put up $100,000 together in exchange for a 40% share of the new company. And the business became Earthlink, now a billion dollar business and the third-largest Internet service provider in the country.

By his own account, Slatkin's investments had already made him a millionaire many times over. But Earthlink bumped him to a whole new level. Slatkin had dabbled in venture capital before but had never made any money - or so he later told the SEC.

"You know, $50,000 here, $25,000, just lose, lose, lose," he said.

He wasn't consistent on this point: Elsewhere in the same interview with regulators, he said he'd made millions in the eighties investing in two businesses.) But Earthlink would shock him.

"It created a very nice windfall," Slatkin said. "It has allowed me to be very charitable to my church and other groups."

SEC ATTORNEY: Can you please describe for the record your education after high school?

SLATKIN: Okay, I'm going to explain what I would call my secular education first, and then I will explain to you scientology and religious education second ... I don't know if you guys have heard much about Scientology ... [but] it's an area of reverence for myself."

In January 2000, nearly a year and a half before Slatkin was forced into bankruptcy proceedings - lawyers from the SEC questioned him in two lengthy depositions. The only subject that Slatkin seemed eager to discuss was his love for Scientology. Asked a simple introductory question about his education, Slatkin embarked on a lengthy riff that continued for more than 20 transcribed pages. He knew Scientology was "controversial" and that the SEC lawyers "may have heard bad things" about it, he said, but Scientology was "the basis of almost everything I've done in my life." At one point, he whipped out a book called "What is Scientology Doing In The World?" "There's much bigger books I could have brought," he confided, "but I didn't bring them."

Slatkin then offered a crash course in Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's theology, explaining that negative ideas and experiences are stored in the "reactive mind". Slipping into Scientology-speak, he talked about treacherous encoded negative experiences. "Over a lifetime - and we'll get into what we call lifetimes momentarily - these experiences can reactivate a person," he explained.

In his religion, he continued, the aim is to ascend the "bridge" of spiritual awareness, which is accomplished by purging those negative experiences. He talked about "field auditors" who learn how to "clear" people using a device called an E-meter that helps ferret out the bad experiences.

Controversy has long surrounded Scientology. In the early eighties, Hubbard's wife was among a group that went to prison for breaking into and bugging federal offices. In 1991, Time published a series of articles describing the church as a "cult of greed and power," a "depraved yet thriving enterprise," a "hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner." The church sued for libel but lost on summary judgment. Though the decision was upheld on appeal, the church is still fighting. A decade after the article appeared, its petition for Supreme Court review is pending.

Slatkin's avowal of lifelong devotion to Scientology came as a surprise to a number of his investors when they learned of it after his bankruptcy. Several say Slatkin had downplayed his affiliation with the church. "He said, 'I just audited a few courses to keep myself alert'," one says. "He said, 'I want nothing to do with the church.'" The wealthy couple say they had once asked mutual friends if Slatkin was involved with Scientology. "I know two people who asked him, and he said he wasn't, " the husband says. "He said to one, 'Of course not. I'm Jewish.' He said to another, 'My wife had an interest in it.'"

Through spokesperson Aron Mason, the Church of Scientology says Slatkin was a parishioner but never an official of any kind. He also belonged to a "religious fellowship" of Scientologists in the business world called the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises, or WISE, Mason continues. But he adds, "Mr. Slatkin could not live up to WISE's ethical standards, and he ended his membership [in] 1998." He declined to elaborate.

Slatkin didn't mention any such thing during his deposition.

But he enthusiastically referred to Scientology's curative effects: The church's followers believe it can eradicate a whole range of ills, from drug addiction to broken bones. "The literature speaks of... people who say they no longer have arthritis from doing this," Slatkin told SEC lawyers. "Their headaches are gone. They get along with their husbands and wives." In his own case, Slatkin said, the process had helped him face the sudden loss of his father. With Scientology's help, he went from great grief to "feeling fine about it."

Milton Slatkin, Reed's father, was the son of a tough Russian-Jewish immigrant who founded a successful construction business in the Detroit area. A family friend says that Milt, one of five children, was "the weak one," overshadowed by a charismatic brother. Milt failed when he tried to strike out on his own in the building business, that friend says. With the
father's help, however, Milt's family lived well. They resided in an affluent and insular suburb. Reed was sent to the exclusive Cranbrook School.

One April day in 1964, the friend continues, Milt confided over lunch that he was profoundly unhappy and hinted that there was strain in the marriage. Two days later, Milt shut himself in the family garage with the engine running. Reed was fourteen years old.

Reed's uncle, Phil Spickler, who lived in England and studied with L. Ron Hubbard, was helpful in guiding Reed and his mother through their grief. Six months later, Reed had an accident in shop class and nearly severed his finger. He wore a cast for weeks, but the doctor said the finger would be rigid and useless for the rest of his life. Then his uncle visited again, and within a couple of days, Spickler had effected a miraculous cure. "It was a big moment for me," Slatkin told the SEC lawyers.

As it happens, Spickler's daughter--Reed's cousin--would become known to filmgoers as Mimi Rogers, the actress (and Scientologist) who at one time was married to the church's biggest star, Tom Cruise. Cruise apparently became involved with Scientology during his marriage to Rogers (although neither seems to have participated in any of Slatkin's investments.) Through a spokeswoman, Rogers says she has not spoken to Slatkin in more than twenty years.

In an odd twist, former Scientologists say that Rogers' father became disaffected with the church in the early eighties. But after his encounter with his uncle, Slatkin told the government years later, he went on to dedicate himself to the church for life.

As a teenager, Slatkin spent summers in England and Scotland, taking classes from L. Ron Hubbard. When he attended the University of Michigan in the late sixties, Slatkin pushed Scientology on campus. A classmate who was active in the Scientology organization at Ann Arbor remembers him as a "very charismatic, very dynamic guy--warm, but with sort of a distance to him." This friend was surprised when Slatkin joined a fraternity, which seemed at odds with the tone of Scientology. "Everybody around him recognized that he had some special ability," she says. "He would have made a great politician."

Slatkin chose to go to graduate school in Berkeley in 1971 because of a strong Scientology presence in the area. But he decided to give up his graduate studies and devote himself to the church full time. He moved to Los Angeles and took courses at the church from 9:00 AM until 10:00 PM daily (with no weekends off), and by late 1975, he said, he had completed the highest courses offered in Los Angeles. (In Scientology parlance, this would make him a high-level "operating thetan.")

The former church member and college friend remembers that Slatkin seemed to have a gift for "regging"--Scientology-speak for the extremely important process of "registering," or soliciting donations. Critics say the church "regges" its members ruthlessly and relentlessly for a broad array of projects. Slatkin's college friend remembers talking to a fellow Scientologist who said that Slatkin "could reg the birds out of the trees."

Slatkin married in the mid-seventies, and he and his wife, Mary Jo, devoted themselves to working full-time for the church until 1984. While they received what he called "honoraria," they never made more than $45,000 a year. By 1983, they had two sons, and Slatkin was ready to start making money. He handed over a "meager amount," borrowed from his mother, to fellow Scientologist Robert Duggan.

Slatkin told investigators that Duggan was a wealthy investor who quickly quintupled Slatkin's original investment. He gave Slatkin a three-year apprenticeship in market strategy and finance. Around this time, Slatkin said, he started developing a computer program to help guide his investments. With the help of this software, which he dubbed "the Base Plate," Slatkin said he became "a self-employed professional investor."

By 1985, Slatkin said, he had earned about $1.5 million. When another three years had passed, he estimated, his personal fortune had grown to $25 million, primarily through stock trading. Through sheer luck, he claimed, he managed to pull his money out of the market before the Black Monday crash in October 1987. That day, he dived back into the market and set himself up to make a killing.

Slatkin wasn't the only beneficiary of his good fortune. By this time, he had started investing for a group that he called his "friends." At first, he said, most came to him through Scientology. He told the SEC that he kept dutiful records, regularly sending out statements about his activities. He protected his grateful friends from the 1987 stock-market crash, and they prospered along with him afterwards, he said.

