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Jan 22, 2013

'No aliens living inside us': Scientology educates the media

A media guide released by the Church of Scientology is aimed at dispelling myths around the religion -- turns out they're not descended from aliens, but they do teach English to African migrants.


There’s no mention of Tom Cruise, the evil ruler Xenu or the Galactic Confederacy. But a media guide produced by the Church of Scientology has been sent to journalists to “address a number of misunderstandings” about the religion.

Church spokesperson Virginia Stewart denies the guide’s release is related to a new controversial book that examines the inner working of the church. “It just happened to be when we finished it,” she told Crikey.

The guide focuses on the Asia-Pacific region, but also covers general details about the church, such as that the word “Scientology” means “knowing how to know”, the religion’s ultimate goal is “true spiritual enlightenment and freedom for all” and it is entirely funded by its members. The guide also explains its two most common symbols:

Controversial, and core, beliefs — the church’s aversion to traditional psychiatric treatments and medicine, the use of e-meters to measure electrical charges in the body (used to “locate areas of spiritual distress or travail during auditing”) and the secretive Sea Organisation Order (individuals sign a billion-year pledge dedicating themselves to the SeaOrg and must leave if they have children) — are covered. It also addresses the “alien myth”, clarifying that “Scientology has no religious belief that we are descended from aliens or have aliens living inside us”.

More specific to Australia is a list of volunteer work that Australian Scientology ministers have been involved in. There was a small number of volunteers involved in the clean-up after the 2011 Queensland and Victorian floods, the Christchurch earthquake and the NSW bushfires, while Scientologists also provided English literacy classes for African migrants in Melbourne.

Pulitzer prize-winning writer Lawrence Wright penned a 26-page article on the Church of Scientology, largely based on interviews with ex-Scientologist and Hollywood screenwriter Paul Haggis, for The New Yorker in 2011. It offers a fascinating insight to the little-known religion and reveals that the FBI were investigating allegations of slavery in the SeaOrg. Haggis also claimed church leader David Miscavige is a controlling and vicious figure, and the church encourages members to cut themselves off from any family or friends who are not Scientologists.

But Stewart says the article had “no impact” on the church here in Australia and she has yet to meet anyone who even read it. “No one has mentioned it to us at all,” she said.

The article led to Wright’s book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, which was released last week in a blaze of interviews and promotion. Stewart says she’s unconcerned. “It’s just mushing together allegations from other sources, there’s no new revelations,” she told Crikey. “I think he was just making money. Write a book and make money, that’s my personal view.”

Last week The Atlantic removed a paid advertisement for the Church of Scientology that was written to appear like a normal article (its comments were also moderated to only allow pro-church comments) after a public backlash. It is now reviewing its advertising and content policies.

When asked about The Atlantic incident, Stewart replied: “I think that there’s some people who no matter what you do, they still don’t like it. There’s people who don’t like religion, doesn’t matter if you’re a Scientologist or a Catholic.”

More damaging to Australian Scientologists are the local tabloid current affair shows. After one TV show displayed an aerial map of the church’s headquarters in Dundas, Sydney, “hooligans came and abused us”, Stewart says. “All of a sudden, rocks and things are being smashed, graffiti, our cars are being egged. It’s horrible,” she said.

The release of the media guide is to encourage more balanced reporting, Stewart says. “With the more non-online media, we would often get calls,” she said. “With online, it’s changed all of that. Something comes in and it just goes straight out. For online media, the balance we’ve experienced, we don’t get as much of a say or get asked. We’re very happy to answer questions.”

The 2012 census showed just 2136 Australians identified as Scientologists, but the church claims the figure is much higher and Scientologists fear identifying themselves. The only numbers the church can provide are flimsy — it claims to have 250,000 people on its Asia-Pacific mailing list, which includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Taiwan.

Stewart acknowledges the media coverage of the religion is completely out of whack to the number of Scientologists in Australia. “We’ve been told by media, ‘[it’s] because you keep getting the ratings up’.”


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28 thoughts on “‘No aliens living inside us’: Scientology educates the media

  1. klewso

    So “Tom Cruise” is for real?
    …. nudge, nudge, wink, wink – I saw “Meet Dave” the other night!

  2. Shaniq'ua Shardonn'ay

    It would be worth looking into their Drug Rehab activities, very suss and very costly as treatment is somewhere around $25,000 and smells a little like induction (lots of saunas).

