Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

11/30/2009 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Story on forced abortions within Scientology drew a letter from the Sacramento Public Affairs office of Scientology. My response.

I have filed eight stories on Scientology since June, 2009. As we researched for these articles, the witnesses we found included former members, investigators, affidavits from litigation, etc. The amount of information available regarding false declarations, questionable practices, and suspicious relationships is enormous; its impact is global.

I have filed eight stories on Scientology since June, 2009. As we researched for these articles, the witnesses we found included former members, investigators, affidavits from litigation, etc. The amount of information available regarding false declarations, questionable practices, and suspicious relationships is enormous; its impact is global.

Highlights

By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/30/2009 (5 years ago)

Published in U.S.


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) – Catholic Online received a letter this past week from Mike Klagenberg, Public Affairs, Church of Scientology, Sacramento. Mr. Klagenberg was writing with regard to the piece I authored on forced abortions within Scientology.

I do want to acknowledge the writer’s civility and courtesy, even though we disagree on the matter at hand.

He indicated that the story on forced abortions was based on fabricated lies brought forth by “a very few disgruntled members” who are using us (Catholic Online).

I have filed eight stories on Scientology since June, 2009. As we researched for these articles, the witnesses we found included former members, investigators, affidavits from litigation, etc. The amount of information available regarding false declarations, questionable practices, and suspicious relationships is enormous; its impact is global.

I knew of Scientology for many years and even remember thumbing through L. Ron Hubbard’s book, “Dianetics,” as a young man. For me, it made little sense. Obviously, for many this has not been the case as Scientology has grown into a worldwide organization in the past half-century with what they report to be 12 million followers.

This prominence and influence in people’s lives not only requires a serious inquiry but demands it, especially when individuals come forward with reports of abuse.

Let me quickly add, to address those who left comments that Catholic Online should look at abuses closer to home – we do and we have. We have reported about abuse within the Church and acknowledge that all groups, whether they are faith-based or not, must be accountable for any abuse of or by their members.

From the judicial finding of fraud arising out of the legal action in France to the serious concerns entered into the Parliamentary record by Senator Xenophon of Australia, there are many voices across the world right now calling for a serious examination of the organization called Scientology.

One major force of opposition facing Scientology – and probably the one that Mr. Klagenberg was referencing – does not come from without but from within. Former Scientologist and Oscar-winner Paul Haggis publicly resigned publicly criticizing the Church of Scientology, as have OTVIII Geir Isene and former high-ranking Sea Org executive Marty Rathbun.

Isene and Rathbun remain practitioners of Scientology, and their websites and forum are drawing many Scientologists who have been driven out of the official Church of Scientology by its abuses under the leadership of David Miscavige.

Former Scientologists have become involved in a leaderless Internet-based cadre called Anonymous. One of my contacts describes them as follows:

"Anonymous is a world-wide movement of university students and young Information Technology professionals, who have been joined by older and young generations, and are dedicated to engaging public action to end the Church of Scientology's suppression of free speech and its human rights abuses."

Anonymous has given those opposed to Scientology are stronger forum and additional technological as well as human resources. For example, as many as 11,000 "anons" have been a part of protests in 130+ cities in 30+ countries. 600 "anons" protested in London at the first on February 10, 2008, on the birthday of Lisa McPherson, whose death has become a symbol of Scientology abuse.

Group members, for the most part, do not know each other’s names; there is no central office, no hierarchy and no official spokesperson.

The Internet is the main “turf” for their conflict with Scientology. Beginning with cyber-pranks, some who identified with the group later became more aggressive in their attacks on Scientology websites.

Recently, Anonymous member Dmitriy Guzner was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and ordered to pay $37,500 in restitution to the Church of Scientology for his part in an attack on the Church's websites.

Guzner’s actions were reportedly a part of “Project Chanology”, a campaign to take down Scientology on the Internet. Critics of Scientology are not all sympathetic to the methods and motivation of this undertaking. This project was initiated after Scientology attempted to remove material from a Tom Cruise interview on the web.

Anonymous also organizes public demonstrations against Scientology at numerous sites around the world, encourages legal and political efforts against Scientology and provides online documentation concerning abuses within the organization. They are committed to discrediting as well as disrupting the work of Scientology.

Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Québec defended the right of the group to oppose Scientology last February. He received a letter from “Anonymous Quebec” documenting a number of issues after publicly declaring that Scientology wasn’t a church during an interview.

In a second public statement, the Cardinal stated that those who are crusading against the group should have the right to exercise their freedom of speech. He refused to either disapprove or support the actions of these opponents.

Some of the former members of Scientology are not anonymous at all. Authors such as Monica Pignotti, Nancy Many and Marc Hedley are just a few of the voices being heard. Their books and essays, along with many others, have publicly called into question a number of Scientology beliefs, claims and practices over many years. Other ex-scientologists have written numerous stories about the inner workings of Scientology in addition to being interviewed for news articles, radio, TV shows.

In the letter to Catholic Online, Klagenberg addresses the idea that forced abortions could ever take place by citing L. Ron Hubbard, “A cursory look in the book “Dianetics” utterly recognizes the sentience of an unborn child”

“In addition there is very specific policy written by Mr Hubbard (in 1967) to staff’s of every organization in regards to the subject of one’s decisions on personal relationships, marriage and/or the rearing of children. It has always been steadfast and clear cut policy that the Church does not and will not regulate or attempt to regulate those affairs for anyone.”