That year, he told investigators, he decided to put all the friends' money into an account at an institution in Zurich, NAA Financial. Exactly why he made this choice was not clear. He told the federal lawyers that he had met a man named Roland de Lamoussaye at a party, and that de Lamoussaye had recommended NAA. Though Slatkin said he had deposited hundreds of millions of dollars, including money of his own, into a couple of NAA accounts, he couldn't tell the government lawyers whether NAA was a bank or a brokerage or some other type of institution. But he said he had checked out NAA with other Swiss banks and paid several visits himself. His principal contact at NAA was a man named Michel Axiall. "It's just been so many years now that I've dealt with the. It's just so efficient, and [there's] reliability and a feeling of safety," Slatkin said.

Slatkin told investigators he'd opened the NAA account because "it was very important to have very clear records of monies that didn't belong to me." He also hired a bookkeeper, Jean Janu, who worked out of offices in New Mexico, to ensure that record-keeping was "done at the highest possible standard." At the same time, however, he was vague when pressed on exactly how the operation worked. For example, the SEC asked if any of his friends had wired money from their own brokerage accounts to Slatkin's NAA account. "I don't know the answer to that," Slatkin replied.

If a friend wanted to liquidate his account, the attorney continued, would Slatkin ever keep stock that he had bought with that friend's money and repay the friend from other funds? "You're thinking of things that I haven't even thought of," Slatkin said. "That's good..... I'll have to think about that one."

Asked to explain an outgoing wire for $5 million to Beverly Hills Escrow with the notation "L. L. Dayton," Slatkin said he'd need to look up the transaction. "I can know this, I can know," he said. Then the SEC attorneys asked if Sky Dayton, Earthlink's chairman, had invested with him.

"No," Slatkin replied.

"Would there be money going to Mr. Dayton from the friend's account?" the attorney asked.

"Well, we have some - how to describe this?" Slatkin replied.

The SEC had a document showing that $5 million from Dayton had been wired into, and then out of, the so-called friends' account in June 1999. "You can go ahead and try to explain," one of the government lawyers prompted.

"No. I'm not sure where I'm headed here," Slatkin said.

The SEC then asked about Kevin O'Donnell, who had first introduced Slatkin to Dayton. "Why would there be money coming out of the friends' account to Mr. O'Donnell?" the attorney asked.

"Again, I want to get the detail of that for you, okay?" Slatkin said. "There's an answer." He elaborated a little. "We're business partners," he said. "But when I get any money from anybody... I put it in the friends' account to make sure that it stays segregated, for bookkeeping purposes.... And, like, I know the companies that this money went to. I'm just going to try and get you the detail on that, so I could tell you where it went to, so you could trace it."

In fact, Dayton is listed as a creditor in the Slatkin bankruptcy, though it is unclear - and a spokesperson for Dayton refuses to disclose - how much money is on the line. O'Donnell is also on the list, as are Earthlink's chief executive, Charles, "Garry" Betty, and others at the company.

In the early going, Slatkin served as a financial and management advisor to Earthlink. He remained a member of the board and audit committee until he resigned on April 26. EarthLink stresses that today there is no connection between the company and Slatkin.

In the beginning there was "not very much" in the NAA account, Slatkin told the government lawyers -- something between $7 million and $8 million. But then Slatkin produced a statement, purportedly from NAA, showing that as of March 31, 1999, the amount had grown to more than $217 million.

Hearing about this arrangement, an SEC attorney brought up what seemed like a sensible idea. "If we can confirm with the account in Switzerland that the funds exist," he said, " things like that help."

At that, Slatkin's lawyer, Gerald Boltz, interceded. Boltz had been the SEC's regional administrator from 1972 through 1979, and undoubtedly his prestige was not lost on the lawyers interrogating his client. "Mr. Slatkin has told me that there is no doubt about that," he protested. "And I think he's a person of substantial means. He stands behind this."

"I mean, my own net worth... adds up to in excess of $100 million, and there's other assets out there, too," Slatkin said. "And I would never let these people lose their money."

Slatkin said he'd obliged his investors only through a sense of duty, as prescribed by L. Ron Hubbard. Slatkin showed the SEC lawyers a "duty scale" bearing Hubbard's autograph. "There he is, L. Ron Hubbard," he said. "Like him or not, he's my man."

And so Slatkin had agreed to be of service. "These people called me and said, 'I'm going to go on full-time [Scientology] training down in Clearwater. Can you help me?' ... This gal came to me, she said, 'I want to open up a Scientology church in Kenya. Would you give me a hand?' I go, 'Absolutely. Let me help you out here.' And that's sort of what happened.... I felt like I was really helping, you know, really helping a lot. But I tell you, it's gotten big."

Slatkin insisted that he never asked for referrals. And clearly he didn't need to. When the wealthy couple was introduced to him after having heard great things about him, the wife remembers, "We basically felt it was a gift. We were privileged."

Someone who has been acquainted with Slatkin for many years says he was capable of great generosity, especially to those who worked for him. "he has to be a hero," the acquaintance says. "His image is everything to him."
What mattered to Slatkin was "being a very important person, being a benefactor, a guru-type."

Apparently Slatkin was a hero to his many "friends," and they showered him with gratitude. Slatkin insisted that he was never paid for his services, though some of his correspondence suggests he received a fee or commission. The SEC asked about such references, since Slatkin was not a registered investment adviser and therefore would have been breaking the law to accept compensation. "It doesn't look too good, does it?" he replied. Slatkin said he could only guess why his friends might have used such language. "That's their parlance," he said. "It's not from me. You know I didn't say any of those words."

The wealthy couple says Slatkin never asked to be paid. "He said, 'I'm very rich. If I'm successful for you, all I ask is that you make a donation to the charity of your choice.'" the husband remembers. The screenwriter, a far smaller investor, says Slatkin did request compensation. "He said, 'If I do well, I would expect 10 percent,'" that investor says. He told Slatkin to pay himself whatever he thought appropriate. But he adds, "I never did see anything deducted from my statements over about two or three years."

The wealthy couple say they were warned by their financial managers to steer clear of Slatkin, but he seemed to be doing so well -- for them and for many of their high-powered friends -- that they pressed ahead. "he wasn't going to old folks' homes and ripping people off for their social security," the husband says. "This guy was capable of taking almost anyone."

By the time the SEC questioned him last year, Slatkin said he had already decided to quit investing for his friends. He had stopped accepting money by October, 1999, he said, and he had already "liquidated accounts to the tune of over $27 million." It wasn't easy, he added, but "over the next sixty or ninety days we will have this as virtually a fait accompli."

But he said he was struggling with a sense that he was betraying those who counted on him. He said he literally wept over some letters importuning him to keep going. "I've been somewhat nervous about telling my Scientology friends that I was going to stop doing this," he said. "These people who are..., working to help the church or working to get themselves [up] this bridge I talked to you about.... And when they find out I'm not doing this anymore, some of these letters are extremely angry at me."

After giving his deposition in early 2000, Slatkin continued to promise repeatedly that he was liquidating his accounts. But he would not consent to let the SEC contact NAA to verify the existence of the funds. Slatkin's counsel, Gerald Boltz, repeatedly assured the government that the accounting firm Ernst & Young was in contact with NAA and that Michel Axiall and other NAA officials were furnishing the needed documents. Court filings show a letter on NAA letterhead to Slatkin's lawyer, dated February 2000, bearing Axiall's signature.

As time dragged on, Boltz repeatedly put off the date on which the Ernst & Young report would be ready. It would be complete by June 1, 2000, he said. The he said it would be finished at the end of August. Then by September 15. Meanwhile, he supplied all sorts of detail about the funds that were being held by NAA. In October -- just about the time that Slatkin was wooing Poitras -- he offered documents showing that the liquidation was virtually complete. In theory, that meant about $230 million had been returned to Slatkin's friends.

But more than a year after taking Slatkin's deposition, the SEC was still waiting for the Ernst & Young report. In April 2001, Slatkin's attorney finally delivered the shocking news: The documents from NAA might not be authentic. The accounts that were supposed to contain millions might not actually exist. As for the Ernst & Young report, the firm said it would not produce one because Slatkin's lawyer had invoked attorney-client privilege.

Boltz says now that all the representations that his law firm made to the SEC appeared to have been fully documented by Slatkin. "We believed that we had received accurate information," he says. "We furnished the SEC only what we were given." When it became clear that the Slatkin matter was turning into a criminal investigation, Boltz's firm withdrew from the case.

To the horror of investors, the SEC revealed in May that NAA did not exist and apparently never had existed. Michel Axiall did not exist. Roland de Lamoussaye, who had supposedly recommended NAA, did not exist. Documents purporting to prove that most investors had been repaid turned out to be phony.

By then, the nonexistence of NAA did not come as a surprise to Stuart Stedman. He told fellow investors that, once alerted to the possible fraud, he found it "extrordinarily easy" to investigate Slatkin's story. On a Friday morning this spring, he had a consultant send some documents, which Slatkin had forwarded and which bore the NAA letterhead, to Switzerland for verification. The following Tuesday, the consultant called and said that NAA's office in Zurich was nonexistent. The next day, he checked further with Swiss attorneys. Within twenty-four hours, they had verified what Stedman had already been told: The NAA documents were bogus. Anyone who wanted to check Slatkin's story, Stedman concluded, could have done so "in a day or two at most."

Throughout the SEC's long correspondence, Slatkin had continued to collect huge sums from investors like Poitras. It now appears that Slatkin raised tens of millions of dollars in the months before filing for bankruptcy on May 1, 2001. Poitras counted up the times that Slatkin put the SEC off after the deposition was taken in January 2000. "Thirty-two excuse letters and phone calls," he says. "It's just mind-boggling."

Kelly Bowers, the assistant regional director of enforcement in the SEC's Los Angeles office, says Slatkin's story had been difficult for the agency to verify "because of the Swiss angle and the information that we had available to us."

The game would have been over, says Poitras' lawyer, Richard Conn, if anyone had "called five of his friends and asked ... whether they had liquidated their accounts."

Not all the money was impossible to trace. After receiving the $10 million from Poitras, Slatkin promptly sent out nearly $7 million to investors - to which ones has yet to be revealed. He also paid a clutch of personal bills, including membership fees at two country clubs. Now the country-club memberships - along with his house and everything else he owns - are being sold off by the bankruptcy trustee so that creditors can recover at least some small percentage of the money that has been lost. The trustee's report shows that in the three months before his bankruptcy, Slatkin paid out more than $26 million to various parties, including $3 million that went to his family members.

R. Todd Neilson is a former FBI man, a grandfather, a Mormon from Utah, a friend of Senator Orrin Hatch. As bankruptcy trustee, Neilson is supposed to find the money. He has dealt with high-profile rip-offs before, notably in the case of Bruce McNall, the former owner of the Los Angeles Kings hockey team who went to prison for bank fraud. His manner is one of studied calm. "I'm generally very conciliatory," he says, "I can always get mean later."

At the moment, he is trying to soothe angry investors who are pushing him to go faster and harder - to circle the globe in search of their money. Neilson says he won't be rushed. "I want to gather the cattle and count them before I start sending cowboys into the brush," he says.

Neilson says he's dealing with "a deep level of concern on the part of the non-Scientologists" about the role of the church. His preliminary findings show that Slatkin donated more than $200,000 to various Scientology causes in the year before his bankruptcy. But so far, he says, he sees no evidence of substantial sums going into the church's coffers. "There will be a reckoning, and we'll find out what happened here," Neilson says. "Right now all we have are allegations flying in from fifty different quarters."

Whether the trail eventually leads to the church, as some investigators suspect, is far from clear, but a knowledgeable source close to the bankruptcy investigation says one investigator told Neilson that he and other Scientology-affiliated investors were likely to withdraw from the creditors group should Neilson attempt to recover money from the church. Neilson is being circumspect about his plans. For strategic reasons, it's in Neilson's interest to try to keep the peace among his flock.

The Church of Scientology says it knows nothing about the money. "The 'missing' funds did not go the the church," said spokesman Aron Mason in a written response to questions. "So why would we be concerned about this? (We aren't.) Moreover, were this to become an issue, I can tell you that the church does not instruct or govern its members as regards their personal financial interests or how they protect their rights."

Perhaps Neilson will have an easier time pursuing what he calls substantial evidence that large sums flowed to Ron Rakow, the former Grateful Dead manager who served time for fraud. The earlier scheme, known as the Culture Farms matter, involved twenty-seven thousand investors and $80 million. According to Christopher Redmond, the Kansas City-based attorney who served as the bankruptcy trustee in that case, Rakow was one of the first of the con men to settle civil proceedings, a feat he accomplished by providing extensive information about the inner workings of the scam. (As it happens, another Culture Farms figure, Christopher Mancuso - who served nine months in prison for his role - is as on the list of Slatkin's creditors.)

Redmond says Slatkin was questioned in the Culture Farms case and that he was part of a group of "ancillary players who assisted knowingly or not," in the scam. Interestingly, Redmond also says expensive artwork was used as part of "a sophisticated money-laundering process" in which money was stowed in the Antilles, the Caymans, Liechtenstein, France, the Isle of Man - and Switzerland. Normally, such information is of great interest to Neilson. (The Culture Farms bankruptcy proceeding, which has been unwinding for about fifteen years, has still not been concluded.)

More recently, Rakow is said to have traveled in Peru and Switzerland in the months before the Slatkin scandal broke. A Slatkin insider says Rakow was paid handsomely to consult with Slatkin on art. Now Neilson says he has questions for Rakow about art that disappeared from Slatkin's home after he filed for bankruptcy. And Neilson's preliminary report shows that Rakow's girlfriend, Denise Del Bianco, received a $1.1 million loan from Slatkin before he went under.

In the end, investors who entrusted their money to Reed Slatkin will probably end up with pennies on the dollar. "My view is that we will not find any pot of gold at the end of the rainbow in Switzerland or any other municipality," Neilson says.

In late July, Slatkin made a mandatory appearance with Neilson before a meeting of his creditors in a hotel ballroom. It was the first time most had seen him in months. Looking pale and puffy, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment and declined to answer any questions. He made only a brief statement, saying, "I'm not hiding," before his attorneys escorted him out of the room.

Many of those present groaned at Slatkin's words. What may ultimately harm Slatkin the most is the fact that he succeeded in extracting money from so many high-powered investors - including many who still have the money and resources to pursue this case with vigor. "We are relentless," says George Kristie, one of Slatkin's biggest investors. "We are not going to take our teeth off his cuff. This is the end for him."

Kristie and the others will have to be patient. Neilson is moving slowly to track the funds, and officials aren't releasing details of the criminal investigation. Attorneys associated with the case insist that Slatkin depends, in part, on his cooperation with federal authorities. As of the end of July, Neilson said that Slatkin hadn't gotten good marks.

Meanwhile, Poitras is left to wrestle with the magnitude of his loss. "You have nightmares about it all night," he says. "You wake up thinking, I hope it's not real." Poitras says he has given up a happy retirement to pursue his new job. "Now I have to work full-time to put Slatkin in jail," he says.

Poitras has ruefully concluded that when he joined Sings Like Hell, he inadvertently bought himself "a $15 million concert series." To help erase the memory, he insisted on being airbrushed out of a photograph in a Sings Like Hell brochure that showed him standing, wearing a broad grin, with Reed and Mary Jo Slatkin. Thanks to computer magic, the organization managed to insert the image of another couple. Everyone in the picture is still wearing a big smile.
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:21 am

Mimi Rogers
by Wikipedia


Rogers at the premiere for Earth in April 2009
Born Miriam Spickler
(1956-01-27) January 27, 1956 (age 57)
Coral Gables, Florida, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) James Rogers (1976–1980; divorced)
Tom Cruise (1987–1990; divorced)
Christopher Ciaffa (2003–present; 2 children)
Children Lucy Ciaffa
Charles Ciaffa

Miriam "Mimi" Rogers (née Spickler; born January 27, 1956) is an American film and television actress, producer and competitive poker player. Her notable film roles include Gung Ho (1986), Someone to Watch Over Me (1987), and Desperate Hours (1990). She garnered the greatest acclaim of her career for her role in the religious drama, The Rapture (1991), with critic Robin Wood applauding that she "gave one of the greatest performances in the history of the Hollywood cinema."[1] Rogers has since appeared in Reflections on a Crime (1994), The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997), Lost in Space (1998), Ginger Snaps (2000), The Door in the Floor (2004), and For a Good Time, Call... (2012). Her extensive work in television includes Paper Dolls (1984), Weapons of Mass Distraction (1997), The Loop (2006–2007), and recurring roles on The X-Files (1998–1999) and Two and a Half Men (2011–present).

