July 31, 1991
newscast reports on a suit brought by a
Scientologist whose daughter appeared on
the Sally Jesse Raphael Show. Tom
Padgett is interviewed.
Date: July 9, 1991
Scientology Ruined My Life
SALLY JESSY RAPHAEL: This is Val and Emma, two
sisters who say they're worried sick about their
mother. Three years ago, Val and Emma's mother
Dorothy abandoned her family and went to work
for what they say is a dangerous, bizarre, religious
cult known as the Church of Scientology. They
say that their mom has been brainwashed to believe
that the Church comes before her own family. Now,
just last Sunday, in a desperate attempt to rescue
their mom from the clutches of the Church, Val
and her brother secretly videotaped a conversation.
Val questioned her mother with hopes that she
would snap out of it.
[amateur videotape] Every time I come up, I can't
see you. You
know, your vacation has been changed. And, you
know, maybe the first
year, I understood that. The second year, I didn't
think it was very
considerate. And now I'm upset.
DOROTHY: I was doing dishes, I was producing.
And I have to tell you
that that was probably the best two weeks I've
ever spent. I mean, I
totally, totally have affinity for that gallery.
VAL: What does affinity for a gallery mean?
DOROTHY: A liking for it, a love for it.
VAL: You got to like washing dishes?
DOROTHY: Loved it. I loved it.
VAL: Something is definitely wrong here. Nobody
likes to wash dishes
14 hours a day. Are you making under $5,000 a
year or over $5,000 a
DOROTHY: I'm probably making about $5,000 a year.
I mean, and then
SALLY: Val, does your mother know that she was
being photographed, videotaped?
Wants Mother to Leave Church of Scientology: No,
That meeting you just had with your mom, which
we saw on tape, now that was the first real conversation
that you've had with your own mother in three
years? What was it like talking to her?
Well, my mother is different now. She is, like,
real fragmented. I could talk to her, and every
once in a while, I'd get a little piece of coherent
information, but then there was a lot of incoherent
stuff coming out. So it's like somebody scrambled
her mind, and there's a million jigsaw pieces
of this puzzle that are just thrown on the floor,
and she's just trying to pick up little pieces
here and there. And any time I'd try to get an
answer out of her, I would get some kind of cult
Right, that you probably didn't understand.
Yeah, there's a lot of things. She told me, later,
from my sister, Emma, found out what exactly she
was talking about.
How did you know about the lingo, Emma?
Wants Mother to Leave Church of Scientology: Well,
I was involved in the organization 13 years ago,
I was on staff.
For a long time or a short time?
I spent seven months with them. My father told
me that if I joined the staff they would train
me and give me a career, and I didn't have any
hopes of being able to go to college because of
my financial situation. So I thought, "Great,
a golden opportunity." And I spent 14 hours
a day working and getting nowhere and not really
getting any training and just under a lot of stress.
And so, I had left.
Now, what got mother involved in Scientology in
the first place?
I think what got my mom involved was, she had
eight children. She devoted her life to us. When
the littlest one left home, I think she had a
little bit of empty nest syndrome. She had a poor
marriage. And I think she wanted to work on her
marriage and she also wanted to do something with
her life. My mother is a very loving, very Christian,
gentle kind of person, and she thought that she
was going to help save the world.
But what's wrong with this? I know you two are
desperate. I talked to you just before the show,
and you are absolutely desperate. Mother seems
to have found a life. What's wrong?
What's wrong is that she's 60 years old, they've
got her working 14 hours a day. She'll set a vacation,
Emma and I will drive 600 miles to see her, and
then all of a sudden, the vacation is changed.
There's something wrong with the work place. And
this cult is a for-profit business, and I want
everybody to understand that; they are making
big money. They are not paying my mother. She's
not even making living wages.
Is that true what we saw on the tape?
That's true, yes.
Under $5,000 a year.
Under $5,000 a year.
For how many days work? Six days a week?
Well, of course, they study on their own time.
She can't see her family. So everything --
So that's why this is the first time in three
years you've seen Mom?
They control her every moment.
That's right. She has to get permission from them.
She has to call them in on her day off. She has
to call in and get instructions. She had to call
them and get instructions how to handle me, because
I was questioning them. And because I question
her and what is going to happen to her, she is
going to have to impose punishment upon herself,
because I have asked her to take a vacation.
