Jump to prisoner chained in basement of Scientology'sFt Harrison in Clearwater Florida
WMNF - Radio Activity - 7 March 1996
RL - Rob Lorei (host)
JJ - Jeff Jacobsen
DE - Dennis Erlich (by telephone)
JL - Jeff Lee
BA - Brian Anderson (by telephone)
RL: ...headquarters of the Church of Scientology; we're going to talk
to these folks today on Radio Activity, find out why they're
going to hold this protest and why they have some fear that the
Scientolouists maY disrupt this protest, too.
My name is Robert Lorei and my guests are Jeff Jacobsen and Jeff
Lee; both are Internet users. Jeff Jacobsen, by the way, is a
former member of a cult, and he's very concerned about people who
get involved with cults; and also with us by telephone is Dennis
Erlich, who is a former Chief Cramming Officer for the Church of
And, gentlemen, welcome to WMNF, it's good to have you here; thanks
for coming down.
JJ: Thank you.
RL: Hi, Dennis, can you hear us? Hi, Dennis, are you there?
DE: Yes, I'm here.
RL: Okay, good. Dennis, I'm going to start with you, and start asking
you: what did you do for the Church of Scientology?
DE: Well, in the end I was appointed to the position of Chief Cramming
Officer at the Clearwater headquarters of Scientology, and my job
was basically force-feeding data -- that's what Hubbard, the founder
of Scientology, described it as. I now describe it as the quality
control engineer in the brainwashing factory that they run in
RL: You think Scientology is brainwashing?
DE: Well, I don't think that, I know that. I spent fifteen years
teaching people Scientology and directing Scientology technology
of brainwashing, so I'm familiar with it; it's not a guess. I
could explain it to you in those terms if you want.
RL: Well, okay, as long as you raised it, why do you think Scientology
DE: Well, it systematically robs a person of his critical -- critical
abilities; in other words, his ability to question things. In
Scientology they tell you, "if it's true for you, then it's true,"
so objective reality becomes sort of fuzzy. It's based on whatever
you believe. And, you know, your beliefs are systematically
supplanted with the beliefs that they instill in you by these
training drills and so forth.
RL: I want to get back to this, and also your history with Scientology,
but let me introduce our two other guests today; they are Jeff
Jacobsen and Jeff Lee. Jeff Jacobsen, why are you going to be
involved in this protest, what's -- tell us a little bit about your
background; why you're concerned.
JJ: Well, I've been a public critic of Scientology since about '86; I
was in a cult myself back in the seventies -- so I've had an
interest in cults since then -- and just gradually came to see
Scientology as being one of the more dangerous cults out there, so
I've spent more and more of my time concentrating on them.
RL: And how did you get out of the cult that you were in? Which cult
were you in?
JJ: I was in a small Pentecostal church which is cultish -- the local
church was a cult -- and from ' 72 to ' 77 or ' 78 I was in that, and
finally I just began to realize that this was not what they claimed
they were, which is the only true Christian church on the planet,
and that they were being a little deceptive, and finally I just got
fed up and quit.
RL: So, a deprogrammer, that sort of thing, wasn't involved in your
JJ: Not at all. That was almost an unheard word back then.
RL: Back in the late seventies. Jeff Lee, how about you? Why are you
interested in -- why are you involved in this protest this weekend
against the Church of Scientology?
JL: Well, I've been involved in the Internet for about ten years now, in
one form or another, and I was made aware that the Church of
Scientology was attempting to abrogate people's right of free speech
on the Internet. Free speech is very important on the Net, and the
more I learned about what Scientology was doing -- illegally
canceling people's mesBAges, attempting to remove a discussion area
where people discussed the church -- the more concerned I became,
and then the more I learned about the church, I became involved in
other areas of protest against it.
RL: Okay. I'm going to get back to this whole question of Internet
censorship that you folks allege, but let's get back to Dennis
Erlich, who is a former Chief Cramming Officer for the Church of
Scientology. Dennis, when did you first get involved with the
church, and -- why did you become involved?
DE: In late 1967 I became involved because I BAw a remarkable change in
a very shy friend of mine, and I thought, "Well, whatever this is,
is probably a good thing, because it was able to produce such a
remarkable change in attitude in the person."
RL: And then you decided to join yourself?
DE: Yes. I took some of the introductory courses, and I felt that their
claims to have all the answers to the human mind required a little
bit more in-depth verification, if you understand what I mean. They
claim to have ALL the answers. So, yeah, I joined staff in 1968,
and I became -- back then it was sort of bogus that we were
"ministers", I mean in '72, Hubbard insisted on everybody starting
to look more ministerial for the purposes of -- for tax purposes,
because they started fighting the IRS -- so for a little while we
even had to wear ministers' outfits, but it was kind of a disguise.
RL: Did you all -- did your fellow "ministers", so to speak, all share
this skepticism, all share the --
DE: Many of them felt -- yeah, they were in it to -- more as a mental,
an alternative therapy. When we first got in, in t68, it was more
of a -- an alternative therapy, a way to supposedly release the
abilities that people had suppressed within themselves.
RL: Did you find that you were helped in any way by Scientology?
DE: Well, I mean, are you talking overall, or bit by bit?
RL: Let's talk bit by bit, and then let's talk overall.
DE: Well, bit by bit, yeah, there are little -- there are things, the
tricks: I call them kind of a "mental jiujitsu" that you learn, and
you learn how to deceive yourself into believing that you're feeling
better, and you learn how to stare people down, and how to control
communication, and how to control "raw meat" -- that's what they
call the people who are not Scientologists --
RL: "Raw meat" meaning new recruits?
DE: Right, exactly. "Raw meat" meaning -- ''bodies in the shop". They
have a statistic called "bodies in the shop", and that's how many
people are "body-routed'' -- that's the actual term -- off the street
into the org -- organization -- for services.
RL: And, overall, what do you feel about your experience with
Scientology? Were you helped overall, after years and years of
being involved with the church?
DE: No, quite the contrary. I was led away from God, I was led in a
direction toward less and less self-determinism, where they were
dictating how I thought completely, and how I acted completely, and
when I got out, I felt this surge of freedom, that I was now
protected by the Constitution; I had rights, I had -- you know, they
couldn't lock me up again.
RL: You were locked up by the church?
DE: Yeah, in the sub-basement of the Fort Harrison Hotel. I was placed
in a cage, under guard, for about ten days. I wasn't allowed to
talk to anyone; I wasn't allowed to phone anyone; I was a prisoner
RL: Why were you locked up?
DE: I made a joke.
DE: I "made a joke about the RPF -- the Rehabilitation Project Force --
which is their -- their "re-education" work camp program, where it's
sort of like -- like in Russia, where they used to send people to
work camps, to re-educate them, and they have this thing called the
Rehabilitation Project Force, where you get up -- you're segregated.
When I was in it, we slept in the garage, in the parking structure
of the Fort Harrison Hotel, on the third floor. And, you know, we
had to breathe the exhaust fumes from whatever cars, and get woken
up in the middle of the night, and we were up at the crack of dawn,
you know, scrubbing toilets and dumping trash, and we worked until
late at niqht and it was, you know, basically a prisoner program.
RL: Let me back up a little bit. You were among the early group of
Scientologists that came to Clearwater. What year did you come to
Clearwater, and what did you tell the community when you came?
DE: Well, there was an intermediate base in Daytona Beach, while they
were setting up -- while they were purchasing the Fort Harrison --
and setting up what they call the "shore story" -- it's a shore
story because Hubbard had been cruising around the Mediterranean,
and the Carribbean for years, and had basically been kicked out of
every port. He needed to come back to the US, because he didn't
have any more ports that he could take his ship into. So they
bought the Fort Harrison Hotel, I think it was for eight million
dollars cash, at the time, under the name of "United Churches".
They didn't call themselves Scientology; it was a front purchase.
They didn't want anybody in the community to know it was
When we came there, which was in the beginning of '76, we came by
buses from Daytona seach; about six buses of staff members. And
we were told -- we were given a shore story, if we were asked by
anybody in the community who we were, we were ministers on a
BAbbatical. From maybe Europe, from maybe someplace else in the
country. But we were there for a -- for seminars by this United
Churches organization, which we were not supposed to talk about.
And we were supposed to report any contact like that to what was
back then the Guardian's Office.
The Guardian's Office has since then been sort of -- the name has
been disbanded, and now it's the Office of Special Affairs.
RL: The Guardian Office would be like an internal investigation office?
DE: Exactly. It's sort of like the RGB of Scientology, and now it's
called the Office of Special Affairs.
RL: So you weren't honest with the people of Clearwater as you came to
Clearwater, to set up this headquarters.
DE: Well, fortunately, I never had to particularly lie; it wasn't my
job to lie. They have professional liars who are their PR people,
like Heber Jentzsch and so forth -- the president -- their job is
lying. And I was -- that wasn't my job. My job was taking care of
the people who were delivering the thought control.
RL: "Taking care of the people who were delivering the thought control."
RL: Tell us more about that, what does that mean?
DE: Well, the levels in Scientology, there's -- see, they have these
things that they call donations, but they're really the price of
courses and counseling. And each of these counselors gets -- they
charge for every minute of counseling, at three hundred dollars an
hour and up.
RL: Describe some of the levels. What are the lower levels of
Scientology, and whet 're the top levels of Scientology>?
DE: The lower levels of Scientology deal first with -- Dianetics deals
with moments of unconsciousness, supposedly, and past life incidents
that you're supposed to relive. And then the lower levels up to
Clear deal with problems and communication, and they just let the
person sort of talk about them and stuff, and, you know, chew around
in his own mind, until he believes what he's taught to believe is
going on in his head. The upper levels of Scientology, after the
person has been thoroughly indoctrinated, they all deal with
exorcism. Exorcism of demons; supposedly everybody has thouBAnds
and thouBAnds of demons. Now, they don't tell the person at the
beginning this, because they want to -- they want to assert the lie
that Scientology is compatible with other religions, even though
Hubbard himself said there was no Christ, and that God was a concept
that was a trick that was played on mankind in order to -- in order
to control people.
RL: What goes on at one of these exorcisms, and does the church call
DE: Well, the church calls them OT Levels, and they charge a lot a lot a
lot of money for them. I mean, hundreds of thouBAnds of dollars for
just what I'm telling you. The OT levels three through seven all
deal with exorcism. They call them -- let me see, the call them
"body thetans" instead of "demons 't, and they BAy that they are
causing those body thetans to "blow", or leave, and that is
what's -- you see, the thoughts -- they assert that the thoughts
that you're thinking in your head are not your thoughts, but they're
the thoughts of these other --- (laughs) -- I'm sorry, but this is
their belief --
RL: So --
DE: I don't mean to ridicule it.
RL: So in the end, the highest level you can achieve within the church
is to rid your body of as much of these body thetans that are giving
yo,u bad thoughts.
DE: Exactly, that's exactly what it's about. That is the essence of
what it's about, and unfortunately, people aren't told this in the
beginning, because if they WERE told in the beginning, they wouldn't
go for it. So it's a bait-and-switch fraud. In other words, you
come in -- a bait-and-switch fraud is a case where one thing is
advertised, but when you get there, you're sort of sold something --
a different package.
RL: Now, you told me yesterday, as I was pre-interv:iewing you about
this, you said that the people that are at the highest level of the
church actually believe that they are gods. Explain why you think
DE: Well, the highest level of Scientology deals -- the highest levels
of Scientology deal with -- the people are so deluded that they
think that they are "cause over matter, energy, space and time", and
that they can create universes, and that whatever they think becomes
reality. And that reality itself is liquid, and if they don't
believe it, that it'll go away, sort of. (laughs) So they are --
they're in kind of a -- they've done so much what you'd call
"positive thinking" about themselves that they believe that they can
control the weather, that they brought down the serlin Wall, much
like the TMers think that they can fly, you know, it's just a kind
of a delusionary state where they think that they are what they call
"OTs", which is like this god-like state.
RL: Now, positive thinking, in itself, doesn't sound that bad. I guess
what really concerns me -- and I guess, the pub].ic at large -- is
this talk that you were held prisoner, or held against your will, in
the basement there at the church for ten days. Are you the only one
that's been held against your will at the Church of Scientology in
DE: Oh, not by any means. No, no, it's sort of a standard practice for
them to incarcerate people who object to things -- object to
activities that tre going on -- so when I was in the basement,
there was a woman -- I can give you her name; her name was Lynn
Freulind -- and she was chained in the basement when I was there.
And I have witnesses; there are other witnesses to that. There are
people who have been kidnapped and taken, you know, all the way
across country and locked in rooms, and -- no, it's sort of a
standard practice. They don't talk about it much, but -
RL: Is it easier to chain or kidnap a member of the Church of
Scientology than it would be for somebody who's not in the
church, who doesn't have a strong belief in the ideology?
DE: Well, sure. See, I sort of halfway went along with it, because, you
know, I believed that this group held the key to my immortal soul.
In other words, I had sold my soul to this group, and I believed
that if I didn't sort of -- if I fought it, if I fought the
incarceration, I was not only going to be arrested, (laughs)
because they would just BAy, "Well, he went crazy and we had to
shoot him'' kind of thing. But I would also be losing my chance at
redeeming my soul.
RL: And according to Scientology, your soul lasts forever and you
get reincarnated over and over again, is that -
DE: Yeah, that's the deal.
RL: Okay. Jeff Jacobsen wants to jump in. Jeff?
JJ: Yeah, I just want to make a little distinction. I think the things
Dennis is talking about are the employees of the church go to the
RPF; the public Scientologists basically go and take their courses
and then go home to their jobs and things, so there's sort of a
distinction there between the workers in the church and the public
who are taking courses.