Early life

Rogers was born Miriam Spickler at General Hospital in Coral Gables, Florida. Her father is Philip C. Spickler, a civil engineer[2][3] and Jewish Holocaust survivor.[4] Her mother, Teri Berwick, was Episcopalian[5] and a former dance and drama major.[2]

The family lived in Virginia, Arizona, Michigan and England before settling in Los Angeles. She attended accelerated schools and graduated from high school at age 14. In place of college, she formulated her own program of study and also got involved in community theater and writing.[2] Rogers later worked in a hospital for incapacitated patients outside Palo Alto, California and for six years she was a part-time social worker, involved in substance-abuse counseling.[2]

At the beginning of their acting careers, Rogers lived with Kirstie Alley.[6]



After her first marriage break-up, Rogers moved to Los Angeles to embark on an acting career. She studied acting with Milton Katselas for nine months and then sought an agent.[7] She screen tested for the lead role in Body Heat that eventually went to Kathleen Turner.[8] Her earlier roles included television appearances in Hill Street Blues (1981) as a love interest for officer Andy Renko (Charles Haid), and in Magnum, P.I. (1982). Between 1983 and 1984, she worked extensively in television as a series regular on The Rousters and as supermodel Blair Harper-Fenton in Paper Dolls. In 1986 she starred alongside Michael Keaton in Ron Howard's comedy, Gung Ho.

In 1986 Rogers auditioned for the female lead in Fatal Attraction that went to Glenn Close.[8] However, Rogers got her breakthrough role when she was cast opposite Tom Berenger in Ridley Scott's Someone to Watch Over Me (1987). Rogers played Claire Gregory, a socialite that is protected after she witnesses a murder. In 1989 Rogers starred alongside Denzel Washington in the critically acclaimed mystery film The Mighty Quinn. A year later she appeared alongside Mickey Rourke and Anthony Hopkins in the remake, Desperate Hours. In 1991 Rogers starred as the protagonist in The Rapture about a woman who converts from a swinger to a born-again Christian after learning that a true Rapture is upon the world. Rogers received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead nomination for her role in the film.[9] Slant Magazine praised her "spectacular performance, which seems in part inspired by the physical splendors and feral glances of Bette Davis or Barbara Stanwyck."[10]

In 1993 Rogers posed nude for the March 1993 edition of Playboy magazine, and also appeared on that issue's cover.[11] Rogers later explained "Playboy had been after me for years, and finally I agreed to pose when they gave me complete approval over the shoot. It was done in a tasteful way, and since I knew that I wanted to have children soon, I thought it might be nice to have a permanent record of my body in its prime."[12]

Rogers at the 1989 Academy AwardsIn 1994 Rogers starred as a woman on death row in the prison thriller Reflections on a Crime and received the Best Actress prize for the film at the Seattle International Film Festival.[13]New York Magazine praised Rogers' "typically terrific performance" in the film.[14]

Rogers later joined an ensemble cast in the critically acclaimed comedy-drama Trees Lounge (1996). She also had a supporting role alongside Barbra Streisand and Lauren Bacall in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996). Her next film was the beginning of what would become a major franchise, when she appeared as Mrs. Kensington in the cult classic, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997). In 1997 Rogers was nominated for the Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her role in the HBO film, Weapons of Mass Distraction.

In 1998 she appeared alongside Gary Oldman and William Hurt in the $80 million science fiction film, Lost in Space. A year later she co-produced and co-starred alongside Kirsten Dunst in the Showtime Holocaust drama, The Devil's Arithmetic. Together with her fellow producers, Rogers received a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Children's Special. Between 1998 and 1999 Rogers also had a recurring role on The X-Files playing Diana Fowley for seven episodes. In 2000 she starred in the critically acclaimed Canadian horror film, Ginger Snaps. She was also a series regular on the short-lived ABC series, The Geena Davis Show (2000–2001).

Rogers later made television appearances in Dawson's Creek (2003) as the mother of Jen Lindley (Michelle Williams) and in Las Vegas (2003). She also appears in the comedy sequel Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003). In 2004 she starred alongside Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger in the drama, The Door in the Floor. Between 2006 and 2007, Rogers was a series regular on the Fox comedy, The Loop playing Meryl, a company vice-president and cougar.

In 2010 Rogers made a guest appearance on King of the Hill and also served as a producer on the bid-budget action thriller, Unstoppable.[15] In 2010 she also performed at the Geffen Playhouse in the play, Love, Loss, and What I Wore.[16] In 2011 she was cast in the recurring role of Robin Schmidt, a primatologist and Ashton Kutcher's mother on Two and a Half Men.[17] Rogers will resume the role in the season 10 premiere episode.[18] In 2012 she also made a guest appearance on The Client List. Her recent film projects include For a Good Time, Call... (2012) and, alongside Meryl Streep, in Hope Springs (2012). In March 2012 she was cast alongside Chad Michael Murray in the ABC drama pilot, Scruples where she plays Harriet, a "powerful and vindictive magazine editor".[19]


Having played poker as a teenager, Rogers took up competitive poker in 2003 and finished in the money in her first major tournament at the World Poker Tour's 240 player Shooting Stars' main event No-Limit Texas hold 'em tournament in San Jose, California, on March 4, 2004. She also is on the board of directors of the World Poker Tour.

Rogers is one of the "famous faces"[20] due to being a regular player on the online poker website Hollywood Poker which is run in conjunction with Ongame Network. In July 2006, she finished in the money (33rd place) at the $1000 Ladies' No-Limit Hold 'em World Series of Poker event, winning $5,132.

She is now one of the celebrities playing on Hollywood Poker participating in promotional events.[21]

Personal life

She has been married three times. She married Jim Rogers in 1977, adopting his surname. They divorced in 1980.

In the early to mid-1980s, Rogers dated Tom Selleck, Christopher Reeve and Bobby Shriver.[22]

On May 9, 1987, Rogers married actor Tom Cruise; she was 31 and he was 24. They separated in 1989; their divorce was finalized in February 1990.[23] In an interview with Playboy in 1993, Rogers discussed her split from Cruise and likened her ex-husband to a "monk" when discussing intimacy issues.[12] Rogers later retracted the comments and claimed she was misinterpreted.[24][12]

In 1990, Rogers began living with Chris Ciaffa. They have a daughter, Lucy Julia Ciaffa (born November 20, 1995), and a son, Charles Ciaffa (born July 30, 2001).[25] The couple eventually married in 2003.

Rogers has made campaign contributions to the Democratic Party.[26][27]


Rogers' father became interested in Dianetics in 1952[28] and would later become a prominent Mission Holder with the Church of Scientology and friend of founder, L Ron Hubbard.[12] Rogers also reportedly became a highly trained auditor with the church. Prior to her acting career, she opened a "field auditing" practice, the Enhancement Center with her first husband, Jim Rogers.[29] She was also an auditor for Sonny Bono[30] and Tom Cruise was also a client before being directed towards a Celebrity Centre.[29] In an interview given to the Los Angeles Times in 1991, Rogers spoke about Scientology; "that philosophy was simply part of my upbringing. And, I think it was an excellent system of belief to grow up with because Scientology offers an extremely pragmatic method for taking spiritual concerns and breaking them down into everyday applications."[5]

It appears that Mimi Rogers has left the Church of Scientology- she had been described in recent media reports as a "former" member of the church.[31][22][12][32] Cruise biographer, Andrew Morton, alleged that Mimi's father had been declared a Suppressive Person after leaving the church in the early 1980s during a cull of Mission Holders.[33] Spickler has since become part of the Free Zone movement.[34] A 2012 article in Vanity Fair alleged that Mimi held an unfavorable view of the church's controversial leader, David Miscavige.[35] In the book, "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" published in 2013, author Lawrence Wright alleged that Miscavige had pushed Rogers from her marriage with Tom Cruise so the latter could pursue Nicole Kidman.[36]


