The Secret Life of Beck Hansen - A Guide for the Professional Journalist `
Revised and updated March 28, 2005
Rumors have been around a few years suggesting that alt rocker Beck Hansen had become a member of the Church of Scientology. The real question should be, when was Beck NOT a Scientologist? Has Beck been lying to the media and his fans? Has the media just been hiding it? According to L. Ron Hubbard's dogma, Scientologists believe it is perfectly within the ethical boundaries of their "religion" to lie to non-members. But if Scientology is so great, why have Beck and Geffen Records worked so hard to keep Beck's lifelong involvement with the cult a secret? Why did we continue to read remarks by journalists insisting that Beck was not a Scientologist?
If you are preparing a piece on Beck, start by getting some background. Read some of the academic literature about cults. "Cults in Our Midst" (1996) by Dr. Margaret Singer is a great place to start. Also see "Combatting Cult Mind Control" (1990) by Steven Hassan and "Recovery From Cults" (1995) by Dr. Michael Langone. Ex-Scientologist Jon Atack's " A Piece of Blue Sky"(1990), Russell Miller's Bare-Faced Messiah (1987), Bent Corydon's "L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?" (1992) and Paulette Cooper's "The Scandal of Scientology"(1971; revised for the web 1997) are devoted entirely to Scientology and are available for reading free on the Internet. Learn how cults control through brainwashing, hypnotism, coercion, humiliation and fear. Most importantly, learn the difference between a cult and a religion.
There have been several biographical works written on Beck. None of them have revealed any serious, in-depth research. They are largely based on press interviews of Beck. Because of this, chronological gaps and inconsistencies plague accounts of his life. One striking gap is the lack of references to Scientology, despite the fact that Beck's parents and some of his friends were Scientologists, he attended a Scientology-run school, and he took Scientology courses as a teenager. (In contrast, compare the numerous early interviews in which Beck mentioned his paternal grandfather, who was a Presbyterian minister, and his tendency, in the mid-late nineties, to cite his Jewish heritage-his mother is half Jewish-and how much he valued Jewish culture and traditions.) In 2002, though, interviewer Tim Perlich of NowToronto.com raised the subject. Note, in the selection below, that his interview with Beck is monitored.
Beck's family and childhood
Beck's father, David Campbell, and mother, Bibbe Hansen, have been Scientologists for over thirty years. Beck has told interviewers he was born at home on July 8, 1970, and has offered numerous stories of growing up in extreme poverty in a rough neighborhood. However, David Campbell was doing quite well as a session musician in the early 70's. Campbell was featured regularly in the Church of Scientology's Celebrity magazine as a successful session musician and arranger. When Beck was a boy, David was arranging and performing at concerts with Linda Ronstadt, and the family was living in comfortable homes in Hollywood and Laurel Canyon. Bibbe Hansen taught Lamaze classes for Church of Scientology members and apparently practiced as a midwife though no license is on file with the State of California. A weblog maintained by Bibbe's friend, Vaginal Davis, mentioned that Bibbe had delivered Marissa Ribisi (Beck's wife) and her twin brother, Giovanni. Beck was most likely born at home because Scientologists prefer to give birth at home and shun neo-natal screening and conventional medicine. Home births also accommodate the Scientology's "silent birth" rules about not talking to a newborn baby for a period of one week. While Scientology teaches that this reduces the trauma associated with a baby's birth, this is actually another method to destroy family bonds. (See discussions in the texts by Drs. Margaret Singer and Michael Langone and by Steve Hassen sited above. Family bonds are deliberately weakened and destroyed in cults because members are supposed to support the cult above all else. A common cult ideology says that a victim's life and family were horribly dysfunctional until they joined the cult. The cult solves all the victim's problems associated with the family by diminishing the family in every way possible.) Bibbe Hansen also had another son, Channing, about two years after Beck was born.