RL: Well, what percentage of the folks are workers who are in
Scientology, and what percent are just members who show up for
a reading lesson or a counseling session?
DE: I'd BAy a third are staff members and two thirds are paying public.
RL: Okay. I guess one of the things that the public knows most about is
that people like Tom Cruise and Kirstie Alley -- actors, Hollywood
actors -- John Travolta, the jazz pianist Chick Corea -- they're
all members of the Church of Scientology, and I guess one has to
wonder why these people, who are presumably very thoughtful and
bright, why they would stay in the church, given the fact that this
stuff goes on in Clearwater and possibly elsewhere in the church. I
mean, why would somebody presumably as smart as Kirstie Alley or
Tom Cruise stay within the church?
DE: I hope you're not asking me why these people are so smart.
RL: Well, I'm just guessing that they are.
DE: Well, I think you're being overly kind. They have awareness of the
controversies that I am -- about Scientology that I am bringing up,
and they care not to look at it. They don't care to -- they're
purchasing their BAlvation and they are not really that interested
that staff members who are giving them their BAlvation are being
locked un. Even though they've heard that. I'm sure they have.
RL: If I were taken on a tour of the church headquarters in Clearwater,
would I see the kind of thing that you're talking about: that is,
places where people have been locked up, or would I get a hint of
the kind of thinqs that you're talking about?
DE: No, you wouldn't. You'd be taken with an escort to only certain
areas and people would point to students in the course room studying
quietly and BAy "look how nice they are" and '.look how wonderful
everything is", and then you'd be escorted out.
RL: Why did you leave the church?
DE: Well, my -- two of my children were in Clearwater with me. One of
them had signed a billion-year contract much as I had. She was
thirteen. And --
RL: Wait a minute, a billion-year contract, meaning that you'll pledge
your loyalty to the Church of Scientology for a billion years?
DE: That's it. Yeah. Come back lifetime after lifetime to serve
Hubbard and his organization. It's really like selling your soul, I
mean, obviously. When you pledge yourself for a billion years to an
organization -- and believe it! (laughs)
RL: So -- (laughs) -- so you were uncomfortable with this contract?
DE: Well, uncomfortable with it? In the beginning, yeah; it took me
several years to get my nerve up to sign the contract so that I
could come and work with Hubbard.
RL : Does everybody who works for the church sign the billion-year
DE: Everybody who works in Clearwater, yes. The church -- the staff
are -- and I hate to use the word 'tchurcht', because I know it's
not. The staff of the cult are divided into Sea Org members, which
is like the military part of the staff -- those are the people you
see walking around your town in mock BAilor suits and stuff.
RL: And they've signed the billion-year contract?
DE: They have signed it -- yes, exactly.
RL: Tell me more about why you left.
DE: Well, my children -- I had an infant daughter, who was born at the
Fort Harrison, and a thirteen-year-old. And I realized that I
wasn't prepared to have them be locked in basements and go through
the kind of torture that staff members are routinely put through in
the Sea Org. So I sort of made a stand. I -- my job consisted of
correction, so I attempted to institute some reforms in 1981,
because I had been in for quite a while. And shortly after that, I
was sort of asked to leave -- or, by mutual consent. I was given a
choice: I could either go back to the Rehabilitation Project Force,
or leave. So I left.
RL: When you BAy your job was corrections, does that mean that you were
responsible for putting people on these work details or under chains
or anv --
DE: I had the power to do that, but I never did, no. My job was
basically to correct the application of Hubbard's words with regard
to his techniques at mind control. I was -- I got people to do it
the way Hubbard said. So I wasn't -- no. You're thinking with
regard to Ethics Officers. See, I was the Cramming Officer, which
is related to the techniques; the Ethics Officers related more to
punishment and -- it's a different division in the organization.
RL: Okay. What's happened to you since you left? Have you had any
interaction with the church or church members since you left the
Church of Scientology? And that was in 1982?
RL: Yeah? What's happened?
DE: Well, the most current thing is that I tried to, using my free
speech rights on Internet, I tried to warn people about the things
that I have told you: that it's basically relating -- that
Scientology basically is a -- is an occult practice that deals
mostly in exorcism; that it's a fraud; that people are locked up and
tortured, and these other things that I had documentation of. And I
posted a bunch of this documentation to the Internet newsgroup
alt.religion.scientology, and I think I poked a hole in the -- in
their balloon, as far as their scam working.
RL: So you talked -- you put this information that you've told us on the
RL: You've talked about the religious philosophy; you've also talked
about the punishment that people receive --
RL: -- and Scientology didn't like that
DE: Not at all; they sent me threatening letters BAying that, you know,
they were going to confiscate my computer and all of these other
things, and I said, well, you know -- they were claiming that I had
no right to quote their material. I mean, this was material that I
was trained on as a minister, and now I'm ministering on Internet
with this material. So they said I had no right to quote it, and I
said, no, I think I do. Under the Constitution, I have a right to
free speech, and this is my religion, and this is -- these are my
criticisms of your religion, and -- (laughs)
RL: Were you making money? I mean, were you --
DE: Oh, no.
RL: Did people have to pay to get -- I know this is a dumb auestion for
people that use the Internet, but I think I've got to ask it -- did
people have to pay to get access to this information, were you
making money off this?
DE: No. Quite the contrary; it was costing me money to do that, because
I ,had to, you know, make -- type the material in, or scan it in, it
was taking time, and so forth -- it was a project of my ministry,
and I still consider that I minister to these ex-cult members to --
in their recovery, because there is an extensive recovery from
RL: One last auestion for you about the internal workings of the Church
of Scientology. You've talked about people who gain elevation
within the church, and they have to pay in order to get higher and
higher within the church; how much money does the average
Scientologist pay to the church, and how much money does the church
have? Are we talking about hundreds of thouBAnds, are we talking
about millions, or what are we talking about?
DE: Well, the total tab from "wog" -- which is what they call "raw meat"
people -- you know, humans -- the total tab from wog to OT is about
3350,000. We added it up from their price list. (laughs)
RL: You mean --
DE: They actually have a price list.
RL: You mean if somebody comes in and takes all the courses that
Scientology offers, they will have paid $350,000 by the end?
DE: Well, if they take all the courses, no, it'd be more like $500,000.
But if they just want to go to OT, from human to OT -- which is like
a qod-like state -- it's about $350,000.
RL: How many people actually do that within the church? How many
actually spend $350,000?
DE: Oh, there's a couple. The Feshbach brothers, you know, the ones
that are in the stock market, the bears who make money spreading bad
news, they've probably paid that much. There's probably a hundred
or so people worldwide that I've spent that much money, but you know,
in the -- people are striving to that, those goals, so they're
always trying to get more money to pay the -- for their next level.
RL: And overall, how much money do you think the church has raised,
through its counseling?
DE: Well, up to nineteen -- the mid-seventies, when they established the
Clearwater base, money was being taken out of the United States in
suitcases -- cash was being smuggled out of the United Stated in
suitcases -- to Hubbard, wherever his ship was. When I left in
1982, the income, cash in hand, of the Clearwater operation was
between half a million and a million and a half a week. And if it
fell below a million -- excuse me, if it fell below half a million
-- the staff were put on rice and beans three meals a day. You
know, fed only rice and beans, until the gross income improved. The
overall worth of the cult is probably at least two billion.
RL: We're talking with several people who are going to take part in a
protest against the Church of Scientology this weekend. On the
telephone with us is Dennis Erlich. He's at his home in California.
He's going to be coming to the Tampa Bay area for this BAturday's
protest. Also here are Jeff Jacobsen and Jeff Lee, and we're going
to talk abobt the church's attempts to censor the Internet. Jeff
Lee, let me pose this question to you: is there a problem with the
church going after Dennis for putting this stuff up on the Internet?
As an Internet user, why do you object to what the church has done?
JL: Well, I object to the -- the silencing of any criticism. The church
claims that it is supportive of free speech, but apparently that
free speech doesn't quite make over the line to criticism of
themselves. They have a written policy about the sorts of things
that are done to enemies -- and people who criticize the church or
its founder are considered to be enemies. In 1967, L. Ron Hubbard
wrote that an enemy "May be deprived of property or injured by any
means by any Scientologist'' and "may be tricked, sued or lied to or
destroyed." And that's the sort of things that they're doing --
they have a very heavy history of litigation against anyone --
RL: But hasn't the church done away with that -- that document? I mean,
hasntt the church said, "we're not going to take that kind of action
anymore"? I mean, the church, a few years ago, I know, was under a
lot of criticism and has said publicly that that's not the stance of
the church any longer.
JL: Well, it's a semantic game, because that kind of policy was referred
to as "Fair Game". And a year and a day -- year and three days
after he put out that policy, he put out another one that BAys
"Cancellation of Fair Game". And it BAys that "The practice of
declaring people FAIR GAME will cease." The reason being that "It
causes bad public relations." But he then goes on to specifically
state that the policy letter ndoes not cancel any policy on the
treatment or handling" of an enemy. So they can't CALL it Fair
Game, and when people talk about Fair Game, they BAy, 'iWell, no, it
doesn't exist any more." But in truth, it does; it's just not
CALLED Fair Game.
RL: Well, in fact, are ex-church members harassed? Is there a record
that we can look at, and BAy that the people have been either framed
or harassed or anything by the Church of Scientology?
JL: Oh, absolutely, I mean --
RL: Give some examples.
JL: Well, local example: Margery Wakefield is an excellent example of
it She spoke out against the church, she was sued; she was -- all
sorts of things. She claimed that somebody came and spread blood in
her apartment -- Dennis, of course, he was -- they have a term
that's called "dead agenting", which means to take things that
people have confessed in their supposedly private confessionals, and
use them against people. -
RL: People confessed during these Scientology church counseling sessions
and that information has come back to haunt them?
RL: By the -- used by the church.
JL: Oh, yes.
RL: You told me a story about a woman who was an ex-member of the Church
of Scientology, who had become a critic, who was framed on a bomb
JL: No, she wasn't an ax-member; she was an author, her name was
Paulette Cooper. And she wrote a book called The Scandal of
Scientology, which offended the Scientologists, and their Guardian's
Office -- now the Office of Special Affairs -- ran a series of
operations called Operation PC Freakout, and I have some documents
here which were seized by the FBI in 1977, when they raided some of
Scientology's headquarters. And they talk -- all sorts of things
about impersonating her and causing scenes, trying to get her
committed to a mental institution. They have one here where they
attempt to get her fingerprints on blank stationery which they then
used to type up a bomb threat against Henry Kissinger, and send it
to him; and she was arrested and tried, and if the FsI hadn't raided
the headauarters. she orobablv would be in orison to this daY.
RL: We're talking about this protest this weekend. When is the protest,
and where is it going to be again?
JJ: We're going to meet BAturday, this BAturday morning at 9:15 at the
courthouse, downtown Clearwater, and then we -- 9:30 to 12:30 we'll
be picketing, and then 2:30 in the afternoon we're going to have a
press conference. The press conference is open only to us and the
RL: Now, do you expect any sort of confrontation with church members,
given the fact that you are going to be in Clearwater?
JJ: Well, we've been -- the way we've been advertising this is it's
going to be a peaceful, quiet protest. All we're going to do, we're
going to go down there and picket and hand out literature! that's
all we're going to do. We've had previous pickets that were
organized on the Net before, and there was very few problems. So we
hope just to have a nice quiet day.
RL: And what are you asking for? Are you asking for the church to quit
censoring the Internet?
JL: I really doubt that that will happen, because L. Ron Hubbard wrote a
number of policies: how to deal, you know, with negative publicity
and everything, and Scientologists are required to follow these
policies. The only person who's allowed to rescind one of Hubbard's
orders is Hubbard himself, and being that hets dead, it's kind of
unlikely that he'll rescind their policies.
RL: We're talking about the Church of Scientology here on WMNF in Tampa,
and we're going to open up the phone lines in just a little bit.
Before we do that, Dennis, let me ask you: how -- if the church
encourages people to have good thoughts and, you know, although it
might be controversial to ask people for money to get elevated to
another level, why does it have to engage in harassment or
intimidation or even censorship of the newsletter -- I mean, why
would that be part of the church? Couldn't it -- could it survive
just doing the posit- -- the things that are not controversial, the
thinqs that are more positive?
DE: If it could do that, probably, it would be viable, as long as there
was consumer disclosure of what it was about. But the fact is that
it will never be able to do that, because Hubbard -- Hubbard
specifically directed what was to be done about suppressive people,
or critics like me: that they are to be Fair Gamed, that they're --
their lives are to be ruined. In other words, extract a high price
from anybody who is critical.
RL: Dennis, your house has been raided. Three hundred -- am I right? --
three hundred floppy disks have been taken from your house by the
federal government, right?
RL: No ? Okay.
DE: Yes and no. They got -- by falsifying information to a federal
judge in BAn Jose -- that's like five hundred miles from where I
live -- they got a writ of seizure on -- which they executed on me
back in February of last year. Their agents -- their armed agents
-- came into my house, without any federal officer present, and
ranBAcked my house for seven hours, and walked off without leaving
me any kind of inventory. Took hundreds of disks; took books,
papers; copied my entire hard drive; erased whatever they wanted off
of my hard drive; and walked out. They have yet, even though the
judge has said that the raid was unconstitutional, and ordered them
to return what they stole from me, they have not.
RL: And what's your recourse? What can you do about this?
DE: (sighs) I just have to wait for the wheels of Justice.
RL: Are you suing?
DE: Well, it's part of any federal suit that counterclaims be filed, and
yes, we have filed counterclaims.
RL: Is it the policy of the church to tie up its opponents in the
DE: Absolutely. I believe probably Jeff -- either of the two Jeffs
probably have some material that they can quote about that, yeah.
It's -- the quote is something on the order of "the courts can be
used -- the law can be used very effectively to harass.'
JJ: I'll quote that.
RL: Who's got that quote? Jeff Jacobsen, you've got that quote?
DE: This is Hubbard speaking.
JJ: Yeah, this is Hubbard speaking. "The purpose of the suit is to
harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very
easily to harass, and enough harassment on somebody who is simply
on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he's not authorized, will
generally be sufficient to cause his professional decease. If
possible, of course, ruin him utterly." So that's Hubbard's idea of
how to use the court system.
DE: That's what they've done to me.
RL: What's the danger for folks who use the Internet? Why -- if
somebodyis out there who's listening, and they use the Internet
every day, and they use it for research, they use it to send
mesBAges, they use it for education -- maybe they're a scholar --
what's the danger if the church is ultimately successful with this,
and able to prevent any sort of sharing of information about the
church on the Internet. what's the danger to people who use the
JJ: Well, if a powerful group can close down critics on the Internet,
then the purpose of the Internet is basically gone. Because the
point is free speech. So let's BAy Intel gets mad at some group for
discussing the flaw of the Pentium chip and they close down the
newegroup, you know, that restricts how people can find out about
the flaw in the Pentium chip, for an example. That would probably
close down half of the Internet, because criticism is free speech.
If you don't have the right to criticize, you don't have free
RL: What's the next step in this case? Scientology, I understand, has
been successful at the first turn, and that is that they've -- have
they been able to wipe out information about -- most information
about Scientology from the Internet? Or what's the status of this
JJ: No, actually, the reaction of the Internet when the church started
doing things -- the first bad thing they did was try to remove our
newegroup, which would -- they're actually supposedly only going
after the person who anonymously posted their secret scriptures.
But instead, they used this iron fist approach and tried to close
the whole newagroup down, rather than go after that individual.
That brought a lot of ire amongst the Internet people in general.
JL: People who weren't concerned with the Church of Scientology, such
JJ: Exactly. So the actions they've taken have actually totally
backfired on them and gotten 99' of the Internet mad at them now,
when before, 99% of the Internet had no clue about Scientology or
even cared about Scientoloqy.
RL: So, it wasn't Dennis that posted the information that --
JJ: No; Christmas Eve of '94, someone using an anonymous remailer --
which means before your mesBAge gets to a newegroup, your name is
stripped off of it -- so that person, I dontt know who that was --
and I don't know if anybody knows yet -- posted several of the OT
levels, the upper teachings, which the church at that time said were
trade secrets and copyrighted.
RL: And so, you can still get information about Scientology on the
Internet if they go to your newsgroup.
JJ: Yeah. They're -- I believe, actually, some people have still got
the OT levels on Web pages in different places.
RL: And where again can they go on the Internet?
JJ: Well, there's several cases -- just to mention this -- several cases
in the Netherlands right now where the church is suing Internet
providers because some of their clients have these OT material on
their Web pages. So that's going on right now, too. The church
to me almost seems like a law firm more than a church sometimes.
But, yeah, we're on alt.religion.scientology, on the Internet;
that's our newsgroup where we discuss this. It's a hot-and-heavy
RL: All right. Well, let's go to the phones. Our phone number here in
Tampa is 239-9663; Dennis, stay on the line with us, and we're going
to try to put some local folks on to talk about this controversy
involving the Church of Scientology. And our phone number again in
Tampa: 239-9663. Let's see if we can get this thing to work here.
Hi, you're on the air. Go ahead. Hi, you're on the air. Go ahead.
BA: Yes. My name is Brian Anderson, and I was calling because I had
heard some things on the air there that were just completely not
true, and I needed to call in. I'm the vice president of the Church
of Scientology in the Tampa Bay area; I've been with the Church of
Scientology for over twenty years, and I want to make some -- shed
some light on the people that are guests on the show, particularly
Dennis Erlich. There are some things that aren't being told, which
I can understand that Dennis may not be interested in telling,
because he's got a record which is not BAvory, but the first point I
wanted to point out was that the stuff that Dennis was BAying about
the church is completely unalterated [sic] lies. I've been with the
RL: Pick out --
BA: -- about twenty years --
RL: -- pick out -- Brian, pick out one or two for us, okay?
BA: Yeah. Let's just go over the person who's talking. Who he probably
didn't tell you that he's got some injunctions against him for
breaking the law, on copyright infringement --
RL: And did you bring those injunctions, Brian?
BA: The church did.
RL: And --
BA: The court did.
RL: Does the church harass --
BA: Let me --
RL: Does the church harass people by using the courts? Is the quote
that we just heard, that what you want to do is you want to harass
people and intimidate them by using the courts? Is that the way you
use the law?
RL: No? You don't --
BA: We use the law --
JJ: Wait a minute.
BA: -- to set precedents for religious freedom and to fight for minority
rights. There --
JJ: wait a minute, are you renouncing --
BA: There are --
JJ: Are you renouncing right now what Hubbard said?
BA: Pardon me?
JJ: Are you renouncing right now that quote from Hubbard? Are you
renouncing what Hubbard said?
BA: Is this Dennis talking?
JJ: No, this is Jeff Jacobsen.
BA: Jeff. There are some things that I want to BAy, though, without
being interrupted, because you guys have had a half hour of just
spewing venom, which I think is completely untrue, that I just want
to make a statement. And without being interrupted, I just want
to make --
RL: Yeah, but we'd like to ask you --
BA: -- a point and then I'm --
RL: But, Brian, Brian, we'd like to ask you questions, too. Could we
ask you questions?
BA: Yes. But could I please make --
RL: All right. Are you renouncing -- are you renouncing that statement
BA: Whi- -- I don't --
RL: Are you renouncing this --
BA: I don't know what you're talking about, but I can tell you --
RL: Okay. Let's -- Let's let Jeff read the statement again, and you
tell us what
BA: -- can I -- can I --
RL: Yeah, we'll let you talk, but just a second. We want to read this
statement by L. Ron Hubbard about the use of the law.
JJ: I'd like to know if you're going to renounce this quote from
Hubbard: "The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather
than to win. The law can be used to -- very easily to harass, and
enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway,
well knowing that he's not authorized, will generally be sufficient
to cause his professional decease. If possible, of course, ruin him
utterly." That's on page 55 of Magazine Articles on Level 0
RL: Now, is that doctrine still in force at the Church of Scientology,
BA: I have been in Scientology since 1969 --
RL: Right, but Brian, is that doctrine still in force?
BA: -- but let me, can I --
RL: Brian, is that doctrine still in force at the Church of Scientology
And what I'd like is a "yes" or "no" answer
force at the Church of Scientology?
BA: Never -- that is never -- I have never seen that or heard that in
RL: But do you --
BA: I have never --
JL: That's not an answer.
BA: I have never seen or heard that. I've, I've --
JJ: Are you renouncing it?
RL: Okay, but -- so that document, that's -- that is not part of the
church's religion --
BA: I have --
RL: -- that's not part of your philosophy.
BA: It is not part of the church's philosophy.
RL: Okay, thanks.
BA: That is completely untrue.
RL: Thanks. Thank you. Go ahead. Now, make another --
BA: Okay. Did Dennis tell you about his past history of violence in the
church, and that's why he was kicked out of the church twelve years
ago. He was beating up staff members, he was an undesirable, and he
was kicked out of the church because he couldn't meet the basic
standards of stability. And you talk about harassment, we kicked
him out because of harassment.
RL: Okay, well, let's get --
BA: Physical harassment --
RL: -- let's get Dennis on --
BA: -- which Dennis continued --
BA: -- past that point --
RL: Brian? We're going to -- Brian, we're going to go to Dennis out in
Califolnia and ask him --
BA: -- ask him about, ask him about --
RL: -- about this, hold on, just a see, hold on, you'll get your chance.
BA: -- he owes forty thousand dollars --
RL: All right.
BA: -- kids, and his wife --
RL: Dennis? Dennis, can you hear us?
BA: -- also harassed --
DE: (laughing) Yeah, I can hear you.
RL: Okay. Dennis, what's -- how do you respond to this?
DE: Well, what you're hearing is "dead-agent" material, that they are
trying to use to --
BA: Dennis, answer the questions.
DE: -- they're trying to use to discredit what I'm saying. I left the
cult of my own free will, because I did not any longer agree with
the barbaric practices that were going on, like the RPF
(tape ends here)
Epilog: Dennis Erlich was raided and sued in February 1995 for copyright and trade secret violations, I was raided and sued in August 1995, Dennis settled his case for an undiclosed amount of money. He no long speaks about Scientology.
An essential part of the operation of the lucrative scam caled Scientology demands that those who figure out how the scam is run and speak about it be silenced.
Myself, Bob Penny and Lawrence Wollersheim were offerred 9 million collectively by Scientology - included in the settlement was a gag agreement. We said no. Please financially support our continuing efforts to expose Scientology, we could not do this without the help of many generous people..