Conversations With A Current Member
The actual post is below, and so are the replies, but at the time this post was made, an interesting thing was happening on alt.religion.scientology. It appeared that someone was trying to make the group impossible to read. On first glance, given the benefit of the doubt, it could have a news server gone haywire, but the phenomenon mutated...
The Church of Scientology has made a number of attempts in the past to make the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology unreadable, thereby making communication between critics impossible. The method at the time of this post seems to be to obscure the comments made by some of the more vocal critics by posting repeated and meaningless messages supposedly by the critic. They appear to be made by some sort of posting robot, and are referred to as sporgeries.
I've included the actual replies to this post below, as well as copies of the sporgeries which responses to this message generated. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have included replies here, but since such the effort was made to obscure them, I wanted to make them easy to find. Headers are included, in case anyone wants to compare the sporgery headers to the posts which generated them. Some speculation was made as to whether the number of sporgeries on a post could correlate to the degree to which Scientology wanted to cover up the information contained within. If this is the case, I am proud for my post to be the recipient of three types of sporgeries:
I archive them here as an example of the lengths to which someone will go to in order to silence others. Here's an example of the way the posts appeared in Free Agent. The posts in black are actual posts, and the red posts are sporgeries. Please note that I have not made any direct accusations of any person or group of people.
- unrelated topics which, on first glance, appear to be posts intended for another newsgroup
- gibberish, non-words
- words put together that almost make sense
Subject: Conversations With A Current Member
From email@example.com Thu Mar 25 00:15:44 1999
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 05:15:44 GMT
Sorry for the length - here are the highlights:
* Scientologist Friend Reconnects After 1 Year,
Disconnects Again After 9 Days
* Scientology Class in Handling Suppression Didn't Work
* Attempt to Have International Pickets Page Removed A Miserable Failure
Some of you may remember a post from me about a year ago, in which I told
about an old friend "disconnecting" from me
(http://www.arscc-atl.com/personal/98-03-14-ethercat.html). This occurred
just after the First L. Ron' Hubbard's Birthday Picket in Atlanta, and was
in response to my friend wynot's participation in the picket. Prior to
that, he had paid me a rather scarey Christmas Visit
(http://www.arscc-atl.com/personal/97-12-28-ethercat.html), soon after the
first picket held in Atlanta, in an attempt to convince me to strongly
discourage wynot from picketing and engaging in other activities critical
of the Church of Scientology, and I had told him I couldn't, and wouldn't,
control the activities of a friend.
The Second L. Ron' Hubbard's Birthday Picket in Atlanta was held, the
first picket at the new org in Atlanta (or Dunwoody, to be more
specific), and the next day I received a call from this "disconnected"
friend. He said he wanted to be friends again. He said he missed having
someone to ask for computer advice, among other things, and he had never
thought it had been right to disconnect from me, but that it was the
only thing he knew to do at the time. He said he had had the class on
suppression now, and he was now better equipped to continue the
friendship, and he hoped he could help me accept his involvment with
Scientology, though I might not necessarily accept Scientology itself.
THE LAST TIME WE SAW EACH OTHER
I brought up the Christmas Visit, and told him that for the first time
ever in 23 years of friendship, I had been afraid of what he would do,
that I was physically frightened by his actions, and he apologized and
said he had read my post about the visit, and that as much as he would
have liked to believe that I had exaggerated in it, he knew it was all
true. (aha, he had done research...)
I told him, yes, when I first started reading people's accounts of their
encounters with Scientology, I had thought they must be exaggerated, that
some of the stories were so outrageous that how could they be true, and
that I had tried to be objective, and not believe something awful just
because someone had written about it, but NOW I HAVE MY OWN STORY, and I
know it's true, so, in my mind, that just lends more credibility to the
other stories which may sound unbelievable at first.
We discussed Scientology, and I said that I could accept that *he* was
doing good things as a Scientologist, but that I thought there were
things that he was unaware of that the Church of Scientology was doing,
and that I couldn't believe that he would want to stay involved if he
knew about them. I told him I was concerned that this might turn out to
be a case of the blind men and the elephant, each "seeing" only one part,
and none seeing the collective whole. He seemed willing to admit that
that might be the case, and I reminded him that he had once said if I
brought him verifiable evidence of wrongdoing by the Church of
Scientology, that he would take it up as high as he had to in order to
get a satisfactory explanation.
The conversation meandered through other subjects and then turned to
picketing. "With all the bad things going on in the world that one could
get involved in, why does wynot choose Scientology," he asked. "That is
something you will have to discuss with wynot, but I imagine wynot has
some personal feelings about it," I replied. I told him that I thought
wynot would be happy to talk to him, if he wanted.
He said wynot picketing his church has the same effect on him as it would
on me if I looked out my front door and saw people picketing with signs
that said "down with the internet". I had to laugh out loud at this - I
told him I would run grab my camera, post the pictures to the internet
immediately to serve as a source of amusement for the netizens there, and
then I would call the police and have them arrested, since it is illegal
here to picket a residence.
He said that the day after wynot had done his "reconnaisance" on the new
org, that the Scientology banner sign which hung covering the previous
inhabitant's sign, had had the ropes cut and was now missing, presumably
stolen, and that he didn't want to blame wynot, but that the timing was
really odd... That the day after he was there, the sign was gone. I
told him that I could assure him personally that wynot had nothing to do
with whatever happened to the sign. I didn't mention to him that I could
do that with full confidence because I had been there with wynot that
night, had driven him home that night, and had seen him again early the
next day. He said it was just strange... That he wasn't blaming him...
it was just strange...
I joked with him that MadCow has quite a little thing going with Susan,
doesn't he (see MadCow's reports for details). He had no idea who MadCow
was. (seems his research is a little incomplete, since MadCow is very
good about posting his picket reports...)
He didn't seem to know that I had picketed once too; he never brought it
up. I had just never posted a report, though I was mentioned in wynot's
report. (there's some more incomplete research...) The next picket is
for you, my disconnected friend, if you're reading this.
I asked him what they did with the pictures of the picketers - they are
sent uplines, they are not shown around the org, he said. I had asked
the Scientologist photographer about this at the picket I was at when she
was out taking my picture. She hadn't had a good ready answer like they
usually do, and fumbled verbally while telling me they kept them on file,
on file for what I kept asking, once they are on file, what are they used
for, but she had no answers, just said that wynot had let her take his
picture, referring to him with his real name. I said, "Oh, it's so when
we come back again, you'll recognize us!" She seemed relieved that I had
provided her with an answer, she was off the hook, and didn't pick up on
the inherent statement that implied that we _would_ be back. Soon
afterwards, she went back in... Poor lady, couldn't even bullshit
I told him that I still neither had nor wanted any control over wynot's
actions, and that I was involved in other things, and was not actively
engaged in critical activities against his church at the time, but that I
hadn't changed my opinion about it. I suggested that if he truly wanted
to be friends again, that we would have to agree to disagree about the
Church of Scientology, and that we would have to rebuild our friendship
on other things, such as computers, music, etc., but that we should just
avoid Scientology, if being friends was what he wanted. He seemed to
agree that we could do that at the time, though he now says he never
agreed to it.
He would call me in a few days he said, and that conversation ended....
Conversation Number 2 was mostly about other stuff, but in that
conversation, he suggested that he come by on Friday and visit, and that
he would call me then.
Over those few days I thought over the ideas of whether this was what it
appeared to be, whether I should become friends with him again, or
whether this was driven by another motive. I decided that if I didn't
give him the opportunity to rebuild the friendship, that I would have
been just as influenced by Scientology as he was, just in the other
direction, and I would not be true to myself if I didn't give him the
chance, the benefit of the doubt that he really just wanted to be friends
again. I was uncomfortable even having to think such things out....
Friday came and went, and he didn't call. I wondered what was up, but
since he had tended to be a bit like this in his past, I didn't think
much about it till Monday, which was longer than he would have waited
before. Shall I call him, I wondered, deciding I should, mostly because
if he never called me again, all I would have would be a big fat question
mark about the whole thing...
I called him on Tuesday, and he first apologized that he hadn't called
me, and then proceeded to tell me how he was busy, and something had
happened at the Church, and then he had to do this and that, and
something else happened at the org....
He found out that I was still "attacking" his church. He had found out
that I had taken pictures at a picket. (This was over a year ago, and I
was never mentioned by name in any picket reports; I was also hidden
while taking the pictures, so I believe this was either supposition on
his part, however true, or he was probing for an admission.) He also
knew about Ted Mayett's International Pickets pages, which are housed on
my website, alley.ethercat.com. He claimed to have found these things on
his own, but he was not very clear about which documents he referred to
specifically, so I have to wonder... I pointed out that once a website
is uploaded, it usually requires no continuing action to keep it online...
It hurt him to see attacks on people he knew personally, he said, saying
that he knows one of the people who cared for Lisa McPherson. He knows
this person, and he has read the notes taken by the people in attendance
in Lisa's final days. I said I couldn't believe that he would have read
the notes, and still think everything they did was right. I said she
begged to be let go, and they wouldn't release her, and this amounted to
kidnapping in my book. They held her when she asked to be let go, with
no legal right to do so. He asked then why were there never any
kidnapping charges brought against anyone. I didn't have an answer for
that, I wish I had...
I said that the notes had clearly showed that she needed medical
attention, and she didn't get it. That when they saw she wasn't eating
or drinking, and was becoming emaciated, that any thinking person would
have called in medical help. He repeated the old story about what had
brought on her death, said she died from a blood clot which was caused by
an internal injury in the accident, and that if the Scientologists had
not gotten her from the hospital, that the hospital would have held her,
and proceeded to cite the list of psychiatric abuses Scientologists are
so fond of mentioning. He ignored the plain facts that a woman who is
not eating, drinking, and begs to be freed is in need of, at the very
least, medical attention, and went on to tell how the autopsy report was
signed by someone other than the person who did the autopsy. How the
original coroner was threatened, and would not say that the blood clot
had been brought on by bed rest and dehydration. One note of interest,
this injury supposedly sustained in the accident has changed from an
"injury" to an "internal injury" over the last year (I had told him
over a year ago that I didn't think the accident resulted in any physical
I asked about the old CAN, and the new CAN. Specifically, if the old CAN
was so bad, such an evil organization, why did the new CAN keep the
name. That it seemed logical to me that if you took over a bad
organization, that you would want to change the name so that you
disassociated yourself with the old organization. I had to ask
repeatedly why didn't they change the name, and I never got anything I
was satisfied with. He said first they had kept the name so they could
use the mailing list which they had bought. I told him they had the
names, and that they could still have sent mail to them, under whatever
new name they chose. I said I thought it was deceptive to send mail as a
group that was no longer there. He said the old CAN had deceived these
people, and the new CAN was giving them the truth. I kept after the
point that sending mail as someone else was deceptive, and suggested that
it I posted something or smailed a letter to his church as him, such as
something critical of Scientology, that it would be deceptive. He said
that it was not deception since the material sent by the new CAN was so
different from the old CAN's material, that they would know immediately
that it was different from what they had gotten in the past. I suggested
that a "change of management" notice would have been a simple business
courtesy, even the local drug store announces a change in management.
Ooops, said the wrong word, he corrected me, they are NOT a business. I
excused my self and corrected my statement to a simple professional
courtesy. I asked if he then considered that it was ok to deceive some
people, the people who had been on the mailing list for the old CAN. He
made a lot of attacks on the old CAN, dragged out that tired old
deprogramming story, and insisted it was not deceit, but that if someone
were threating him, that he would not think it was wrong to deceive them
to protect himself.
$360,000 FOR SALVATION?!?!?!?!
I brought up the issue of money, and that if they have the answer to all
problems, why do they charge so much for it? Why wouldn't they want
everyone to have the answer, and provide it for cost? He went on to tell
me how there is not a big profit margin, and how no one in Scientology is
getting rich, how the upper management rolls up their sleeves and helps
when work is needed. Then why does everything cost so much??? He
implied that their costs are high, so I suggested they find a cheaper
printer, because they were spending too much if they had to charge that
much with almost no profit margins. He saw nothing wrong with a religion
charging for classes and books, etc., citing local Emory University as an
example of a Methodist school which no one minded them charging for.
Emory is a big respectable school, with a school of law, medicine,
dentistry, computer science, and other legimate fields of study, and no
religious slant in the coursework. (The do have a dept of theology,
however.) I found this comparison totally ludicrous. For some reason I
didn't understand, the IRS was brought into this conversation also.
I asked him to bring me one person Scientology has helped, who is not a
Scientologist, and that I would like to talk to them. He made a comment
about if they're Scientologists, why is their information tainted. I
asked then if they only help Scientologists. He said that it was natural
that if something helped you, then you would want to be involved with
it. He compared it to someone eating chocolate for the first time,
liking it, and deciding they will eat chocolate again. (I would hope
that people would give more thought to choosing a religion than to
deciding to eat chocolate, but....) He did not offer anyone who
Scientology has helped who is not a Scientologist. He mentioned some
children who had been taught to read, and I thought he was about to tell
me the South Africa story, but when I asked where they were, he said
Atlanta. He did not, however, offer to bring them forth to tell their
OPERATION SNOW WHITE
He seemed so ready with answers, I asked him about the government
infiltration to destroy documents.... He didn't know what I was talking
about, so I told him this was documented, and that I would send him the
information about it. He was uninterested, and started in on how I
wouldn't look at anything he provided. I told him I wanted something
other than the PR bullshit released by the Church of Scientology. To
him, there is nothing else, but I don't trust their information - I want
outside sources. He doesn't seem to understand this...
Picketing came up again and he made a comment about there only being two
picketers in Atlanta (which is not actually true, there have been a
total of 8 unique picketers in Atlanta over the last year, but I didn't
argue that point). I told him to multiply that number by the number of
orgs all over the world, which he estimated to be somewhere between 250
and 400, being generous, saying 500, that is only 1000 picketers all over
the world, he said. While he was still in "ridicule the picketers" mode,
I asked him, then if the number is so insignificant, then why does it
bother y'all SO much? Why not just look at it like a couple of crazy
idiots out there? Indeed, he had mentioned somewhere along the line that
when pickets are going on, everyone inside the org is laughing at the
picketers... Sure seems to upset the upper levels, though.
The conversation turned back around to the situation at hand, the
friendship. He seemed to think he was in control at this point. Since I
was still attacking his church, he said, he had changed his mind, he
didn't think we could be friends. However, if I would show my good faith
by taking down any pages I have on my website which are critical to his
church, we could be friends again. I mentioned that Scientology has
tried to remove a lot of people's webpages, including ones that had no
copyrighted material, and pointed out that I had now been asked too, and
that I had no intention of removing them. This gave me the answers I had
called him back to get...
The class in suppression didn't work. Damn, I guess he'll just have pay
for that one again... BTW, I made sure to point that out to him, just
before he wished me to have a nice life.
There was a lot of shifting in the topic of discussion. I would have
attributed this to an inability to stay focused, except that I have seen
this used before by him to evade the actual questions. A number of
things I mentioned were responded to with "ok", then an explanation, as
if he is remembering what the correct response is. If I had more time to
ask questions, I fully believe I could tell from the presence or absence
of the "ok"s, whether he had been coached on the individual questions...
He has no idea why Time Magazine was awarded the final judgement, but
insists that they published lies.
Lerma is still a hot button - I made no mention of him but still heard
several scathing attacks on him.
He said Scientology was not the cause for the demise of CAN.
He said he tried to join the new CAN, and although he got on their
mailing list for a while, they would not let him become a member. He
jokingly suggested it might be because he's a Scientologist.
He said L. Ron Hubbard did not write "may be tricked, sued, or lied to".
A lot of energy is spent comparing the Church of Scientology to other
churches as a means to justify their own actions. Arguments that because
someone else doing it doesn't make it right fall on deaf ears.
He has read some critical material, yet still believes in Scientology and
the Grand Conspiracy.
_.|o o |_ ) )
--(((---(((-------------| ethercat |------------ (ascii art by Mike Rosulek)
(Subsequent replies are linked from their initial reply.)
Note: Sporge count may not be entirely accurate, due to auto-cancellations.