Beck has said in interviews that he was sent as a child to spend summers in Kansas with David's parents. He also mentioned in early interviews that his paternal grandparents exerted a religious influence and he attended church where his grandfather was a minister. As the nineties progressed, Beck began to mention to interviewers the fact that Bibbe was half Jewish, and commented a few times that he was raised Jewish. In at least one interview, he stated regretfully that he'd wanted to have a bar mitzvah but his family didn't have the money. He also told one interviewer in 1997 that he'd been sent for Jewish education. It seems that Bibbe was also developing an appreciation for her Jewish heritage; she talked about it in interviews, and put up a list of Jewish links on her website. (The subject came up when Bibbe and Sean were being interviewed by Vaginal Davis in 1999. Sean mentioned that Beck's Jewishness had a particular appeal for some fans: "When Jewish girls find out Beck is Jewish they just go crazy, cuz they feel that they can now bring him home to meet the folks. It's really important to his Jewish girl fans.') However, it is highly unlikely that Beck was raised Jewish. The Campbell's Scientology case supervisors would never have approved of Beck being sent to synagogue for religious education. Is it possible that the emphasis on Beck's Jewish background was an attempt to divert attention from the truth about his upbringing?
Most published accounts of Beck's early life refer to Bibbe as giving Beck a "bohemian" upbringing. Bibbe was briefly part of Andy Warhol's Factory in New York as a young girl. She was later involved in the LA punk scene in the late 70's. She was also the proprietor of a coffeehouse in LA called Cafe Troy. Other self revealed aspects of Bibbe's life stretch the definition of the term "bohemian." When Beck was about 5 years old, Bibbe, who was about 25, began dating a 15-year-old, Sean Carrillo. (The age of consent in California is 18.) They maintained a relationship and reportedly moved in together in 1980. Conflicting dates have been given for when Bibbe and David divorced; it is most often said to have happened when Beck was 13. The passage of time seems not to have diminished Bibbe's interest in younger men or her unorthodox views about marriage. In an interview conducted by Vaginal Davis in 2001, Bibbe and Sean were accompanied by a young man named Laki. Their comments about him were overtly sexual, and they referred to him as their "concubine."
Regarding sexual abuse of children in cults:
The budding, second generation Scientologist
Beck has been reported in various places, by a number of people, to have attended the Apple School of Los Feliz, which was run by Scientologists. Beck's elementary class portrait as "Bek Campbell" appears in an Apple School yearbook. It's not clear what years Beck attended the school, though it ceased operating in 1985. Beck dropped out of school in the ninth grade, after a short time in public school. Many children raised in Scientology, like Juliette Lewis, Leah Remini, and Lisa Marie Presley, drop out of school early. Cult-educated children who are later enrolled in accredited schools often find themselves hopelessly behind their conventionally educated classmates, so dropping out of school is an easy choice. The lack of education among cult-raised children is crucial for future indoctrination and recruitment. A child who has never been introduced to the scientific method or critical thinking techniques is ripe for brainwashing. He will more readily accept stories about being possessed by the spirits of space aliens or about being a descendent of shellfish, or believe that Dianetics can cure illnesses. Children raised in cults are also expected to support themselves at an early age, and Scientology is no exception. As little adults, they are expected to get jobs or work full time for the cult, so a formal education is not considered a necessity.
After dropping out of school, Beck completed at least 13 Scientology courses between 1986 and 1989 under the name Bek or Beck Campbell. The list below was compiled from back issues of Celebrity magazine. Sometimes the magazine's listing are incomplete, and some older issues are still not available, so this may not be a complete list. The dates are the approximate publication dates of the magazines; the courses would have been taken within a few months before that date. (Note that at a time in his life when Beck said his family was too poor to afford a bar mitzvah, there was enough money available for him to take expensive Scientology courses.) An ex-Scientologist, in a post on the news group alt.religion.scientology on April 7, 2004 has suggested that Beck's family was living at the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles when Beck was a teenager.
ESSENTIALS OF DIANETICS 1, 8/86
It appears that Beck may have drifted away from Scientology sometime after he took the Pro TRs course in 1989; his name didn't show up on any more published course completion lists, he did not appear on lists of donors for more than a decade, and the rumors that he was a Scientologist did not begin to circulate widely until the late nineties. The reason for this separation is not known. Perhaps as a high school dropout with nothing more than a series of minimum wage jobs, Beck simply could no longer afford to pay the steep fees. For a time Beck seems to have kept his father at a distance. He claimed, in some interviews, to barely have known his father, and professed ignorance of David's activities. Beck may have realized his father's public involvement in Scientology could be detrimental to the budding career of a folk/blues/alt rock singer.
Beck went to New York with a girlfriend when he was about 18 (the age, as well as the year he went, has varied depending on the interview or article); he stayed, reportedly, about a year or possibly longer. During this time in New York City, Beck was encouraged by club owners to begin writing songs. He also spent time in Italy and Germany with his grandfather, artist Al Hansen, who was not a Scientologist. (Beck's maternal grandmother, Audrey Hansen, died in 1968.) In 1991 Beck returned to Los Angeles where he continued song writing and performing. Soon after his song "Loser" became a hit in 1993, Beck started using his mother's last name, Hansen, rather than his father's name, Campbell, by which he'd been known all his life, though it has widely (but incorrectly) been reported that the change was made when David and Bibbe divorced. Again, this change may have been instituted to blur the connection between Beck and his celebrity Scientologist father.
In the mid 90's, Beck was in a relationship with Leigh Limon and touring with mostly non-Scientologists. Beck enjoyed a period of intense creativity including the writing and recording of the album Odelay. If Beck was mentioned in Celebrity magazine during this time period, his name was not bold-typed, as references to "on lines" members (such as his father) routinely are.
Back to the fold...
As Beck's popularity grew and his monetary worth climbed, there was probably intense pressure from within Scientology on his family and friends to get him back on lines. This may have begun in 1998, when Beck worked with his father on the recording of his album "Mutations."
When Beck and Leigh suddenly broke up in 2000, the predominant gossip was that Leigh had been unfaithful to Beck (although later a gossip column would blame Scientology for the breakup). It was reported that when Beck showed up to evict Leigh from their house, he was accompanied by his attorney. After a short but highly publicized fling with Winona Ryder, Beck soon began to be spotted in the company of actress Marissa Ribisi, daughter of prominent Scientologists and a Scientologist herself.
In interviews, Beck has often been contradictory and obfuscatory about his life, but now that he is firmly entrenched in Scientology, his life is even more shrouded in secrecy. He is difficult whenever interviewers ask about his personal life. During the years Beck and Leigh Limon were together, he mentioned her frequently in interviews, and in 1997, Beck expressed his love for Leigh in a very open interview with Rolling Stone magazine. In contrast, only recently has Beck publicly acknowledged his relationship with Marissa Ribisi; a report that they were married on April 4, 2004, was leaked to a gossip column. When she began appearing in public, visibly pregnant, different due dates were mentioned (by Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and Parade magazine), but they passed with no news of the birth. Not until late August 2004 was it announced (on a radio show in the UK) that Beck and Marissa were the parents of a baby, named Cosimo Henri. No date of birth was given, but he was probably born in May or June '04. (The same radio show also said that Beck and Marissa were wed in June 2003.) It is easy to suspect that Beck refused to acknowledge his relationship with Ribisi for so long because her membership in the COS was well known to the public.
In another odd twist, a Beck fan on the Internet posted in her "livejournal" that Truck Torrence, Beck's web master, had been instructed by Beck not to reveal when the baby was due or when he was born. Beck closed down the fans' bulletin board on his web site, Beck.com, without explanation in May 2004. His journal entries ceased over a year ago.
The marriage of Beck Hansen and Marissa Ribisi joined two families that had been involved in Scientology for years. David Campbell, an OT VI Solo NOTs auditor and one of the COS's most successful celebrities, and his wife, Raven Kane, are very active in the organization. Bibbe Hansen has attained the level of OT V, and her husband, Sean, and son, Channing, have completed some courses, as has Channing's young son, Aubrey. Like her parents, Marissa's brother, Giovanni, and sister, Gina, are long time Scientologists. Marissa herself attained the state of "Clear" in 2001.
After years of ducking the issue of his participation in Scientology, Beck slowly began making his affiliation public. In early 2003, under his original name, Campbell, Beck was listed in the COS's Impact magazine as a "Sponsor for Total Freedom," signifying that he had made a $5,000 donation. This money goes into the so-called "IAS War Chest," the bulk of which is used to fund litigation, dirty tricks, and Scientology's most vicious and anti-social behavior. In March 2004, Beck played at a "benefit" at the Knitting Factory in LA, which was advertised as a fund raiser for the Los Feliz Mission "which helps fight illiteracy and substance abuse," though it was not announced that the Los Feliz Mission was a Scientology mission and the funds were being raised for its establishment. Beck also performed for fellow Scientologists at a Celebrity Centre event in August '04. As of the July 2004 issue the Celebrity magazine, Beck's name appeared in bold type ----official recognition that he is a member.
Preparing yourself for the Beck interview
If you interview Beck Hansen you will probably be monitored and may have to agree not to discuss his controversial personal life. Keep the following in mind.
1. Beck is relatively uneducated. He has just an eighth grade education, and most of this education seems to have been in Scientology schools. He most likely has never had conventional education in science or health. This is by cult design, because lack of education makes a victim easier to manipulate.
2. Beck is likely unaware of much of the "wog" world around him. Hardcore Scientologists are typically discouraged from watching television or reading the newspaper, and are told that the media stories about Scientology "Are all lies" Many have installed on their computers supposedly innocent software provided to them by the COS that blocks a long list of key words, including the name of this website, names, and websites. Beck will most likely not be able to discuss the elections, the war, or the economy. He may never even have voted. A cult member is told that his primary purpose in life is to cross the bridge to "Total Freedom" and "Clear the Planet" - which means turn everyone into Scientologists. Hubbard states in Dianetics that only those who have attained "Clear" should be able to vote.
The offices of the Church of Scientology are highly compartmentalized. Individual members are rarely aware of what is going on within the Church. By keeping the compartments of Scientology separate, Hubbard ensured that no one would have a complete and true picture. So Scientologists generally have little accurate information. Scientologists are convinced that they belong to the only group who can save Mankind. (1) Beck is probably not aware of any of the abusive practices of the cult. The news he receives about Scientology from his handlers consists of carefully sanitized updates that offer only positive news and dismiss media reports as total lies.
3. Scientologists do not generally associate with non-cult members in their daily lives. With the exceptions of his publicist and his manager, Beck's legal and personal work is most likely conducted by Scientology lawyers and other handlers. As with other Scientologists, Beck likely must consult his case supervisor about how to handle any conflicts that arise or significant decisions to be made, both personal and business.
4. A Scientologist believes that the cult's hypnotic, brainwashing auditing sessions and the E-meter used during them can read his mind and he must not withhold anything from his auditor. This means that every aspect of Beck's life may have been revealed during auditing: his sexual thoughts and activities, his feelings about other people, any crimes he may have committed or illegal drugs he may have used, etc. Information obtained during auditing is carefully recorded in a computer data base. Scientologists know this information is kept on file. Scientologist officials have a well-documented history of using this information to blackmail and harass members who leave the Church and dare speak out about their experiences.
5. A Scientologist is expected to tell his case supervisor everything he has said and done. For example, if you engage Beck in a conversation about the evils of Scientology, he must tell his case supervisor this, and he may be ordered to stay away from you. He may also be disciplined in some way. While Scientologists are often self-confident and self assertive, they are not allowed to discus their "cases" (difficulties), and are discouraged from even thinking about personal problems outside the counseling room. They are prohibited from entering detailed discussions of Scientology ("verbal tech"), and from voicing criticism of Scientology. (2)
6. A Scientologist must inform on his parents, his wife, his children and his other Scientologist friends, acquaintances, and co-workers should he witness them engaging in "overt" activity contrary to cult teachings. This snitching is called a "knowledge report." If a Scientologist is aware of out-ethics behavior (violation of Scientology rules) by another Scientologist and fails to file a knowledge report about it, he himself will be considered out-ethics if the behavior is discovered.
7. If anyone a Scientologist knows is perceived to disapprove of Scientology, the Scientologist may be ordered to "disconnect"-that is, to sever all contact-from that person, even if it is his own wife, parent, or child; he would have to do so and never see or speak to that person again. This disconnection policy is strenuously enforced.
8. Scientologists are required to sign a release form containing the so-called "Lisa Clause" which states that the signer opposes all psychiatric treatment and authorizes representatives of the COS to intervene to prevent psychiatric treatment and instead forcibly place him on "Introspection Rundown" if his case supervisor deems it necessary. This is the same treatment that resulted in the death of Lisa McPherson, the Clearwater Scientologist who tried to escape the cult but was returned to their custody and died 17 days later. The wayward member is locked up in isolation, even against his will, and rarely spoken to; he is not permitted contact with family, friends, or loved ones, and may be denied appropriate medical care, and "audited" until his case supervisor believes he is ready to behave properly.
9. If you criticize the cult in a Scientologist's presence, he may become irate. He has been trained to attack you verbally and dismiss all your claims as lies and religious bigotry. He has been taught that anyone who speaks out against Scientology is criminally insane. It has been widely reported that an active member believes it is OK to lie to a non member about anything.
10. According to mental health professionals experienced in rehabilitating cult victims, a Scientologist who is currently "on lines" lives in an altered mental state. He will display a pseudo personality should one challenge his cultic beliefs. His ability to think critically has been severely diminished by brainwashing, hypnosis, and coercive handling techniques. There are many academic texts on this phenomenon that detail the ways in which Scientologists are controlled. (Dr. Singer and Dr. Langone's works are good sources of information.)
11. Scientologists generally shun conventional medicine, believing illnesses are psychosomatic. To them, illness is a sign of weakness or failure, and they are inclined to treat it with auditing (though chiropractic and treatment with vitamins and herbs may be recommended as well). Since all illness are psychosomatic in the eyes of a Scientologist, members believe that everything from dyslexia to HIV/AIDS can be cured by Dianetics. (They even believe homosexuality can be "cured" by Scientology which outlaws homosexuality. Hubbard insisted that the Emotional Tone Level of a homosexual is "covert hostility": "they are back stabbers, each and every one." (3) )
12. In Scientology, it is considered immoral to do something for nothing. The starving and crippled are seen as living out self-generated misfortune. Coupling this to Hubbard's philosophy of exchange, Scientologists do not usually give to charity, except to Scientology causes, or in the interest of public relations. (4) One should therefore not expect Beck to participate as much in charitable events, such as Neil Young's Bridge School Concert or Willie Nelson's Farm Aid, as he did previously. Beck will most likely never again donate another song to KGSR's (Austin Texas) Broadcast News, a fund raiser for the SIMS Foundation which financially assists musicians in obtaining psychotherapy and psychiatric assistance. (Beck donated a performance of "Cold Brains" to the Vol. 8 10th anniversaty edition in 2002 and thus helped raise over $200,000 for SIMS. Beck may have not realized what the charity represented, because helping anyone obtain psychiatric care would be considered an act of treason towards Scientology.) In 1997, Beck played for a benefit concert to raise money for Cure Autism Now. In publicity at the time, it was said that Ross Harris's son, Banjo, was autistic and that Beck was his godfather. More recently Ross Harris was putting together a Bruce Haack tribute, the sales of which would also benefit Cure Autism Now. Beck recorded "Funky Little Song" for the album. It was due out in September 2004, but it hasn't been released as of this writing. Is it possible that Beck's renewed commitment to Scientology and its beliefs is responsible for the delay? It is possible that Beck's participation in the Asian tsunami relief concerts is a public relations move for Scientology just as Tom Cruise's presence was used in "9/11" fund raisers to promote the cult.
13. All Scientologists are pressured to recruit. Any non-cult musicians and recording personnel who work with Beck should be prepared for recruitment pressure. In a 2004 interview with a German magazine, Adam Green of the Moldy Peaches admitted that Beck pressured him to visit the Scientology center, but Green declined to join. Beck's mother-in-law, Gay Ribisi, is a top Scientology recruiter. She received recognition in 2003 as a Power FSM (Field Staff Member), Scientologist who FAQ says "recruit people using selection slips for Scientology and get a 15% profit of the value of services purchased by their recruits in return." (A Power FSM has gotten at least 100 people either on the Bridge or to take a course to move up the Bridge during a particular year. The Bridge is short for "Bridge to Total Freedom" and represents completing advanced course work.)
14. As a celebrity Scientologist, Beck can receive the free services of the Scientology "slaves"of the Sea Org, the paramilitary division that commands and controls the entire Church of Scientology (members work long hours and sign billion-year contracts). Beck can have his yard maintained, his home cleaned, his meals cooked, his child babysat, etc. for free by Sea Org members. These people work long hours, seven days a week, for little or no pay. If they have children, they see very little of them, sometimes they only see their children for one hour a week. According to the affidavits of ex-Sea Org members, their children are warehoused virtually unattended in crowded, filthy back rooms at Celebrity Centre and elsewhere while their parents work. Their children are seldom held, spoken to, fed good meals, or washed and rarely receive medical care. They are typically not even given toys to play with.
15. The Scientologist's moral views conflict greatly with those of the all major world religions. Scientology glorifies personal wealth, and teaches people that they are not responsible for the condition of the world. (5) Certain basic, Christian values are despised by the Scientologist, who considers them misconceived. Humility is supplanted by self-pride. Searching self-criticism is considered dangerous. Material wealth is a virtue. Charity creates dependence. In Scientology, there is no concept of God, nor of grace. The Scientologist is in every respect a self-made Thetan (being). (6) There are Hubbard teachings that call Jesus a "lover of young boys" and proclaim that Mohammed "invented" the Muslim religion to stimulate trade in his hometown.
A Touchy Subject...
In 2002, not long after Tim Perlich of Now.com tried in vain to question Beck about Scientology, another journalist, Emmanuelle Richard, interviewed Beck for a French publication. During the interview, Richard made an effort to explore Beck's rumored connections to Scientology, and for the first time Beck publicly acknowledged his personal connection to Scientology (as opposed to just having a Scientologist father). Note that Beck is obviously uncomfortable and defensive. Again he claims to have been raised Jewish and says his parents "were" Scientologists, his first acknowledgment in an interview of his mother's involvement in Scientology. (Beck's reference to "problems with it" in France relates to the fact that Scientology is in trouble in France and several other European countries and is regarded as a public health threat.and L Ron Hubbard was convicted of Fraud in France in 1978. And from the French Embassy webpage HERE: "Scientologist sentenced The former head of the Church of Scientology in Lyon, Jean-Jacques Mazier was sentenced on November 22 to 18 months in jail on charges of manslaughter and fraud in a case stemming from a follower's suicide. Eight defendants linked to the organization were acquitted while suspended sentences were handed down to 14 others.)
E.R: Are you Jewish? AND scientologist?
Lubow's experience illustrates one of the main pitfalls encountered by journalists who interview celebrity Scientologists: evasion. Another pitfall that trips up journalists can be seen in Neil Straus's interview with Tom Cruise in Rolling Stone (September 2, 2004). Why Rolling Stone refuses to present a broader view of Scientology is anyone's guess. The magazine has never mentioned the death of Lisa McPherson, a story covered by all other major print media. In his interview with Cruise, Straus failed to point out that if Cruise's mother had refused to become a cult member, she could have risked being cut off from her children and grandchildren. He also didn't mention that she would be eventually forced to renounce her Catholic faith and learn that L Ron Hubbard teaches that Jesus Christ was a pedophile. The author didn't mention (and perhaps failed to check) that Scientology's Delphian school is not accredited with the State of California. He failed to observe that Cruise's niece was "going to work for the family" after graduation because, with her unorthodox education, she cannot attend any accredited university in the United States.
