Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

11/30/2009 (4 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 (4 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Malinformed much? Ninety percent of your information now comes from just 6 media sources Watch

Image of Small media outlets are consumed by the large, limiting the variety of expression.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Have you ever tried to describe something, but lacked the vocabulary to do it? This is the concept behind Newspeak, a fictional language in George Orwell's 1984. Orwell proposed that by limiting expression, thought itself could be limited. Today, as media companies ... continue reading


Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage struck down Watch

Image of The Virginia case, Bostic v. Rainey, was brought by two same-sex couples. Fourteen thousand gay couples also were certified as a class for the suit.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In a dramatic reversal of a voter-based 2006 decision, U.S. appeals court this week struck down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, the latest in a string of court rulings to back gay marriage. A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit ... continue reading


Archbishop Chaput Speaks at the Napa Institute Conference on Pope Francis and Economic Justice

Image of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is one of the preeminent Churchmen of our age. He offers a prophetic voice for this important time. He not only grasps and articulates Catholic Social Doctrine well, he also understands the real treasure we have been given in this Pope who took the name Francis. I believe that his insights into Pope Francis need to be read by as many people as possible.

By Catholic Online

In matters of economic justice, Francis' concerns are the same as Benedict's and John Paul II's and Pius XI's and Leo XIII's. He understands economic matters through the lens of Church teaching in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Like his ... continue reading


Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


Bridget of Sweden, Marriage and Family, and the Need for Canonized Married Saints Watch

Image of St Bridget of Sweden, her husband Ulf, and all the modern Popes call Christian married couples to become the 'Sweet and Smiling Face of the Church' in this age. This is an age which is desperately in need of all kinds of saints. I suggest we particularly need examples of married, canonized Saints. That is precisely because this is an age where faithful marriage is now counter-cultural. We need examples of men and women who not only embraced it in Christ, but lived it as a but a path to heroic virtue.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The clear teaching of the Bible, the Christian tradition and the re-emphasis of the last Council in the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, make clear - we are ALL called to holiness in life. That  is what the Catholic Church regularly refers to as ... continue reading


Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading


Obama demands that illegals be allowed to enter U.S. Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of illegal, unaccompanied minors have flooded into the United States since 2014 began, often escaping violence in war torn Central American countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's administration is considering whether or not it will allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras and other war-torn Central American states to enter into the United States illegally and without crossing into the country ... continue reading


Are you ready for the next dust bowl? California is! Watch

Image of A new study suggests that the Colorado River Basin is rapidly running out of water, which may be disastrous for the seven states it supplies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report published by the American space agency and the University of California, the water crisis that is punishing the southwestern United States is likely to worsen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report found that the prime source of water ... continue reading


PLAGUE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Mayflies descend on Wisconsin Watch

Image of When summer arrives, Mayflies take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust. Photos coming out of Wisconsin is sure to send viewers itching - so beware of some of the sights in ... continue reading


Catholic Bishops Decry Obama's LGBT executive order as imprudent act of religious discrimination Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have been strong in their condemnation of President Obama's legislation on LGBT employees. "Today's ... 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, Jeremiah 15:10, 16-21
10 A disaster for me, mother, that you bore me to be ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 59:2-3, 4, 10-11, 17, 18
2 rescue me from evil-doers, from men of violence ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:44-46
44 'The kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2014 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... 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