I'm not quite sure I understand. You asked your
mother to take a vacation, she has to be punished
by herself because you've done that.
She told me that she would be considered a "PTS,"
potential trouble source, because she is supposed
to have me under control. And, like she said,
she's never had me under control. And then she'll
have to go to a book and she'll have to pick out
what her crime is, because I've asked her to take
a vacation. And then, once she's decided what
her crime is, she has to pick out conditions.
Now, if she doesn't pick out the appropriate conditions,
then they will help her pick out conditions. Now,
that's what the 14-hour dishwashing was. She evidently
committed a crime a couple years ago.
So she washed dishes for 14 hours.
Now, the last time you tried to get through to
mother -- and we have eight brothers and sisters
here who are desperate to get their mother back,
out of Scientology -- you were sent a book called
Can We Ever Be Friends? It came with a tape or
That was what she was told would get Emma and
I back in line.
And what does this book say?
Well, this book -- I took it to be just propaganda
from them. My mother and I have never been enemies;
we've always been friends. So I kind of thought
on the face of it, "What's the point?"
Well, why is asking to spend a vacation with my
mother an enemy type of action?
Oh, OK, I don't know, actually.
I mean, why is that wrong?
Why should a 60-year-old woman not have a week
off to see her children? You know, the first year,
I thought, "Well, my mom wants to have a
new life, that's fine." The second year I
thought, "This is kind of different,"
you know. I really think that the family should
be connected. And the third year, I thought, you
know, "Eighty-four hours a week," I
think it's boiling down to about $1.19 an hour,
no benefits. I mean, what is retirement? What
about health insurance?
My son doesn't even know his grandmother. He's
never had a time to spend with her, because he
was about 7 when she got involved. And, before
that, he was too young to remember her. And that,
for me, is very hard, because he --
Describe her now. You said she appeared to be
deprived of sleep, not able to think clearly.
It's like I have two mothers. There's an old mother
and a new mother. My old mother was bubbly, happy-go-lucky.
She loved to travel. She loved to cross-stitch.
She just loved life and she loved people. She
loved being with people and my new mother -- You
have to feed the conversation. She doesn't offer
anything. She doesn't want to travel. She's passed
up opportunities to travel. She's just a completely
different person and there's no bubbling. The
bubble is all gone.
Besides taping that and bringing it to us, what
are the eight kids going to do to rescue mother?
Well, I think what needs to be done -- This cult
is a business for profit. And if they paid their
taxes and if they paid their employees, or their
workers, whatever you want to call them, their
volunteers, like any other business in America
has to pay their taxes and their employees, they
would be brought to their knees. So I think that
everybody needs to start doing a little bit of
talking, and a little bit of networking. Let's
talk to our politicians. Let's get the Department
of Labor off their rear ends and, you know --
My mother ought to be paid a living wage, for
God sake. She's 60 years old. They can't afford
to pay their people.
Oh, so that might give you mother back. You know,
in reading this, Can We Ever Be Friends?, it kind
of leads you to believe that anyone who questions
Scientology should themselves be questioned.
Right, and we --
So, if anyone attacks you, you attack the attacker.
That's right. We have been told that there are
certain people in Scientology that want us out
of their way.
Want the two of you out of their way?
Yes, yes, that came back through our mother, through
Are you afraid?
No, because I think fear -- I am, but I'm not,
because I think fear stops people from doing what
they need to do. And I'm not going to be stopped.
Besides, if they start attacking people and the
world sees that, then they've just buried themselves.
I mean, what do you think the world will see when
they see that?
Next, a woman dying of cancer who says the Church
of Scientology is to blame. We'll be right back.
I sure hope you're going to stay with us for this
whole program because I think the topic is absolutely
fascinating. Now, if you just joined us, we're
talking about the Church of Scientology with people
who say the Church has destroyed their lives.
Val and Emma, what is Scientology? I mean, you
know, we've been talking about is now for a whole
section. Can you just say what it is?
Do you want to try?
"You want to try?" Yeah.
It's a business, but they portray themselves as
a religion. And they're, I think, out to save
the world, like, they're going to offer some psychological
help to people. And then what they do is they
draw them in, take their money, take their time.
So it could be a religion and it could be a philosophy?
All right, a combination.
I don't know much about it.
It's hard to put your finger on that. This is
Roxanne. Roxanne grew up, like most girls, with
lots of dreams for her future. I think you were
going to be an opera star, were you not? But when
Roxanne turned 18, the dreams were shattered when
she joined the Church of Scientology. Roxanne
says it was this Church that destroyed her life.
And recently, she has been diagnosed with terminal
cancer. Now, she feels that Scientology contributed
greatly to her illness and may be even to blame
for it. Today, Roxanne doesn't know how long she
has to live. What happened? You were in the Church
when you got sick. What happened?
Says Church of Scientology Destroyed Her Life:
Yes, OK, I was involved for 13 years.
How much did you spend with the Church in 13 --
Roughly $100,000, between $80 and $100,000.
You are a very rich person.
I had my own business and I worked night and day.
I did some work for the Church of Scientology,
as well. I worked night and day, often weeks on
end without sleep, and I did make some money.
I had credit cards and I gave them roughly that
amount of money.
A hundred thousand?
The last, say, two or three years, that I was
involved, I became ill. And I kept telling them,
"I'm ill." And I wouldn't -- maybe not
go so far as to say I blame them. The Church of
Scientology did not give me cancer, or something
like that. But I kept saying, "I'm ill."
And I kept being told -- It was heavily implied
to me that it was a mental thing, that if I gave
them another $6,000, another $12,000, that I would
be OK, that I wasn't really ill. I was taken by
Did they tell you that it was psychosomatic, that
the cancer --
I was trained for 13 years to believe that there
is no such thing as illness, that it is psychosomatic.
Read Dianetics and it says it in there. And I
got up to the top of the Scientology charts. And
I was not supposed to be ill. There is no such
thing as illness in Scientology; it can be audited
out. You can pay and have it removed, because
it is all in your mind. And I was so heavily trained
to believe that that I felt that I something was
mentally very, very wrong. And --
Are you afraid of being with me now?
Very much so. Yes.
I mean, the lady I talked to backstage and the
lady I'm talking to now -- pardon me -- is --
I'm scared to death, Sally.
Why are you so frightened?
My brother is still involved. I love him dearly.
We're 11 months apart. We were very close. He
will not speak with me right now, because he's
not allowed to, because of the Church of Scientology.
Unlike your mother.
They do not like people who speak out against
Are you afraid that being with me, somebody is
going to do you bodily harm?
The possibility exists. I know people that that
has happened to.
OK, I now respect your fear, and the audience
understands that, so if I ask you any questions
that you think will jeopardize -- This is hard.
Just being here.
Yes, just being here jeopardizes it.
OK, you gave them 100,000, they told you your
disease was psychological, and one night, some
people came to visit you?
OK, I had been ill. For the last two or three
years I was involved in the group. I was iller
and iller. I went down to Florida on my own volition,
to try and see if I could do something about my
condition. And it was not going well. I called
911, emergency, and went to the hospital. Some
Scientologists came and got me from the hospital
and brought me back to the hotel. And, at that
point, I decided I didn't want to be there. I
didn't decide that I didn't want to be in the
group; I decided I did not want to be there. I
did not want to have their auditing, which is
their counseling. And I woke up in the middle
of the night. I wasn't sleeping well anyhow. And
I went to the airport and I left. And I went back
to Los Angeles, where I was living at the time.
They sent about five people there. I said, "No,
I do not want to go back down there. I'm ill."
I just wanted to rest.
This sounds like a spy thriller.
It was a nightmare, at the least. It was a nightmare
at the least. They woke me up in the middle of
the night, had already packed my belongings into
a Winnebago -- this was around January 1st, a
year and a half ago -- and escorted me physically
to the recreational vehicle and drove me --
Wait a minute. "Escorted me physically"
is kidnapping, right?
Whatever words you want to use. I don't know what
word to use for it.
Escorted -- OK.
Escorted me, physically, without my volition,
into this Winnebago, drove me down to Florida,
put me in a little apartment, had a guard at the
front door, a guard at the back door, no telephone.
Both my parents tried to contact me while I was
there. I tried to get them to mail letters for
me, which they would not or did not mail. And
I stayed in that room for four weeks, stating,
merely on a daily basis, at least for two of those
weeks, that I'm being held there against my will,
that it was illegal, and that I did not want to
be there. And finally, the day they let me go,
they gave me a declaration. That's part of their
ethics policies they have declarations.
Why did they finally let you go?
Because I kept saying that every day, and I refused
to get their auditing and counseling.
I'm beginning to understand how you feel, Val.
You said to me, "I haven't said what I think
about my mother." If she's brave enough to
talk about this with her brother, then, can I
get you to say that? Or will it endanger you?
Well, it might endanger me. It might endanger
my family. It might endanger my mother.
If you'd rather not say it, it's fine.
No, but I think public awareness is real important
right now, because I'm a believer that if you
stay intimidated, then you can't help the ones
you need to help. My mother is -- You just feel
like, you know, her mind is so fragmented. And
I feel about her like I did, or do my son, like,
when he had to have stitches, you know, when you
need to help them. Can I have a Kleenex?
They're just more vulnerable. And you need to
protect them, just like you need to protect your
child that is unable to protect themselves.
Do you feel that way about your brother?
I'm concerned about my brother. My brother was
on drugs, very heavily, before being involved
with the Church. And I'm frightened that he won't
have the support system there, if he does decide
to leave, because it's very difficult to leave.
My life crashed. And I don't want him to use that
as a support system. Would he make the choice
Roxanne, have the doctors said that if, when you
said, "I'm ill," if you had gotten earlier
cancer detection, that this would have prolonged
your life? Is that the crux of what was said?
To me, there's no question about it, that if I
had sought help earlier, that my life would be
prolonged. I have stage 4 cancer, which means
it's spread quite a bit, and it takes time for
cancer to spread. If it had been caught when it
was just its original tumor, and I had had that
removed, it would be all over right now, meaning
that I wouldn't have to be dealing with the problem.
I've been told by two specialists that it is terminal.
And I have one who told me one-to-two years, one
told me about -- right now, about 10 months to
live. And, had I caught it earlier, two or three
years ago, before it spread --
You're sure you want to spend that remaining time
talking about this?
No, I don't. I almost backed out.
Why are you doing this?
Because I feel that, especially with people involved
in Scientology, such as, you know, Tom Cruise
now is on the headlines, and people are gullible.
I was so naive. I believed everything that I was
told by Scientologists. I never questioned one
thing. I know people do question it. I didn't.
I completely, 100 percent, was into it for all
those years. And I hope that, maybe, by telling
my story, I can help someone else to not have
to go through what I went through. I can honestly
tell you my life is happier now. I feel more joy,
and I have a life now. And I did not have a life
for 13 years.
That's worth it. If that's the way you decide
to spend your time, then I applaud you.
An inside speaks out. Someone in the Church of
Scientology tells us about it, from the inside,
when we return.
I told you it was going to be absolutely fascinating.
Hana Whitfield knows about the Church of Scientology
from the inside. She was a close confidante of
the founder of the Church, L. Ron Hubbard. She
even lived on his private boat for many years.
But now, Hana says, getting out was the best thing
she ever did. I want you to talk to us about your
experiences with the Church, if you will, Hana.
Now, does the Church take these ads on television,
it says L. Ron Hubbard's name, and then it says
Scientology and there's a book involved. Correct?
Former Scientologist: That's correct.
The book is called?
Dianetics: Modern Science of Mental Health.
Because we've seen all these ads. OK, go back
and tell us a little bit -- I mean, how long were
you with Scientology?
I'm still embarrassed to say it, 19-1/2 years,
especially in front of all these people.
And you lived on the boat and you were in the
inner workings of this?
Yes. Well, I started off at the bottom and fairly
rapidly worked my way up. I was promoted upward.
And I got into a position of being a senior executive.
And, when we were on the ships with Hubbard, I
was the captain of one ship, I deputy captained
another ship. I was a deputy to Hubbard in the
United States for two years. So I held some fairly
Did the Church do the things that these people
are saying that it did?
Absolutely. And it still does them today.
Did you do these things knowingly?
No. The amazing thing is, when I was in the group,
I was never involved with money, with finance;
I was involved with legal matters, only for a
very short period of time. And those are the two
main areas that are the dirty areas in Scientology.
They are the ones that were run by the old guardian's
office that did the covert operations against
Scientology's enemies that --
Wait, wait, wait, covert operations against Scientology's
Yes, yes, they ran covert intelligence gathering
missions, put together programs to destroy people
like Paulette Cooper, after she wrote her book
in the '70s, I believe, which was the first major
book that came out that was critical of Scientology.
