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.

Play-doh Christianity and the Vanishing Cross

Image of Bell can have his happy-clappy, navel-centered religion and his wimpy god. He just can't call it Christianity, and he can't claim it's the Church.

By Jennifer Hartline

There is no Christianity without Christ, and no Christ without the cross. There was no need for the cross except for our Redemption, and no need for that except for our sin. To preach Christianity without preaching repentance from sin and taking up your cross is ... continue reading


Bella's Gift: The Santorum Book that Keeps on Giving Watch

Image of The book, Bella's Gift, has shaken me. On more than one occasion, it has forced me to my knees in tears. That is because, in a candid, honest, profoundly spiritual way, this splendidly written book puts the reader in the presence of unconditional love. then, through its deep spiritual truths, it unleashes the dynamic power of amazing grace.

By Keith A Fournier

I was with Rick Santorum at the Awakening Conference in Orlando, Florida. Rick and Karen Santorum are personal friends. Their whole family is a source of inspiration to me. But most especially, that little Princess named Bella Santorum. She is the center, the ... continue reading


McDonald's does the unthinkable - Big Mac Shop launches McFashion clothing line Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fast food conglomerate McDonald's had released its own fashion and lifestyle line, with the clothes full of Big Mac prints on them. The McFashion debuted on Tuesday in Sweden, in celebration of their most recent campaign, "I'm Lovin' It 24." Profit generated from the ... continue reading


Top Stories of the Week You Can't Miss Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

From a tragic airplane crash that killed 150 people to the blood of St. Januarius liquifying, this week in news has been quite a roller coaster. We saw nuns mob Pope Francis, a father lose seven of his eight children in a horrifying fire and the first announced ... continue reading


Majority of Latinos in United States speak English Watch

Image of  Latinos who only speak English are often ostracized by Latinos who only speak Spanish or are bilingual. Many Latinos, upon being hired for positions, are presumed to know and speak Spanish.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While it would appear to some to be contrary, the majority of Latinos within the continental United States, 62 percent, speak English. A new analysis of the Pew Research Center's 2013 National Survey of Latinos has found that the current demographics will ... continue reading


The Christian Feast of the Annunciation is About More than Mary Watch

Image of The Annunciation: The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you. (Luke 1:26,27)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Walking along this Way of Yes, leads us into a dialogue, a conversation, a communion, a new Way of life, the Christian Way. By saying Yes, offering our own Fiat, we become consecrated and enlisted in the ongoing mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary shows us that ... continue reading


Where's the most hate in the United States? A look into the top states with the highest amount of hate groups may shock you Watch

Image of There is hope. According to the center,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While California is typically known for laidback attitudes and acceptance of diversity - it comes as a shock to learn that the Golden State has the largest amount of "hate groups" across the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the ... continue reading


Fox News asks New York City's party district if they are proud to be an American: Watch their unbelievable responses (VIDEO) Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fox News producer, Jesse Watters, took to the streets in the "party district" of New York City to sample the opinion a certain demographic has toward America. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As a part of Watters' World and The O'Reilly Factor, Watters asks people ... continue reading


What would you do to get your childhood back? People spend big money to find their inner child in adult preschool Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Preschool Mastermind is a preschool for the adults in Brooklyn; it started the first week of March and ends the last week. Students come in every week, trying to get in touch with the magical world they left behind as their childhood ended. However, this adult ... continue reading


'Meet the Animals' SeaWorld continues to fight negative publicity from 'Blackfish' with new campaign Watch

Image of SeaWorld comes back to negative reviews with the

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. releases their new campaign, ahead of a book release by their former trainer John Hargrove. The company received a rapid decrease in audience attendance and revenue from negative responses after the release "Blackfish," a documentary ... 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, Ezekiel 37:21-28
21 say, "The Lord Yahweh says this: I shall take the ... Read More

Psalm, Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12, 13
10 Listen, nations, to the word of Yahweh. On the ... Read More

Gospel, John 11:45-57
45 Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 28th, 2015 Image

St. Venturino of Bergamo
March 28: Dominican preacher and missionary crusader. A native of Bergamo, ... 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