Scientology Crime Syndicate

Arts and Entertainment Channel, "Investigative Reports", 12/14/98, Part 3

Transcribed by Xenubat (Sue M.)

Converted to HTML by Xenubat (Sue M.)


BILL KURTIS: Since its emergence in the 1950s, the Church of Scientology has been a source of great fascination. It has spent many of those years at war with the U.S. government, the press, and portions of the public. But behind the headlines are real people who have experienced Scientology firsthand. In this second hour of a special A&E presentation of "Investigative Reports," we hear directly from those who remain members of the church, and from those who have now left it. As you will see, their stories vary dramatically.

ISAAC HAYES: Remember, whatever you do, you do it to yourself.

black-and-white footage of Dennis Erlich walking down sidewalk; chart of "The Bridge to Total Freedom"

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): Well, it was a--it was a period in my life when I was having all kinds of different marital and adjustment problems. I went to visit a friend of mine, and he had changed remarkably since I had seen him the last time, and he was raving about Scientology and pointing at this chart on the wall, how you can... At this point you'll have this ability, and up here you have the ability to, you know, exteriorize, and it's this whole progression thing that kind of interested me.

Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles

KELLY MORAN (caption--"Kelly Moran, Scientologist") (voice of and on camera): Well, actually I had a boyfriend who was a Scientologist, and he brought me down to Celebrity Centre, and I had a tour. And I looked around, and I said, "oh, this is nice," you know. And I signed up and I did a basic course.

JON ATACK I went through nine years of Scientology. As a client of the organization, I paid them a lot of money, and they, in turn, gave me something back.

TAMMY TERRENZI (caption--"Tammy Terrenzi, Scientologist"): I remember there was a time when I couldn't look at people. I couldn't look people in the eye. I was very sort of withdrawn, you know. And you sort of get the skill, and you--and you drill it, and you become better and better at it.

close-up of course description chart--"Success Through Communication Course"

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): And you were taught to sit and have eye contact with another individual for hours on end; I'm talking not move, not blink, not twitch, not sweat, not anything, for two hours at a stretch. And that's to pass one of these drills.

ERIC SHERMAN (caption--"Eric Sherman, Scientologist"): When I have received the Scientology or Dianetics auditing, I experience a similar thing: A freedom and a getting back in touch with myself and my actual views and opinions, with which I can go back into life and do better.

ISAAC HAYES: I felt great and I got rid of some stuff that I didn't realize that I was dragging around. And I said, "Whoa, I think I've become a Scientologist."

close-up of e-meter; close-up of course description chart--"The Way to Happiness Route"; black-and-white footage of apparently a pre-clear in an auditing session

SCOTT MAYER (voice of and on camera): You get a lot of things out of Scientology that are workable up to a certain point, and that's when it sets the hook. And you find yourself on a series of upper-level OT levels wherein you're not able to discuss your case with anybody else, you know. You're supposed to be acquiring superhuman powers; you're really not. It's emotional blackmail.

DENNIS ERLICH: The idea is that this is a whole spectrum of ability that goes all the way up to telekinesis, that you could move things, people, with your mind. But in the beginning, you have to just drag them. (laughs)

ISAAC HAYES: I hadn't seen my band in about three months, and we went to Zurich, Switzerland. And I came in and they looked at me real weird. Said, "Man, something's—something’s different about you. You look younger. Uh, this look in your eye." And, of course, I was eager to tell somebody.

sign outside Scn church--"Free Personality and IQ testing--Film showings, bookstore--Come Inside"

ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): If you had a problem, you came and talked to me, I could--I could what we call "reg" you. Sign you up for something. Hubbard's techniques are, "It doesn't matter, just tell them you can solve it."

JON ATACK: I was becoming increasingly worried about the high cost of Scientology. You know, we were up paying $200 per hour for counseling. Which seemed excessive to me. You know, as professional therapists probably charge $50 to $100.

KELLY MORAN: What I would do is I would just say, "What do I want to do next?" You know, and I would say, "Well, I want to do that next. That sounds like something I would be interested in." And then I would just, you know, gradually pay on it, and before you know it, you've got it paid.

flag with emblem and the words "Sea Organization"; Sea Org members walking down street; sign outside Flag organization; close-up of Scn memo about RPF with close-up on "2. Has no Liberties."

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): I became a Sea Org member, and from there on, I was a 24-hour a day Scientologist. I had no personal life. I--I lived in Scientology buildings, I was fed by Scientology, I was paid my $17.50 a week, when I got paid at all. In 1979, I was put in the Rehabilitation Project Force because I made a joke about, about one of Hubbard's policies.

picture of Sea Org members; footage of RPF’er wheeling what looks like a copy machine down the sidewalk

MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): RPF stands for Rehabilitation Project Force. It is a program that is exclusively for the benefit of Sea Organization Members. If they are stressed out, if they're not doing well on their job, if they’re having problems, have them do menial type work, and five hours a day of auditing and Scientology training. It's a fabulous program.

footage outside the Fort Harrison Hotel--apparently filmed during the December 1997 Lisa McPherson picket as there was sign outside the Fort Harrison saying "We’re not here right now. We’re out doing good for the community. See you at the Pinellas Trail opening."

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): I was locked in a chicken wire cage that was in the basement of the Fort Harrison Hotel where there's just huge boilers and dripping pipes--real gothic, you know, (laughs) kind of scene.

footage outside Scn building apparently where the RPF’ers are held, with young man dressed in black walking outside

ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): They came banging on the door one night, early morning, at 4:00 AM. once, and they took my wife. It really lets you know what it's like to live with the Gestapo. When, when you can be so controlled and so afraid that they can just say your wife’s leaving, grab a couple of things, you're coming with us, and tell me to just go back to bed, and I'd go back to bed.

headline from "Clearwater Sun" newspaper titled "Defectors Paint Unnerving Picture of Scientology"

JON ATACK (voice of and on camera): The stories I began to hear were incredible. My membership was relatively soft. I was never on the staff of Scientology. Nobody had told me that people were thrown off the ships into the water, put into the chain lockers. I didn't know. In nine years. That's how secretive Scientology is. And it's the mentality that it creates in members.

illustration of monk kneeling; photograph of Middle Eastern family

MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): If a monk that was in a Catholic order left the monastery, and he went out and he went to the media, and he said, "You know, when I was in that monastery, I was not able to talk to anybody; I was never able to see my family; I had to sleep on a bed of straw, or on concrete; I got woken up seven times a night to say prayers," do you think that if someone went out with those sort of allegations to the media that anybody would give them even the time of day?

family photographs of Dennis Erlich when he was a child

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): If you're connected with somebody who is against Scientology principles, you are required to disconnect from them. If you want to continue in Scientology, you have to disconnect from them. Disconnect means exactly what it sounds like: You can have no contact with the person, they can’t--you don't let them call you, you don't let them write you, you don't answer their letters. They are out of your life.

family photograph of Dennis Erlich when he was a child, apparently with his brother

MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): If you have someone who is antagonistic to you and your objectives in life, and you are unable to get that person to stop being antagonistic towards doing that, then you have two choices. You either stop doing what you’re doing that they are complaining about, or you don't pay any attention to what they’re saying any more, and you (makes "swish" sound like he’s cutting something) cut off the line.

family photograph of Dennis Erlich when he was a child, apparently with his brother

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): I was required to disconnect from my brother. And I nearly disconnected from my parents.

photograph of Scott Mayer when he was younger

SCOTT MAYER (voice of and on camera): You know, people were living in misery. They weren't getting what they were supposed to be getting, which was spiritual enlightenment. I never heard the word "God" used once in all of that time. I never saw a church service. All I ever did was see people worked into the ground to make money for Hubbard, and after a while, I just couldn't stomach it anymore. I had to leave.

footage of Dennis Erlich walking down sidewalk

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): That's all you have to do in a cult is say, "Uh-uh, I'm not going to go along with it." And they got no use for you any more. So 15 years later, I was shown the door.

picture of Stacy Young; apparently footage of where RPF’ers are housed; footage of Scn security guard

ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): They came after me and I could hear the motorcycles. 'Cause they had the motorcycles, they start out. And they came looking for me. I went to, uh... a home of somebody on the reservation, I just knocked on the door and said, "Excuse me, but I--my car broke down over here. Do you mind if I just use your phone? I'll pay you." And I just had some money, and I have to call, so I called my wife. And I called her, and I was crushed because she said, "They're here with me." 'Cause by the time I had gotten to the phone, they had gone up there and they had grabbed a hold of her, and they had her under guard. And I knew I was trapped. They let me call a cab, and I, and as I got out of the cab, there was one of the guards in one of the trucks behind me and he says, "Hi, Vaughn." And I said, "Just get away from me," and I made it into the motel. I knew they wouldn't try to physically threaten me; they don’t do that, it’s all just coercion. They smile--"Everything’s going to be fine, come on back," et cetera, and so I was talked back in. That's why I make this comparison to the drug addict and the alcoholic, you know, "oh, yeah, we'll talk about your alcohol problem. Here, have a drink, let's talk about it."

pictures of two of Dennis Erlich’s daughters

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): I had, I had two children, my oldest and my youngest children were living with me. The oldest had signed a Sea Org contract, at--at age nine. I said, you know, "Do you want to stay or do you want to come with me? I'm leaving Scientology." She decided she wanted to stay, and it took her another year to get out of there. And she almost didn't.

JON ATACK: It gets inside people, it saturates people. In a study of cults done by Conway and Siegelman in the U.S., they studied 1,000 ex-cult members, and at the end, they said Scientology has the most debilitating set of rituals of any cult in America. They reckon that recovery time, unassisted, for somebody who left Scientology would average 12½ years.

ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG: It's like getting on a boat, pushing off from shore, and not even knowing what's out there, and not even knowing if there's an edge of the world you might fall off, but all you know is I would rather die on the open seas and die a free man than die inside that organization, with what I've come to see is, is just complete totalitarian mind control.

SCOTT MAYER: You know, I mean, I made it through Vietnam, I’ve made it through more... I should have been dead years ago. If I go now, I go now, you know. But if I can do something to keep someone else from getting hurt or someone else from being conned, someone else's life from being messed up by these creeps, I'm more than willing to do it. It's a small price to pay. That's the way I feel about it.

video effect with bright ray of light on dark screen

ISAAC HAYES (voice of and on camera): Sometimes when you veer off the road to total freedom, you can get back on. If you get off, you might get chewed up. If you stay on, you will get through it. You got to trust it. But if you freak out-- "Oh, I don't want to do this no more"-- things can happen.

aerial shot of Big Blue building; newspaper article titled, "Ex-Member Cites Abuse By Church"

MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): If, if one-tenth of what these people say goes on in Scientology really did go on, there would be no Church of Scientology. This same small group of people, the ones that manage to get themselves into the media, the ones that go around--probably the ones that have contacted you and told you stories, those exact people are the people that have demanded tens, hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars from the church to shut up. Now if it really was true, what they were saying, why would they be demanding money to stop?

GIF with alternating message saying "The Church of Scientology--afraid of the real world" and "CENSORS the Net for members!"

VO: When "Investigative Reports" returns, the Church in cyberspace!


"Operation Clambake" web page

VO: The '90s brought with it a new challenge for the Church of Scientology in the form of the Internet.

newspaper article titled "Showdown in Cyberspace"; David Gerard’s web page; web page that says "Why I hate Scientology"

GRAHAM BERRY (voice of and on camera): The Internet has been a disaster for Scientology. Netizens, or people who spend a lot of time on the net, have a particular wild west attitude towards the First Amendment. They believe in freedom of speech, and any attempt to circumvent their freedom of speech is resisted.

http://www.scientology-kills.net web page; GIF with message saying "The Church of Scientology--afraid of the real world"

VO: Anti-Scientology web sites have sprouted up, giving a louder voice to Scientology's dissident community.

Scientology’s official web site

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of): I just called them liars. I just called them liars from every different angle.