So there was the phrase, "Attack the attacker."
Exactly. And, if possible, "Ruin him utterly,"
meaning these are Hubbard statements, out of his
own confidential policies: "Ruin your enemy
utterly. Destroy him. Obliterate him." I
found these things out after --
This is America -- This is now in America?
Sally, I found out about these things after I
left the group. I had no idea --
Why did you leave the group?
Because I got so ill and so suicidal that if I
had stayed, I would have committed suicide.
You said financial was a big area of this organization.
What are we talking about in terms of money? What
is this Church or philosophy worth?
To call it a church is actually incorrect, and
I just want to add this, it is not correct that
all the churches have tax-exempt status. That
is not correct. Scientology and current leadership
advertise it as such, but it is not. Select churches
have tax-exempt status, but not all of them.
When Hubbard died in '86, he was attributed to
be worth close to $2 billion. And most of that
money was in tax havens at that time, in Liechtenstein
and Luxembourg. And now there's a new tax haven
in Cypress. I don't know, currently, what this
organization is worth.
But you're talking billions and billions. Speak
to me about rehab.
Clarify that for me.
Were you involved in part of the organization
where you did rehab?
Rehabilitation Project Force. Yes, I was --
What is that?
It's a group within Scientology, to which its
dissidents are assigned, people who speak out,
people who protest, people who are critical of
the organization, but they're still Scientologists.
They're taken by force, as I was. Somebody said,
one is taken involuntarily but not kidnapped.
And I was put into this group. We lived in the
garage in the Clearwater Hotel, the Fort Harrison
Hotel. We had to run everywhere. We were not allowed
to speak to anyone outside our group. We were
treated like, my husband calls it a concentration
camp. We worked 12 hours a day, we studied eight
hours a day. We slept very little. We were considered
the dirt of Scientology. And I was in it for a
In it for a year?
If someone came up to you and asked you to donate
money to some group -- For example, if somebody
came to me and said -- because it's a particular
interest of mine -- "Would you give money
to Narconon?" you probably would, right?
What most people don't know is that Narconon is
a group known to have a very strong connection
with the Church of Scientology.
Narconon is part and parcel of Scientology. It
will not admit it in its literature. In its literature,
it adamantly states it is not connected, in any
way, to the Church of Scientology.
But it is, in your opinion?
It is part and parcel of Scientology.
And it is in the opinion of Time magazine. Now,
they've listed a number of groups also affiliated
with the Church of Scientology. I'm going to ask
you for a sentence on them. riminon.
Criminon is supposed to handle crime, supposed
to eliminate crime. It's a front group of Scientology.
Sterling Management Systems.
It's a front group of Scientology.
What do they do?
Its purpose is to recruit professionals into Scientology,
because professionals have more money than the
people on the street. That is true. That is absolutely
Its purpose is to promote good public relations,
and, when one finds out that Scientology created
the booklet, one then feels good towards Scientology.
It's a front group.
Sounds good. I'd give money to schooling.
It's a front group of Scientology.
What does it do?
It teaches Hubbard's educational methods.
Citizens Commission on Human Rights.
Its purpose and goal is to eliminate psychiatry
from the world and put Scientology in psychiatry's
Concerned Businessman's Association of America.
I'm wondering how many of these people I've given
money to is what I'm thinking. What do they do?
They are a front group, as well, and are supposed
to promote Scientology -- It's business, Hubbard's
business management techniques, into the society
and businesses at large.
It's supposed to promote Hubbard's medical breakthroughs
in eliminating toxins from the body.
And a book called Diet for a Poisoned Planet.
That isn't even sold on those commercials.
No, it isn't.
But it's a Scientology book?
I believe so. I don't know too much about that
And the Association for Better Living and Education.
That's the group that runs all the ones you've
just mentioned. And it is situated in the Scientology
building on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles,
ABLE, for short.
When you worked, for part of your time, you worked
in Exit? Is there something called Exit?
Exit counseling or consulting.
Yeah, what is Exit counseling?
My husband and I -- It's the word used to describe
the work we do now. Since we've left Scientology,
we now work with families who have a loved one
in Scientology. We help them to educate the loved
one, so the loved one can make an informed choice
as to whether to continue working for Scientology
or to leave the group.
Could you help their mother?
I can't say straight out. We would have to get
into communication, find out what the situation
is, and so forth. There is a chance that their
mother could be helped.
Now, there are a number of celebrities -- who
was it down here that was saying -- You were saying
to me some of the celebrities, right? And people
are interested. And they were reported by Time
magazine to be Scientologists. Do you know who
any of them are? Who? "Tom Cruise?"
Somebody said, "Tom Cruise," right?
Yes, yes. I don't know him personally, but, yes,
he is a Scientologist.
Kirstie Alley. I know John Travolta.
John Travolta is one.
Priscilla Presley. Kathie Lee, Kathie Lee Crosby.
Right. There's a lot of them. Is there not? And
the voice of Bart Simpson, I think.
Yes, yes, and I've just heard that Patrick Swayze
is involved, but not publicly, at this point.
Why would these people -- Mimi Rogers, there --
Thank you for the list, who is ever producing
the show. According to Time magazine, Mimi Rogers,
Ann Archer, Sonny Bono, Chick Corea and Nancy
Cartwright, who is the voice of --
And Demi Moore has been approached and has been
courted by the top executives in Scientology,
and was willing to sign on the dotted line, but
her husband, Bruce Willis, grabbed her aside and
said, "Demi, this needs a lot more investigation
before we're getting involved."
Next, a couple who nearly lost their twin babies
to Scientology. We'll be back.
I think it's very important, also, to say that
Time magazine did a cover story, and we want to
thank them for their participation and their help.
I want you to meet Pete and Mary Jo Farrell [sp?].
They say they had no idea that they were falling,
hook, line and sinker, for what they say, now,
is a destructive cult. It nearly ruined their
marriage and their bank account. In fact, the
stress was so intense, it almost caused Mary Jo,
who was pregnant with twins at the time, to miscarry.
You almost lost the babies?
JO, Says Church of Scientology Almost Destroyed
Family: Yes. When Pete came back from California,
he was ready to go back out three times before
I was going to have these twins. I was entering
my last trimester. He had emptied out our bank
Wait, wait, we'd better start this story at the
beginning. Somebody sitting here said, "We'd
been approached." Who was saying that? Was
it you? Yeah, OK. You two were approached. Is
that the beginning of the story?
Says Church of Scientology Almost Destroyed Family:
The beginning of the story is that I'm a veterinarian.
I knew I liked you.
Thank you. As a veterinarian, in veterinary college,
you do not receive any management training, how
to run a business, how to take care of employees.
Well, the Church of Scientology has a front group
designed to fill that niche. And it is called
Sterling Management Systems.
Oh, that was one of the ones that we were just
And they have a very aggressive marketing scam,
where they mail very wonderful brochures about
how you'll be able to take vacations and increase
your gross production and have a wonderful life,
if you'll just sign on with Sterling Management
Systems. And so, my partner and I did go to an
introductory seminary. Having had no training
at all in management, we were given some basic
management ideas that seemed to be very plausible.
And so we decided that we were going to join on.
We were shocked at how much it cost to sign up.
That night, we had to sign a $13,000 check. They
would not let us come back the next day. We had
to do it that night. They were going to keep us
there until we were convinced that we had to do
it that night.
Sally, I've worked briefly for Sterling and I
know what the sales techniques are. The rationale
is that if you let a client, a prospective client
leave and think about it they will analytically
be critical of their decision and back out of
signing up, giving away $36,000 - $50,000.
That's why the laws have a protection of certain
So it has to be done now. But why does it have
to be done now? Because any doubt, any fear, any
negativity he may have felt about signing comes
from his subconscious mind, his reactive mind.
It's controlling him. He mustn't let it control
As a part of the business training that we received,
we were taught how to do hard sell, in other words,
how to take a client and manipulate them into
letting you do things with their pet -- in my
situation -- that they ordinarily would not choose
to do, simply by convincing them that, "This
is the best. Don't you want the best for your
pet?" "Don't you want the best for your
life?" is how they convinced me. "Don't
you want to be a better person?"
So you were in this. And you were in it how long?
And how much have you spent? And, weren't you
suspicious about anything?
We had no background to judge the goodness or
badness of their management training. And everyone
that we talked to -- And they had a list, a phone
list, of people to call, who were so supportive,
and said, "These are great guys. They'll
really help your business." We didn't realize
that every single person on that phone list got
a kick-back from the company for saying the good
things that they did. o, at the time, we had no
way to know that it was a bad situation.