The original article noted that some statements from Scientology took a pro-life position. The problem was never one of belief but practice in an apparent contradiction with belief.

The letter’s declaration concerning relationships stands in direct contradiction to the accounts of those who participated in Sea Org and recounted ways in which their lives were constantly controlled. They described disconnection with family members, severe punishments, improper control of relationships, forced abortions and other restrictions.

Rather than continue to discount every witness as false, perhaps Scientology should allow a full examination of its practices in order to set the record straight.

If any organization is based upon truth, it will be able to withstand serious scrutiny – in doctrine or practice. If it is not, it will not be able to stand any way.

Throughout history, the Catholic Church has certainly had its share of problems to navigate. Upon examination, some of the issues have been proven true, others were not.

In the recent clergy abuse scandal, Pope Benedict sent a strong message about facing concerns when he met with victims of abuse during his visit to the United States.

Mr. Klagenberg’s letter seems to hint that he was raised in the Catholic Christian faith. In addition to the problems recorded by a growing number of witnesses around the world, Scientology practices and claims raise serious concerns in terms of its place within religion from a doctrinal perspective.

My deepest and most sincere prayer is that he will re-think Scientology, revisit his Catholic roots, and then come home to a faith that is true and durable. I hope he will turn to the One whose words truly resound throughout the ages, Jesus Christ and hear His promise: "You will know the Truth and the truth will set you free.'(St. John 8:32)

(Ed. Note: The letter which is responded to above is set forth as the first related story below this article)

Click here to read - Letter to the Editor from Scientology Representative

-----

Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online. He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Good Samaritan who fed homeless for 10 years charged with unbelievable $2,000 fine Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Founder of the nonprofit mobile food truck Chow Train, Joan Cheever, was fined by the San Antonio, Texas police for about $2,000 due to the lack of permit for the trucks she is using to transport food. Cheever argues she has the right to do her charitable activity ... continue reading


Tragic final hours of Abraham Lincoln recounted on anniversary of his assassination Watch

Image of Abraham Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth's final words were reportedly

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Long troubled by depression, 16th U.S. President Abraham Lincoln awoke on the last day of his life, April 14, 1865 in an uncommonly good mood. Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd decided to attend the hit farce comedy "Our American Cousin," which was playing at ... continue reading


Courage in the Storm: Three Cheers for Wyoming Catholic College! Watch

Image of I do not personally know President Kevin Roberts of Wyoming Catholic. I have never even visited Wyoming Catholic College. However, the action of the President inspires me. The College is now on my radar screen, so to speak. I will be praying for them and paying close attention to their future. I ask my readers to do the same. - Deacon Keith Fournier

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Since the objective of a Catholic University is to assure in an institutional manner a Christian presence in the university world confronting the great problems of society and culture, every Catholic University, as Catholic, must have the following essential ... continue reading


Abercrombie and Fitch employee reveals racial discrimination and sexual harassment at work Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over the past ten years, Abercrombie and Fitch has received a number of discrimination lawsuits; they even paid $40 million in settlement back in 2006. Just recently, an unnamed employee went out in the open and gave full information about the constant racial ... continue reading


Know someone in the military? They could be in danger from Islamic militants Watch

Image of The Islamic State is threatening U.S. service members and their families, prompting senior military officials to issue guidelines about social media activity, to protect service members.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State's threat of violence towards U.S. service members is being taken very seriously by U.S. military officials, who have issued a warning to troops that instructs them to hide all information about them or their families on public accessible sites, ... continue reading


'One nation under God' defense team claims victory after atheists back down Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Marking their fifth victory in a row, the conservative wing in defense of retaining the words "one nation under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is claiming victory on the newest court trial. This is due to the decision from the ... continue reading


Emotions spike over 'disrespectful' political cartoon depicting 2-year-old murder victim Watch

Image of Kaden Lum was brutally murdered at just 2-years-old.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An editorial cartoon published is viewed as "disrespectful" by the family of 2-year-old Kaden Lum, killed in the still unresolved shooting last March 28. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Kaden's family was left outraged with Kitsap Sun newspaper's political ... continue reading


New Islamic State video vows another 9/11 and to 'burn America' Watch

Image of Entitled

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The evil media machine of Islamic State remains ever ready. The Middle Eastern terror group latest video declares there is "no safety for any American on the globe" and claims that the U.S. will burn in another 9/11-style attack. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Divine Mercy Sunday, Doubting Thomas and the Jubilee Year of Mercy Watch

Image of Pope Francis: Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person reveals the mercy of God. We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Thank God for 'Doubting Thomas'. His doubts healed the wounds of our own disbelief. They also open up, for all who look with the eyes of faith, a deeper understanding of the redemptive effect of the wounds of Jesus - and the role our own wounds can have in our ... continue reading


Repentance Walks but Mercy Runs: Pope of Mercy Invokes a Year of Mercy Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On Saturday 11 April, on the eve of what is celebrated as Mercy Sunday in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis will officially convoke an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. He will release what is called a Bull of Indiction. Such a Papal Bull is a ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:13-15, 17-19
13 It is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 4:2, 4, 7-8, 9
2 Children of men, how long will you be heavy of ... Read More

Reading 2, First John 2:1-5
1 My children, I am writing this to prevent you from ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 19th, 2015 Image

St. Alphege
April 19: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter