When your company acts like a sect
May 2, 2001
Neue Ruhr Zeitung
"Does this company belong to Scientology?" During 2000 that question was often asked of the counselors at Sect-Info. Notable was the increase of the inquiries (total of 112) about corporations which provided full-time jobs or lucrative second jobs. Therefore Sect-Info brought attention for the first time in its yearly report to companies who attract people with quick riches through second jobs.
Most of the calls Sect-Info received were about introductory interviews or seminars from companies which caused surprise or consternation, said Sect-Info chief Heide-Marie Cammans. "For example the staff were dressed in clothing resembling uniforms" or "who behaved remarkably uniformly." One applicant had mentioned a "dramatization" in her description. And "sometimes the people calling are angry about how aggressively the dream of quick riches and success are suggested," reported Heide-Marie Cammans, who found "sectoid traits" in an Essen firm (structured distribution) during her visit there last year.
Heide-Marie Cammans referred to the Enquete Commission of the German Parliament which from 1996 to 1998 dealt with characteristics of structured distributers. While license contracts with clear legal agreements and visible forms and methods of operation were characteristic of professional franchise corporations, structured distributers were conspicuous in their lack of transparency, missing contract protection and high financial risk for the staff.
Cammans compared company training to "power seminars of 'Positive Thought'." The formula applied was that "through positive thinking a successful reality could be created." Sometimes with the help of pyramid schemes through which hierarchically categorized chains of sellers arose. The involvement in the new company and the conspiracy in the company's ideology often left the staff with no more leisure time. "The operation can turn into an ersatz family," said Heide-Marie Cammans. "Since no opportunity is allowed to slip by without selling more products and recruiting more staff, the person's social environment takes a beating." The consequence can be the gradual alienation of staff members. In evaluating the management of a structured distributer there is the question of manipulation "which is difficult to define."
by Susanne Storck
Sect, business or just magic?
Lecture and discussion in Tutzing County
April 26, 2001
Marktredwitz. - When it comes to the Scientology Church Inc., simple explanations are hard to come by.
One thing for sure, in no way is it viewed as a church in the sense of a religion or a community of belief. Calling itself one comes about as a result of the word "church" not being [legally] protected. According to the Interior Ministers Conference, "Scientology" is one of the counter-constitutional organizations and therefore may be observed nationwide by Constitutional Security [officially called the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, it is the agency responsible for domestic surveillance in Germany].
Speaker Gerd F. Thomae will use the text of the SC to demonstrate what system of values this organization represents, how a society would appear which is organized according to their principles and what image of humans they propagate.
For some years, speaker Gerd F. Thomae has been distributing information about Scientology in Bavarian schools; he is a public school teacher himself who teaches ethics and social studies. He is speaking in Marktredwitz at the invitation of the Evangelical educational agency and the Tutzing Academy's Circle of Friends.
The event takes place on Friday, April 27, 2001 at 7:30 p.m. in the Marktredwitz city bank auditorium, enter from Martin Luther Street.
Duesseldorf (KNA) The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Nordrhein-Westfalen believes continued surveillance of the Scientology Organization is required. According to current findings, however, the implementation of the organization's program with its endeavors directed against the basic liberal democratic system is not the Scientologists' primary goal, said the 2000 Constitutional Security report released on Thursday in Duesseldorf. Rather, according to Constitutional Security, Scientology is attempting to deceive people about its primarily commercial establishments by offering a selection of so-called "life improvement" courses with pseudo-religious and pseudo-therapeutic elements.
Scientology seeking total control
Rural Youth receive information about the dangers of the movement
March 21, 2001
Twenty-five members of the Rural Youth met in the Youth building on Monday in order to receive information on the dangers inherent in Scientology.
To start off with the members of the audience were asked by the speaker, not named for security reasons, to write down on cards the two goals in life most important to them and to tack the cards up on the wall. The next stretch was about naming character traits which would cause the achievement of these goals to fail. It was made absolutely clear that every person has weaknesses. The Scientology movement was said to operate on these weak points to attract members into its spell.
"Scientology" - that sounds more like a science than a church. The deceased founder, born 1911 and probably died in 1986, L.R. Hubbard, promised that anyone who crossed the "Bridge to Total Freedom" would end up being "at total cause over matter, energy, space and time." The application of his technology, according to Hubbard, was supposed to free people from all their problems and illnesses.
To achieve this, interested persons would be put into a complex system of expensive courses, "studies" and pseudo-therapies which often led the adherents to financial and psychic ruin.
The classical bait is the free personality test which is supposed to give a person insight into his "ruin." Once the alleged faults are revealed, the evaluating Scientology member puts everything into cleverly blowing the problem out of proportion and, simultaneously, offering a solution. Naturally that consists of buying a reasonably priced Communication course from the organization. Yet in the introductory course, which is as good as harmless, an intense, systematic indoctrination is already taking place unnoticed. This increases over the course of the person's "cult career" to complete consciousness control and leads to debilitative modifications to personality.
The trigger mechanisms were explained by the speaker. "Knowing the methods and how they work offer the best protection against slipping into the clutches of this type of organization," said the speaker.
Presentation on Sects
February 8, 2001
Passauer Neue Presse
by Helmut von Guentner
[large part of article snipped. The farming community expressed concerned about BSE.]
Anticipation by the members of the agricultural community was high for the presentation by Ursula Hoeft from Landshut, who was speaking on the topic of "sects." As an involved individual - her daughter is a member of Scientology - she had to concede that even in rural areas people had to take up the theme. Ursula Hoeft effectively described the complete consciousness control exercised by sects. She, too, had long pined for "her lost daughter," but then decided to found a "work group for those who have suffered sect-related loss" ["Arbeitskreis fuer Sektengeschaedigte"].
"Our society is becoming less and less kind," Hoeft stressed, and continued to say that sects fleeced the "good, the curious and the helpful before they manipulated them." The question of how sects came into the open country and into the villages was very easy to answer for her, "Because these children are raised so well, but they are accosted while studying in Munich or someplace else." Even in Landshut young people were being invited to free vacation camps in Italy or France. There were more posters put up by sects like "Ananda Maga" or the "Holosophic Society" inviting them to lectures, work shops or weekend seminars. She wanted to sensitize parents to the issue with her talk, because, she said, getting out of the sect often took years and, in some cases, was not even feasible.
Manipulation of personality
November 29, 2000
Grafenrheinfeld (scho) - Based on reports from former members, film material and his own experience, Reverend Singer points out the danger from sects and psycho-groups.
"My husband changed completely in a short time; I don't even recognize him any more since he's been going to this astrologist" - so went the desperate call of a wife to Reverend Alfred Singer, who has been the speaker of Wuerzburg Diocese for issues of sects, religion and weltanschauung for three years.
In the scope of a continuing education seminar for the junior fire fighters, Singer, based on reports from former members, his own experience and film material, pointed out the dangers inherent in totalitarian movements, psycho-groups and charismatic communities. What's conspicuous, according to Singer, is a transformation in the definition of the concept of sect: 20 years ago the word had primarily a religious connotation; it meant minorities with teachings and practices which deviated from the mother church, but now "sects" more refer to groups which violate ethical principles. To this area, according to Singer, also belong people who seek their victims as "life management assistants" in the so-called "esoteric and psycho-market."
"Today people, with no training or technical ability, can give themselves professional-sounding names like "life consultant" or personality and motivation trainer: they include "soothsayers, astrologists, clairvoyants and people who appear to have contact with the dead." As Reverend Singer pointed out, young people are by no means more at risk to this than adults. The 30-50 year age bracket who have the financial resources are susceptible. He said the "era of the classic youth cult is gone."
While a person who is content and settled own is seldom at risk, people who are disoriented or confused, who find themselves in a crisis or are looking for meaning in their lives are more susceptible to trust convincing people and become dependent upon them.
That's the way it was with the husband: until that point a loving father, he had developed an affinity bordering on serfdom: "My husband no longer takes a step without consulting his astrologist first," reported the woman. He ended up having his personality completely changed and faced the break-up of a previously happy marriage.
The Enquete Commission on "So-called Sects and Psychogroups" performed decisive research work - commissioned by the German Bundestag. According to that report, the term "sect" should be avoided as much as possible; besides that were opinions that in general, no danger to state, society or business resulted from the "new religious and ideological communities."
Nevertheless it stated that nobody should underestimate the potential for conflict in the direct social area. It was also determined that there was an increased need for action regarding regulations in the rapidly expanding esoteric and psycho-market. Explicitly excepted to this was the Scientology Organization (SO), which the Enquete Commissioner described in their final report as an "extremist-political current" and for which it recommended continued surveillance by Constitutional Security.
It was said that the internet offered absolutely unlimited recruitment potential. Lay people can often not recognize what they are really looking at, Singer reported. An apparently harmless invitation to eat, a free seminar or a personality test is often enough to make one susceptible to manipulation.
A key event is set up to start with at which an explanation is found for any problem, and people feel comfortable and well-understood. Soon the atmosphere changes: stricter procedures with absolute discipline, personal surveillance, intimidation, then even deliberate threats. After several weeks, report experts and former members, you're not going to get out without help; many people have already been totally exploited financially and mentally.
Singer advises that attention should be paid to curious turns of phrase and that abbreviations should be researched in detail when dealing with new groups. [contact info given.]
Reverend Ingolf Christiansen gesticulates before a Scientology Grade Chart during his presentation in Koenigslutter.
photo: Stefan Hähnsen
of henchmen and much pity
Koenigslutter. Destructive Cults -- A Danger for our Society. That was the theme addressed by the speaker, Reverend Ingolf Christiansen from Goettingen, Weltanschauung Commissioner of the Hannover State Church, at the 13th Ecumenical Men's Assembly of the men's group of the Koenigslutter founding church with Reverend Truemer and the Catholic congregation in Pfarrheim on Bahnhofstrasse. Reverend Andreas Pape, the landlord, expressed satisfaction about the good participation and arranged the afternoon program with a presentation, coffee, prayer and dinner.
The predominantly older audience was first treated to an explanation of the practices of Scientology. It was said that recruitment of members for Scientology was well-rehearsed and that recruitment happened mostly at a high milieu. Scientology uses free personality tests to draw students and pupils in. "People have to be warned and have information." As part of recruitment, improvement in self-awareness is promised with the idea that only ten percent of the human mind is used; the lure to join comes from the possibility that this percentage can be increased.
Sole proprietors are promised that their profit will be maximized, then they are presented with a string of introductory offers. The argument they are given is that the unused portion of the human mind will be activated, as the reverend stated.
Finally it boils down to financial demands as compensation for joining. Those run into increasingly greater sums and often bring people into debt and want. "Often it is recognized too late that joining was personally disadvantageous." Leaving was not possible, or at least was made extremely difficult. "Out of human pity, people have to be warned and informed," said Reverend Christiansen.
Questions which came into the discussion included: What motivates people to join? Are they people who are disappointed with their own church?
Ingolf Christiansen replied: curiosity, failure, illness and inferiority complex were among the main reasons for joining. The self-veneration principle was the rule and people are promised increase in power.
The topic of Satanism was covered in the second have of the meeting.
The content of a diary of an ex-member outlined the rituals, some of which were brutal. There are many groups in this area, but they were said to have one thing in common.
"Once I have been initiated into the first level, then I belong to them -- without departure," said one place in the description. Furthermore, "Mental powers of the Master reach people who leave no matter where they are." How does that happen?
For that there are henchmen for whom Satanism means power, since taboos are broken. Question: what can the state do about it? The expert in Koenigslutter stated in this regard that surveillance was taking place and intervention occurred if crimes were committed. Another question from a member of the audience to the speaker: What can we do? Reverend Ingolf Christiansen answered with a quote for the Bible: Be vigilant! wg
Easy targets in times of crisis
"Spirits, gurus and miracle healers" -
a well-attended gathering in the Trarbach parsonage
November 21, 2000
by our editor
The religious landscape is just as fast-paced as the times of the day: more and more groups promise people health and salvation. Hare Krishna are as much a part of the region as are the Jehovas Witnesses. photo: dpa
Traben-Trarbach. In an evening of discussion, Matthias Neff of the department for issues of weltanschauung of the Trier general vicariate made it clear how difficult it was to define the word sect.
"You may as well be giving a description of Jesus!" The comment from a member of the audience brought laughter and made it clear: sects and their adherents are not simple to delineate. There is no clear definition for the term.
And so Matthias Neff, responsible for issues of weltanschauung in the Trier general vicariate and speaker for the evening of discussion at the Trarbach parsonage, continually stressed, "You see how difficult it is. It happens quite quickly sometimes that groups get labelled sects only because their members have different beliefs.
And in spite of several clear characteristics which distinguish sects, that members are completely other-determined, for example, Neff keeps his distance from placative judgment. "Every possible category of group are under constant risk of tilting in the direction of a sect. Even the Catholic Church. If they were now like they were three or four hundred years ago, they would be regarded as a sect." Yet he also defended the church for which he works: "They have since learned to let people have plenty of room on their own."
Major marketplace for religious needs
He said that today's age is characterized by major change, and that there were many changes in the religious landscape, too. People used to have a choice between two major churches. Today, for religious needs such as meaning to life, devotion and community, there is a large marketplace with many providers - starting with the major world religions, going to sects and spreading out to spontaneous groups, such as those which take courses in primal screaming.
In his talk, Neff tried to show generally how sects function. He differentiated between the ideas and the practices of sects. The world of ideas, as a rule, included the monopolistic claim to truth and salvation, too. According to the Jehovah's Witnesses, for instance, only those who follow their teachings will be saved on judgment day, the same goes for adherents of Fiat Lux.
Sects, Neff continued, had their own, often unreal concepts of what is feasible. "Scientology says that people who use its system of training courses can improve their own abilities to the point where they can operate independently of space and time." The sect world of ideas also includes the vision of an impending world collapse and a black-white way of thinking according to which it is quite clear what is right and what is wrong.
In practice sects are often marked as being closed groups about which outsiders can learn little. Generally their external presentation does not match their inner reality. Most of them are marked by a rigid hierarchy through which management has strong control at its disposal, and also as an intensive personality cult, such as with the Fiat Lux where everything revolves around Uriella.
Sects often make use of intelligence service methods and go to excess in proceeding against external opponents. Common denominators for sects, according to Neff, also include mandating: a strong awareness of mission, and dependencies of the psychic or even the financial kind for members. For instance, Scientology members are often deeply in debt the whole time they are taking courses.
Matthias Neff gave the audience of 40 ("surprisingly many" according to Traben-Trarbach pastoral representative Armin Surkus-Anzenhofer), much time to ask questions during the evening. To the question as to what would be so bad about someone being happy in Scientology, Neff stated, "Scientology has an ideology which has no regard for human dignity. Scientologists want to change society according to their own ideas, and those include Scientologists being the only ones with rights."
On several sects active in the region
It was stated that the dangerous thing about Scientology and other sects was that they frequently address people who are in a crisis situation. Those cannot evaluate what they are letting themselves in for and end up in dependency.
Neff said there were only a few sects and religious groups active in the region, some of which had cult-like characteristics. Those included the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Bruno Groening Friends, who promise healing by the spiritual path, the Hare Krishna with their center near Birkenfeld, and several evangelical non-denominational churches and Pentecostal churches. He said that satanic churches were represented in the media more strongly than they occur in real life.
Giessen. Hamburg sect expert Ursula Caberta has called for the Hessian state administration to more earnestly fight infiltration by Scientology adherents into government. According to a presentation by the department director in the Hamburg Interior Agency, Scientologists are gaining more new members from private companies and government agencies through institutions of continuing education and training.
According to the Giessen's executive presidium, it has tried to prevent this form of infiltration for about one and a half years in its contracts. Any corporation which trains members of Giessen's executive presidium has to sign a contract clause. This clause prohibits instruction according to the teachings of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Executive president Wilfried Schmied (CDU) thinks the contract clause is "the most decisive method" against Scientology: "I will also ask the Interior Minister to make this a theme in state government." Caberta described Frankfurt, along with Munich and Hamburg, as one of the three centers of the American sect.
Freedom's Early Warning System has a birthday
October 25, 2000
Hardly has there been a public institution as controversial as the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is these days. Demands for its dissolution have been spotty, which is somewhat surprising in view of it scandal-ridden past.
by Christopher Ziedler
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC) was already running into problems before it got started. It was primarily a question of personnel. The Allies sought people who were unencumbered by the Nazi era yet were politically experienced enough to guard the new democracy. It appeared that control was needed: to the American and Brits it seemed improbable that the Germans would both assimilate and love their new social system. So the Allied refused the first seven candidates which the federal administration under Konrad Adenauer proposed for president of the office, all of them because of their brown past. Finally, in 1951 the Brits installed Otto John from the resistance movement as chief of Constitutional Security on July 20th.
As the central agency for the observation of extremist currents, Constitutional Security has collected enough proof in the past 20 years for the prohibition of a total of 22 counter-constitutional organizations. Fields of operation include not only the surveillance of both leftwing and rightwing extremists, but also of sect-like organizations like Scientology. On top of that comes battling extremism by foreigners.
The mission of the more than 2,000 staff, who have at their disposal an annual budget of about 224 million marks, includes counter-espionage. About 60 percent of their information comes from public sources. Only a little bit flows through the secret channels, which includes undercover men and eavesdropping devices.
Constitutional security, which likes to describe itself as the "early warning system for freedom," is part of the concept of the "defendable democracy" which - in contrast to the Weimar Republic [prior to the Hitler regime] - is supposed to be in the situation to get a handle on the enemy within. After the experiences with the Gestapo in the era of National Socialism (Nazis), the operational areas of the police and of Constitutional Security have been separated in the Federal Republic. Unlike the police or state attorney's office, however, Constitutional Security can go into action even when no founded suspicion against a person or organization is present. A "state within a state" is how critics diagnose it, based on the far-reaching freedoms. The agency's work is monitored by Parliament.
So much for theory. In practice, there has been occasion, time and time again, for criticism of Constitutional Security and real scandal. In 1953, Constitutional President John disappeared in the direction of East Berlin. One year later he came back, surprisingly, and was sentenced to four years in prison for state treason. In vain he asserted to his death in 1997 that he had been kidnapped. In 1959 his successor, Hubert Schruebbers, stopped an article from appearing in news magazine "Stern" which took a close look at the work of the secret agents. The domestic intelligence agency was often maligned, as "thought police" for example, after an effort to reduce radicalism in the 1970s which included mandated questions about the dependability of applicants for civil service. It didn't make things any better when the Cologne agency obtained information from the Chilean intelligence agency about opponent's of Pinochet's military dictatorship who lived in the Federal Republic. When "Operation Trash" was revealed in 1977, the Interior Minister, Werner Maihofer (FDP) had to take his leave. His underlings - on the assumption that their target was involved in the Red Army Faction (RAF) - had bugged the residence of Klaus Traube, expert in atomic physics.
In 1975, the office succeeding in exposing a spy in the chancellor's office, Guenter Guillaume, who worked for the East German Stasi secret police; while it was a grand coup, the matter was handled in a sloppy manner. Although one of his closest staff was under surveillance, Willy Brandt was not informed. He resigned after that and Constitutional Security President Guenter Nollau had to take early retirement. Again and again, East Berlin's Ministry for State Security (Stasi) managed to get Constitutional Security into embarrassing situations. The tantalizing peak was the Tiedge affair of 1985, when the counter-espionage director fled in the direction of the GDR. As did one of his successors almost right away. Defense chief Klaus Kuron provided, for a fee - Mielke's men with memorada from Cologne. Former President Ludwig-Holger Pfahls (CSU) is currently being sought because of his development in the financial donation affair. But the people at the top levels were not the only ones with something to cover up, the agents themselves have also had traffic with trouble. Covert agents, in order to keep their identities secret, have, on occasion, incited or even committed criminal acts.
Despite all the scandals, Constitutional Security in its 50th year is less controversial than has usually been the case. The FDP believes it is an "indispensable institution," SPD interior expert Dieter Wiefelspuetz thinks it is "proper and necessary to have Constitutional Security," especially in light of renewed rightwing extremism. "We need it in order to assure our defendable democracy," is also the way CSU interior politician Wolfgang Zeitlmann sees it.
Only the Green Party, who called for dissolution of the OPC in its campaign program of 1998, have not joined in the general chorus of praise - at least not Christian Stroebele, the leftist figurehead of the eco-party. "The secret in the secret service" is what bothers him. He said parliamentary control is almost impossible and mishaps were almost always being exposed only by the press. Stroebele accuses the agency of political one-sidedness. Anti-fascist groups are observed with the greatest meticulousness while he says there is "long hesitation" in the involvement with rightwing extremism. It could be predicted that outside of the PDS, which is still under surveillance, that only the Greens would raise a fuss. Some experts in Cologne had a thing or two to say about them back in the early 80s. With the approval of State Secretary Carl-Dieter Spranger, who wanted to know more about leftwing extremists among the Greens. In a committee of inquiry, the vice president of the office at the time, Stefan Pelny, was worried that "the attempt would be made here to misuse OPC findings in routine political discussion."
Nevertheless, Kohl's administration received the dossier which was supposed to say whether Otto Schily - still a Green back then and before that an RAF defender - had something to do with terrorism. Today, as the Interior Minister, he is the supreme chief of Constitutional Security.
(bo). The police and Constitutional Security have an opening of an "encounter center" by the controversial Scientology organization in the Dom district on their agenda. Scientology has been under surveillance by Constitutional Security since a 1997 decision by the Interior Ministers Conference. We operate on the assumption now, as we did before, that this organization has anti-constitutional currents," said Franz Gruber, spokesman of the Bavarian State Office for Constitutional Security. Therefore the office collects information on the organization's activities, which has 2,600 members in the Free State, according to findings. How large the membership is cannot be exactly deciphered. Scientology had already established a "Mission" once in Augsburg in the early '90s. "That closed again, though, because of inactivity," according to Gruber. The organization has apparently increased its efforts in the past several months to again gain a hold in the Free State. "The opening may be an attempt to create a logistical center for recruitment of customers in the southern German area." As verified by a police spokesman, the encounter center is also under surveillance by the Augsburg Commissariat for State Security.
Directions in the supermarket of meaning
October 18, 2000
Neue Ruhr Zeitung
Anyone who walks through the sect exhibition in Petrikirche with picture and text displays, book tables, internet stations and an accompanying video presentation will receive the impression of that jungle of soul catchers which Superintendent Frank Kastrup characterized yesterday as a "supermarket of providers of meaning." The bandwidth of the groups and communities presented ranged from the Moon sect and Scientology up to the Natural Law Party.
Superintendent Frank Kastrup and Mayor Lisa Poungias emphasized that the exhibition in Petrikirche would help, through information and explanation, to prevent the danger of ideological, psychic and financial exploitation as well as mental alienation in people.
Joachim Keden, sect commissioner of the Rhein State Church made the dimension of the problem clear by pointing out the over 2,700 inquiries in 1999 alone from people seeking advice. Muelheim companies have also turned to Keden in the past in order to have questionable offers of counseling or training reviewed. After it turned out Scientology was behind the offers, the contracts were turned down, said Keden.
Among the 18 groups who showed up for tours through the exhibitions in Petrikirche were not only school classes, but also a contingent from the police.
According to Holger Haufmann from the police department center for combating crime [or "detective" department], Muelheim has no past history of clear-cut crimes such as, for example, Satanic defacing of graves. But Haufmann still does not think that Muelheim is anything like an island of good fortune in matters of sects. "People usually don't go to the police," Haufmann described the problem of non-visibility in this area of personal coercion.
Therefore he also views the exhibition on sects in Petrikirche as a good opportunity, from the police perspective, to get detailed information on the problem which cannot be properly monitored. The Muelheim criminal investigative authorities regards the field of combating cults as the protection of the citizens' elementary rights to freedom.
(RP). An exhibition, "Sects - Spirits - Miracle Workers", meant to bring light into the darkness of sect-, psycho- and esoterica markets, opened yesterday in the foyer of the Bethesda Evangelical Hospital, and can be viewed daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. until September 30.
The exhibition visually documents the plethora of religious currents in this day and age and explains the current developments in the sect and esoterica market, about occultism and Satanism, about New Age and Scientology. Satanist cult devices can be found there, as can alleged miracle crystals and pendula.
The exhibition is directed to adults, youth groups, school classes (from about eighth grade up) and is being put on by the Evangelical "Familienbuildungswerk" and the Duisburg Evangelical School Department, Reverend Gerhard Haack, the synodal commissioner for issues of sects and weltanschauung in Duisburg and the Study Group for Religion teachers of the Duisburg Church group.
For more than ten years, Bernhard Bruenjes has been involved with spiritual healers, gurus and shady businesses. The long-term chairman of the "Sektenberatung Bremen" association has been treated as if he were to be the future first sect commissioner of the State of Bremen for a long time. Starting this fall, though, the 55-year-old independently assigned revenue officer with the unusual special knowledge goes back to auditing EU expenses.
Meanwhile, besides the Scientology organization, there are a number of groups and minor groups active in the Bremen market who not only have their sights set on their adherents' money, but also intend to enlist them into their own ideology and isolate them from their environment. In past years, Bernhard Bruenjes was unofficially relieved of his work with the Senator for Finances to counsel institutions, former members or sect members. That is being put to an end: "This cannot be done on a volunteer basis," the official stated regretfully; he has a nationwide reputation as a sect expert.
On Info-Tour through Bavaria
Themes: Scientology and Pregnancy Crisis Counselling
September 5, 2000
Former federal justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) is currently traveling through the counties of Bavaria. She made a stop in the Neu-Ulm vicinity to exchange views on the legal questions in matters of Scientology and pregnancy crisis counselling.
It goes without saying that the men in political office in Bavaria, including Stoiber himself, have heard of her, said Scientology critic Renate Hartwig. Since at least yesterday, both fiction and non-fiction author Hartwig is also known to former justice minister and member of Parliament Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. The liberal politician is currently traveling through Bavarian counties. Yesterday she made a stop in Neu-Ulm county. FDP county representative Karl-Heinz Klass put Scientology and pregnancy crisis counseling on the agenda.
A local association, "Pro Familia," will be founded in Neu-Ulm county in the fall (as we reported). The Catholic social service's counselling center for questions about pregnancy, on direction from Rome, may no longer issue counselling slips as of the year 2001. These slips are needed by pregnant women in order to obtain abortions legally. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger welcomed the founding of a pregnancy crisis counselling center for women which was independent of both church and state. She said plurality was a legislatively desirable, even if a Catholic lay organization like "Donum vitae" were to form. "It's about having two legs to stand on, one religious and one socio-civil," said the legal expert.
The Theme of Scientology
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger attends United Nations conferences in Geneva as the political human rights speaker of the FDP faction and as ombudsman for the Liberals. She often hears in the sessions that the current situation of the Scientologists in Germany is equivalent to the persecution of non-mainstream people in the Third Reich. "There is nothing comparable to what happened to the Jews and non-mainstream," said the politician.
Adherents of the psycho-sect often complain about political persecution in Germany. In reality, the state attorney's office has often investigated these Scientologists for tax evasion, reported Hartwig. "If you ask government agencies, you may have to wait weeks or months before you get that answer," said Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger. Therefore she went to Hartwig to stock up on books and brochures on the theme of Scientology.
FDP for Counselling Center in Neu-Ulm
Presidium member Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger meets with Scientology expert
September 5, 2000
Neu-Ulm/Nersingen-Strass (mde.) Five FDP federal representatives are currently making a political tour of the Bavarian districts. In the course of this tour, Schwaben was visited by former Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, who got primarily involved at gatherings on issues of national and international law. The former FPD Justice Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, reacted with "outrage" at the repeated accusation from the USA that the legal spotlighting of the Scientology sect in Germany was comparable to the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany. The FDP politician said that this accusation made a mockery of all Nazi victims. She represents the Federal Republic in national and international human rights committees in which she defends the "integral legal system of the Federal Republic of Germany where ever it is put into question." Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was a guest of the "outstanding Scientology critic" Renate Hartwig, where she was informed about the "machinations and international entanglements of the American sect."
The FDP legal expert describes the machinations of organizations like Scientology as "human rights violations of an entirely different kind." That such organizations were trying to defame the legal system of democratic states, she said, was a bending of the law which no government needed to accept. She said that all the cases in which Scientology said it was persecuted as if by Nazis had been exposed as malicious lies.
There was an entirely different kind of legal perception in the meeting Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger had with Green Party chairman and founding member of the "Pro Familia" local Neu-Ulm association, Franz Schmid. Pro Familia wants to gain recognition as an independent pregnancy counseling center and is planning a founding conference this fall. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger gave this effort "the support of the FDP." In doing that, she was in agreement with the chairman of the FDP Neu-Ulm district association, Karl Heinz Klass, with Nathalie Klass of the "Jungen Liberalen" and with Roswitha-Schmid-Klass of "Pro Familia." "This is an inter-party affair and I hope that these efforts meet with wide support across all federal party factions," said the former federal Justice Minister. She found it particularly important that a non-state establishment be supported in the field of counseling.
Disappearing from the city picture
July 28, 2000
taz Bremen Nr. 6204
Bremen's Scientologists have moved
Another step out of the public view?
Or merely a shortage of disciples?
No, the former home of the Bremen Scientology Mission, the Nobelvilla on Osterdeich, had nothing to do with membership figures. That is according to Jan Labes, President of Scientology Mission Bremen, Inc. "Eight years ago, we simply did not find anything else." Back then 27 Osterdeich was not a bad emergency solution, not least of all because rent for the 1,500 square meter Villa was halved, from 30,000 to 15,000 marks. A nice gesture from the owner, a Bremen businessman and Scientologist. Even then the spaces of the magnificent, almost 120 year old structure, protected as a monument, have recently turned out to be extremely oversized. Too few disciples in the Hanseatic City. Scientology Bremen had to move.
"They were no longer using all the rooms," believes real estate dealer Guenther Diekamp, who currently is offering the property for sale at 3.2 million marks. "Perhaps the Mission did not develop as much as had been planned," Diekamp expressed a pertinent assumption. President Labes sees things somewhat differently, "In order for things to have been right with the building on Osterdeich, we would have had to neglect our real work. It is primarily for that reason that we moved." Financial difficulties, as Scientology Bremen had admitted during a trial before the superior administration court of the Hanseatic City of Bremen on February 25, 1997 (in which the organization was instructed to report as a business and in which they were prohibited from advertising in certain areas of downtown) probably also played a role. Finally, 15,000 marks a month rent is not a small figure for an association which allegedly makes no profit.
Are the new, 700 square meters of space Scientology has on 36 Stolzenauer Street in Hastedt perhaps also more suitable because they are less visible in the city picture? Would the organization, which is still under surveillance by Constitutional Security in Bremen as much as it ever was, like to inconspicuously slip off into a quieter portion of the city? Something like that can be conceived of in the department of the Senate which is responsible for the area of sects and psycho-groups. "In those places where Scientology maintains larger buildings, that would be churches, in Germany, like in Hamburg and Munich, there has been talk in the last several years of a massive decrease of adherents. That leads to a general phase of upheaval in which Scientology re-organizes itself and which, certainly, is also taking place in Bremen. Part of that phase could mean disappearing from the city picture," said the unnamed source.
The possibility of the move being a delayed reaction to the court decision of February 25, 1997 which prohibits Scientology from advertising in certain zones downtown is vehemently disputed by association President Labes. "We are doing exactly the same thing that we were doing previously: We are helping people in the achievement of their spiritual perfection." He says he has heard nothing about dwindling membership in other cities. "As far as I'm concerned, those are rumors." In any case he says that in Bremen the number is holding at "a couple of hundred members." He doesn't want to get more concrete than that.
Radio broadcast, 9-10 a.m.
Lutz Lemhoefer and Dr. Olaf Stoffel
June 26, 2000
HR 1, Hessian Radio
People are still falling into psychic dependency on sects. But what is so fascinating about communities of faith like "Scientology," "Jehovah's Witnesses," or "Universal Life"? And what do people hope to get from them? These questions and others like them will be answered after the news on Theme "LEBEN HEUTE" by guests including Lutz Lemhoefer, weltanschauung commissioner of the Catholic Church at 9:05.
HR 1 Theme "LEBEN HEUTE" with Susanne Scharra. A beautiful good morning.
Voice: He works like a missionary who proclaims an absolutely true belief which extends into many areas here.
Voice: The man is highly intelligent. And what makes him so dangerous is that he is a man who offers simple solutions.
Voice: That is how you are put at the level of a student. And I also often really felt that way. When I think back on it, that's the way it was. And he was simply one or two levels higher. And we all sat in the same boat. Nobody dared so much as to pull out a sandwich and eat it or crumple paper. Oh God, the holy mood, the entire atmosphere would have been destroyed.
Voice: It is the same principle as a drug addict or an alcoholic who says, up to the time that the bar closes or he collapses, "I am not addicted. I can quit anytime."
Susanne Scharra: And then they are not able to quit, but follow their special guru for years as if they were blind or get entangled in the clutches of their special sect. "Scientology," the "Jehovah's Witnesses," the "Moon Sect" - those are only the most well-known, because the list goes on forever. In Germany there are 6,000 groups with cultic tendencies. Individual people who call themselves "savior" or "missionary" or entire organizations who sometimes use abstruse teachings of salvation to reach out to the souls of susceptible people. What drives so many into the finely meshed net of sects? How do the mechanisms of these totalitarian groups work? And how can one protect oneself? On Theme "LEBEN HEUTE" people speak up who have experienced religious dependency but who have managed to leave. "Oh, happy day" is not forever.
(Spiritual: Oh, happy day)
Susanne Scharra: They stand in pairs in the pedestrian zone. They hold the "Watchtower" up high in heat, snow or rain or they proselytize from door to door. "Jehova's Witnesses" continue to be a part of the street scene. We become conscious of them and perhaps also recall one or another headline, "Jehova's Witness must die because he refuses life-saving blood transfusion on principle of faith."
But only a few know that the founder of the religious sect is called Charles Russel and that the German center is in Hesse, more precisely, in the Taunus village of Selters. Twelve hundred people work there. What do the "Jehovah's Witnesses" believe and what makes them different from the others? That's what we wanted to know. And so Andreas Sieger paid a visit to the "Jehovah's Witnesses" in Selters.
"Jehovah's Witness" spokesman: We are different from our fellow human being really in quite, quite few points. Anybody who leads his life in a rational way and also goes along in a normal way could also be a "Jehovah's Witness." And if one were to view the differences: they are in missionary work, because, normally, who goes from door to door like "Jehovah's Witnesses"? The differences exist in the question of political neutrality. The differences exist in the question of the recognition of the almighty God with his name, "Jehova"; in that one even considers the word "God" as binding. I think I have named the classical differences.
Susanne Scharra: There are still a couple of more differences between the "Jehovah's Witnesses" and the rest of humankind. Much of what other people take for granted is forbidden for them. For instance, they may not celebrate birthdays. Easter and Christmas are also taboo. They may not swear. Athletic activity is prohibited. Pop stars may not be revered. All this is regulated in a strong moral code. Those who break it must at least express regret over their transgression to the Rights Committee. If they do not, they are expelled. And, naturally, one does not get into the earthly Paradise that way. It can be seen in the headlines that the "Jehova's Witnesses" still refuse to let their members have blood transfusions.
"Jehova's Witness" spokesman: But the background of that was not the medical judgment of this thing, it was decided in a biblical maxim in the 1st century that people should abstain from blood.
Susanne Scharra: Of course it is not written in the Bible that blood transfusions are forbidden, because they did not exist at the time. The "Jehovah's Witnesses" are referring to a place in the Apostle's epistles where it says that Jews should abstain from blood. What is meant there is blood as nourishment, and nothing else. They have transported instructions thousands of years old into the times of today. Moreover, the "Witnesses" do not use the Lutheran translation of the Holy Scriptures, but they have their own "New World" translation. According to the way they see things, the earthly Paradise, the thousand year reign of peace, will begin with the battle of Armageddon. Really that was supposed to have happened in 1975. But, as is known, nothing came of that. The Witnesses no longer would like to name an exact year for the battle.
"Jehovah's Witnesses" spokesman: We would have liked it better if God still intervened today. But he has made up the schedule. And He will not let people trespass into His territory. Therefore we wait patiently. But we live every day as though God would intervene and move us and strengthen us.
Susanne Scharra: So no tangible end to the travail is yet in sight. The "Witnesses," strongly obligated to political neutrality, do not get involved outside of their gatherings and missionary services. However, that contradicts the image of Jesus in all modern editions of the Bible, which show Him as a hands-on man of action
"Jehovah's Witness" spokesman: Jesus kept aloof from all political things because it was his goal that The Kingdom would be established here on earth and that the hopes of people would be fulfilled. That is exactly what our hope is today, because many problems exist today which people cannot solve. When we just think about horrible diseases. When we think about the hunger in the world. When we think about the problem of environmental pollution and criminality, when we think about the problem of death. And none of these problems can be altered by people. And therefore we trust that God will keep his Word which He gave in the Bible.
Susanne Scharra: So much trouble and so little to show for it, regarded less from a financial view and more from the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. Ulrich Rausch, author of the book, "The Jehovah's Witnesses, a sect report," urgently warns, however,
Ulrich Rausch: Perhaps therefore, they are more dangerous than Scientology or other groups because each one says, Good, they have "fibbed" a little, maybe a little very involved, but that is astonishing in its own way, too, because one would not do that for his own belief, take so much time and so much trouble to get his message across. As far as I am concerned, things are dangerous when one doesn't know how dangerous it is. Like when I know a river I can swim in or it is a dangerous mess, then it is no longer dangerous. But if I think it is harmless, then I won't be without problems, and then I'll be caught and surprised, and, of course, that is mortally dangerous.
Susanne Scharra: Yes, how dangerous sects really are, and that they can even be mortally dangerous, that is what we'll talk about now. I welcome Lutz Lemhoeffer to the studio, the weltanschauung commissioner of the Catholic Church, and Olaf Stoffel, today author and therapist, but until several years ago still a priest in the New Apostolic Church, and thereby himself in the clutches of a sect. Mr. Stoffel, that which we have just now heard about the "Jehovah's Witnesses," does that bring back memories of the time when you were a sect member of the New Apostolic Church?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: I was indeed a member of the New Apostolic Church and many messages which we have just heard in the piece about the "Jehova's Witnesses" seem familiar to me.