So we did sign up. We went to California. We learned
all of this Hubbard philosophy and how to change
people around and judge people. And then, the
kicker is, they tell you that, "Well, doctor,
the real way that you're going to help your practice
is to make yourself a better person. And the only
way that really exists in the world to do that
is through the services of the Church of Scientology.
So we want you to sign on for this." And,
as hard as it may be for you all to believe it,
we did sign on. I mean, hearing these other people's
stories, it seems incredible. But we had only
seen good things. We had never heard a single
bad thing. And really, also, we were not good
consumers, because we did not pursue information
about Sterling Management Systems. We didn't call
the Better Business Bureau. We didn't call anybody
else to find out if they were good or bad.
Although, I'm not so sure that the Better Business
Bureau or anybody else would make an opinion.
You said you were a little suspicious.
JO: I was a little suspicious, because, when Pete
came back from California the first time, we both
were going to go, his partner Mike and -- We were
all going to go, leave my kids, who I never leave,
I mean, for 14 days and go. But then, in the meantime,
I got pregnant with twins and my doctor didn't
want me to travel.
How did you get out of the Scientology?
Well, it was all for Mary Jo.
JO: Peter's partner came back before, from California,
from the Church of Scientology, first. He came
to me, in my kitchen, and said, "I don't
want to upset you," because I was, you know,
this huge, pregnant woman. He said, "But,
there is something wrong with Pete. I don't think
this is right. Did you know he just emptied out
your bank account, maxed out your credit cards,
and he's going to destroy our business?"
And I said, "Oh boy, I've got to deal with
this right now, because I'm not losing my husband
to anybody." Because we had a wonderful life.
He came back from California believing that he
was a bad person, a bad father and husband and
a terrible veterinarian. [weeping] He's a wonderful
man and he always was.
Let's take a break, we'll be right back.
Pete was saying that no one ever said anything
negative. So maybe, I guess that's what we're
kind of trying to -- not say negative, but at
least inform. Steve Hassan, who has been with
us before, is a former cult member. And he has
been involved in helping people get away from
cults for about 14 years. Now, we've been hearing
a lot about what people call cults today. Just
how dangerous are they?
HASSAN, Cult Awareness Network: Cults, or --
I have to get you to stand up.
HASSAN: Sally, cults are definitely proliferating.
And Scientology is one of the more destructive
cults. And they're very powerful. And they use
PR very, very well. And, as you can see, not just
young people are being recruited by cults, like
it was in the 70's, but now, elderly people, professional
people. People are being vigorously and deceptively
I'd like to ask a question if I could. I don't
remember your name, but you used to be in the
Hana. What happens to my mother. She's 60 years
old. She should be retiring or near retirement.
On $5,000 a year, what is she going to get in
retirement? And what do they do to her?
She will be worked as hard as they can work her.
We call the members of the group now -- I mean,
Hubbard was practicing slave labor, basically.
She will be worked as long as she has a breath
in her body. And then, when she either gets ill
or she's unable to continue on, she will be dismissed
from the group. She will not get a pension. She
will not get health insurance, medical insurance,
life insurance. It doesn't exist.
Is this a cult? Is this?
HASSAN: Oh, absolutely.
Scientology is a cult?
HASSAN: Any organization that's an authoritarian
pyramid structure with someone or some group at
the top that has all the knowledge, all the information,
that used deception in recruitment and mind-control
techniques, including putting phobias in people
to make them fearful that if they ever leave,
terrible things are going to happen to them; controls
information, tells people who they can talk to
and who they can't talk to, what they can read
and what they can't read. Any group that uses
fear and guilt manipulation to make people dependent
on the authority figures is using mind control
and is using cults. And it's not just Scientology.
There are thousands of these groups. They could
be a political cult, it could be a psychotherapy
cult or commercial cult.
We have to be on the watch for them. Is Scientology
HASSAN: I don't mean to generate fear, but to
be a good consumer. People have to realize, if
a group is legitimate, it will stand up to any
scrutiny, and to always get all the facts. Not
just depend on what the group recruiter is telling
you, but to take time out and do the thorough
research. And, in that way, you can protect yourself.
