Vol.22 No.140

Tuesday 13 September 2005    





Cartoon Strip

Business Week



Arts/Culture Review




The Scientologists are evasive

9/13/2005 10:21:34 AM (GMT +2)

Yet again, I was delighted to read a letter from Paul Sondergaard in Mmegi of September 1 in response to my letters regarding the deeply strange so-called Church of Scientology.

One of the observations people have made to me is that in all their responses, the PR people from the Scientologists never actually deny any of the things I report about them. They don't deny that at a certain point in a person's passage through Scientology they are taught that their founder discovered that our brains are haunted by the ghosts of dead aliens, murdered with H-bombs in Hawaii 75 million years ago by Xemu, Head of the Galactic Empire.

They don't deny the research findings I reported that show that their drug treatment programme Narconon has a success rate lower than not doing anything at all. They don't deny the various quotes I've given from their founder, the renowned drug abuser, liar, and convicted criminal L Ron Hubbard. I have copies of the original court documents to prove it - they know it and that's why they don't deny it. They don't deny these things because they are all true!

To his credit, Mr Sondergaard does concede that, "in the 60s, some actions were taken that Church policy was against. Certain people were punished by law for those illegal actions". Actually, it was in the 80s that this happened and it was Hubbard's wife and 10 other senior Scientologists that went to prison for burgling and phone-tapping over 100 US private and government agencies who were investigating the Scientologists. Vicki Aznaran, who was a key leader within the Scientologists said, after leaving them in 1987, "This is a criminal organisation, day in and day out".

Instead, they make extremely vague suggestions that I am "spreading false information", that I'm libelling them and Hubbard (which I'm not sure is legally possible as he's stone cold dead) and that I have some grudge against the Scientologists. Will you please tell me and everyone else what it is that's false in what I've written? Where is the libel? Where is my grudge?

My biggest complaint, though, is the issue of secret scriptures. In his letter, Sondergaard says, "Yes, we have confidential scriptures" and later, "Same with Christianity, Islam, the Jewish faith, Shinto, and so on".

No, they don't. They don't. They simply do not have confidential scriptures. Yes, as he says, they have esoteric scriptures, yes they have arcane literature, yes they have fringe groups with slightly off-the-wall teachings, but real religions don't have secret scriptures. Real religions don't hide their core beliefs. Real religions don't make their flock pay vast sums of money to read these scriptures. Real religions don't threaten to sue people for breach of copyright when they disclose them to the public. Real religions don't say that those who disclose the contents of these scriptures, having read them in court documents, have lied, libelled them and are spreading false information.

Finally, he makes me a very generous offer. He suggests that I visit their Church in Johannesburg and see for myself what they do.

Paul, what makes you think I haven't already been?

Richard Harriman


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