Susanne Scharra: For example?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: I was always told, for example, that the end of the world would soon come and that only the true New Apostles would get to heaven. And that made people very afraid, not just me, but also the children. And also that one-sided worldview that you would finally have security if you would do what the implications of the teachings, so to speak, proscribed. And all that came back to me vividly, like on a station, so to speak, and also invoked one or another emotion.
Susanne Scharra: When you say that not just you, but also your children, does that mean that you were in the New Apostolic Church with your whole family?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: I was in the New Apostolic Church with my whole family and also undertook child care there, and finally observed in the teachings of the New Apostolic Church how manipulative one dealt with children there and that people were simply trying to implant these teachings into the children so the teachings simply were their world.
Susanne Scharra: But for you that was the second step in practice. How did you, that means when you had your thoughts about what methods were being used there, how did you get into the sect? You, as you have said, worked there for 17 years, and for 17 years believed in it, in a certain way.
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: The way it was, I went into the New Apostolic Church when I was 23. Back then I was having a life crisis and was looking for God, yes, for devotion, for security, for meaning. And then someone invited me into this community. And where it is close, it is also warm. In other words, at first I enjoyed this security. I was accepted and given a clear goal, at first that was attractive. I was even one of the chosen, a so-called child of God. I finally had hope, finally, of being accepted by God.
Susanne Scharra: Mr. Lemhoefer, what makes groups like the "Jehovah's Witnesses" or even the New Apostolic Church, were Mr. Stoffel was, into sects?
Lutz Lemhoefer: I think that is, above all else, their claim to exclusivity. Only we are the true church of Christ, all others outside there are damned. Those with us are on the right side. Those outside our organization are lost. This quite distinct separation of "inside - outside," that is the most important point. On top of that, surely, are also authoritarian leanings: what the leadership says cannot be questioned. There is no live discussion, no chance of bringing in criticism or a deviant idea, that is perhaps ....
Susanne Scharra: Now I have to ask, perhaps quite heretically, aren't there also such tendencies in the Catholic Church, too? What makes the Catholic Church different from a sect? Couldn't one say here that each group that proclaims a certain teaching of salvation, and the Catholic Church does that, too, is a sect?
Lutz Lemhoefer: No, the major churches, including Catholics, surely have sectarian tendencies, those are in every major religion, but they are not sects. You need only compare the discussion at the Catholic Convention several weeks ago with that of such a group, about topics like "May women become priests?" and "Can one celebrate Holy Communion together?" There are disputes between Catholics and Protestants. There are deviant opinions and there is an extremely lively discussion. And the degree to which the individual feels obligated to be near to or distant from an organization today can be rather precisely determined by the member, in any case. And that is what makes the difference.
Susanne Scharra: I said a little while ago that there are, according to estimates, over 6,000 sectarian groups in Germany, but that is a little wide of the mark. We would say there are perhaps only 600 real sects. But still, why so many?
Lutz Lemhoefer: Yes, I think we are in a society where there is no longer a clear traditional advantage, or at least it is no longer effective. In seeking for salvation, the individual is often left up to himself and then people look in different ways. And anybody who offers a path to salvation today has more chance of making an appearance and having people join than was the case in earlier times; even though, of course, there have been sects all throughout the history of religion.
Susanne Scharra: But what is the goal of a sect? Does in really always deal only with a certain teaching of salvation, or is it also about money and power?
Lutz Lemhoefer: According to what I believe, it is not at all always about money. That is a pre-judgment. Those who want to make a lot of money, I think have many different alternatives. But power plays a role. The mixture of idealism and power. The claim that I can save not only myself but everybody else, the entire world, and, by the way, that is my duty. Indeed, that is a social form of unbelievable exploitation of power. People are not at all aware of that. They often feel they are idealists, and often get in for idealistic motives. But, of course, that is also connected with power and an increase in ego. Although the ego inside the group is small, the group itself is so important and then I partake of its greatness. That is the attraction.
Susanne Scharra: Mr. Stoffel, did you experience things exactly that way in the New Apostolic Church, or how was it?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: I experienced both: power and money. It happened with the so-called Apostles, the one who held the higher positions. They were honored like some leaders from a darker time in German history. But it was also a matter of money, because ten percent of one's income had to be sacrificed if you wanted to have the blessing. And much money was accumulated, so, in the end, it was both: money and power.
Susanne Scharra: We have also spoken about the fear which was stirred up which you experienced. With the "Jehovah's Witnesses," many believe these teachings of salvation and they will also do things like risk their lives for them. If I understand that correctly, many have, in fact, refused a blood transfusion which would have permitted them to live. Would you have been ready to sacrifice your life for the beliefs of the New Apostolic Church in a similar way?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: Well, there were times when I strongly identified with the New Apostolic beliefs. And I probably would have gone as far, if the leader of the New Apostolic Church would have said to do this or that, as it has been so beautifully said, as to have followed what he said. I would like to add to that perhaps the New Apostolic belief system is not quite as narrow as that of the "Jehovah's Witnesses," and to be fair, there are tendencies towards liberalization. But there is still much restriction there and much fear besides of simply being abandoned by God.
Susanne Scharra: When we say sects are dangerous, did you perceive the danger as such to which you were exposed?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: When I was in the system I did not perceive the danger. But I frequently had a latent fear that everything I believed could be false, and was always suppressing that, and then even experienced psychosomatic illness from that. Therefore, the soul sounded the alarm. And at sometime I could not longer keep this process up. But I wanted to hold onto this secure space in which I had been chosen before God.
Susanne Scharra: Mr. Lemhoefer, what are the dangers then, the dangers when one gets involved in a sect's networks?
Lutz Lemhoefer: I think the danger is primarily in falling into a dependency, into a child's role completely unhealthy for an adult. That a person gets dependent upon other grown people in a childish way, that one gets exploited not only financially, but also psychically. That is the danger.
Susanne Scharra: Like what we heard right at the start of the program, when a man said he had always felt like a student.
Mr. Lemhoefer: Yes, so it is not an adult form of belief and religion, so I am not talking against belief and religion, but against an unhealthy, infantile, immature form of belief and religion.
Susanne Scharra: So once in the clutches of a sect, as we know, the adherents work their way out of it again only with serious difficulty. We are just about to talk about the totalitarian methods which sects use to bind people to them. If you, my dear listeners, have questions on the topic, then give us a call. We'll collect the questions in the studio, then hand them to our experts here; [telephone number given].
Susanne Scharra: It is shortly before 9:30. You are listening to Theme "Leben Heute" about the grasp for the soul, the fascination with sects. It does not always have to be religious dependency that people fall into. Lately there are countless small and larger organizations which are structured similar to a sect and which use clever methods to bind adherents to them, up to total abandonment of self. Roswita Krauss describes the case of a young woman from Erder, near Giessen, who fell into the clutches of a dubiously structured operation; a story of power and powerlessness, of hope and bondage.
Andrea Jakob: I got in through a, yes, female colleague at work, into an enterprise, out of curiosity really, where incredibly much money was supposed to be made. And when I went to take a look at those people who had earned all this money I didn't want to believe it one bit, because they were all great people. And then I thought to myself, I've been doing for a long time what they are. Quite simply I got customers, I recruited staff without end, I took training, I practically worked day and night. So I was still working in my career as executive secretary; I would drive off at 4 or 5 o'clock to Bonn, from Giessen to Bonn, take seminars there, get home at night around midnight, up again the next morning at six, go back to work at eight, and that's the way it went until I became sales manager. Then I gave up my executive secretary position because I was supposed to have been able to make more money there. And I did make more money there - unfortunately I am not the one who got it.
Susanne Scharra: What kind of figures are we talking about here?
Andrea Jakob: I went for a million in sales a month, sales with life insurance contracts and would have gotten 17,000 marks every month to start but got, at most, three or four thousand marks that was never fully paid.
Susanne Scharra: To start off with, there were promises of much money. At the end, Andrea Jakob had 700,000 marks in debt.
Andrea Jakob: I couldn't think over this immense work expense so quickly. After many, many months, I noticed that the money was never being paid. I was always put off: Yes, that is very difficult, the policies last so long. Or there is still a medical check-up that needs to be done with this or that person which did not at all check out, and so forth. In no case was the money paid. Then things got tough!
Susanne Scharra: When did you put on the brakes?
Andrea Jakob: One day by accident I came upon a box with documents which I thought were mine. We always had our boxes of our settlements, which were never complete, and I had gotten a hold of the wrong box, that from Mr. Daniel. And there I saw that he was receiving a commission for many of my customers. So, in practice, he had received the money, the commission for many of my customers and my staff, including super-commissions. That is when I noticed that this was fraud. Quite clearly.
Susanne Scharra: The firm is a structured operation: "Gesellschaft zur Foerderung mittelfristiger Geldanlagen" (FMGA). The primary customer is the Karlsruhe Life Insurance Co. The people at FMGA were all noticeably motivated. The explanation today: it ran like a sect.
Andrea Jakob: Up to then I had no idea what Scientology was at all. When I got out and then learned that the Emotion Scale in which they trained us and more, was developed by Hubbard, yes, training about suppressives, that one should keep a distance between oneself and "stops," like spouses or family members, even our children, if they hindered us from working and so forth; I noticed that something was not right with that. And then I tried to get out, but that was not at all so simple because, in the meantime, I was so deeply in debt that I only hoped that sometime they would finally pay me the wages they owed me, which, of course, never happened.
Susanne Scharra: After a 15 day introduction into the sales business, Andrea Jakob became district director. Soon she advanced to trainer. The shower of money was so close she could smell it. And suggestions for operations were rewarded with regular training. Training often took place out of the country. The only thing peculiar about that was that she had to book the hotel rooms for the evening seminars at her own expense. Sometimes it was about astrology, sometimes personal weaknesses of staff were sought out.
Andrea Jakob: I was continually being appeased. I was always being told that I should have trust and I would see that money was coming in, even in only small amounts, but I would have to have trust, that everybody in the business was overworked and that it would take some time: the research on the customers and what did I know about the whole thing. And then I was invited again to to a champagne dinner with Mr. Frei. Yes, or yes, we had in the seminars ... Then the room was darkened. Everybody had gotten a candle to hold, and then they were lit. Hundreds of candles were swung back and forth in the room. As far as I was concerned that was really, yes, that was all nonsense and all that happened with me was that I felt ill. And because of that I was strongly alienated. But I made just as many sales and, because of that, I was in debt.
Susanne Scharra: Did you try back then to protest your receiving so much psychological training?
Andrea Jakob: No, that was almost not possible. There were hundreds of people and if one person criticized, then so many protested that one had no chance at all against the mass of people. I was shouted down as a rebel. And then I was alienated in practice and the other people were told to keep their distance from me, that I was dangerous.
Susanne Scharra: It sounds as though you were gradually psychically undermined. In retrospect, what techniques worked then for a while?
Andrea Jakob: We had to listen to music cassettes which had been made with the help of a subliminal technology device, whatever that is called, I have the documents about it at home, and you did not hear it. You heard only the music. That means it was done sub-consciously. And also the film, the company film was made with both visual and audio subliminal techniques. That means that also had a great influence. But since that has not been clearly proven in Germany, nothing is done about it; in America it is clearly prohibited.
Susanne Scharra: Today Andrea Jakob studies psychology and sees through the model of confusion in which she had landed. All in all, what kind of effects did you have over the years under the influence of a cult-like company?
Andrea Jakob: I had very bad psychic effects. I had spasms, stomach cramps, regular breakdowns, nervous breakdowns. To some degree, I just couldn't pull myself together, just lay in bed and slept, a complete state of exhaustion. I had an operation in a hospital in Berlin. And under sedation I had heart failure, breathing stopped, and then they said "manager syndrome."
Susanne Scharra: Yes, so much for the case of a young woman from Hesse. In the studio, Olaf Stoffel, himself a former sect member and today book author and therapist, and Lutz Lemhoefer, Weltanschauungs Commissioner for the Catholic Church. Mr. Lemhoefer, the case which we just heard about is, indeed, really tragic, but somehow one just involuntarily puts his hands behind his head and thinks, "How could the woman have let that happen to herself?" Was that an isolated incident, or do you know of similar stories?
Lutz Lemhoefer: I am absolutely familiar with similar stories which show that a business based on structured distribution can hit a person in a way which one would expect from a sect. For instance, that the private life gets left behind, that other day-to-day professional routines get set aside, that the first, last and only thing that counts is the sale, and that sometimes this is done by absolutely fraudulent corporations: making money there is always first, never second.
Susanne Scharra: Can one look at it that way, that these structured operations also use cult-like structures to tie people to themselves? What do they do, or why does it work so well?
Lutz Lemhoefer: They do not promise heavenly salvation; today there aren't that many people looking for that anyway, they promise earthly salvation - very much money, very fast! And they get people in on this one line alone, just this one line. I knew of a young man who, right in the first meeting, who was talking and his girlfriend made a couple of critical objections, and the young man was told, "Buddy, if you want to get ahead, you can't let yourself be dragged down by this bump on a log"! So he was challenged to end his relationship in the first meeting so that he would be utterly at the disposal of this operation. You can see by that to what degree people are dragged into the trap.
Susanne Scharra: Would you say that such organizations, although not religious sects, are even more dangerous than religious because the people do not even know what kind of organization they have and what goals are behind it, either?
Lutz Lemhoefer: No. I think it is just a similarity of ever popular trends in our time which both have to do with making money. But it is conspicuous that in many books on the theme of "sects," there always seems to be a chapter on "structured distribution companies" [i.e., pyramid-like schemes].
Susanne Scharra: That reminds me a little, too, of the methods of Scientology, a sect which, unlike the 'Jehovah's Witnesses,' for example, do not recite their beliefs in the form of a 'Watchtower,' but would rather train and indoctrinate its members in silence. Is that right?
Lutz Lemhoefer: Yes and no. What's at the core of Scientology is a system of psycho-courses. And they claim that a perfect person, or even a sort of super-person, can be made with these courses, in the neighborhood of 200 of them. The community consists of how much the individual's time can be monopolized and it is meant to financially victimize people for the alleged purpose of having all this success. That is an absolutely banal and secular promise of salvation. Things which one would have formerly entrusted to religion are being used here for something completely different.
Susanne Scharra: A listener just called up and asked, how can one take any serious legal action against sects or sect-like groups?
Lutz Lemhoefer: Yes, that's a legal gray zone. There are many ways of hurting yourself in our society. Only a minimum number of those are prohibited. Only when outright fraud is present, or when bodily injury is present or something like that, can one take legal action. But defending yourself against being gullible is something the individual has to do.
Susanne Scharra: There are a whole string of questions from listeners. I want to bring a couple of them up in this segment. For example, questions about a miracle healer, Bruno Groening, was asked by one woman. What's up with this man?
Lutz Lemhoefer: That is a deceased spiritual healer from the 1950s. But this man's adherents and successors still form social groups today and promise that any illness can be healed by healing currents, energy currents which Bruno Groening is now sending and directing from the great beyond. I think it is an illusion, but a very widespread illusion. And that is dangerous, primarily for people who need constant medical care which they sometimes give up for this.
Susanne Scharra: Another woman listener would like to know what the 'Grail Embassy' ["Gralsbotschaft"] is, allegedly professed by very friendly, very nice people. What is that?
Lutz Lemhoefer: There are friendly people everywhere. They are not all monsters. The 'Grail' movement is an esoteric movement, that means they have certain esoteric beliefs and secret knowledge, which is contained in the innermost depths of the world. A very elite group founded by a German by the name of Bernhard, but who calls himself 'Abdruschin.' A, yes, a secret teaching that has certain consequences for life: vegetarianism and so forth. That's not my thing, but neither do I find it awfully threatening. ...
Susanne Scharra: What amazes me is that people, as a rule, are not stupid, but say that they really could not completely explain in retrospect how they could have gotten into such dependency. Mr. Stoffel, that was similar to you in the New Apostolic Church. How did it come about that you stayed with them for so long? You said at the beginning that it was so nice and warm there but you already had a little anxiety. That could not have been everything?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: I got involved in it from a scientific viewpoint, what moved me and other people to go into a problematic religious group. And through our self-help work, we also have contact with psychiatrists in other institutions, it is my conviction that people carry with themselves a certain psychic disposition. By that I mean, people leave their parents' house missing something in what they are allowed to do, in love or security, and that is what people mean to find in the group which they join. And this psychic disposition ends up leading people to become emotionally tied to the group, because the group is a parental substitute, and they follow its leaders without pausing to reflect what they getting involved with.
Susanne Scharra: And on top of that then comes planned-out mechanisms of how they will play the part. You also detailed that, I believe, in your book. In the piece I have now also heard, there was a candle scenario, for example, or there are other things in your book, like deprivation of sleep. What kind of things are those?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: Those are all manipulative techniques which lead to a person not being in his right mind. The article talks about the candles. I am convinced that candles were used to manipulate this lady to show her that everything was all right with them there, there was harmony, there they appreciated her. That is a technique used by many groups. They hold their members up to a pseudo-set of values and tell them, "We need you. You are important for our work. Bring us the last sheep at midnight so that the end of the world can arrive." And a set of values is something which all people need. That is what makes sects so attractive, is what I'm saying. Deprivation of sleep makes people so that they can no longer properly reflect on things.
Susanne Scharra: And that's the way it was with you, too? You really worked practically day and night for the sect and hardly got any sleep?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: Oh, well, it wasn't that extreme, now. I still had my career, but everyday I was on the move for the community, recruiting new members and tending to old members, at the end about 120 members in the New Apostolic Church, and in doing that I also repressed many mental processes. And that, after all, is what kept me in so long.
Susanne Scharra: But we're finding out that when you see through the structure it gets easier to withstand the sect's temptations. But you have to do it to get back out, out of the clutches of the sect, manage to leave. Olaf Stoffel succeeded. He can give us a few tips. We'll be right back.
Susanne Scharra: Theme "Leben Heute" on sects. The phone lines are burning up here. A whole lot of listeners are calling up and want to know things, for instance, whether there is a connection between the 'Universal Life' sect and this eco-chain store 'Gut zum Leben.' Mr. Lemhoefer, Weltanschauungs Commissioner of the Catholic Church, do you know anything about that?
Lutz Lemhoefer: There is a connection. The 'Gut zum Leben' courts are part of the so-called Christian operations of 'Universal Life.' They are independent legal entities, not identical with the UL association. But you can say that their profits surely also benefit 'Universal Life' and that they try to do their work according to the principals of 'Universal Life.'
Susanne Scharra: So would say that is also a sect-like group or not?
Lutz Lemhoefer: Here I have to ... This is legally a slippery situation. Therefore I am trying to be very precise. It is legally a, these operations are independent. But they feel bound to 'Universal Life' as 'Christian operations.' From that I conclude that 'Universal Life' could benefit from their finances, but I do not know the details of that.
Susanne Scharra: What about the group 'Christian Sciences,' one listener wants to know?