  3. Maroubraman

    Whether Crikey or anyone else believes there are 200 Scientologists in Australia, or 2,000, or 200,000, is a bit irrelevant. Here are some objective facts:

    – There have been Australian Scientologists since the 1950s.

    – The unanimous 1983 decision of the Australian High Court which confirmed that Scientology is a religion is described on the Australian Government website as “the most significant Australian authority on the question of what constitutes a religion.” In that ruling, the High Court justices observed that, “Freedom of religion, the paradigm freedom of conscience, is of the essence of a free society.”

    – Regardless of any petty dispute over the NUMBER of Scientologists in Australia, here are two reliable facts:

    a) There are many hard working, honest, decent, intelligent people in all walks of life all over Australia who attribute increased personal happiness and spiritual understanding to their practice of Scientology, and;

    b) There are hostile critics who say all manner of negative things about Scientology.

    – The Australian media, including Crikey, are generally generous to the critics. There is no danger in shouting with the mob. But readers never hear anything positive. There ARE many positive stories. But if any media outlet were to report any such story — even if just to give the ridicule a little balance — they might be criticized yourself for saying something positive. I have long held the foolish hope that Crikey might be the first media forum to have big enough round things to actually entertain such a balanced message.

  4. Kster Ings

    It seems like some Australian’s did read the New Yorker article. It was an Australian producer that made this parody about scientology and gaming theory based on the article:

  5. Kerry Trelogan

    This sentence is (I’m sure) unintentionally misleading or could be misread:
    “Controversial, and core, beliefs — the church’s aversion to traditional psychiatric treatments and medicine…”

    Scientologists have NO aversion to _physical_ medicine. They’ll see a doctor as soon as not, take their antibiotics as prescribed, and never withhold medicine from anyone.

    Where they draw the line is at taking psychiatric drugs like Luvox, Zoloft, Prozac, Ritalin, Abilify and all the other dozens.

    The side effects of PHYSICAL drugs might give you hives, mess up your liver, or give you a tummy ache. But the side effects–on too many people–of psychiatric drugs have been mass murder, killing family members and/or suicide.

    Here’s one firearm site’s compilation of 65(!) hard-evidence examples of just that:
    Note the many video links at the bottom of the page.

    American politicians want to blame guns, but the weapons of those driven bonkers by psych drugs include knives, sword(!), explosives, cars, even a bus.

    Please get this point: Psychiatrists tell us that the crazy people they treat will sometimes kill people. They’re dodging their responsibility.

    These people didn’t START OUT that crazy. They started out just upset, troubled, anxious, lonely, or feeling guilty. Only AFTER taking psych drugs for simple conditions did they go stark-raving murderous on friends and family.

    Want that at your dining-room table?

  6. John P

    Even the brief excerpts of the Scientology media guide is disingenuous on multiple fronts. In other words, they’re lying… again…

    1. It’s accurate that they don’t believe that “man is descended from aliens.” That’s because they believe that man is actually a disembodied immortal spirit that reincarnates, and you can be reincarnated as an alien or as a human each time. So you’re not strictly descended from aliens in the evolutionary sense, you always were an alien.

    2. Your body does not *have space aliens living inside […].” The “body thetans” that people spend years trying to exorcise (which can be thought of as dead space cooties) cling to your skin. They are not “inside” your body, but Scientologists do believe they are real, and they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to rid themselves of these invisible little critters.

    3. If you look at the “charity” work that Scientologists claim to do, much of it is photo opportunities to take back to their cult headquarters and prove to themselves just how worthwhile they are. Scientology “volunteers” were repeatedly thrown out of the disaster site at the twin towers in New York following the September 11 attacks for getting in the way and trying to hand out cult literature. For that waste of everyone’s time, a Scientologist employee of the NY Fire Department, who lied about his credentials, presented the Scientology organization with a fake “Medal of Valor,” an award which is only given to firefighters who lost their life in the line of duty.

    4. Lawrence Wright’s book is a best-seller only days after it is released. It’s not surprising that Stewart “has yet to meet anyone who even read it,” given how the cult censors its members’ reading material. At one point, the cult also distributed software for members to install on their computers that would screen out sites critical of Scientology or web pages containing a list of terms critical of the cult. There have been over 2,000 news articles on Google News discussing the Wright book, so if Stewart is not hearing much about it, she’s doing her best head-in-the-sand ostrich imitation.

    5. Lawrence Wright is know for being an especially meticulous researcher, and he has been interviewing people for the book full-time for two years. He has conducted over two hundred interviews. This is anything but a slap-dash effort to cash in on the craziness that surrounds this malevolent and dangerous organization.