Dennis Erlich at his computer

VO: Erlich and others began denouncing Scientology and its founder.

web page saying "Racist quotes by the King of Con, L. Ron Hubbard;"

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): They were on the newsgroup making false representations, lying, and I just... I just pointed it out in very graphic terms that they were lying. And when proof was required, I quoted to give them the proof.

Scn course description chart with close-up of "OT III"; what looks like the back of a "Scientology Kills" shirt with first page of OT III in white print on black background; space shot of Earth; outer space video

VO: Ex-Scientologists also began disseminating the mysterious OT III, an advanced level in Scientology that is said to trace the source of man's pain to over 70 million years ago.

Scn course description chart with someone’s finger pointing toward the phrase "The materials of OT III (Confidential)"

TAMMY TERRENZI (voice of and on camera): I think it's really irresponsible. It happens to be confidential material. And people, when they get to that level, they read and see that material. And it's placed at that level for a reason.

cover of "Freedom" magazine with story "Freedom of speech at risk in cyberspace"

MARK EBNER (voice of and on camera): Whenever something goes wrong in terms of public relations, it's called, in Hubbard-speak, it's called a PR flap. This is the granddaddy of PR flaps.

magazine article titled "alt.scientology.war"

VO: The church wasted no time in getting their attorneys on the case.

EARL COOLEY (caption--"Earl Cooley, Scientologist lawyer"): This is simply a matter of property rights being protected. It is not a freedom of the press issue; it is not a news gathering issue; it is not a freedom of speech issue.

ALEXANDER COCKBURN: Everybody has documents and things they don’t want to be seen. And, you know, which is proprietary information. Everybody wants that. Why do the Scientologists go after people who attack them? I think they do feel, they have acquired over the years, a siege mentality. And they have been under a certain amount of siege.

video of raid on Arnie Lerma’s house in 1995; picture of Arnie Lerma by computer which had a yellow "Police Line--Do Not Cross" banner across it

VO: In 1995, the Church of Scientology, assisted by U.S. Marshals, raided the homes of three of its harshest detractors. Arnaldo Lerma caught the raid of his home on video. Church officials confiscated materials relating to Scientology on the grounds that the copywritten works were being exploited on the net.

MAN (from video): You have a court order permitting you to be the substitute custodian for this search and seizure?

WOMAN (from video): If you want to see the court order, you can...

more of the video of raid on Arnie Lerma’s house

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): They went through my house, cupboard by cupboard. They went through my computer, file by file. They copied whatever they wanted off of my...They copied my hard disk, they deleted whatever they wanted off my hard disk. They packed up books that belonged to me and to other people. Seven hours later, after going through and photographing everything in my house, looking in every, you know, closet, cupboard, drawer, they packed up and left.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON (from video): Are you here with the Church of Scientology?

MAN (from video): No comment.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON (from video): No comment? What authority do you have to be taking these records?

WOMAN (from video): Do you think it's okay for him to steal property?

newspaper article titled "Scientology Snags a Dissident" with picture of Dennis Erlich

VO: Erlich and others claim their rights have been violated.

Scientology official web page (I think www.lronhubbard.org)

FORD GREENE (voice of and on camera): Scientology has insured protection of its market share by suppressing speech. Because the more speech there is, the less successful Scientology is going to be.

"Freedom" magazine web page

ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG (voice of and on camera): They are really their own worst enemy. They are the ones that make the critics; then they force the critics to become enemies, and then these people become lifelong warriors. And they fulfill their own conspiracy theories by creating enemies by their treatment of people.

close-up of somebody at a computer; front page of "Glendale News-Press" with headline "Scientologists raid house, seize files" with picture of Dennis Erlich; apparently picture of raid at Dennis Erlich’s house (?); newspaper article titled, "A Posting On Internet Is Ruled To Be Illegal"

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): I believe that on the Internet, freedom of speech is a primary. And the more that we let fascistic, totalistic groups like Scientology erode our rights, the less of this fantastic new medium, the less it's gonna mean.

picture of Ex-Mudder’s Lisa McPherson page--"WARNING! - this page is not of the faint of heart, or for the young of age" with links to Lisa McPherson autopsy photos; www.scientology-kills.net page; www.entheta.net page

MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): The cry that these people give in justification is "The Internet is an anarchy, we are anarchists, you can't stop us," so therefore by trying to enforce the law, somehow that gets translated into "You're trying to stamp out free speech!"

newspaper article titled "Church of Scientology plotted to quiet critic"

MONIQUE YINGLING (caption--"Monique Yingling, tax attorney, Church of Scientology") (voice of and on camera): I think it’s curious the way the Church of Scientology is attacked for harassing its critics or trying to silence its critics, but the Church of Scientology also has a right to freedom of speech. They want to make the record straight and say what their position is, and they have the same right to do that as their critics do.

www.lronhubbard.org page

JEREMIAH GUTMAN (caption--"Jeremiah Gutman, religious rights attorney") (voice of and on camera): A religion has no more and no less right than anyone else to copyright material and to protect it from infringement. I think it's a kind of strange position for a religion to take, saying we have a message that will save your soul and, and make you better, but you may not read it unless you pay me.

newspaper article titled "Marshals Seize Computer Files of Man Sued by Scientologists"; footage of Bob Minton at his computer; close-up of screen where he’s reading ARS

VO: Such incidents got the attention of those outside the Scientology debate.

Electronic Freedom Foundation web page; picture of D.C. org with big group of Scienos outside it

BOB MINTON (caption--"Bob Minton, funds litigation against Church of Scientology") (voice of and on camera): I first became aware of the Church of Scientology when I read an Electronic Freedom Foundation newsletter in January of '95 which indicated that the Church of Scientology had tried to close an Internet newsgroup which was a haven for critics of Scientology.

footage of Bob Minton walking down street; newspaper article titled "Boston Man in Costly Fight With Scientology" and picture of Bob Minton

VO: Minton quickly became involved in the anti-Scientology movement, spending almost $2 million to fund ex-members litigating against the church.

GIF with alternating messages saying "The Church of Scientology--afraid of the real world" and "CENSORS the Net for members!"; web page with words "Censored by Scientology" inside a red circle with diagonal line across; web page from www.xenu.net which tells about the Scieno Sitter

BOB MINTON (voice of and on camera): Scientologists are given filtering software to allow them to go on the Internet, because they do not want Scientologists to be subjected to critical information.

Ron Newman’s page, "The Church of Scientology vs. The Net"

DENNIS ERLICH (voice of and on camera): You’re dissuaded from contact with the outside world, reading papers, watching television, whatever it is. You might see something that is upsetting. If it's upsetting, you might need to get a session, or go to ethics.

footage of Bob Minton walking down street and going into building

VO: Minton has recently come under investigation by Scientology for his activities.

GRAHAM BERRY: He was attacked. And the more he was attacked, the more he got involved.

footage of Bob Minton outside door, laughing; footage of woman going into Scn church

MIKE RINDER (voice of and on camera): He's a freak. He's a, a media freak. He is an animal of the media. He knows nothing about Scientology. (sniffs) He doesn't have a clue. He's never been in a Church of Scientology until I invited him in to sit down and talk to him, to see if I could find out what his beef was.

BOB MINTON: They have hate, basically, at the, at the core of this cult, masquerading in the form of love.

footage of Mark Ebner; Dennis Erlich at his computer with his "Scientology Kills" shirt hanging up on door; Bob Minton at his computer with close-up of his computer screen--"Agent (alt.religion.scientology)"

VO: Scientology detractors hope that leaking secret materials on the web will discourage church membership.

ROBERT VAUGHN YOUNG: The Internet will be to Scientology what Vietnam was to the United States. It's gonna be a battle that they can't win.

close-up of person’s hands typing on keyboard

MARK EBNER (voice of and on camera): The trade secrets that they're trying to protect, all that science fiction space opera stuff at the end of the road, it's already on the hard load--hard drives of millions of people. In other words, the cat's out of the bag. So anybody that cares to investigate this organization are just a few keystrokes away from finding the truth-- and it's out there.

BILL KURTIS: While those opposed to Scientology are busy recounting their stories on the Internet, the church continues the intense effort to tell its story. When we return, a mission the Scientologists say will save the world.



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