Lutz Lemhoefer: 'Christian Science' is often mixed up with 'Scientology.' Unjustly. It is an older sectarian group which mainly tries to heal things through prayer, they claim that prayer can heal people of disease; it does not recruit aggressively, and I would say that they are a part of our philosophical landscape, even if I do not share their opinions or their understanding of the Bible. But I would not at all put them with Scientology in terms of risk.
Susanne Scharra: Because they don't have these totalitarian claims, or do they?
Lutz Lemhoefer: No they don't and because they don't recruit so aggressively, don't try so hard to snap up people.
Susanne Scharra: We have another example which we want to tell you about, the example of a sect leader by the name of Alfred Siebel. Siebel is obviously a man with extraordinary charisma. Perhaps many sect leaders have that, a personality with a leadership effect, who indoctrinates adherents, no ifs, ands or buts. His adherents blindly followed the ex-theologian from northern Germany like a guru for many years. Siebel has come under fire just a couple of months ago. Roswita Krauss spoke with former adherents, people who are looking, in retrospect, for a reason why they completely gave up their lives to follow this man The man from the rural area of Brode near Bremen was a blessed healer, think some. A man-trapper, a charlatan, a master of indoctrination, say others. Before the former Pastor Walter Alfred Siebel re-settled in Weisbaden, claim some who fled, he made headlines for a while in the early 1990s in Bremen and vicinity. No question about that! The charismatic therapist and inventor of so-called 'Logosophy' and 'Psychopractice' was hotly disputed. Those who fell for the guru and his self-willed theories did not get rid of him so easily.
Voice: When I think back on it today, I have the feeling that for a couple of years I was stumbling around in a fog concerning him. And I was only able to get through this fog after I was out. After I could think it over calmly for a while, what had happened there, and mainly be able to talk things over with others about it.
Susanne Scharra: One person who knows what is going on when we're talking about Siebel is former school principal Steinwede from Achim near Bremen. First his wife was Siebel's devout adherent, then his three children, and finally he wanted to know for himself what this man was about. What kind of group did he get into?
Voice: They gave everybody the feeling that there was a very special person there with special healing abilities. Also that he was a person who had somehow given the others a meaning to life. So that was not only healing medical or psychic complaints, that was also someone who imparted new meaning. Mr. Siebel himself called his teachings a weltanschauung and gave them the title 'Logosophy.' That was the foundation upon which he built everything. Well yes, all that sounded incredibly overblown and resistance, using criticism would mean you were done for. He always stood on a higher plane. No, hardly anyone would dare to do that.
Susanne Scharra: Wolfgang Schneider, sociological academic from Euten, should have known better. Really, today he still cannot understand from which demagogue he sought salvation. But, as it is known, one is always wiser in hindsight.
Wolfgang Schneider: There would be a turn of weather outside and it would rain. Then Mr. Siebel would know for a fact, "Yes, yes, it's raining now because nobody here is crying.' A typical example. He was in a cloister. He was indeed a theologian and was more or less mustered out of the Evangelical Church. He was in a cloister and held several intensive seminars there. At some point in time the management said, 'Well, we don't want any more of this.' And that is how the good man sold it, and he said, "Well yes, I escaped from there, but they don't exist anymore. It was hit by lightning.' So wherever he gives this 'touch,' anybody who opposes him, he says, something happens to them, too. So quite clearly since this threat was overcome by all this omniscience which he possessed, he would tell people, 'Look out now, that nothing happens to you!' Today I know that I also had some fantasies like that, too, 'Oh God, what do I do when I open the door and there are all of Siebel's people?'
Susanne Scharra: For some it was hard to deal with the guru and his community and keep a clear head.
Wolfgang Schneider: I think the most striking thing about it was that it happened really gradually so that people thought they had a clear head, so that people thought they were being critical, and in doing so, did not notice that they were getting increasingly dependent.
Susanne Scharra: 'Siebel was a drug for me," said some, when they tried to get away from him. Elke Sieweking, who was a patient of his for five years, thinks re-programming was necessary, a withdrawal, to put Siebel out of position as a demigod.
Elke Sieweking: It was a regular withdrawal. I can really describe the anxieties in connection with a sect, or with departing a sect, by saying that you have to work out a new worldview. Fear of doing that is great because, in essence, we have been weak or dependent, or were often dependent upon a community. Naturally, it is improbably difficult to have confidence, let alone get along in the normal world.
Susanne Scharra: Olaf Stoffel, when you hear the reports of former Siebel adherents, how difficult is it to overcome psychic dependency? Are you reminded of old stories? How was that? You've said that you were an adherent of the New Apostolic Church when you left. How did you get along in the normal world?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: In the beginning it was not simple because I had lost my perceptual structures. Prior to that, I was one of the Chosen, a child of God, called to something higher, and all of a sudden I was a completely normal person like all the other people on this earth. I had to find a new way of perceiving things, so to speak. And I swam in an ocean of uncertainty. And that was painful in the beginning, but I forced myself to work it out, to finally grow up and develop an image of God that was no longer threatening.
Susanne Scharra: When you say 'painful,' then did you sense that as a physical withdrawal, too?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: I sensed it physically, but most as a psychic pain. It was the feeling that everything was collapsing on me, that I no longer had anything to which I could hold fast. And this process led to me being at odds with myself. It became clear to me that I would have to get things under control, including my life and my family, too, and that I would have to finally decide for myself how to run my life, and that I would have to set aside this New Apostolic God, who, for me, was a God of punishment, in order to survive.
Susanne Scharra: How did the New Apostolic Church react to that? They could not just simply accept it. Because this was another means of putting extreme pressure upon apostates.
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: The way things were, I was shunned. That means many members whom I previously had confided in started regarding me as non-existent. That was one thing, the other was that certain rumors were spread about me personally. And since I went public very quickly and we also founded a self-help group, I was finally declared their 'Public Enemy No. 1.' It is basically still that way today.
Susanne Scharra: How was that for your family? Your children and wife were all members of the church. How did they get over it?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: Well, perhaps it was a little bit more painful for my family than it was for me. My wife had been in the New Apostolic Church from birth, so she had many more fears to overcome than did I. For the children, being out of the community was a new, unusual environment. But in retrospect, it was a relief. The children told me afterwards that they were happy not to have to go to services twice on Sunday and have to sit still, and they ended up enjoying their freedom very much.
Susanne Scharra: That agrees with a comment from a listener who himself is a doctor, and who has also experienced how difficult it is for children who have grown up in a cult, whose whole life is directed towards it and who practically have no interaction with other children. Another listener asks if gurus really believe in what they preach. Let's take Mr. Siebel once. Mr. Lemhoefer, do you think that somebody like that believes what he tells his people?
Lutz Lemhoefer: My impression is yes. Some of those may be narcissistic people who have constructed their own personality. But some such clever business operators we have, I think, have more to do with structured distribution and less with real sects or guru movements.
Susanne Scharra: The telephones are ringing off the hooks here. I've just said there are incredibly many questions. For example, what is 'Unitaria'? What is the 'Free Church'? We cannot answer everything in detail here. At this point, perhaps I could just let people know your telephone number. [contact information given] - Mr. Lemhoefer, what are the first warning signs people should look for in a group as to whether they are getting into a cult or not?
Lutz Lemhoefer: When somebody very clearly changes and gets secretive about why that could be. However, that is not always the case. Some people talk about and themselves recruit ardently for their new group, in their own circle of acquaintances, too. What is important is to stay in communication so as to be able to talk these changes over from the beginning. In the beginning, people affected by the cult are more likely to be open to critical information. But not when they get more deeply involved. At that point, everything they hear is either 'journalistic gossip' or 'the evil churches' are trying to rope in their sheep. At that point critical information is no longer accepted.
Susanne Scharra: Mr. Stoffel, getting out is a gradual process. You've said that took somewhat longer with you. You have also founded a self-help group. Was that your chance to get out, so to speak?
Dr. Olaf Stoffel: Yes, the self-help group was the way to finally distance myself, internally, from the New Apostolic Church. Our group has existed for four years and I've learned much in addition there, that this has happened to other people exactly as it did to me, that they have gone through similar processes. That was very consoling to me, and it finally led to me being able to away, internally, even from this threatening image of God which was imparted to me.
Susanne Scharra: So, a self-help group can help a person to find his way out of the sect. Mr. Lemhoefer, surely you also have the addresses there. -- Getting out of the sect, like withdrawal from drugs, hard to do. But it can be done! Material on the subject includes the books by Olaf Stoffel. The one is called 'Angeklagt: Die Neuapostolische Kirche.' The other, 'Der Griff nach der Seele - Wege aus Religioeser Abhaengingkeit.' To you, Olaf Stoffel, many, many thanks. Thanks also to Lutz Lemhoefer, Weltanschauungs Commissioner of the Catholic Church, for being with us to discuss this.
That was Theme "Leben Heute" about the grasp for the soul, the fascination with sects. [contact information given] Susanne Scharra was on the microphone. I wish you a beautiful day. Til next time.
Dubious offers of healing
May 15, 2000
Schwaebischer Verlag GmbH & Co. KG Drexler, Gessler
Ellwangen (sz) - "Sects and Psychogroups" were the topic of the evening at the Christian Democrat Employees of the "Altkreises Aalen" at a presentation with Hans-Werner Carlhoff.
Carlhoff led the presentation as the chairman of the Work Group for Issues of Youth Sects of the Stuttgart Culture Ministry, which has been established in all German states after a decision by the state conference. He sees the mission of his group, which is a collection of experts from the social, justice and interior ministries, primarily as "protection from dubious providers of healing."
The speaker started off by trying to clarify the word "sect." He said it was difficult to precisely define this term, since religious communities like Jehova's Witnesses and the Mormon were often mentioned in the same breath as modern healing groups like Scientology. Therefore, the experts spoke of sects and psychogroups, since that designation has also been legally verified.
Carlhoff reported there were barely 120 established groups in Baden-Wuerttemberg, and those encompassed the entire spectrum of faith. The bandwidth ranged from classic communities like the Witnesses or the Mormons who had the protection of Article Four of Basic Law, which guarantees the freedom of belief, out to obscure Japanese and Indian groups.
The focus of the presentation was not on psychogroups, of which Carlhoff gave Scientology as an example. He reported of intentional techniques of psychological manipulation, gradual influence and substitution of certain methods of thought and behavior during the Scientologists' sessions. The organization was said to be especially effective in inciting sub-conscious fears, for example of cancer or unemployment. People who would grasp at any straw would fall easily into the hands of the American psychogroup. The speaker was easily able to fill out the framework of the theoretical concepts with an abundance of examples from his daily work with people affected by sects and psychogroups. After his lecture, which gave rise to dismay and concerned head-shaking in the audience, there followed a lively discussion, primarily about the duty of the state to protect people from this kind of group.
May 5, 2000
Neue Ruhr Zeitung
A mother, her daughter and son-in-law want to follow their guru to Croatia; a husband whose wife is influenced by the study groups in Scientology; a man who wants to know what will happen to him if he studies the Bible with the Jehovah's Witnesses - these are three of many calls which the staff of Sect Info get daily. Altogether a total of 2,910 people seeking assistance turned to them last year, twelve percent less than 1998.
What decreased, however, was just the number of inquiries (down from 3,000 to a little over 2,500). Long-term consultations with therapeutic assistance rose almost by half from 285 to 422.
Especially striking: inquiries about Scientology "are constantly decreasing," according to Sabine Riede, staff member of the counselling center for People Affected by Destructive Cults. One reason for that could be that it is less in the media than it used to be. "But possibly observation of the psycho-group by Constitutional Security has had a calming effect upon people, too."
The situation has also "calmed down" with questions about Christian fundamentalist groups, which includes the University Bible Friendship (UBF) movement. Many of these groups which focused on thoughts of doomsday were under discussion before the turn of the millennium
There has been a significant increase in questions about occult teachings and practices. Many young people are attracted to the mysterious and unexplained. In her preventive work at schools, Sabine Riede has learned that "students are very impressed by certain films, such as the X Files and PSI-Factor. "It gets difficult for them to differentiate between fiction and reality."
The occult has also played the biggest role in counseling. It was closely followed by the esoteric healer scene - that doubled in relation to 1997, up 100. There has also been an increasing interest in esoteric, psychology and management seminars. Sect Info has produced a catalog of criteria to evaluate content and provider. [contact info given.]
Sects, saviors and movements discovered the internet a long time ago. At the same time, much more critical material about the groups has spontaneously appeared per mouseclick, according to Sect Info chief Heide-Marie Cammans.
The association staff has not only performed more public information work in 1999 in schools, companies and in psychiatry - they have also continued to educate themselves in legal issues. Among other things, to be capable in matters of the personality rights. That is because, they say, more and more sect members sit in on their seminars. Heide-Marie Cammans said, "They intend to silence us."
Church and politicians issue warning on sects
April 19, 2000
by Tobias von Heymann
Steglitz - Now they are again standing at the subway stations, underpasses, in front of public buildings and squares - or advertise their goals with glossy brochures: sect adherents who are now determined to recruit new members.
At the moment it is the "Scientology Organization" (SO) which is trying to gain a foothold in Berlin. "Scientology is under great pressure because it has money problems," presumes state church sect commissioner Thomas Gandow. In his opinion, the controversial organization is mainly on the look-out for people who are new to the city and who do not yet have social connections. Those would include the approximately 8,000 first semester college students, many of whom have just recently arrived in Berlin.
The Youth Union (JU) mobilized resistance on short notice and protested against the SO exhibition, which opened yesterday. "This sect manipulates people and wants to exploit them and leave them without a will of their own," warned Nadine Wichatzek (25), one of the organizers. CDU General Secretary Ingo Schmitt also condemned Scientology, "Scientology is one of the most dangerous international sects."
Within the show, SO activists demonstrated one way spiritual lives of members were explored: a so-called "electrometer," a small device with dials, knobs and two tin cans is supposed to be able to measure positive and negative feelings. A member of the "Kurier" editorial staff tested the device - it obviously worked only for those who believed in it.
Caution: Total Control
Pastoral speaker Andreas Hartung spoke on the Scientology Organization
April 11, 2000
Neue Tag, Der Lokales
Duernast. (bk) "The Scientology Organization is dangerous. It promises total freedom, but what comes out of it is total control and exploitation. The SO wants to get on the computer route to world domination," stated pastoral speaker Andreas Hartung from Vohenstrauss in front of members of the KAB of Duernast, Kaltenbrunn and Freihung.
Hartung provided the audience with an "interior view" of Scientology with a video film entitle "Dealing in souls - expensive dreams of superhumans." Their sympathizers were said to be at our doors. The SO intentionally approaches children and youth, such as with homework tutoring, the degreed theologian gave by way of example. The targets of the organization was said to be free thought and action. This was a clear disregard of divine will. People got caught up in the organization during times of crisis. The "Apostle of Appearances" would promise everything a pitiful soul could only hope for but which a sometimes grim reality would never produce. "When one is cloaked in control, then humanly undignified conduct results," the speaker stressed. He said that Ron Hubbard, the founder of the SO, had made himself into a Missionary of Illusion. He was also the originator of the statement "If one really wanted to make a million dollars, then the fastest way is to start one's own religion." Scientology runs its game with cost-intensive communication courses and violates peoples' private sphere up to the point of financial exploitation, Hartung continued. He gave the audience a "sect check" and pointing out characteristics which were conspicuous with Scientologists. He further requested his audience to pay attention to the ground rules of "coaching, psycho- or communication training": have the trainers show their credentials, have caution for rules which are sectarianly strict and for esoteric ideologies. A clear warning signal of a non-professional coach was intrusion into one's private sphere, he said.
Academic warns about soul trappers
Presentation on Scientology at the family seminar -
Push for Global Power
April 10, 2000
Der neue Tag/Amberger Zeitung
Fensterbach. (hts) "Scientology Soul Trapper" was the theme of the third evening presentations of the family seminars at the Duernsricht-Wolfring parsonage in Brandstodel. For this one, Reverend Hans Gruber was able to welcome accredited academic Bernhard Suttner from Windberg of Straubing-Bogen county. He intentionally did not carry a list of companies or names suspected of having a connection with Scientology, said the speaker. It was the family's responsibility to their children, he said, to be able to recognize the importance of sects. Self-discipline was required to do that. He continued to say that Scientology clearly targeted the problems dealing with youth. A favorite tactic in doing so was to stir up fears. Meanwhile it is said that there are at least eight million Scientologists.
In principle though, Scientology was only one, sole artifice of the tax laws from the USA, said Suttner. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction author, started the founding of the sect in 1950 as an "immortal." The soul trapper image reveals that someone lie in wait to bring a "soul" from one place to another. The motive of the trapper was clear: he either operates from deep conviction, invokes a higher power or operates out of selfish motives in order to be able to achieve material gain or a higher ranking within the organization.
Scientology traps people, he said, for the purpose of gaining power over society. Power can be a purpose unto itself, but it also opens up new and effective paths to obtain yet more money. The victim is cunningly ensnared. "The 'catch' often consists of young people, but adults who are going through a crisis in life are also at risk," said Suttner. Many of these potential victims are on a quest for the meaning of life, for meaning of basic issues (the beyond, God, death and suffering), for methods of surviving difficulties of all kinds, for orientation in the jungle of the globalized world or for extraordinary titillation from the realm of the unknown.
Unfortunately, a zeitgeist of absolute absence of responsibility reigns. Soul trappers are not pressed for answers. They go all the much more for this loophole in the market. It is the underlying theme of all "soul trappers" to offer absolute enlightenment and the ability to produce prosperity. The speaker continued by saying there were unorganized, sub-cultural occult groups as well as rigidly organized sect presences like Scientology. That sect promises to be able to solve all problems of private and public life. Its program costs much money and means extensive propagation of its own policy to others.
From its conception, Scientology has never been a "church," but a powerful commercial enterprise. New "customers" have been successfully obtained by companies which offer their management courses and engage in their business consultation. The most important and widely distributed lure in use was said to be a comprehensive 200 question personality test called the "Oxford Personality Analysis." The focus of the "Scientology teachings" was said to be the act of clearing people of "false concepts, misunderstandings, obstacles to thoughts and feelings." Being "cleared" of these things was said to be highly regarded. The highest level of development was said to be absolute liberation, the unshackling of the "Operating Thetans." Scientology puts special value on funneling new content into traditional concepts. "Ethics," for instance, is no longer the teaching of good and evil, but the "removal of counter-intentions." Politically, Scientology pursues the goal of bringing governments, philosophies or societies inimicable to it into a state of complete compliance.
"Assurance of Law and Order is an ethically founded mission of Politics"
Bavaria's Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein spoke in Ulmerhaus on Wednesday evening.
April 6, 2000
Lohr. Precisely because of the separation of church and state, society needs an ethical foundation which only a "Christian-Occidental can provide it with. This was the view presented by Bavaria's Interior Minister Dr. Guenther Beckstein on Wednesday in Lohr, where he spoke in the framework of the "Meeting in Ulmerhaus" series in front of an audience of about 75 on the topic of "As a Christian in Politics."
Deacon Michael Wehrwein welcomed the politician, who is a member of the State Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, as an "involved Evangelical Christian," then dedicated himself to the question of whether politics needs more morals or if too many morals could even, perhaps, be harmful to politics. Then he who enters the political arena in order to put good morals into effect for all is in danger "of making himself into a messiah who is blazing the way to a new world," Wehrwein cited a paragraph from leading church council member Klaus Baschang (of Karlsruhe).
"Church are the foundation"
In light of the discussion on term limitations for politicians, which is also being conducted in the Evangelical Church, Dr. Guenther Beckstein could not resist making a comment at the beginning of his statements about whether term limitations were also under consideration for ministers, deacons and church council members. Separation of church and state was a well-established fact, the Interior Minister stressed. Nevertheless, the church remained "the foundation of our system of values."
It was the secular state which did not involve itself in the "ultimate end," and therefore did not possess the capability of founding a deep system of values. Where the mistakes of such a system of values would lead, he said by way of example, was learned from meetings with the police from Russia, where criminality could hardly be contained, said the Interior Minister. Christianity, humanism and enlightenment, he said, have made their mark upon our culture and were holding it together.
"That which is no longer held in place by an ethical bond must be regulated by stricter laws," Beckstein regretfully stated. He also warned of making everything in politics a fundamental issue and fancying oneself to be the sole possessor of truth. Politics, he said, was not about truth, but "about better, more purposeful solutions."
The theme of the financial scandal in his CDU sister party did not get by the CSU politician. He said it concerned him "as a Christian in politics, how former Federal Chancellor Kohl had dealt with the party law," said Beckstein. He said he was shaken up even more by the conduct of former Federal Interior Minister Kanther, with whom he had worked for years.
It was in his role as Interior Minister that he was often asked, for example, whether he would be able to be ethically responsible for the management of the use of police or for the orders about use of lethal force upon criminals, reported Beckstein. He took the standpoint that implementation of the legal system was a provision for peaceful coexistence. The average citizen who could not afford a security agency would have to be able to depend upon the state for guaranteeing law and order, he said.
Being prepared to take responsibility
Therefore, ensuring law and order was "a central, ethically based, fundamental mission of politics," as far as he was concerned. People were only free "if they could still feel safe on the streets at night." Therefore he saw his office as supporting the police, not getting in their way or parading their mistakes in front of them. As a Christian, he said, one had to be prepared to take responsibility.
Beckstein made it clear that he "put more worth on how innocent people could be prevented from turning into victims than on the rights of the perpetrators." Bavaria's Interior Minister expressed concern on the strong rise in criminality among children and youth in the past five years, which mainly reflected a rise for young men ("young women here, at least, are much braver"). Beckstein thought that the main cause of this development was the failure of families to impart an awareness of values, and he interjected that the police were curing only the symptoms.
"Reducing availability of drugs"
Beckstein also took a clear position on the drug politic. He said he would continue to fight, and "not capitulate to drugs, even if some of the younger people like to think that is old-fashioned." If it were up to him, drugs would not be sold openly in Bavaria, the state would not distribute heroin and there would be no support for "fixer rooms." He supported providing an extensive variety of therapies for those affected, but at the same time "reducing the availability of drugs."
There was plenty of room in Beckstein's statements for his position on sects, such as the "Scientology Church" and "Universal Life." Scientology was not a church, said Beckstein, "but a crack organization which had set for itself the goal of gutting people like Christmas geese." Because sects strove for political and commercial power, he was having them observed by Constitutional Security. He said that was not possible with "Universal Life," unfortunately, because no efforts to overturn the state system were in evidence with them.
In foreign politics and politics of asylum, he took a position "with which I can be at ease in my conscience," assured Beckstein. He goes by the rule of thumb that "whoever is really persecuted will be taken in." Self-conscious that he was speaking at a church sponsored event, Beckstein continued to say that he would not let the Bavarian or the German position on asylum-seekers be accused by people who did not know any better of being "hard-hearted." The Interior Minister reminded the audience that Bavaria alone had taken in 65,000 refugees from Bosnia, more than any other European country.
He said where there was real, existing need, help would be offered. But if it had been determined in "manifold worldwide proceedings" that there were no grounds for asylum, it was just as clear that applicants would continue to be deported. He took a similar attitude toward the Kosovo refugees. He said it was "ethically proper for the refugees to be sent back to their homeland in order to help rebuild it."
Discussion with Islam wanted
On the theme of Islam, Beckstein found "many unreflected fears, but also justified worries." He thought that 90 - 95 percent of the Moslems living here are tolerant. The Christian church should therefore not discuss ecumenism only with each other, but also seek discussion with the Islamic community. After all, the progress of the Islam of tolerance and not that of fanaticism was also in their interest.
For him, permits to build mosques and minarets were no problem. But as to whether they would have to be promoted by the state, Beckstein left that with a "question mark." He said mosques would not necessarily have to look "like those in Turkey or Algeria," but could fit in with the general style. If nothing else, there were construction regulations in Germany, too, right down to what the slope of the roof could be. Beckstein also called for people to be liberal and tolerant towards Islam, but at the same time to promote respect for the "Christian-Occidental dominant culture."
In the ensuing short discussions, mainly the theme of sects was addressed. Several speakers expressed a lack of understanding about permission for operation of an elementary school being granted to "Universal Life." Interior Minister Beckstein referred to the legal situation and the judgments of the courts, which left no other alternatives.
More measures will be taken this year to prevent criminality / survey campaigns and an Info-mobile
March 25, 2000
Sindelfinger Zeitung, Germany
Soon to be police on bicycles
by our editorial staff member Juergen Wegner
"Sindelfingen has normal activity for a mid-sized city in a populated area," said Sindelfingen's district police chief Gerhard Schiffler. In order to keep things that way, the police are expanding the measures used to ward off criminal activity.
The police chief made it clear that drugs are not openly dealt on the streets in Sindelfingen. "The number of violent crimes has also been contained," according to Gerhard Schiffler. He may not sit back, however, despite the relatively easy situation. One look at the statistics makes it clear that the momentary calm does not have to last: the younger the population group, the more criminal acts are attributed to them. Most crimes committed by youth are theft or shoplifting.
The director of the Department for Children and Youth work in the Sindelfingen council building, Hans-Georg Burr, has an explanation for that: "Today charges are often more filed when children break the rules. That reflects a normal conflict in the social environment to crime." Codes director Manfred Stock is not put off by that: "You can't exclude the possibility that the potential for violence continues to rise in young people."
"Intensify contact to citizens"
The police are fortifying their activities so that Sindelfingen residents can continue to feel safe in the future. The officers receive support from the community council for that: in the 2000 budget, 10,000 marks are earmarked for the support of preventive measures. The method was revealed by Gerhard Schiffler in German officialese, "Our goal is an intensification of citizen contact through heightened presence."
In real life that means: in the coming weeks more police officers will be walking the beat downtown. Police will be mounting bicycles in the line of duty for the first time this summer, and from May to October the police Info-mobile will be on tour. That will be an officially equipped vehicle which will be assigned to social hot spots and to larger gatherings and festivals, at the swimming pools or soccer fields. "By doing that, we can build a bridge to people. If we have contacts at the location, people can go straight to police officers," said Gerhard Schiffler.
By doing that, the police are trying to kill two birds with one stone: "We can tell people about our work, and in return we learn what residents expect from the police. Proximity to citizens promises success." He said that was hardly possible in paddy wagons. Another measure which is supposed to break down obstacles between police and private person is a citizens verbal hour planned in the council building. There will be a survey campaign about that in April, which will be conducted by officers from the Information-mobile and from door-to-door.
Besides the new activities, the officials also will retain the tried and true. There will be another "Eyes open close by" campaign in 2000. The information program at schools will also continue, whereby violence in schools and juvenile delinquency are to be combatted at their place of origin. "Appearances by youth workers Frank Schulze, Joerg Berger and Petra Wildner have become part of the schools' daily routine," said Gerhard Schiffler. That includes informational meetings about sects, like the Scientology sect, for example.
Conflict Management Work Group
Since 1995 there have been monthly meetings of the "Conflict Management Work Group" given by the codes office with the participation of the citizens' spokeswoman, the municipal Greens production operation, the municipal school administration, the three staff members of the mobile youth office and the Office for Social Services. The work group dedicates itself to the task of exchanging information about conflicts in the city as quickly as possible.
Since October 1994, the Turkish Association resident to Sindelfingen has been working with the police and the foreign officials. The goals of this project: offer youth and adults who have been convicted perspectives and handle questions of life together in Sindelfingen.
The people in charge of the plan to install emergency phones in the parks have backed off. "We no longer see any reason for it in the age of mobile phones," said codes director Manfred Stock. Mounting surveillance camera on especially dark corners, however, has still not been decided upon.
There will be a public session in the community council on Tuesday on measures for community crime prevention starting at 3 p.m.
KAB manifestly interested
Local association presents annual program - discussion on Scientology
February 8, 2000
Neue Tag, Der Lokales
Parkstein. (hjs) The KAB presented the year's program on Thursday to members and friends. The themes are so diverse that there will be something for everybody. Neither will there be a lack of sociability. For starters there was a presentation in the Adam Gasthof on the theme of "Scientology - Church or totalitarian organization." Chairpeople Maria Werner and Rudolf Schraml succeeded in obtaining sect expert Reverend Leo Feichtmeir as a speaker for the occasion.
Scientology was said to be represented in 135 countries, but was one of the most controversial worldview organization, the speaker reported, Critics accuse it of using psychological methods to get people to break their social ties, of making them dependent and of commercially exploiting them. Above all, the Churches refuse to acknowledge its status as a religious denomination.
Joining the sect begins mostly with a personality test of 200 questions, some of them banal, according to the minister. The participants are supposed to be freed of there spiritual obstacle through a costly communication course and be led through about ten steps in the current lifetime to the state of "clear." The "auditing" is a type of confession which is measured with a meter.
Scientology has been active in Germany since 1971. After gaining an "initial toehold," the influence of Scientology in Germany has waned. The organization's supreme goal, world domination, with slogans like "governments are mentally ill," or "democracy's time is past," or "to hell with this society, we're building a new one," have raised a few ears. The series of educational and discussion evenings will be continued on Thursday, March 30, with speaker Reverend Erhard Unterburger. He will speak on the topic "Positive Thought - Eastern Optimism" in the "Parksteiner Hof" Gasthof. There is an open invitation for Saturday, April 29, for "Zoiglbierabend" starting 7:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of town hall. Tuesday, May 9 at 8 p.m. the regular annual meeting is set for the Adam Gasthaus. On Sunday, July 23, a family outing in Stein Forest for a cordial get-together is planned in Berggasthof Zrenner. Other evening presentations with themes such as "Poor and Rich in Germany" or "From Ketteler to John Paul" occur on Tuesday, September 19 and on Thursday, October 26, both in "Parksteiner Hof" Gasthof.
On Saturday, September 16, the Director of the Weiden Labor Office, Siegfried Buehner, will speak at the fall conference on the topic of "Society and the Labor Market in northern Oberpfalz." Along with that will be a community day and events in Johannis Valley. On Thursday, December 14, the traditional Advent festival will be organized with the residents of the Loewaeschen establishment at Gruenthaler Hof at 7 p.m. in the "Parksteiner Hof."
February 2, 2000
The Scientologists' Osterstein Castle Management, Inc. and real estate agent Kurt Fliegerbauer have bought real estate and/or buildings on Mendelssohn Square and on Neundorfer Street - one privately and one from bankruptcy proceedings.
Will that be good enough for Fliegerbauer or does he also want to get a firm footing in Plauen? In any case, the Free Voters Association had doubts along these lines (we reported). Upon their inquiry to the city of Plauen, they were answered, "No municipal property has knowingly been sold to the Osterstein Castle Management Inc.," and "the same goes for Fliegerbauer," as press speaker Sylvia Weck put it yesterday.
It was said that if there should be any evidence of that, naturally it will be looked into. She stated, "In town hall the topic has already been dealt with sensibly."
A series of events for issues of worldview
Numerous groups represented in Cologne
"Churches must seek dialogue"
January 6, 2000
by Matthias Pesch
Cologne, in the west of the Federal Republic [of Germany], is the center for sects and worldview groups. This is the the assessment propounded by Werner Huebsch, expert for issues of worldview in Cologne archdiocese. The phenomenon of an ever-increasing variety of life styles, worldviews and weltanschauungs can be observed in all large German cities, according to Huebsch, "and this pluralism will continue to progress."
Meanwhile, said Huebsch, people are "not more or less religious than they were ten or fifteen years ago," "but ecclesiasticism is on the decline." People were said to no longer seek orientation solely from the churches during times of crisis, but also from various "providers of meaning" who who attract people with promises of healing on the "market" of worldviews. In that regard new religious movements, which were generally negatively rated under the broad term of "youth sects" in the late 1970s, have today been widely accepted in society. "Nobody gets excited anymore today when the "Osho" movement opens a discotheque."
The church, according to Huebsch, will have to maintain a presence on this market, and must be fair and factual with the groups in discussing their teachings and convictions. This discussion has been going on for barely three years in the "cathedral forum," which, from his point of view, is an ideal place for this dialogue. More than 20 events on various groups and movements are offered under the theme of "search for meaning": from the Jehovahs Witnesses to Hare Krishna, from the Moon sect and Mormons up to Scientology, esoterica [New Age, etc.], and Satanism.
Help in the Search for Meaning
"The series has been very well accepted," summed up Dr. Karl Heinz Paulus, director of the cathedral forum. Most had more than 50 participants, often more than 100 - always including representatives of the group under discussion which had been informed in advance of the events. The introduction of content was consistently "to the point and non-polemic," followed by an open discussion in which the worldviews were followed up from a Christian perspective. Looking closely into each specific group paid off," said Huebsch. "One cannot put them all in the same bag and hit them with the "sect stick." In fair dealing one also hears criticism from the other side.
The series of presentations will now continue with a new accentuation: Tuesdays at 5 p.m., Christian groups will talk under the theme "Tips for seekers of meaning": first will be a Taize group (January 11), then the Bible Study Group of the Catholic Youth Office (February 8) and the Franciscan community (March 14). "These are not supposed to be advertising events for the groups; they are supposed to show what they can offer on the path of orientation to people who have questions."
While charlatans count receipts, politicians are sleeping
December 29, 1999
Consumer protection has not gotten far on the psycho- and esoteric market
SZ Esoteric series, Part 6 and Conclusion
by Bernhard Kellner
The esoteric market is booming. And not just since the feverish staggering toward the turn of the millennium began. What can soothsayers and clairvoyants really do? How do Scientology and obscure spirit healer sects process their members? And what is politics doing to put a stop to the wild outgrowth and protect the consumer? We investigate these questions in a six part series.
Who protects the diabetic who follows the advice of a miracle healer and stops injecting insulin? Or the sect victim who transfers everything in his possession over to the organization after being brainwashed? Nobody, because the psycho- and esoteric market is territory which is mostly free from law. "Anybody can do as he likes," says Helga Lerchenmueller, consumer protection advocate from the Stuttgart Training Information Initiative ["Aktion Bildungsinformation"]. For example, there is no certification of the providers' qualifications, nor is there an educational standard which has to be maintained for the profession in the esoteric market. Lerchenmueller wants to see providers obligated to explain their methods and indicate risks and side effects before a customer signs a contract.
The field has comfortably established itself in its law-free niche. The trade association of spiritual healing (DGH) cautions its members in its "Legal handbook for healers." Before a district attorney can bring charges against them, there could first be a search done on the premises. Therefore the DGH recommends, "Adapt your living environment to the rules of conduct for healers: remove the medical inventory from your treatment room. Hang the letters of thank you from your patients and your false title on the wall."
The creature from the esoteric swamp continued to rake in the profits, even when it appeared that the swamp could soon dry up. In May 1996, the German Parliament, with votes from the SPD, Union and FDP, authorized the Enquete Commission for "So-called sects and psycho-groups" which analyzed the psycho-market until May 1998. Outside of an almost 500 page final report, it did not produce much. After convolutions were delivered in the debate, the participants mutually patted themselves on the backs. It was judged that nobody wanted to carry out a "witch hunt" or to "placate," as SPD Representative Angelika Mertens said at the time. The intention to give psycho-groups like Scientology, dubious miracle healers and sectarians a rap on the knuckles with strict laws was announced across the ranks in beloved unison. The psycho-market should be regulated with a so-called "life management assistance law," the usury paragraph should be broadened and association and revenue laws were to be used to ensure that religious denominations remain true to the Constitution. Since then, nothing more has happened which could help the average citizen.
A proposed law which the Federal Assembly ["Bundesrate"] unanimously passed on initiative from the state of Hamburg more than three years ago is on the table. However, neither the federal administration nor one of the factions can apparently bring itself to introduce it into Parliament. The hesitation of the Red-Green majority puts its smaller coalition partner at a disadvantage, along with church sect commissioners and the Interior agency of the State of Hamburg: "The Greens are an esoteric party. They protect the doers," said Ursula Caberta y Diaz, Director of the Work Group on Scientology in Hamburg. Consumer advocate Helga Lerchnemueller of the Stuttgart Training Information Initiative: "The Greens are the bottleneck, they do not want static from their own clients."
As a matter of fact, the Greens were the only party which did not agree with the results of the Enquete Commission. The "multitude of recommendations for action" would have given the impression, stormed the Green's commission member, Angelika Koester-Lossack, that 'danger was imminent." However, there were no findings "that legal violations or morally untenable conduct abounded in Germany." There was said to be no reason for "legislative aggression." Koester-Lossack still thinks the same thing today, "At the moment, we do not see urgent problems there."
Meanwhile, the SPD faction is trying to find a way to introduce the "life management assistance bill" back into the business of the day, said political speaker on sects of the SPD faction, Renate Rennebach, who filled a position on the Enquete Commission: "It's sleeping, but is not dead." It is questionable that their comrades will get to it; the results of the Enquete Commission are not currently mentioned in the Red-Green coalition contract. That is a weak place in a critical point for the proposed law. Hamburg State's version contained reversal of the burden of proof: miracle healers, psychogurus and sects, it said, should have to prove that their practices are not at fault if the bodily or mental condition of their customers should debilitate. This paragraph has been deleted under pressure form several German states.
The investigators on the eighth floor
Hartwig Moeller has been chief of the NRW Constitutional Security for three months
December 28, 1999
from our correspondent
Kai von Schoenebeck
Duesseldorf. They work on the eighth floor of the Duesseldorf Interior Ministry, use a special elevator, and they do not have name plates on their office doors. In the fight against political extremism, the men and women of the NRW Constitutional Security are not generally seen or heard. In contrast, Hartwig Moeller, chief of the department for three months, is in the public eye.
"We want to get away from the spy image," said the 55 year old lawyer, "the best protection for our democracy is well-informed citizens." Therefore Constitutional Security diligently publishes brochures on the extreme left and the radical right fronts, writes about foreign extremists, and is using the internet more and more to this end. "A million accesses this year," rejoices Moeller and grins, "the groups we have always had under surveillance are the ones who like to call up our reports."
Yes, it is mostly old acquaintances with whom Constitutional Security deals. "We observe extremist efforts over a very long period of time," stated the native born man from Thueringen. "The clients are known." Unlike the police, who are active after a crime has already been committed, Constitutional Security works at the forefront. Dozens of staff evaluate flyers and speciality newspapers, sift through the electronic media and visit discussion groups and planning meetings. Mostly undetected.
"There is no frivolous spying"
"In order to gain in-depth information, you sometimes need to use secret means," said Moeller, meaning eavesdropping, surveillance, the use of undercover people and documents. Even though that is only a "fraction of the work," "there is no such thing as frivolous spying." First there are laws and bureaucracy. Before bugs can be installed or telephones can be tapped, confirmation has to be obtained not just from Interior Minister Fritz Behrens, but also an independent commission has to be informed about the reasons and chances of success. Nothing happens without their approval.
One must be "very meticulous," said Moeller, in selecting his "trusted people." "Mostly it is people out of the group itself, especially the rightwing," he reported, "who offer us information." Rivalries among each other can be an excuse for taking that step, or just the hope of receiving money. Moeller, who is still "indignant" over an application he made which was turned down while he was studying in Goettingen over 30 years ago, said, "One cannot get rich with us."
"Adherents of the rightwing propaganda are getting younger"
And so Constitutional Security has all suspicious undercurrents in Nordrhein Westfalia in sight, and hopes to be able to provide timely warning before militant activity takes place. The Expo opponents from Bielefeld ("sabotage was reported, planning meetings occurred in mid-November") are under surveillance as are autonomists in Paderborn ("they recently destroyed a field being used for genetic testing"), the NPD in Minden-Luebbecke county ("even have their own newspaper"), and the relatively well-known neo-Nazis from Bielefeld. Mueller said, "That is not the only place where the adherents of rightwing propaganda are getting younger, sometimes just 14 or 15 years old."
Constitutional Security agents watch the PDS ("80 percent of their banner bearers have a leftwing extremist background"), as they do the Kurdish PKK and the Scientology Organization. Things could change with the latter in the coming year. "We will check whether expenses and returns are duly proportionate there."
Not even enough money for toothpaste
December 27, 1999
How careers, souls and bank accounts can be ruined by Scientology
Report by a former sect member from Saarland
SZ series, part 5
by Bernhard Kellner
The esoteric market is booming. And that has not just been since the feverish staggering towards the turn of the millennium has begun. What can soothsayers and clairvoyants really do? How do Scientology and obscure spirit healers process their members? And what is politics doing to put a stop to this wild outgrowth and protect consumers? We investigate these questions in a six-part series.
Ute Paul (name changed, the ed.) did not attain the goal of creating her own environment herself nor of "being cause over all things." The 56 year old woman had given everything she had, up to the point of wanting to give her own life. Ute Paul had climbed high up in the hierarchy of Scientology; she was an "Operating Thetan" (OT), as it is called in the jargon of the organization. In doing that she attained a rank held by only a couple of hundred of the estimated three to eight million Scientologists in the world.
When Ute Paul joined the organization in 1988, she was what one would call a successful woman: she was regarded as an excellent cook and ran a busy, well-known restaurant in Saarbruecken. Her son Peter, who was 27 years old, lived in Frankfurt, and was a Scientologist at that time, told Ute, "In three weeks they had helped him break his habit of smoking hash." What she was yet more impressed by was how confident Peter suddenly was of himself. Like when he needed 40,000 marks to be able to pay for Scientology courses. "Peter went to the bank in the morning and came back with the money that afternoon - and I, as a business woman, had to haggle for 14 days to be able to put 20,000 marks into my restaurant."
What followed was typical for joining a psychosect: auditing, which psychologists describe as coerced hypnosis and brainwashing; training drills; hours at a time in the sauna to allegedly purge body and spirit - along with that, Ute broke out and got red blotches on her skin because she had consumed high doses of vitamin B3 (niacin). Naturally, thousands of marks had to be paid for these courses and treatments. In doing that [spending money] Ute soon made contact with the international level of management: by her first year she had already spent ten days on a luxury liner in the Caribbean which is the highest cadre-smith in Scientology; she said, "I was made to feel like I was one of the best, one of the few who could save our planet."
Ute was to soon get a first inkling that this allegedly elite organization could primarily be regarded as financially exploiting its members. "I put 45,000 marks at my son's disposal so that he could attain a high auditing grade," she said. In doing that she was promised inside the organization that Peter could receive auditing from her for free. "But Scientology did not keep their promise," said Ute. Their frustration kept them away from the organization for a year. Up to that point, Ute had paid Scientology 160,000 marks [approx. $120,000] - within a twelve-month period.
As Scientology came around, Ute and Peter became active again in 1990. Course after course followed from that point on; Ute traveled to England where she was supposed to obtain the state of "clear" - the first of the high training grades and desired goal for everyone who joins Scientology. Cost: about 120,000 marks. Ute said that to do that, she had cashed in her life insurance, which she had been saving for old age. Yet hardly did she have her "clear" status than the "registrar" (that is what Scientology calls employees who get people to pay money for more courses) assigned to her told her that merely attaining "clear" would be putting her life at risk. She was told it would be worth her while to go up the next highest steps so as not to backslide. Therefore she immediately transferred another 120,000 marks to the organization to become an "operating thetan." But Ute had to wait four years before she started. In the meantime she was taken for a total of 65,000 marks in preparatory courses. Ute said, "I sold my restaurant and cashed in another life insurance policy."
Her great disillusionment came to her in the Scientology center in English East Grinstead, which is about 30 kilometers south of London. Ute was auditing Scientology staff there: "They stole candy and money from each other - and went to the rest rooms to sneak drinks out of flasks." Drinking alcohol is regarded as "unethical" in the organization. Even the people in management were not able to afford toothpaste or a trip to the barber: "They wore shoes which had holes in them and owned only a solitary uniform which they had to wash and let hang overnight to dry." Ute said that she did not want to live like that. With her high grade of "Operating Thetan" level five, she travelled back to Germany where she visited many other OTs: "They had all obtained nothing with their alleged abilities, they are broke or mentally ill."
She had also been a physical and mental "wreck" after she left in 1997, said Ute. Starved, suicidal and broke. Ute has not since been put under pressure by the organization, as have others before her: "Scientology has had to be very careful since then," said counsellor and ex-Scientologist Jeannette Schweitzer, whom Ute has been visiting.
Ute has managed to pull herself back up. She runs a simple, but nicely decorated corner place in Saarland. Business is slow and profits are minimal, she says, "but I don't have to starve." She runs the place by herself from dawn to dusk: purchases, cleaning, cooking and serving. "They'll be enough for help when I get more customers," she says. She did not want to go to the welfare office: "I was ashamed." Ute will probably have to work for the rest of her life because she has spent all her savings. Her 38 year old son has also managed to leave the sect. He is getting training at a computer company.
Expensive search for meaning before the turn of the times
December 22, 1999
UFOs bringing salvation and the power of the pyramids:
The esoteric boom is unbroken at the end of the millennium
SZ series part 1
by Bernhard Kellner
The market in esoterica is booming. And not just since the feverish staggering toward the turn of the millennium began. What can soothsayers and clairvoyants really do? What does Scientology and obscure spirit healer sects do with their members? And what are the people in politics doing to put a stop to the wild outgrowths and to protect consumers? We will investigate these questions in a six-part series.
A look on the shelves in the bookstore shows the breadth of the selection in the esoteric market: the Virgin Mary's latest advice to the family is right next to the report on the initiation of the selected few into an Incan fraternity or next to a pocket book that - finally - promises to give us the truth about the energy from the pyramids. The demand is enormous: seven to ten percent of all new arrivals on the book market fall into the category of esoterica. Indeed the boom is not just limited to books and baubles like tarot cards or CDs with singing Shamans. The market contains organized groups and gurus who pretend to heal, to develop the personality of their clients or even teach them their presumed abilities - for a fee. The confusing overabundance of the messages range from far eastern philosophy to visions of the end of time in which a selected gaggle of believers will be saved by UFOs from the exploding planet and taken away to a secure corner of the galaxy. In addition, an army of astrologers, diviners and soothsayers offer their services for a fee - as shown by a glance in the advertisement section of pulp magazines and newspapers.
They are all cultivating a field which used to be reserved mostly for the major churches. While the rows of pews in the houses of God have lost a couple of stalwarts and the confessional booths are being neglected, the search for a meaning in life and for advice in the daily routine has been detected elsewhere. If the confessional seems too lame for anyone, they may have themselves "audited" by the Scientology sect. To be sure, this sect has frequently been accused of subjecting its disciples to brainwashing and requiring that they pay not only with money, but also with their physical and mental health.
In Germany, the esoteric and psycho- market is largely unpioneered territory. A little light was to have been brought into the tunnel by the German Parliament's Enquete Commission, which was active from 1996 to 1998. One - not representative - consumer survey produced the impression that the great majority (83 percent) of clients of alternative healers and advisors were content with their services. A number which should be taken with a grain of salt, since customers in agreement with the magic practiced by the gurus may have been manipulated. Two-thirds of the esoterica clients are women and their level of education is above the average. More than half of the customers, according to the survey, had had some psychotherapeutic treatment at some point in time. To the question of why they had decided on alternative methods, 28 percent cited psychic problems, 22 percent physical problems and another 22 percent psychosomatic illnesses. Others sought help for social problems (14 percent), wanted to change or experience themselves (14 percent) or were seeking meaning in life and were trying to expand their awareness (13 percent, multiple reasons possible). The average esoterica consumer puts about 2,000 marks ($1,600) into the psychomarket per year. People who deal with the Scientology sect, for example, will presumably need somewhat more: experts say that the Scientology recruit not infrequently can expend 100,000 marks ($80,000) or more.
The thirst for the occult and secret knowledge is as old as humanity. The last European epoch in which the worldview was dominated by magic was the Baroque era; the great enlighteners and natural scientists of the 18th century applied themselves to the explanation of the world defined by reason. Nevertheless, the fascination with allegedly extrasensory perception also endured the Industrial Revolution in the 19th and the dramatic technical progress of the 20th centuries. Even in Thomas Mann's novel which appeared in 1924, "Der Zauberberg," set in 1914, Hans Castorp, the main character and resident of a lung sanatorium, took blissful, ghoulish delight in apparitions from the other side before charging headlong into the hail of steel produced by the industrial machines of destruction in the First World War.
Since the end of the 1960s, in the afterwash of American counter-culture and the Flower Power era, esoterica consumerism has been racing at top speed from one transition to the next. No sooner has the Age of Aquarius turned into that of Pisces than the doomsday believers are afraid of world ruination in the year 2000. A mirror of this rush is reflected in the "esotera" magazine, in which can be read interviews with the "enlightened" as well as reports on freaks who "heal" streets which have a greater number of accidents by tying little colored glass globes around in the area. The title story of the December edition is "The Look into the next Millennium," after which one can read in the January edition, "When is the End of the World?" In their current editorial, chief editor Gert Geisler wrote, "Since the world has apparently been spared the much-heralded cataclysms (sudden extermination, the ed.) of the millennium, surely it would be worthwhile to questioningly direct our gaze forward.
Scientology - a danger for state and society?
The "School and Business Work Group" got information on sects and psycho-groups in Kloster Banz
November 15, 1999
Kloster Banz. Sects and psycho-groups in Germany presently have about 800,000 members. The "School and Business Work Group" held an information seminar in the rooms of the Hanns Seidel Foundation for the purpose of explaining the fascination with sects.
Dr. Wolfgang Behnk, Commissioner for Issues of Sects and Worldview of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, was obtained as speaker. In his first presentation "Fascination or Illusion?" he determined that the acceptance of sects and psycho-groups into society does not generally threaten the democratic community in the German Federal Republic, but that "considerable potential for conflict has to be anticipated."
Members of sects and psycho-groups were said to be engaged in a process of de-individualization, de-privatization and de-socialization. As a result of that, sect members end up being withdrawn from "democracy as responsible citizens" because democracy is exemplified negatively by sect leaders and, for instance, is even described as "barbarism" by Scientologists.
Behnk's second presentation was called "Scientology - Danger for State, Business and Society?" Even though the Scientology sect, which was founded in 1954, currently is said to have only about 5,000 to 10,000 members in Germany, it is not the less dangerous "because its adherents are all the more radical," as Behnk verified.
Scientology was founded by Ronald Hubbard, who took the great guru of satanism, Aleister Crowley, for his model. Hubbard, in his early years, was a member of Crowley's satanic order and assumed the law of satanism from him "Do what thou willst."
Behnk continued his presentation by saying that the Scientologists had undermined the usual model of communication, that which is experienced by two parties as an exchange of ideas. "In Scientology, only Scientologisms are transferred in their entirety to others. Scientology has no interest in what others think, and their communication forms a one-way street.
Ronald Hubbard was said to have been motivated by a strong profit-mindedness in founding the sect. In Behnk's view, the possibility of having power over people has a greater pull than the lust for money in understanding a sect leader.
The beginnings of Scientology lie in the sale of the "Dianetics" book, in which Hubbard presented his teachings. The book is said to be a best seller since 1950. Since then, about eight million people are said to have taken up Hubbard's ideas.
Scientology works to gain members using methods that make one's hair stand on end, according to the speaker. Psycho-tests are often offered from the facade of an institute. The results of every test are very confusing to the person being tested and give the impression that the subject person urgently needs psychological help. The institute offers expensive courses, under the appearance of providing unique aspects of help, in order to manipulate people.
"Jamming programs" in the human mind are introduced, in that problems and happy experiences in the life of the person are gone through over and over again. In doing that, the items are not discussed in a critical manner. Scientology was said to strive more to ban all that diverges from Scientology's worldview from the heads of its members. People are robbed of their personality.
Scientologists are continually offered the chance to attain higher "grades of salvation" through numerous courses. "In this way, moral limits are eradicated," as Wolfgang Behnk said. Members are gradually animated to take forceful action against Scientology opponents.
Scientologists "are absolutely megalomaniacal," said Wolfgang Behnk. Although it is known that the sect is marked by atheism, sect leaders "disguise" themselves as priests, as Behnk criticized. That is supposed to deceive people and suggest that Scientology is apparently harmless.
From the supermarket of the search for meaning
Eckhard Tuerk, Sect Commissioner of Mainz Diocese, on esoterica* and doomsday fear
[* Esoterica is a European term which includes "New Age".]
November 13, 1999
(ale). The big day draws near, unstoppably. Just fifty more days to the millennium and several doomsday apostles are already calling for the end of the world. Like the last solar eclipse several months ago, we are now hearing stories again of the end of the world, UFO attacks and irredeemable earthly infernos.
This was a suitable occasion for the Catholic High School Community (KHG) and the three Catholic student associations of the Technical University to invite an expert over to speak about the theme of the end of time. These days Eckhard Tuerk, the worldview and sect commissioner of Mainz Diocese, is the one giving the talks about the theme "extra-church movements for the turning of time" in the KHG's vicinity. As different as the various faith and cult movements are, most still agree with the concept of an impending end, or one that has already begun, of the known world, a fireball which can only be survived in their sense of illumination and chimes.
There are many methods of approach to that: while, for example, the Jehovahs Witnesses await the end of the world as directly upon us without, of course, naming an exact date - this mistake was last made in 1975 - and talk of themselves as the executors of a gruesome Armageddon, the so-called "Scientologists" would rather develop personally into gods for the purpose of approaching their main goal, perpetual survival.
The white-clothed Uriella appears sympathetic, and intends on saving the faithful of "Fiat Lux" by having them picked up by space ships and escaping into the cosmos. Even the naive concept from the supermarket of the search for meaning, esoterica, which, after the aggressive time of Pisces now has characteristics of the peaceful "Age of Aquarius" and suddenly is friends with all people, is bound to cause the common unenlightened person to smile indulgently.
"These are not fair to the human tragedies which are often behind such confused searches for meaning," said Tuerk. It is not just the debilitated, weak or confused characters who fall in for the false prophets, but the walk into the sect is often out of a personal desire to control one's own destiny and to fill the inner emptiness. Often those affected have just been subjected to the refined psychological tricks of professionally trained recruiters and would not even notice how they are being pulled in by this perfidious brainwashing, always with far-reaching consequences for friends, spouse and family.
"We are living in a time of acceleration," Tuerk named the reason for the boom of such alternative currents of faith which have begun in recent times and which are no longer completely distinguishable from each other. Many people in our speeding time no longer know where they belong; neither do they know "where the journey is taking them." The result is a big loss of orientation. Each individual is seeking out his own explanation, whether in psycho-cults, practical religion or in religious fundamentalism.
Sects play on these irritations, be it fear of the impending, totally destructive end, or non-reflective optimism from the so-called "mouthpiece of God" or fantasies about the turn of the Millennium.
Asked about his personal answer to the difficulties of the times, Eckhard Tuerk summed it up, not entirely surprisingly: "The Christian attitude should be our hope."
Years after he left, Scientology still has not worn off
November 11, 1999
Former member Jesse Prince wants to save others from a similar fate /
Eavesdropping, kidnappings and other violations of the law
from our staff member Stephan Toengi
The 16 wasted years are past, but their effect lingers on. In order to save others from something similar, Jesse Prince told of his time in Scientology management. "I did not just lose my personality there," ran his statement describing that which outsiders can understand only with difficulty: how someone can stay with the organization. For two days Prince spoke with Cologne Constitutional Security, which had invited him to Germany. Now he has told his story to our newspaper.
1976 in San Francisco: 22 year old Jesse felt alone in the big city which he was seeing for the first time. The conditions were ideal for him to get hung up in Scientology. After only one month he belonged to the Sea Org, an elitist organization in fantasy uniforms. As section leader he worked 15 hours per day for which he received a mere $12 a week. When he soon wanted to leave, Scientology put him into a reeducation camp. "I felt like a prisoner there: work in black clothes, I had to sleep on a thin mattress in a basement without electricity." After 18 months, Scientology corrected its "big mistake" and paid him a paltry $2,400 in compensation.
Interrogations that lasted for hours, always the same questions, light hypnosis: "Brainwashing changed me," stated Prince in his explanation of why he stayed with Scientology. When its founder, L. Ron Hubbard (1911-86), sought out the best man to educate his propagandists in his deluded psycho-thesis of "total spiritual freedom," Prince had - as he said - "bad luck": he was chosen to develop a training program for staff. At the time, said Prince, there was a singular confrontation with the guru: "Hubbard could not conceive of a colored man like me being so intelligent." Behind the glass was a man who had nothing in common with the PR photographs: unbrushed teeth, long unkempt hair, the same with his fingernails. Serious doubts arose in Prince. "Hubbard was obsessed with a phobia, he was afraid of people and bacteria." Because of that he always communicated from behind glass.
Or through instructions in letters or on tape, as Prince received them. After that, he produced a training video four times a year that went out to staff around the world. From 1982, he was the second in command at the "Religious Technology Center" (RTC). Prince said, "At the time, that was the most powerful and influential organization worldwide." There he was not only involved with granting licenses to Scientology organizations, but also with covert intelligence assignments and with legal proceedings for or against Scientology. In his promotion to the RTC executive council he was forced to sign an undated letter of resignation. Presumably this letter was used when he was "dismissed" in 1987.
Prince took the leap to freedom in 1992 with his wife Monika, an Offenbacher by birth. Up until that time he had "audited" Hollywood stars including Tom Cruise and his wife Nicole Kidman ("Celebrities like them are abused"); "auditing" is a spiritual confession that exposes a person's innermost thoughts. "Scientology has many faces," concludes Prince today. "I know that because I have seen that the people in the top categories do not practice its teachings." Such as inciting others to violate the law. When Prince talks about what he has behind him, his shame surfaces. He has, however, told a few things, supported by sworn testimony. Such as how he eavesdropped from a car on high-ranking members who were suspected of fraud in homes ("A dirty business"). Or how he had abducted a non-Scientologist who was charged with "espionage": "a private detective held a pistol on him while I hooked him up to a lie detector." Or how, from 1984, he destroyed evidence which could have incriminated Scientology in court. He also knows of attempts made at intimidation against people in the judicial area: "One time a judge's dog was killed and put in his garden."
"Scientology dispenses poison in small doses," Prince made an analogy. "You get sicker and sicker without noticing it." Every feeling is eradicated except the hate of all those who take a critical stand on Scientology. "Feelings are dangerous because they are not controllable." Prince is still nursing himself in that regard: "I am always ready to learn love and respect for people who show me some kind of human feeling." Seven years after his departure he still went to therapy.
Scientology has no more forgotten him than he has the organization. Using slander, it destroyed his first attempt at a career. In 1998, a death threat was imparted to him by way of a friend, in Los Angeles he looked into the barrel of a pistol. One of his two daughters has been bothered with denunciations, in front of the house of his 73 year old father march Scientologists with racial expressions. Besides that they demand he keep his mouth closed to keep his son from being affected. "Scientology is even after me here in Germany." Doesn't all that make him afraid? "I have nothing to lose that would make life worth living if I don't use it to warn others."
November 5, 1999
Postbauer-Heng - on Wednesday, December 10 at 7:45 p.m. "in the castle" at Postbauer-Heng, Dr. Christiane Willers, Religious Studies scholar from Eichstaett, will talk on the theme of "Scientology" - structures of a controversial religious association.
This will be the fourth time Dr. Willers has appeared as a speaker "in the castle" in the scope of community educational work.
This time it is about the Scientology "movement," which is more in the headlines than it is in the back pages, so it's no less of a current topic.
The "Church of Scientology," which operates worldwide, is one of the religious associations whose promises of healing, ethical standards, missionary and other practices have been criticized as "incompatible with democratic mentality." The business practices of the commercial side of the association have come into conflict with politics, the justice department and public opinion.
What is behind the promises of being able to achieve new horizons of awareness? How do "auditing," the study, rehabilitation and management technologies of the movement work? Why are people fascinated by it and why do they leave?
Caution is certainly urged, and there is a civil duty for information. Entrance is free.
Sect Influence already in schools and kindergartens?
November 3, 1999
Info night: "Society can be dangerous"
Sects and their influence upon education is the theme of an evening of information and discussion organized by the Youth Commissioner of the Baden State Police, Johann Freiler. "Society can be dangerous" is scheduled for Tuesday in the Creative Center. The speaker will be Heinrich P. Steiden, psychotherapist and journalist. H.P.Steiden (class of 1947) does not just look back on his 25 years of professional experience as a journalist and published writer. He is the author of the book "Einstein's false legacy - the unearthly power and magic of Dianetics and Scientology," and has had his own personal experiences with Scientology and Dianetics in the writing of his book. The Ministry of Education has published an information folder which includes a checklist of critical points in contact with sects. This folder will also be available at the public information meeting. There will be an opportunity for discussion at the end of the presentation.
"Scientologists exchange reality and science fiction"
October 29, 1999
Frankfurter Neue Presse
by Roland J. Metzger
Karben. "Are there Scientologists in Wetterau? If so, do you know any of them?" This surprising question appeared to hit close to home for speaker Joerg Bickelhaupt, evangelical minister for 12 years, as he was giving a hour's talk on the "Weltanschauung Background of Scientology" in the community hall for 35 visitors which included many women. After an instant of reflection the clergyman merely said, "There is someone in Dortelweil," then he went on to say that the center of Scientology's operations in Germany were the big cities, like Stuttgart or Frankfurt.
When more questions were asked as to how the adherents of this "church," which was founded in 1955 in the USA, could be recognized if they looked no different than anybody else, the minister, who between July and September authored an as yet unpublished work on the worldwide organization, indicated that the word "handle" was often used by a Scientologist. There was also a group jargon which typically used technical terms and redefined words, he said.
Bickelhaupt, on staff for seven years in the Work Group for Issues of Weltanschauung for the Evangelical Church in Hessen and Nassau, does not conform with everyone who uses the word "sect" to categorize the "Scientology Church" (SC), which is a multi-national structure striving for commercial, social and political power led by a "Captain" David Miscavige since the death of founder Hubbard. The resident of Karben does not see "the religious background" in all this. Bickelhaupt said, "Religion, for Scientology, is only a facade; the church was founded to avoid taxes." To that end, the speaker expounded, who made references to the freedom of expressing an opinion, founder Lafayette Ronald (Ron) Hubbard (1911 - 1986) had fabricated points in common between his SC and Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity - "complete nonsense." He said that Scientologists only want power, success and reincarnation, but it is widely known that Buddhists want to disappear into Nirvana. He said that Hubbard's "superficial knowledge of religion" could also be seen in his statements about Hinduism. And with Christianity? The American teacher-inventor made heavy use of the Gospels from John.
The "True roots of Scientology" (a word coined from Latin and Greek; the "study of knowledge") are, according to Bickelhaupt, gnosis (perception of god), the ascent to god and a deep reaching duality of the world: good-evil or Light and Darkness. The teachings of the once-starving western and science fiction author Hubbard, an average guy with red hair and a receding hairline from Tilden, Nebraska, were gleaned from science fiction. In 1950, Hubbard had great success with his book entitled, "Dianetics" (a coined word for "science through the mind"), and promised, in it, "a stage of freedom" "which can get the upper hand of respect and happiness" and even prevent "the unscrupulous use of slave mechanisms through knowledge of the mind." That is science fiction under cover of a "wisdom" founded and understood in terms of mythology, stated Bickelhaupt. Connections between Hubbard, whose death was made public on January 27, 1986, have been made in several published works to the "Ordo Templi Orientis," a secret neo-satanic society.
Scientologists promise, as Bickelhaupt stated, to be able to make "Operating Thetans" (OT) out of people - by way of expensive courses which keep the cash registers busy and which have driven many people into bankruptcy. In order to become OT, people must first get rid of the contents of their unconscious memory, called negative engrams, asserts Scientology. An OT, according to Scientology, represents the highest stage of being. "As master over space and time he can, in becoming a type of god, create his own universe." Of 15 OT steps, reported Bickelhaupt, 8 have currently been released.
Hubbard's creation story - it was the beginning of everything and sounds like a cheap book - a long time ago, thetans lived happily and fully aware on a planet with the name of Helotrobus. Because of population problems, a Prince Xenn brought them to earth where they were to live like slaves. However they lost their total awareness. Since that time, say the teachings, the person has difficulties with his own identity. That is what the Scientology course system is supposed to help. It begins with auditing, a technique of asking questions which is supposed to erase engrams and aid in control of consciousness. A primitive lie detector, the so-called "e-meter," plays a role in that. It is supposed to be able to measure alterations in skin resistance.
"Scientologists exchange," stated the minister, "science fiction and reality." The "total freedom" which is promised actually demands "total subordination" (Bickelhaupt: "a totalitarian ideology"). It opposes the standards of Christianity just as much as it does those of individual dignity and the rights of people. Most condemnable is the "performance society" which the SC propagates and which leaves the weak standing in the dark.
The audience, who were visibly affected by the presentation, also showed shock at the contemptuous bluntness of the Scientology jargon which refers to non-Scientologists as "Raw Meat" ....
What lies behind the psycho-organization?
October 13, 1999
Passauer Neue Presse, Lokales Landau
The concerned mother, Ursula Hoefl, warns people of methods used by sects - "Only information can prevent the spread of this group."
by Gottfried Rehm
Ettling. The interest of the citizens in Scientology is high. That was evident by the feedback in Ettling: the parish council, in conjunction with the Catholic educational group, had sent out invitations for a presentation and discussion in the parish hall.
That is where Jutta Waldherr, chairman of the parish council, greeted numerous visitors. She especially welcomed Reverend Adalbert Graf, market council member Georg Waldherr and the speaker, Ursula Hoefl from Landshut. As a mother who had experience with the dangers of the sect, she was best able to warn others.
Ursula Hoefl first talked about the work group which she founded. The group includes mostly concerned parents whose children belong to a sect. The goal of the organization is to inform the public of sect practices, and to support people who want to leave sects. The victims first recognize the true goals of the sect, which often operates under guise of a cover organization, only after a mental dependency exists.
In the Federal Republic of Germany, there are very many religious communities. Many of them are also active in Lower Bavaria and in the flat country. Despite the large number of various sects, all have the same characteristics. First they try to pry people loose from their customary surroundings, undermine their personality, and bring them to leave their former life. Among the most dangerous of these sects is the "Scientology Church." Ursula Hoefl could contribute very personal experience and extensive knowledge about Scientology. One of her daughters, formerly a theology student, became a Scientologist and broke off contact with her parents. This decision hit the family "like a bomb," she recalled. Within the shortest time, her friendly, highly intelligent, life-loving, curious girl changed. The speaker compared her daughter to a wilted flower.
Scientology is a psycho-organization and a commercial business which which deals exclusively with power and money, and which camouflages its operations under the cloak of religion. Scientology is also active in the social area. The sect is even involved in old folks' homes, because money is there to be inherited. The speaker used several examples to show how fast one can be affected by Scientology.
In this connection, Hoefl brought up the name of Ron Hubbard. His goal was extinguished, so-called "cleared" people. This is supposed to be attained through a long-term, expensive course system and through auditing, a therapy which disregards human values, according to Hoefl, with an electrometer. "Hubbard extinguished feelings and inner values." Even children are audited, nowhere are children so misused as by Scientologists, she said.
In another segment, the speaker explained how contact with Scientology comes about. There is a survey with 200 questions, the so-called "Oxford Analysis." It grades abilities, but also weaknesses of the individual. If one fills out and returns such a survey, Scientologists call up. They talk you into believing that you are depressed and need help. The speaker urged caution with the organization, whose stated goal is world domination. She said it was not just a couple of wheelers and dealers, that it should definitely not be underestimated.
The absolute drive for profit is also demonstrated in Hubbard's statement, which demands of his adherents, "Make money, make more money, make others make money."
This thought is made clear primarily in the courses offered by Scientology. Ursula Hoefl particularly cautioned the young in the audience. Anybody can fall into the clutches of a sect, especially young people in their search for new goals and orientation. They comprise the sects' preferred operating field, and often realize, only after it is too late, what they have gotten themselves into.
Once caught up in the net of such an organization, it is often very difficult to leave. Only by extensive information can people effectively hinder the spread of Scientology, said the speaker in closing.
Presentation on Scientology
October 4, 1999
Passauer Neue Presse
Ettling (kre). Ursula Hof, who is a member of the work group for relatives of sect victims - her daughter has been in Scientology for seven years - will be giving a talk on Wednesday, October 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the parsonage on the theme of "Scientology - not a sect, but an aggressive psycho-cult." Scientology prefers to make its pitch, which is perfectly directed at the needs and yearnings of the modern society of performance, to young people. For this reason, the parish council invites not only all parents, but also young people, to learn about the sinister influence of the sect.
"Preserve clear thought"
Sect Commissioner warns of "psycho-market"
September 16, 1999
Passauer Neue Presse
Reisbach/Frontenhausen (lnp). The big public interest in Scientology is fading away. The attention and the media uproar seems to have calmed down. "However that does not take care of the whole problem on the psycho-market," points out the sect commissioner of the Fulda Diocese, Reverend Ferdinand Rauch. The reason Scientology often gains public notice, namely "brainwashing in training rooms and on the psycho-market" in order to win influence in commercial operations, that often happens nowadays almost unnoticed in less conspicuous surroundings than that of the smarting child of Scientology, in the alleged "widening consciousness," emphasized Reverend Rauch.
The speaker for issues of sects and weltanschauung of Fulda Diocese would like to inform businesses, especially mid-size businesses and their management, with a brochure from the chamber of industry and commerce. The written informational brochure contains statements about the practices of unprofessional providers in the area of continuing education. The danger of unprofessional influence in personality training is not only a result of Scientology, but often blooms in its shadows. Professional offers of continuing education, sales, management and personality training and dubious promises from psycho-groups and pseudo-sects are often mixed together. Advantages and risks often lie close together.
The speaker on sects intends to use his church position so that our society is not "increasingly negatively infiltrated." In the opinion of the director, Reverend Ferdinand Rauch, it is churches who can help in this area so that structures of false belief, which mostly begin with premature acceptance of statements as fact, can be uncovered with clear thought and reason. This tragedy, according to Reverend Rauch, is widespread, unfortunately, throughout the entire esoteric and alternative psycho-market. The area of esoteric weltanschauung, which is currently booming, is founded entirely on this incongruity of belief and reason. It is constantly surprising how little a so-called "enlightened society" is able to preserve clear thought in this area and how it lets itself be pulled along by uncontrolled feelings.
Narconon - Sad story of an affected family
September 14, 1999
"The only important thing is that I love you"
Results of a drug withdrawal in a program by Scientology founder Hubbard
In the past, an establishment by the name of Narconon was always advertising with leaflets for a drug therapy in Itzehoe (we reported). The offer sounded attractive, although places for drug addicts were offered with no waiting period. Naturally, a rapid success was guaranteed, at a daily rate of between 120 and 150 marks.
Neckar-Alb region - Narconon, according to its own statement, is one of the most effective rehabilitation programs of the world. Despite that, branches had to be closed down in Berlin and Schliersee, Bavaria, after spectacular lawsuits, because they were violating the medical practice law. The director of the institution was sentenced in 200 cases because he did not have any evidence of education in the medical profession.
The organization also accepted a serious defeat in Baden-Wuerttemberg. In Narconon's lawsuit against the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Narconon was not able to produce a single, cured patient. Although Narconon often disputed belonging to Scientology, that has turned out to be a verified fact. In one written communication which the establishment published, it said, "Our activities can be seen to contribute to the expansion of Scientology." It has also since become clear that most members are ruined financially, physically and psychically with the drug therapy which is seemingly so convincing and which is supposed to gain new members for the sect.
Henriette (Name changed by editorial staff) was 16 years old when she was sent to the Narconon establishment in Itzehoe by her mother, a professed Scientologist. When the father telephoned his daughter, he got the impression that she was feeling "right as rain." In spite of that, he tried to get some background on the institution; in doing that he came across the connection with Scientology. When Henriette showed up at her father's for the first time after six weeks, she had a skin condition which covered her entire body. Her fathered traced this back to the method of treatment at Narconon. He had found out that vitamins were distributed at the Scientology offshoot which exceeded the daily dose of an adult by 250 times; on top of that, large quantities of niacin were handed out. Along with that were daily sauna sessions for from four to five hours. According to Narconon and the writings of L. Ron Hubbard (the founder of Scientology), these were "completely normal symptoms," because "not only was drug addiction overcome by the therapy, but also past sunburn reappeared and was healed and, in addition, the therapy makes one immune against radioactivity."
When the father talked to his daughter about the machinations of the institution, he heard sentences like, "I do not condemn your actions, therefore, do not condemn mine. My mother is doing nothing that could harm me. The only important thing is that I love you." At the time, the father was flattered by these sentences. Today he knows that they come directly from Hubbard's "Ethics Book," which describes how to handle Scientology opponents. Because the mother could not be spoken with any more, the father filed at the municipal office to get custody rights and put an end to his daughter's stay at Narconon.
To the father's surprise, the hearing at the Youth Office was attended by an assistant from Narconon, whose side Henriette never left. Moreover, the Youth Office judged the therapy was good, thereby showing its incompetence in dealing with Narconon. The father's battle with the organization lasted over nine months. After one long legal dispute, an attempt was made to end things good-naturedly. Henriette was to be put in custody of the Health Office at Itzehoe and the office was to have the power of supervision at all times. Besides that, a date was set for the end of the therapy. Despite that, the office could not guarantee Henriette's safety. "There have been subjects taken in without having had previous physical withdrawal, that means, with all the physical risks which could also be life-threatening under certain circumstances. Due to a lack of medically trained personnel/doctors, a constant escort of the patient by the same is not possible," wrote the Health Office.
The dealings by the Narconon staff correspond to a high degree with the instructions which Hubbard gave for "confrontation with potential trouble sources." The more critical the father got with Narconon, and the more he tried to talk it over with his daughter, the stronger the accusations against the father became. His estranged wife told him, "...you will end up as a broken man in the psychiatric ward." When he continued nonetheless, unswayed, against Narconon, he received a fax which told him that Henriette would like to stay at Narconon and be adopted. Because the father did not show understanding for Narconon and Scientology, in accordance with the recommendations of L. Ron Hubbard, contact to him was broken off completely.
Rotaract talks about sects
JU Sect Commissioner Martin Hubar lectured on "Engelwerk"
August 19, 1999
Passauer Neue Presse
Altoetting (red) The latest meeting of the Rotaract Club of Altoetting-Muehldorf in the Hotel Post was about the theme of sects and psycho-cults.
Speaker Martin Huber, who is also the sect commissioner of the JU (Youth Union) of the county association of Altoetting and of the JU Upper Bavaria district association, talked about practices, recruitment methods and teachings of the groups active here in the region. Besides Scientology, Thakar Singh, the Bruno Groening Circle of Friends, and Universal Life, the major highlights focused on "Engelwerk" (Opus Angelorum), which has been trying to get a stronger foothold in the Altoetting area. This secret association represents a danger for young people, since practices to make people dependent are used. Joining this group happens mainly in instruction courses. "If people have their confessions heard by the Engelwerk priests, thereby making themselves able to be blackmailed, this has nothing to do with Christianity," said Huber. Just in the teachings of Engelwerk the difference from Christian/Catholic teachings are very clear. He illustrated this by means of examples from the so-called "Handbook of Engelwerk," out of which Huber quoted the following: "Lucifer deployed entirely different demons among the profession of scientists. They are from the chorus section of fallen powers of intimidation, and were once powers of life." That was to make clear what type of intimidation Engelwerk uses to produce a threatening message.
Huber himself is acquainted with several people affected by this secret group. In their confessions it is shown very strongly how much Engelwerk robs people of their personality and drives them into a walled-in world of make-believe. Engelwerk members who have their fingers on the switches of power, according to Huber, rarely hesitate to coldly and rigorously remove critics and doubters or to intimidate them into silence. In this regard, slander is a method which is frequently used. Engelwerk itself is hard to understand since the founder herself said, "In the mouth of an Engelwerker lies turn to truth."
Info Day at the Counselling Center
Leaving the Scientology Sect
August 3/4 1999
Innenstadt - The Sect Counselling Center has existed for five years.
For the occasion, the director of the establishment, Silvia Eilhardt, has invited all interested residents to stop by on Friday (8-6) and take a look at the work done at the counselling center at 43 Herbeder Street.
After the introduction at 12:15 p.m., lasting until 1 p.m., there is scheduled a presentation by Norbert Potthoff ("In the Labyrinth of Scientology"). The speaker is an insider; he was entwined in Scientology himself for a long time and he knows the rules that reign there. He has written down his experiences in a suspenseful book. In it Potthoff described how he stood over the shambles of his existence after four years in the sect - separated from wife and family, without friends and with a pile of debt. At last he dared to leave under cover of darkness. However his departure was to turn into a nightmare for him.
After a short break, Norbert Potthoff will answer questions from the audience. After that, until 4 p.m., former members of various sects will be there for discussion.
They will tell about their experiences and how they managed to extricate themselves. Besides this there will be available extensive informational material about sects and their practices.
Rightwing violence ebbs
Danger from Scientology organization apparently overestimated for years
by our correspondent
May 21, 1999
Duesseldorf. NRW Interior Minister Fritz Behrens warned that rightwing forces may build up in the European election. The "Deutsche Volksunion" (DVU) in an agreement with the Republikans have intentionally omitted their own candidates. Behrens sees in that a division of labor: "Both parties address the same constituencies."
The Reps are the most dangerous of the rightwing extremist parties which would automatically gain from a lower voter turnout. In the federal elections of 1998, the rightwing parties in NRW doubled their share of votes. Behrens called it a "serious mistake to belief that the brown ghost has been driven off."
Although the number of members in rightwing extremist organizations has i receded by 420 to 5,090 in the past year, Constitutional Security has observed increased propaganda by both the right and left wings via the new media. During this period 225 rightwing extremist home pages have been found, which often agitate from the USA or the Benelux countries to escape criminal investigation. The Kosovo War has also been exploited for anti-American propaganda. "No German blood for foreign interests," went a slogan, and a Rep poster read, "Nato is bombing, we are counting." At the same time the rightwingers expressly support Serbia's President Milosevic. Militant left-wingers use violence with similar slogans, but without identifying with the Serbian side.
Anti-foreign acts of violence went back by 35 percent in 1998 to 56 cases. In the left extremist spectrum, where the autonomous scene consists of 800 persons, there was a doubling of acts of violence at 551. Behrens credited that primarily to the events at Castor Transport after Ahaus. Autonomists also are preparing operations for the EU economics summit in June in Cologne. Constitutional Security counts on violence by PKK adherents in the event that the Ocalan proceedings in Turkey culminate in a death sentence.
In contrast the danger from the Scientology organization appears to have overestimated for years. While it hangs onto its ideological endeavors against democracy and human rights, it does not have, according to Constitutional Security, 30,000 people nationwide, but only about five to six thousand members, 400 of those in Nordrhein-Westfalen. The financial condition of Scientology is also said to be worse than was presumed.
400 Scientology members in NRW
May 20, 1999
Duesseldorf, KNA The Scientology Organization (SO), according to new findings by the Nordrhein-Westphalian Constitutional Security agency, has been previously overestimated. Contrary to its own statement of 30,000 members nationwide, the organization counts only 5,000 to 6,000 adherents, it was determined in the 1998 Constitutional Security report for the state of Nordrhein-Westphalia, which was published on Thursday in Duesseldorf. On the Rhein and Ruhr, however, there are only said to be 400 members. Also, in regard to the commercial scene, the financial potential of the national establishments is weaker than had been supposed.
Nevertheless, the findings of Constitutional Security indicate that some of the SO establishments in Germany are aiming for sales which are apparently higher, even though they have less financial leeway. Another reason for the overestimate of the financial potential of these establishments was the brisk business activity of the staff, as confirmed by observation. They are put under constant pressure to increase income by the sale of courses, books and auditing, said the Constitutional Security report.
Scientology very weak
Trier, Germany May 15, 1999
Speaker on sects and weltanschauung issues presents his annual report
Trier. Sects and new religious movements present a challenge for the churches. So states the 1998 activities report presented by the speaker on sects and weltanschauung issues of the Trier diocese.
Sectarian groups and individual initiatives have been distributing more writings and books with titles such as "The Voice of the Heart as given by the Prophet of God for our time," "Your Days are Numbered," or "Germany needs Mary's help."
The advertisement for unprofessional forms of practical life assistance in psychological and medical areas is also expanding and can hardly be overlooked. In contrast, the German division of Scientology has been greatly weakened by departures and a decrease of course participants and sales of materials, but Scientologists continue to be active in commerce.
The Trier diocesan speaker on sects and weltanschauung issues reacted to the challenges by sectarian groups with an extensive offering of information and advice on all media, and enjoyed plenty of feedback in the past year. For instance, in 1998, there were a total of 653 verbal and written inquiries to the diocesan experts.
More than 30,000 internet contacts
Most of the inquiries had to do with Scientology and esoteric institutions. Satanism, the occult, UFOs and exorcisms are also fields for which information was sought. The internet pages of the sects and weltanschauung speaker also produced results in the past year, with over 30,000 contacts counted for 1998. Internet users were mainly from Germany or the USA, but also came from many other countries from Australia to Brazil and from Canada to Turkey to seek information on the diocese pages. The pages with the highest hits were on Nostradamus, the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses and Fiat Lux.
Besides the internet and the traditional mass media of press, radio and television, the Trier diocese of sects and weltanschauung issues also made use of many study assemblies for it information activities - be it for new business people about Scientology or for young people about Satanism. In all questions which arose in connection with sectarian groups, according to the diocesan experts, cooperation among the dioceses of both Germany and Europe was not only helpful but necessary.
Look and Listen democratically
April 24, 1999
Federal Office for Constitutional Security presents its work at an exhibition in city hall lobby.
Erlangen. It has to do with information - at the Constitutional Security exhibition in the city hall lobby - about its work, and also the work of this federal office. It also has to do with the much-cited Main Department Declaration of the Ministry of State Security of the former DDR [East Germany] to learn as much as possible. That is where the similarities between the two institutions, however, come to an abrupt end. While Constitutional Security works on the foundation of liberal democratic basic principles in order to protect them, the Stasi [former East German state security] operated in the former neighboring country with no democratic standards, and it was not subject to any parliamentary controls. That was stated by the Vice President of the Federal Office for Constitutional Security, Klaus-Dieter Fritsche, on Thursday evening as the exhibition opened.
To the exclusion of all arbitrariness, it is the primary mission of the Constitutional Security agency to guarantee the human and basic rights of the individual as well as to protect the Constitution, stated the Vice President. Meaningful protective measures can only be taken, however, once the nature of the danger is recognized. Because of this, Constitutional Security has the assignment to indicate "who has threatened out liberal democracy," according to Fritsche.
The exhibition in the lobby at city hall demonstrate exemplarily which extremist endeavors and politically motivated forces are a part of this threat potential. Besides these, the missions, powers, and methods of operation and control of this federal office are presented.
The German legal system is built on the principle of the so-named "defensible democracy." That means that the legal state protects itself from its stated enemies. The necessity of self-defense is shown by the experiences of the "Weimar Republic," in which extremists and political thugs overturned democracy with means which were made available to them by the government itself.
However, even the guardians of the Constitution are subject to control mechanisms. This guarantees that their activities remain within the scope of legal standards.
Intelligence operations are carried out in Germany by three institutions: the Federal Intelligence Service, the Military Defense Force and the Constitutional Security agency, which has a federalistic structure. The main assignments of Constitutional Security include the observation of political extremism in all its manifestations. This includes rightwing, leftwing and foreign extremism and their occasionally terroristic components. Not least important is "counter-espionage" and "personal data protection." A mission area which has been recently added is the surveillance of the Scientology sect.
Fritsche also mentioned to the public audience what was covered by the term "extremism." Fundamental criticism of social and political state relationships are a legitimate component of a pluralistic society. It falls under the protection of freedom of expression, which every citizen enjoys. This protection is forfeited, however, if individuals or groups forcefully rattle the elementary principles of democracy. These protected values include human rights. Just as unimpeachable are principles inalienable in a democratic state such as the division of power, the independence of the courts and the majority party principle.
As soon as attacks are directed at these pillars of the democratic state or if there is an intent to do away with them altogether, Constitutional Security enters the picture. The gathering of information serves the administration of nation and states as the basis for decisions in requests to prohibit parties or associations or in other measures against extremism and espionage.
The exhibition in the city hall lobby enables a look into the structure of the federal office. Among other exhibits there are defused explosive and incendiary devices which show the extent of the ruthlessness used by violent enemies of the reigning democracy. This type of explosive device and their construction do not differentiate between "just and unjust," they destroy everything and blast open the path to power, to domination over justice and human dignity. This has a name which still echoes loudly in "German ears": dictatorship.
Constitutional Security holds Exhibition
Most findings gathered from publicly available sources
April 23, 1999
Erlangen Nachrichten Lokales
A travelling exhibition will be held in the city hall lobby until May 7. "Constitutional Security in the democratic state" was opened by Mayor Siegfried Balleis and the Vice-President of the Federal Office of Constitutional Security (BfV), Klaus-Dieter Fritsche.
Propaganda material and weapons from right and leftwing extremists are set out in display cases. Espionage is also gone into in detail. Visitors to the exhibition can test their knowledge of democracy, extremism and constitutional security on a computer game. Booklets and leaflets are available along with Constitutional security reports. The exhibition is open Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Friday 8 until 12 noon.
As Fritsche emphasized in his speech, constitutional security rests on the principle of a "defensible democracy" which protects itself from its stated enemies. Lessons learned from the downfall of the Weimar democracy are used to do that. Concerning the role of the Constitutional Security agency, Fritsche stated, "this institution may not use force. Its assignments and powers are regulated in detail by law."
One of the main assignments is the surveillance of political extremism in all its forms up to and including terrorism. Other areas of activity for Constitutional Security are counter-espionage, personal data protection and, in recent times, the surveillance of the Scientology organization. 60 percent of its findings are obtained from sources which are accessible to the public, such as newspapers, another 20 percent of its findings come from other agencies. Only 20 percent are a result of its own secret activities.
While the neo-Nazis, according to Fritsche indefatigably follow the Fuehrer principle, leftwing extremism is extensively without orientation due to the discrediting of the communist ideology. This was the context under which the speaker introduced the extremist potential among foreigners. As possible threats in this area he identified the Islamic fundamentalist and the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).
Ziel: Rightwing acts of violence diminishing
April 21, 1999
Potsdam, 21Apr99 (KNA) Acts of violence motivated by rightwing extremism have diminished in Brandenburg, according to a statement by the Constitutional Security agency, to 59 in 1998 from 98 in the previous year. At the presentation of the Constitutional Security report on Wednesday in Potsdam, Interior Minister Alwin Ziel (SPD) described the decline as an "encouraging sign." He said that Brandenburg was not a "brown" state, even if rightwing extremism was the most controversial problem which Constitutional Security had. As the report states, the militant corps of the rightwing extremist youth groups, at 550 people, is as large as it was in the previous year. The "Republicans" have 330 members in Brandenburg, the NPD 150 and the DVU 200.
Ziel stated that the 5 percent hurdle could be cleared by the rightwing extremist party at the state assembly elections on 5 September. At the federal assembly elections the NPD, DVU and "Republicans" made up a total of 5.2 percent of the electorate. Constitutional Security also categorizes as dangerous autonomous groups which consider force to be a legitimate means of solving political issues. The establishment of the Scientology organization has not been proved in Brandenburg. Nevertheless, the legal provisions for continued observation of the organization still exist.
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Project Day "America" at the Friedrich List High School
April 3, 1999
Past and Presence of the the United States
Gemuenden. 35 students of grades 11a and 11b took part in project day, theme "America", at the Friedrich List High School
After an introduction by senior student council member Christoph Zaenglein, the former security advisor of the US headquarters in Heidelberg, Dr. Will Gerling, a German-American who was invited by the Hanns Seidel Foundation, gave a presentation on the theme "USA - Past and Present."
Dr. Gerling went to the USA shortly after the Second World War as a high school graduate, only to return to Germany two years later as an active GI. He served in the US Army in various capacities as a senior officer until his retirement in 1996.
His history made him an ideal lecturer for the students because, on top of his comprehensive technical knowledge, he introduced a string of personal anecdotes and informative, light-hearted stories from American newspapers and magazines in his presentation.
After a glance through the development history of the USA, Dr. Gerling took up the political system of America. He had a copy of the Declaration of Independence and had the students search its signers for a German name, in vain. Even today, according to the speaker, German-Americans, unlike Greek, Polish and Italian Americans, rarely participate in political life. Dr. Gerling sees an advantage in the American system in the fact that US politicians are not put in placement lists, as they are in Germany, and must have their positions confirmed every two years (House of Representatives) and six years (Senate). American representatives always have to maintain relations with their constituency.
After a glimpse at actual problems of American society (Christian Coalition, social security, health insurance and the arms lobby), the speaker discussed the American psyche, in order to explain certain behavior models to the students. Accordingly, the US Constitution was said to guarantee every citizen the right to happiness and individualism. The constant hunt for something new, for meaningful and nonsensical inventions, and the struggle, which Europeans view as exaggerated, for equal rights as well as for fame and honesty are all based on these articles.
After this thoughtful presentation was greeted with hearty applause, senior student council member Roland Koeniger gave a dialogue on the theme "The American City by example of New York", which involved the chessboard layout and the architectural peculiarities of Manhattan.
After a break, presentations were given by individual students. Andreas Bayer talked about American measures and weights such as stone, ounce quart and gallons, and figured them into the German system. Annika Hoefling and Joerg Breitenbach had researched "Scientology" and described the obscure teachings of L. Ron Hubbard in detail, and did not forget to mention the anti-Constitutional aspects. Judith Koberstein and Sebastian Brandt lectured on the theme of "Immigration into the USA today," and examined the latest statistics and current practices of the US Immigration service. A presentation on Hip Hop by student speaker Virginia Rothemund with girls of the eleventh grade and a meal consisting of hamburgers in the school cafeteria wound up the successful presentation. The second part of the project day follows on April 4, 1999. Zaenglein will visit the Wuerzburg American High School with the 11a and 11b classes, where the students from Gmuenden will participate in the classroom and will experience an informative and exciting school day with American students.
"Islamic instruction would remove prejudice"
March 30, 1999
Pfalz Evangelical Church reaches out to Moslems
- Strong criticism of the addition of sects
by Juergen K. Neumann
No anxiety about Islam and its people, but a dread for the expansion of sects. This is the view which the Pfalz Evangelical Church has taken in Speyer (we have recently reported on this). First the church presented its long-term experience with Moslems. In a second discussion the church gave an insight into the observation of "sectarians" and "pseudo-religions."
For church President Eberhard Cherdron, "tolerance" is the issue in dealing with Moslems. Cherdron stated, "Our basic principle says that we respect people with different worldviews without giving up the basic Christian truths in doing so." As far as sects go, this amounts to locking out "this transient religiousness." Gerhand Eckstein, Islamic commissioner of the Pfalz Church, emphasizes that the Christians of Pfalz are finding new ways to live with the 40,000 Moslems of their region. Nationwide, there are more than five million Moslems. In 1990, Eckstein created a work group in which Christians and Moslems could exchange ideas. Eckstein stated, "There is too much prejudice which comes simply from not knowing enough about each other." In 1995 the "Christian-Islamic Discussion Group" was founded in Ludwigshafen. Its members include congregations from both church and mosque who celebrate together, hold lectures and visit each other. Islamic instruction in school, for Eckstein, would be a "natural outcome." The commissioner stated, "We should look beyond the German borders. This type of instruction already exists, without problem, in Spain and Austria." Leading church board member Christian Schad, member of the church administration, stated, "We support the requirements for Islamic instruction, and will serve as liaison, if this should be desired."
There is no negotiation with sects. Dr. Richard Ziegert, Commissioner for Sects and Issues of Worldview, has gathered 200 different "addresses" of sects so far. The activities range from the Scientologists' practicing medicine without a license to "backyard gurus." Open access to the internet conceals a great deal of risk. In the area of the "Scientology Church," the battle is already lost. Ziegert stated, "Our politics and economy have opened up the doors for them." He felt that the unreserved takeover of the American structure along with the simultaneous addition of a "Me Culture" was disturbing. "Information creates necessity!" said Ziegert.
The Pfalz Evangelical Church has its seat in Speyer and accounts for 666,000 Evangelical Christians. Of those, 50,000 faithful are from the Sarrpfalz region.
KAB presentation on the topic of "sects"
Recommendation of the speakers
Friday, March 1, 1999 - Gemuenden
Personal conviction instead of pure religious contentment
The Wuerzburg Diocese commissioner for issues of weltanschauung, religion and sects, Alfred Singer, made it clear during his presentation on "Sects: a challenge for churches and society" in Pfarrheim in Langenprozelten that sects continue to pose a danger. People who have encountered a crisis reach out for new religious market offerings, which restrict their freedom and alter their personality. About one percent of the German population make use of these offerings.
During his presentation, Singer essentially warned against the Scientology sect, Spiritual Human Yoga (SHY), Universal Life and the Moon Sect. The speakers had invited the local Catholic Employees Movement (KAB) [Katholische Arbeitnehmer Bewegung].
In 1986, the Vatican published a document about sects as a challenge for the ministry which reflected the de-personalized structure of society, Singer reported. People often were being exposed to promises of personality changes made in harmless leaflets or flyers by these groups. From a theological, religious perspective, sects are a minority which have separated from a mother religion which has deviated in their teachings or practice; from an ethical, social psychological perspective, it is a group which breaks ethical, common human standards.
Singer spoke about the methods of making contact: it mostly happens through personal word of mouth, flyers or ads, the sale of books and tapes, invitations to a meal or to a personality test, posters, course offerings, recommendations from experts, magazine articles, radio and TV broadcasts.
The judgment of sect-like groups, said Singer, follow various criteria: messiah, guru or prophet. Besides that he talked about the dangers: elitist thinking (only sects will survive a cosmic catastrophe), absolute claims ("We have the absolute truth"), love-bombing (members are overwhelmed with apparent love), control of members (they are loaded down with assignments), the claim of having religious and worldly power, an insider's vocabulary (a vocabulary which is only understood by a few people), an informational hierarchy (commercial power), inability to criticize (criticism may not be thought or spoken), world conspiracy against outside groups (cover corporations) and the total modification of one's way of life.
Lead by example
The speaker gave tips on how to behave when you learn that one of your children or a friend has joined a sect: ethical and human standards promoted by churches in public also have their place in for an individual. "Churches are not there to satisfy every religious need. Christians have a message to give which you mustn't hide from," said Singer. "Christians of the future are not those who have taken over their parents' beliefs, but those who have won their own convictions."
Kiel. (US) The new sect commissioner of the state administration is administrative director Matthias Knothe. The Director of the Media section of the State Chancellory has taken over this assignment as a collateral duty, the administration announced.
The position was vacant for five months after the previous occupant, Hans-Peter Bartels, went to the Federal Assembly [Bundestag] as an SPD representative. In the meantime, Knothe has been holding the position as a commissary. The state chancellory had, at first, left the matter open as to whether they would forego a sect commissioner or combine the position with one of Hamburg's. The brunt of the workload is standard information from authorities and the public about actual findings in the areas of sects. The central point of all this has been the Scientology organization. Since 1994, the post has gathered extensive documentation about sects and associations similar to sects which has regularly been brought up to date.