Year Film Role Notes

1981 Hill Street Blues Sandra Pauley 2 episodes; "Jungle Madness", "Rites of Spring"
1981 Quincy, M.E. Corrina Girard 2 episodes; "Slow Boat to Madness Part 1", "Slow Boat to Madness Part 2"
1982 Magnum, P.I. Margo Perina 1 episode; "Italian Ice"
1982 Divorce Wars: A Love Story Belinda Wittiker TV movie
1982 Hear No Evil Meg TV movie
1983 Hart to Hart Robin Wall 1 episode; "Hartstruck"
1983 Blue Skies Again Liz
1983–1984 The Rousters Ellen Slade 13 episodes
1984 Paper Dolls Blair Fenton-Harper 13 episodes
1985 Embassy Nancy Russell TV movie
1986 Gung Ho Audrey
1987 Disneyland Charlotte 1 episode; "You Ruined My Life"
1987 Street Smart Alison Parker
1987 Someone to Watch Over Me Claire Gregory
1989 The Mighty Quinn Hadley Elgin
1989 Hider in the House Julie Dreyer TV movie
1990 Dimenticare Palermo Carrie
1990 Desperate Hours Nora Cornell
1991 Fourth Story Valerie McCoughlin TV movie
1991 The Doors Magazine Photographer
1991 Wedlock Tracy Rigg TV movie
1991 The Rapture Sharon Nomination – Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
1991–1992 Dream On Julia Montana 3 episodes
1992 White Sands Molly Dolezal Cameo
1992 Tales from the Crypt Helen 1 episode; "Beauty Rest"
1992 Dark Horse Dr. Susan Hadley
1992 Ladykiller Michael Madison TV movie
1992 The Larry Sanders Show Mimi Rogers 2 episodes; "The Flirt Episode", "You're Having My Baby"
1992 Shooting Elizabeth Elizabeth Pigeon
1993 Bloodlines: Murder in the Family Melody Woodman TV movie
1993 A Kiss to Die For Ali Broussard TV movie
1994 Monkey Trouble Amy
1994 Killer Fiona
1994 Reflections on a Crime Regina Seattle International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
1995 The Beast Martha Short
1995 Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog Katherine McCormick
1995 Full Body Massage Nina TV movie
1996 Partners Melissa 1 episode; "Your Baby-sitter?"
1996 In the Blink of an Eye Sonia Jacobs TV movie
1996 Trees Lounge Patty
1996 The Mirror Has Two Faces Claire
1997 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery Mrs. Kensington
1997 Weapons of Mass Distraction Ariel Powers TV movie
Nomination – Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
1997 The Christmas List Melody Parris
1997 Tricks Jackie TV movie
1998 Host Karen Messenger TV movie
1998 Lost in Space Dr. Maureen Robinson
1998–1999 The X-Files Agent Diana Fowley 7 episodes
1999 The Devil's Arithmetic Leonore Stern Producer
Nomination – Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Special
1999 Little White Lies' Ellie
1999 Seven Girlfriends Julian
1999–2000 It's Like, You Know... Deidre Swayze 2 episodes; "Heat", "Hollywood Shuffle"
2000 Common Ground McPherson TV movie
2000 Ginger Snaps Pamela
2000 The Upgrade The Yuppie Short
2000 Cruel Intentions 2 Tiffany Merteuil
2000–2001 The Geena Davis Show Hillary 22 episodes
2002 Charms for the Easy Life Sophia TV movie
2002 What's New, Scooby-Doo? Maura Ravenmane 1 episode; "She Sees Sea Monsters by the Sea Shore"
2003 Dawson's Creek Helen Lindley 1 episode; "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road"
2003 Cave In Pat Bogen TV movie
2003 Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd Mrs. Dunne
2003 Las Vegas Sandra Adlman 1 episode; "Luck Be a Lady"
2004 Hope & Faith Annie Hannigan 1 episode; "Madam President"
2004 The Gunman Eve Richards
2004 Seeing Other People Elise
2004 The Door in the Floor Evelyn Vaughn
2005 Dancing in Twilight April
2005 Stone Cold Rita Fiore TV movie
2005 Selling Innocence Abby Sampson TV movie
2006 The Stranger Game Joanna Otis TV movie
2006 Penny Dreadful Orianna Volkes
2006 Big Nothing Mrs. Smalls
2006–2007 The Loop Meryl 17 episodes
2008 Storm Cell April Saunders TV movie
2008 My Boys Maggie/Mike's date 2 episodes; "John, Cougar, Newman Camp", "Jack and Bobby"
2009 Frozen Kiss Gayle
2009 Falling Up Meredith TV movie
2010 Order of Chaos Mrs. Craig TV movie
2010 Sins of the Mother Lois TV movie
2010 King of the Hill Katie 1 episode; "Bill Gathers Moss"
2010 Neighbors from Hell Lorelai Killbride 1 episode; "Country Club Hell"
2010 Abandoned Victoria Markham
2011 Lucky Ms. Brand
2011 Balls to the Wall Mrs. Matthews
2011 CollegeHumor Originals Bionic Woman "Superhero Auditions: Callbacks", "Superhero Auditions: Bionic Woman"
2011–present Two and a Half Men Robin Schmidt Recurring role
3 episodes; "One False Move, Zimbabwe!", "Slowly and in a Circular Fashion", "I Changed My Mind About the Milk"
2012 For a Good Time, Call... Adele
2012 The Client List Valerie Dawson 1 episode; "The Rub of Sugarland"
2012 Hope Springs Carol
2012 Scruples Harriet Toppington Pilot drama based on Scruples
2012 Mall Filming


1. Wood, Robin (2003). Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan – and Beyond. Columbia University Press. Prolgue xxxvii
2. Tuber, Keith."Mimi Rogers is Ready to Take Center Stage", [interview], Orange Coast. August 1990. p/78.
3. Mimi Rogers: From Sexy Sidekick In 'Austin Powers' To One Hot Mama In 'Two And A Half Men' Huffington Post. 7 December 2011
4. Celebrity Jews J Weekly. 12 December 2003
5. Her Salvation? : Mimi Rogers has taken a chance with a role in a movie about faith and sin. The question: Will 'The Rapture' redeem a career bedeviled by typecasting? Los Angeles Times. 6 October 1991. p/2
6. Kirstie Allie : Snapshot People Magazine. Retrieved on 9 August 2012
7. Her Salvation? : Mimi Rogers has taken a chance with a role in a movie about faith and sin. The question: Will 'The Rapture' redeem a career bedeviled by typecasting? Los Angeles Times. 6 October 1991. p/3
8. Tuber, Keith."Mimi Rogers is Ready to Take Center Stage", [interview], Orange Coast. August 1990. p/77.
9. The Rapture New York Times. Retrieved on 8 August 2012
10. The Rapture Slant Magazine. 9 November 2004
11. Women Who Have Posed for Playboy
12. 'I never meant to embarrass Tom' Daily Telegraph. 29 June 2001
13. Aussie Films Awarded Top Honors At Festival Seattle Times. 13 June 1994
14. Museums, Societies, Etc. New York Magazine. 10 April 1995. p/86
15. A chat with Mimi Rogers Bullz Eye. 14 February 2011
16. 'Love, Loss, and What I Wore' at Geffen Playhouse has plenty of drama backstage too Los Angeles Times. 13 November 2010
17. Mimi Rogers to Mother Ashton Kutcher on Men Vulture. 11 November 2011
18. 'Two and a Half Men' Season 10 pics: Michael Bolton and 'True Blood's' Brit Morgan drink with Walden Zap2it. 22 August 2012
19. Mimi Rogers Joins Cast of ABC Drama Pilot SCRUPLES TV Broadway World. 18 March 2012
20. "Mimi Rogers Biography". Retrieved July 19, 2007.
21. ... mi-rogers/
22. Tom Cruise and Mimi Rogers: Marriage Impossible Entertainment Weekly. 11 May 2001
23. Neumaier, Joe (10 August 2004). "Cruise Unshaken by His Role As Hit Man – Actor Says Killer Won't Sink His Good-Guy Image". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. p. 1E.
24. Tom Cruise The Sunday Times Magazine. Retrieved on 9 August 2012
25. "Poker Mimi Rogers at mimi rogers full body massage photos, desperate hours and mimi rogers and full body". Retrieved 2012-07-24.
26. Mimi Rogers (celebrity political donations) NewsMeat. Retrieved on 9 August 2012
27. California Is Top Source of Federal Political Funds Los Angeles Times. 19 January 1999
28. 1/5 Getting started in Dianetics – "It was almost like a family!" – Miracles Youtube. 4 October 2010
29. Reitman, Janet (2011). Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p/272-273
30. Solo Bono Vanity Fair. February 1998
31. Have Any Celebs Ever Actually Left Scientology? E! Online. 29 July 2009
32. When Once-Big Stars Get Tiny Roles Village Voice. 14 August 2012
33. Exclusive: ‘Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography’ MSNBC. 15 January 2008
34. From Stanford With Love Freezone. Retrieved on 8 August 2012
35. What Katie Didn't Know. Orth, Maureen. Vanity Fair. October 2012
36. ... ypJR7dWK/1
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Re: Journalism: Scientology - L. Ron Hubbard's Brainchild

Postby admin » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:22 am

Part 1 of 2

Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography
by Andrew Morton
Excerpt from Chapter 6 of "Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography"

As anxious as a teenager on his first date, David Miscavige, the young leader of Scientology, impatiently paced around the immaculately arranged cabana as he waited for his guest on a Saturday night in the late summer of 1989. While no expense or effort had been spared to impress his visitor, by the agreed arrival time of eight o’clock there was still no sign of Tom Cruise. Watches were nervously checked, and as minutes turned into hours, cult minions made frantic phone calls. David Miscavige was not a man who liked to be kept waiting.
But wait he did, becoming more and more furious as his carefully laid plans came to naught. By the time Tom, who had recently finished filming "Born on the Fourth of July", arrived at the Gold Base Scientology fortress, it was long past eleven o’clock, and the actor, tired by the journey from Beverly Hills, went straight to bed.

He had missed a greeting as elaborate as it was incongruous. In the heart of the desert scrub, he was to have been taken to a swimming pool next to a $565,000 life-size replica of a three-masted schooner. In the tropically themed cabana, complete with parrots and other exotic birds, Miscavige and other senior Scientologists would have formed a welcoming committee. Doubtless, as he was being shown the nautical artifacts, he was to have been told about the history of the landlocked ship, the Star of California, which had been built on the express instructions of cult founder L. Ron Hubbard. Even though he served with an utter lack of distinction in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Hubbard liked to think of himself as a military hero, dressing his most fanatical followers, known as the Sea Org, in the regalia and uniforms of a seafaring militia. This fraternal paramilitary organization was zealously dedicated to advancing their faith, signing “billion-year” contracts — pledging themselves to work for Scientology for the next billion years during future reincarnations — as a sign of their utter devotion. In their eyes they were fallen gods, immortal beings or “thetans,” who had lived for millions of years and would be reincarnated for billions of years to come. From their desert lair, a place so secret that new Sea Org recruits were brought there blindfolded so that they could not divulge the location to outsiders, they pursued their mission of world domination and the extermination of their enemies. As Hubbard once wrote, “All men shall be my slaves. All women shall succumb to my charms. All mankind shall grovel at my feet and not know why.” In preparation for the day when they could put the words of the man known as “Source” into practice, they read The Art of War by the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu and On War by the Prussian general Karl von Clausewitz. No one and nothing from the inferior “wog world” — the term for nonbelievers — could be allowed to get in their way. Certainly not in this existence. Indeed, the outside world was an unwelcome distraction.

Believers were banned from watching TV, listening to the radio, reading newspapers, using computers, making telephone calls, or receiving other communications from outsiders, including their families. Security staff even opened their Christmas presents to make sure they did not contain anything that would deflect them from the cause. (Nowadays newspapers are sold and TV played in the staff dining room.)
Most public Scientologists had never even heard of Gold Base, let alone visited the onetime holiday resort just outside Hemet, California.

The organization deliberately disguised its true purpose, listing the five-hundred-acre compound in the local telephone directory as the “Scottish Highlands Quietude Club.” It was a sign of Tom Cruise’s importance that he was invited to this inner sanctum.

Significantly, the invitation was extended only to Tom, even though his wife had been a Scientologist for most of her life. The reason had less to do with the fact that they now seemed to be leading separate lives than with Mimi’s own position inside the cult. When her father, Phil, left the faith during the cull of mission holders in the early 1980s, he was deemed an enemy, or, in Scientology-speak, a “suppressive person.” Worse, he joined those, dubbed “squirrels” by Hubbard, who offered Scientology-style services at cut prices.

Anyone associated with Mimi’s father was supposed to “disconnect” — sever all relations — with him if they wanted to stay inside Scientology. In short, Mimi was expected to choose between her father and the cult, a dilemma that has confronted thousands of Scientologists over the years, leading to hundreds of family breakups. “Tom was a big star, she was a nothing and tainted by association with her father,” says a former Scientologist who helped plan that first visit. “David Miscavige wasn’t bothered about Mimi. In any case, in his eyes, her father had done all these terrible things to Scientology.”

To emphasize how little value the Scientology leadership placed on Mimi, her husband was accompanied by his assistant, Andrea Morse, daughter of actor Robert Morse. Tom paid for her to take numerous Scientology courses, Andrea in turn recruiting her mother, Carole, and sister Hilary to the faith. It was the beginning of a carefully considered strategy that would ultimately see the actor surrounded by Scientologists both at home and in his office, Odin Productions, which in time came to be operated on strict Scientology principles, where crispness, clarity, and military efficiency are the watchwords. Both sides were keen that Tom’s first visit to the base be discreet and secret. In the darkness, as Tom was driven by the armed uniformed guards past the chain-link fence topped with razor wire, he could have been forgiven for thinking he was entering a military base rather than a friendly club where Scottish chaps danced around in kilts.

That impression would have been reinforced by the infrared cameras and arc lights and, if he had known about them, the concealed microphones and sensors that could spot a rabbit hopping thirty feet from the six-foot-high fence. It was a place that exuded paranoia.

Cameras noted the license plates of passing cars; there were secret plans to rig the perimeter with homemade explosives in case of attack; and high above the property was a man-made eyrie where eagle-eyed guards with high-powered rifles fitted with telescopic sights scanned the sunbaked California scrub for possible intruders.

In fact, his host for the weekend, David Miscavige, had been known to race out into the barren landscape, armed with an Uzi submachine gun, to hunt down possible enemies. He certainly had many weapons to choose from, amassing a personal collection of more than sixty guns. Besides an Israeli assault rifle, a 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun given to him by Hubbard, he had a Dirty Harry Magnum .44 and a Walther PPK of the type used by James Bond. Nor was he afraid to use them.

Early one morning he noticed that a no parking sign had been put up opposite his office. Ordering his butler to bring his shotgun, he spent a few minutes blasting the errant sign to bits. “He felt powerful with guns,” recalls an aide. “It was his way of intimidating people.” In the desk of his well-appointed office, the leader of the church had a .38 handgun. No one knew if it was loaded or if he was only joking when he said they needed to be well armed for when the “radioactive mutants come over the hill.”

That night, it wasn’t the mutants who were in his sights, but Scientology’s inspector general, Greg Wilhere — effectively Miscavige’s right-hand man — who had been assigned to ferry the Hollywood actor from Los Angeles to the secret retreat. Smooth, urbane, and unflappable, Wilhere was Tom’s “handler,” the senior figure assigned to deflect any outside hostility toward Scientology and ensure that Tom remained enthusiastic about his new faith. He was the perfect choice to groom Cruise: friendly, sincere, and intelligent, even grudgingly admired by those who had become disaffected with Scientology. Wilhere needed every ounce of his legendary charm to calm his furious leader. Though he was only five feet, five inches tall, Miscavige was known to have a giant temper, lashing out at subordinates whom he deemed to have crossed him. Wilhere managed to soothe him by explaining that Tom had been delayed for several hours because of movie business. Miscavige’s frustration was perhaps understandable.

At the time his organization was on the ropes, facing a massive IRS investigation into its tax affairs. Not only was the cult spending $1.5 million a month on legal fees, but thousands of ordinary Scientologists were being audited by the tax man. “Things were very grim in 1990, and I don’t think a lot of Scientologists knew that,” Miscavige later admitted. “We kept it to ourselves. It was terrible.”

As far as the beleaguered Scientology leadership was concerned, Cruise was the cavalry riding to their rescue. It had taken years of careful planning to tease Tom through the gates of Gold. During his first years inside the cult, he was termed a “preclear,” someone not deemed to be free of his problems and difficulties. (In fact, it was not until 1989 that Tom and his cousin William Mapother were listed in a Scientology magazine as completing “basic training.”) While the process of auditing bore some similarities to the Catholic rite of Confession, it was neither free nor anonymous. Tom sat facing his auditor while holding an E meter, the crude lie detector that supposedly detected the truth or otherwise of responses. Under polite but relentless questioning, he was encouraged to reveal his most intimate secrets, every admission jotted down in a supposedly confidential folder stamped with his given name: Thomas Mapother. Following a pattern set by Hubbard himself, auditors would ask Tom, among other things, if he had ever raped someone, practiced homosexuality or cannibalism, been unfaithful, watched pornography, or killed or crippled animals for pleasure.

Although auditing was reportedly designed to clear problems, Hubbard’s estranged son, Ronald De Wolf, who audited many early converts, took a more cynical view, seeing the process as a way of controlling and potentially blackmailing Scientologists, especially celebrities. In an interview with Playboy magazine, he observed: “Auditing would address a guy’s entire sex life. It was an incredible preoccupation .... You have complete control of someone if you have every detail of his sex life and fantasy life on record. In Scientology the focus is on sex. Sex, sex, sex. The first thing we wanted to know about someone we were auditing was his sexual deviations. All you’ve got to do is find a person’s kinks, whatever they might be. Their dreams and their fantasies. Then you can fit a ring through their noses and take them anywhere. You promise to fulfill their fantasies or you threaten to expose them ... very simple.” After the interview appeared, the then president of Scientology declined to respond to De Wolf’s observations, noting that his credibility was “just out the bottom.” Nonetheless, although the pre-clear file was supposedly confidential, several auditors could have access to the folders and, it is claimed, senior staff members were known to discuss their contents. Former celebrity Scientologist Karen Pressley, who lived at Gold for years, was present one evening when John Travolta’s auditor John Silcott openly discussed the actor’s sexuality. “It made my head spin,” she recalls, “and made me realize that the idea of confidentiality was a chimera.” As another Scientology executive admitted bluntly, “These files come in handy if they want to blackmail you.”

Ostensibly, Tom had been invited to Gold Base to make sure that his initial auditing, which took place at Sherman Oaks, had been performed correctly. While the questions can be sexually lurid, the auditing process itself is highly technical, Hubbard creating an entire language to describe the procedure. As well as monitoring his auditing progress, Gold Base asked him to give their propaganda film studio, known as Golden Era Productions, the professional once-over.

Tom’s first weekend stay was organized with the precision of a military operation, the planning akin to a visit by royalty. In the weeks before his arrival, the base was a hive of activity as the five hundred or so Sea Org disciples painted, pruned, primped, and cleaned the gardens and buildings so that it was in pristine condition for his arrival.

Not that they were ever aware who the visitor was to be. While his assistant was assigned to staff quarters, Tom was housed in a plush guest bungalow with a Scientology chef and butler, Sinar Parman, who had once worked for L. Ron Hubbard, at his disposal around the clock.

To underline the importance of the visit, Sea Org members were ordered to stay indoors or, if that was impossible, to keep away from certain parts of the compound where Tom might be present. If they happened into his line of sight, they were instructed to avert their gaze and under no circumstances speak to him. Those who did come into contact were ordered to address him as “sir” rather than “Mr. Cruise.”

Disobedience would be punished. “The whole base was on eggshells,” recalls one Sea Org member. The scene was set to impress and awe possibly the most important recruit in Scientology history.
During Tom’s tour of the compound, it was evident that this was not a place for children. Like nuns and monks, Sea Org fanatics were not allowed to have children; if a woman got pregnant, she faced the heartbreaking choice between her beliefs and her unborn child. For the true believer, abortion was an article of faith. If the woman decided to have the child, she had to leave Sea Org and serve the sect in a lesser capacity. Former Sea Org follower Karen Pressley remembers that she was often approached by fellow Scientologists asking to borrow money to pay for an abortion so that they could stay in Sea Org. “I had a real problem because I don’t believe in abortion,” she recalls. Scientology officials reject as “simply false” the assertion that Sea Org women are encouraged, as a matter of policy, to have abortions.

As Tom viewed the film production areas, the editing bays, the music studio, and the film studio, known as the Castle, uniformed Sea Org operatives with walkie-talkies relayed his regal progress. In the film studio, handpicked Sea Org operatives rigorously rehearsed the “spontaneous” scenes they were scheduled to shoot. As far as Sea Org film workers were concerned, the tour had an unhappy outcome. Tom commented that when he made a Hollywood movie, he worked flat out until it was finished. At Gold, film technicians were given time off during filming for Scientology study. As a result of his offhand comment, schedules were changed and Sea Org film operatives were forced to work around the clock until films were completed. For the next two years, according to at least one former Sea Org member, the film unit never had a day off.

The difference, of course, was that Tom Cruise was paid millions of dollars while Sea Org workers earned a mere thirty-five dollars a week. In fact, one Sea Org associate paid an even higher price. When she complained about the new edict, she was sent to Scientology “prison,” known as the Rehabilitation Project Force. There, in a former ranch in Happy Valley, eleven miles away in the Soboba Indian reservation, inmates were guarded twenty-four hours a day and forced, among other demeaning punishments, to run around a pole under the blazing sun. While Scientology describes the RPF as a voluntary rehabilitation program offering a second chance for Sea Org members who have strayed from the sect’s codes, those who refuse to accept their punishment are “declared,” effectively thrown into the outer darkness. For a true believer it means either accepting their punishment — however unjust or arbitrary — or leaving behind friends and family, not to mention relinquishing the dream of eternal life.

People who have been through RPF say it is akin to brainwashing with hard labor. Critics accuse the sect of human rights abuses, comparing the Scientology punishment camps to Stalinist gulags. “One hardly has to point out that the RPF and RPF’s RPF [a more extreme punishment regime] are brainwashing programs,” notes Professor Stephen Kent of the University of Alberta. “Forced confessions, physical fatigue, and intense indoctrination combined with humiliation and fear are the hallmarks of these camps.”

Tom, of course, did not realize that his offhand remarks would have such Draconian repercussions. After showing him around the studio, Miscavige took him on a tour of the estate, Tom riding pillion on his motorbike. Later, they went skeet shooting on a range set up behind Bonnie View, the mansion built by Scientologists for the anticipated return to Earth of the deceased L. Ron Hubbard after his galactic wanderings. Although he had appeared in several military movies, Tom was nervous around guns, and Miscavige, an enthusiastic member of the National Rifle Association, showed him the correct way to handle his weapon. Tom was so impressed that, as a thank-you present, he sent his new friend an automatic clay pigeon launcher to replace the manual pull contraption they used that weekend. Although Tom probably never realized it, his gift meant more work for hapless inmates of the sect’s prison. More than two dozen of them worked day and night for three days installing the new launcher and then landscaping the shooting range for Tom’s next visit.

As far as Tom was concerned, the visit was an enormous success — and it showed, Tom impressing those Scientologists he met with his energy and enthusiasm. “He was like a walking lightbulb,” recalls Jesse Prince, former Scientology deputy inspector general. “He was so bright and enthusiastic, a playful kind of guy. It was like the kid with no friends who had suddenly found a load of people who were now his friends. During this time he was doing lower courses, so it was a honeymoon period. Great fun.”

Slideshow: Tom Cruise’s risky business Not only did the visit reinforce Tom’s new faith, it introduced him to the man who would have a profound influence on his future life. When David Miscavige finally shook hands with Tom Cruise, he had him at “Hello,” the chemistry between the two immediate and apparent.

From the start they were like brothers, constantly trying to outdo each other. As controlling, competitive, and macho as he was, Cruise had met his match — and more — in the Scientology leader. Their burgeoning friendship came as no surprise to those who had watched the rapid rise and rise of Miscavige. “It was easy to see why they got along so well,” says a former Scientology executive who was present during that first weekend. “They are both driven, demanding, focused perfectionists — let’s call it the Short Man Syndrome.” Significantly, it was Miscavige, two years older if two inches shorter, who was the dominating force in their friendship, his ferocious will, aggressive ambition, and willingness to live on the edge proving more than a match for Cruise’s own alpha male behavior. As Shelly Britt, who worked for the sect leader for fifteen years, recalls, “David would dominate Tom Cruise without him even knowing about it.”