I need to tell you about mind control, because
that's a word that you think, "Oh,"
you think, "Brainwashing," OK. Well,
mind control is what happened to me. And I wasn't
brainwashed. I did not know that anyone was trying
to manipulate my mind, at all. I felt and told
everyone that I made every conscious choice all
by myself. No one forced me to decide to sign
that $34,000 check. No one told me that I should
do anything. I made all the choices, OK. And that
is the difference between mind control and brainwashing.
Because you are manipulated into making that choice,
by them, unbeknownst to you.
I don't still understand, if I saw that whole
list of all the organizations to join, some of
them sound like they're giving such wonderful
help to people. And most of us today really want
to be helpful because people just aren't interested.
What precautions do I take not to get involved
in a Sterling Management or a this or a that?
HASSAN: Well, I think the crucial thing is consumer
awareness and to realize that, just because you're
solicited by a glossy brochure, or you're given
a free personality test, or whatever, that the
group is legitimate. Ask questions. Find out who
is the leader. Find out what is the background.
You can go and trace organizations, in terms of
going to newspapers and magazines. There's the
Cult Awareness Network, which has files --
Wait, Hana, would they tell me that this was Scientology-based?
When he says, "Be a good consumer,"
is there anything --
HASSAN: No. Well -- No, you can't count on groups
telling you, "We're with the parent group."
It depends. No. The best thing to do is to go
and do one's own research in the library, because
there is now positive stuff put out by Scientology,
and there is negative stuff in libraries. And
if -- A rule of thumb is, if it sounds too good
to be true, be suspicious.
It usually is.
HASSAN: Right. And the more grandiose the claims,
the more you should be skeptical about it and
do the research.
All of the consulting firms that Scientology has
out now -- Sterling is not the only one. There's
Hollander Consultants, there's Iron Wookitz [sp?]
and somebody else and Singer. Those groups are
directed at professionals: dentists, chiropractors,
doctors. There's also groups -- I just saw one
that's going for computer technology people. So
they're trying to work their way into all aspects.
You have some quotes from the Cult Awareness Network
HASSAN: Yes, actually, Sally, in the Time magazine
piece, which is excellent, and the L.A. Times
did a six-part series last year, the executive
director, Cynthia Kisser, of the Cult Awareness
Network said, "Scientology is quite likely
the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic,
the most litigious, and the most lucrative cult
the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more
money from its members."
Take a break, we'll be right back.
You were saying that a reputable organization
allows the scrutiny and answers questions. We
asked Scientology five times to please appear
on the show so they could tell their story. They
sent us this, The Story That "Time"
Couldn't Tell. Now, this is an insert in what?
USA Today has printed this in their newspaper
as an insert. Is this backed by Scientology?
Oh, yes, that is printed by the Church of Scientology
Why would USA Today put these in their newspapers?
Because Scientology has probably paid them I don't
know how many millions to put that into every
edition of USA Today.
And how would we, as the --
They've done that in an attempt to show that the
Time magazine article is full of errors and full
of untruths. They have attempted to give their
side in that particular piece.
So Scientology has tried to exonerate itself in
that piece against what was mentioned in the Time
Aren't there lawyers that handle all these cases?
Can they do anything?
Well, there are a number of very brave lawyers
in the United States, who are, slowly but surely,
making headway against Scientology. The group,
and Hubbard, if he were alive, would never admit
it. They'd never admit it in public, that every
single case that has gone to trial -- whether
Scientology filed it or someone else filed it
against Scientology -- Scientology has lost that
case. Every single one that has gone to trial
in front of a jury has been lost by Scientology.
Scientology will never admit that.
HASSAN: I'd just like to say that a number of
authors have written books about it. The latest
one is called A Piece of Blue Sky, by an ex- Scientologist,
Jon Atack. And the Church went to the Supreme
Court, trying to suppress this book for years,
and finally the Church lost that. And the book
is available. And anyone who wants to know the
definitive research work on Scientology to date,
it's A Piece of Blue Sky by Jon Atack.
It's an excellent book. There was just a case
due to come to trial this week in Los Angeles,
Bent Corydon v. Church of Scientology.
So there are cases.
He's the author of a book.
Take a break, we'll be right back.
USA Today is my favorite newspaper, but this is
not my favorite thing. I guess the answer is,
next time anybody asks you to join an organization
or anything, to be the intelligent consumer and
try and find out as much as you can. And we wish
you all a great deal of luck. Thank you for being
with us today.
(c) 1991 by Multimedia Entertainment, Inc.