Other areas a journalist should explore
There are people in Beck's life who have known Beck personally or worked with him who may provide information that can resolve contradictions or contribute to your understanding of Beck and his involvement in Scientology . Here are some sources you might pursue:
Any ex-Scientologist, especially from the Los Angeles area, could have information about Beck's early life. It's not unlikely that ex-Scientologists in the LA area could have helpful information, because the Scientology community there is not that large, and it is insular and tight-knit.
Leigh Limon should be encouraged to tell her side of the story. Bear in mind that she may have been forced to sign a non-disclosure statement when she and Beck broke up. (There is no record of her being a Scientologist.)
Members of bands who toured with Beck, like the Flaming Lips and Dashboard Confessional, may provide interesting information about the control Scientology holds over Beck. According to their interviews, the Lips did not have a happy tour with Beck in 2002. Dashboard Confessional quit mid-tour for unknown reasons while opening for Beck in 2003.
Former band members and others who have played with Beck may offer insight as well, if they were not forced to sign non-disclosure clauses.
One potential resource is the anti-folk musicians Beck knew in New York when he lived there, who could provide insight into those years. For example, Paleface, who played at local venues with Beck for pocket change, was quoted on the Velvet Rope music board as saying, “Yes he (Beck) slept on my sofa and we played in the subways for change to buy beer, but when he accidently pulled money from his other pocket to buy beer a wad of crisp $100's fell out.”
Other information could be gathered from anyone who is not a Scientologist who knew Beck between 1989 and 2001. Outside of this time frame, he probably had little close contact with non-Scientologists. His activities with non-Scientologists today are most likely curtailed and closely watched by his handlers.
Remember that is it your professional obligation to present a balanced story in your journalistic endeavors. You should treat Beck's misadventure for what is: Beck has succumbed to a cult, not a religion. The Church of Scientology is harmful and criminal and practices mind control on its members. While you may not be able to cover Beck's Scientology experience if you interview him, you can add information about Scientology to your article. The public wants to read about the real problems with Scientology, and your piece, if truthful, will sell. Razor magazine's coverage of the Lisa McPherson murder was one of their biggest-selling issues ever. Time magazine had a similar experience with their exposee in 1991. History with other critical journalistic work shows the Church of Scientology will most likely threaten you, so be in touch with your publisher's legal team before going to press.
Some may argue that Beck's personal life is his own business, but Beck is no longer a private person. He is selling a product to the public. The public should not be misled about what their dollars are used for. Many fans would not be supportive of Beck using their money to fund the Scientology's defense in the trial for Lisa McPherson's death. Consumers have a right to this knowledge and to decide for themselves if they want their money, directly or indirectly, to the Church of Scientology.
A message to those who care about Beck...
(Or anyone they care about who is a Scientologist)
It is a normal, compassionate response for Beck's friends and fans to want him to get out of Scientology, once they've learned what it's really about.. However, any attempts to persuade Beck (or any Scientologist) to leave Scientology should be left to a professional exit counselor. Trying to force a person out of Scientology could be regarded by the courts as kidnapping and/or a violation of his civil rights. Beck or any Scientologist must make the decision to leave the cult on his own. The best way for a lay person to behave around an active Scientologist is to be supportive of him as a human being (but do not say you support Scientology!) and keep the lines of communication open. Question beliefs in a neutral way to open up the Scientologist's mind to independent thinking or doubt. Avoid criticizing Scientology around the active member. This will only make him defensive. Always tell the cult member how much he means to you, and tell him you and others will support him should he choose to leave Scientology. His fellow Scientologists are telling him that he will fail miserably and maybe even die if he leaves. A Scientologist knows that if he leaves the COS, any family members who are still in the cult will be ordered to disconnect from him, and he believes that means he will never see the Scientologists in his family again. As a non-member and a friend, you must be kind and supportive to him so he knows he will not be alone if he walks away from the cult.
(1) Jon Atack, A Piece of Blue Sky, (Lyle Stuart Books: New York,1990), p. 388.
(2) Atack, p. 384.
(3) Atack, p. 384.
(4) Atack, p. 384.
(5) Atack, p. 385.
(6) Atack, p. 383.
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