Much as Tom talked about his own hardscrabble beginnings, they paled when compared with that of the Scientology leader. Born in a Philadelphia suburb to a Polish father, Ron Miscavige, who earned his living playing trumpet, and an Italian mother, Loretta, he had a twin sister and another brother and sister. Short, slightly built, severely asthmatic, and extremely allergic, he was relentlessly bullied at school for his Polish heritage and his lack of height. Young David was so determined to play sports that on one occasion his father filled his pockets with two-pound metal plates so that he could meet the sixty-pound weight minimum and play as a defensive back for the Pennypacker Patriots football team.

If school was a daily ordeal, his home life wasn’t much better; family and friends recalled that his father was an intimidating and ill-tempered man. When Ron discovered Scientology, it stopped his unpleasant behavior to the point where his confused wife felt that he didn’t love her anymore because he had become a changed person. Ron’s religious conversion was complete when David recovered from a severe asthma attack while undergoing Scientology counseling. “From that moment I knew this is it,” David said later. “I have the answer.”

By age twelve, David Miscavige was auditing other Scientologists, becoming the 4,867th Scientologist to reach a state of “clear.” He dropped out of high school on the day of his sixteenth birthday, citing the “appalling” drug use of his contemporaries as well as the realization that he wanted to dedicate his life to Scientology. David joined the Sea Org elite in Clearwater, Florida, where he worked as a “commodore’s messenger,” essentially a gofer for Hubbard. He is remembered from that time as charismatic but ferociously competitive and ambitious — “the jerk who wanted to impress.”

Soon the keen and confident teenager was deployed to the secret base at Gold, where he worked alongside Hubbard and others making promotional movies. In 1979, while Tom Cruise was still in school, Miscavige was made “action chief” inside the Commodore’s Messenger Organization, sending out teams, or “missions,” to improve management at Scientology centers. It was a high-pressure, high-stress job at a time when the top echelon of Scientology, including Hubbard’s wife, was in jail and Hubbard himself was on the run.

As Tom was making his way in movies, Miscavige was asserting his authority inside the rapidly disintegrating sect. In 1981, after two heated confrontations, he forced Hubbard’s wife, Mary Sue, to resign. Although he maintains that they are now friends, she has a different view. “He was a tyrant,” she told her son-in-law, Guy White. That same year, when he was twenty-one, he married his first and only girlfriend, Shelley Barnett, who had been a commodore’s messenger since she was twelve. A year later he oversaw the rout of mission holders, including Mimi’s father, Phil Spickler, which led to a bitter schism, akin to the original theological divide between Protestants and Catholics.

When his mother-in-law, Flo Barnett, joined a breakaway Scientology group, it caused a vicious family rift that never healed. She committed suicide in 1985, shooting herself three times with a rifle. David Miscavige has always stoutly denied any involvement whatsoever in her death.

During the institutional carnage, Hubbard put the rising young man in charge of his considerable fortune, Miscavige now managing his literary, personal, and business affairs. Most important, he became one of a handful of Scientologists who maintained lines of communication with the fugitive leader, who was hiding at a ranch in California. Fellow Scientologists knew not to ask questions when a black van with darkened windows arrived at the Gold Base in the dead of night and Miscavige, armed with an Uzi submachine gun, loaded paperwork and boxes of cash for the leader. Then he and Scientology executive Pat Broecker, who lived with Hubbard, drove off into the inky blackness, taking circuitous routes in case they were being followed by the FBI or other government agencies. On one occasion they snapped under the strain, heading to Las Vegas and spending a couple of nights gambling. They later explained that they had gone into hiding for fear of being followed.

The stress was palpable, Miscavige having a morbid fear of ending up in jail and being sexually abused, possibly raped, by fellow inmates. Miscavige’s dread of jail was matched only by his bewildered attempts to placate the manic demands of Hubbard. Living under this kind of tension brought on terrible asthma attacks. Onetime colleague Jesse Prince, who audited Miscavige, recalls cradling the distraught young man in his arms. “Sometimes he would get so upset that his eyes were bulging and he couldn’t breathe,” Prince said. “He wouldn’t take medication or inhalers, so I would have to calm him down and then he would sleep for days after an attack.”

Aides claimed that Miscavige kept an oxygen cylinder under his bed in his quarters at Gold to help him cope in case of emergency. Far from curing him, it seemed that Scientology, or rather L. Ron Hubbard, was exacerbating Miscavige’s medical condition. That and smoking three packs of Camel cigarettes a day.

The continual pandering to the insane whims of Hubbard — for example, any whiff of perfume, particularly rose, drove him into a towering rage — profoundly affected Miscavige. There were times when Jesse Prince, who introduced him to the music of Jimi Hendrix, took him to a bar to help drown his sorrows. “Dealing closely with LRH was a traumatic experience,” he recalls. “It changed Miscavige from a likable human being, a sports fan, into the monster he has become. We used to clown and trick each other. He loved to make people laugh, but now it is unimaginable that that was his personality.” The feelings are now mutual, with Scientology dismissing Prince as a “criminal” after he left the organization.

Once he grabbed power after Hubbard’s death in 1986, the twenty-six-year-old Miscavige was in charge of a billion-dollar operation where his word was law and his rule absolute, the young man king of all he surveyed. He lived like one, too, enjoying an “utterly” luxurious lifestyle. While his disciples were paid $35 a week, Miscavige was impeccably dressed in $250 handmade Egyptian cotton shirts with his own emblem, custom-made leather shoes, and the finest Italian wool suits. Neiman Marcus and Hermès in Beverly Hills were regular haunts for him and his wife, Shelley.

On one occasion she bought him a ten-thousand-dollar suit from the South Korean tailor Mr. Lim on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills — the equivalent to six years’ pay for Sea Org disciples. In contrast to his followers’ shared, spartan quarters, the sect leader had a number of lavishly decorated apartments around the country that were carefully and expensively refurbished in the style of a gentlemen’s club. He enjoyed the services of butlers and maids whose tasks included walking his dogs, Chelsea and Cheslea.

Just as he lived like a king, Miscavige ruled like an absolute monarch. His watchwords were loyalty and control, the new leader followed everywhere by an entourage who slavishly tape-recorded his every utterance, translating his words into a stream of orders, directives, and commands. To ensure that his decrees were carried out to the letter, he created his own Praetorian guard, recruited exclusively from the Religious Technology Center within the Sea Org, whom he dubbed his “SEALs,” after the highly trained navy SEALs who have a formidable reputation for performing the impossible. They were given better uniforms, housing, and food — but at a price.

Those “SEALs” were expected to focus night and day on Miscavige’s cause — to the exclusion of all else in their lives. He loved Hollywood movies where the leader, usually an American President, enjoyed the absolute loyalty of his staff, especially when he was surrounded by a phalanx of bodyguards. Miscavige was routinely accompanied by six bodyguards, even when he was on vacation on board private yachts. If he went swimming, three would dive in with him. Miscavige controlled every aspect of policy: From film sound to building design, nothing escaped his focus on perfection. The diminutive leader was most particular about the surroundings for his speeches, ensuring that the backdrop was blue to match his eyes and the dais was in proportion to his stature. Former Scientologist Karen Pressley worked closely with Miscavige on numerous design projects and watched as he even chose fabrics for new Sea Org uniforms. She recalls: “Men who are obsessed with fabrics tend to be feminine in nature. I can tell you right now there is nothing gay about this guy. He was controlling, dominating, and obsessive. You felt like you were living under a dictatorship.”

While he liked to model his behavior on his political hero, Simón Bolívar, the South American independence leader, Miscavige ruled by fear, gaining a reputation for verbally demeaning subordinates and even hitting them, publicly slapping — never punching — those whom he felt had offended him. Some he spat on, a sign of contempt and disdain initially encouraged by Hubbard. In sworn declarations in several lawsuits, he has been accused of striking subordinates. (When asked about such claims, a representative of Scientology denied them.) Guy White, Hubbard’s son-in-law, came in for this treatment one evening, when Miscavige and others accused him of committing “crimes.” Miscavige ripped the lanyards from his uniform, spat on him, and slapped his face. After what Scientology charmingly calls a “gang bang” audit, where he faced hostile, quick-fire questioning from his accusers, he was consigned to the sect’s prison gulag, the Rehabilitation Project Force. Any hint of criticism of the leader, known as Black PR, was deemed a crime. Miscavige scrutinized even the facial expressions of Sea Org followers, who would be punished for looking hostile or bored. In his book 1984, about mind control in a future society, George Orwell had a term for that offense — “facecrime.” That, however, was a work of fiction.
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