    6. “Maroubraman”s comment above is a stock denial of a cult member attempting to deflect attention from the negative press, particularly by claiming some form of discrimination or victimization.

    “There are hostile critics who say all manner of negative things about Scientology.” This is indeed true. What Maroubraman fails to note is that many of these critics are very careful to provide extensive supporting documentation for the charges they bring. In other words, much of the negative commentary about this dangerous organization is based on events that actually happened and are accurately described.

  7. Whingey Bingey

    Lol! I bet they didn’t mention what they really think of journalists!

    PROCEDURE ON ENTHETA PRESS In the case of a bad magazine article which is signed, use the Following procedure:

    1: Tell them by letter to retract at once in the next issue.

    2: Hire a private detective of a national-type firm to investigate the _writer_, not the magazine, and get any criminal or Communist back-ground the man has. (Because all subversive activities foolishly use criminals they “have something on” and men who have been paid to attack attack us, you’ll have data incoming from the detective agency if they do their work well.

    3: Have your lawyers or solicitors write the magazine threatening suit. (Hardly ever permit a real suit -they’re more of a nuisance to you than they’re worth.)

    4: Use the data you got from the detective at long last to write the author of the article a very tantalizing letter. Don’t give him your data on him. Just tell him we know something very interesting about him and wouldn’t he like to come in and talk about it. (If he comes, ask him to sign a confession of collusion and slander – people at that level often will, just to commit suicide – and publish it in a paid ad in the paper if you get it.) Chances are he won’t arrive.

    But he’ll sure shudder into silence.

    5: Give any new data you have from the detective to your attorneys for their use against the magazine.

    […] WHEN BEING INVESTIGATED lf you are being investigated or if the Central Organization is – sit tight, don’t co-operate.

    Be legal according to the laws of the land in the first place.

    After that kick investigators or reporters downstairs.

    Press interviews usually end up as entheta or they are cover-ups for an investigation Never co-operate. Be indifferent.

    Don’t let the central organization co-operate with “press” ever That’s a lesson hard to learn. Press people are so persuasive They are going to “help” so much. Look at a newspaper. ls it helping anybody?

    Press and other queries are counter-investigation.

    Never spook if investigated. And don’t co-operate. Sit tight.

    Be siIent. Make the investigator talk. Gradually put him into session if you can.

    Put him in birth or get him three feet back of his head. But don’t co-operate or volunteer data. lt’s not that you’ve anything to hide. It’s just that investigators can’t duplicate. They pervert things they “hear” Your whole answer to anyone is “This is an institution that has a definite high standing throughout the world, Why don’t you see our attorneys?”

    This kills press and cops alike.

    l’ve seen an outside investigation of a guiltless organization put the whole place in a flap and cost it two days’ work or more. I’ve seen an organization fall apart by suspending operation for ten days while it permitted itself to he investigated.

    So don’t co-operate. If you don’t scare or cringe, the menace fades away.

    — L. Ron Hubbard “Manual of Justice” (Public Domain)

    From http://www.xenu.net/archive/go/man_just.htm

  8. Whingey Bingey

    In answer to Maroubraman, my ex molested my daughter. When people abuse other people it doesn’t matter what other good qualities they have. I don’t care that we once enjoyed a nice game of Scrabble. I don’t have to say or think anything nice about him and I have a right to be angry.

    The Church of Scientology (all 2,000 of them) would be better off thinking about why people are so bitter about their time as Scientologists. They are creating their own “bitter defrocked apostates”. Here’s a hint Scientology. Why not try apologising? Why not try reviewing your the policies that consistently bring you this negative press and word of mouth? Even the Catholic church does that sometimes.

  9. Maroubraman

    Hello Whingey Bingey. I agree that you have a right to be angry toward your ex.

    On the other hand, regarding Scientology, your comment sort of proves my point.

    You seem desperate to believe that there are only 2,000 of “them.” Fine. I wouldn’t waste time arguing that. As I said, numbers are irrelevant (except of course to those who believe it is okay to discriminate against a minority BECAUSE they are a minority and thus it is “safe” to be in the majority mob).

    But here is how you unintentionally confirmed my original point: You say “people are so bitter about their time as Scientologists.” That statement is only true if you are referring to the tiny minority of “people” who are EX-Scientologists. You never hear in the media ANYTHING about the tens of thousands (sorry) of PEOPLE who are leading happy, successful lives, enjoying the company of friends, family and workmates who may or may not also be Scientologists.

    As you illustrate, EX-spouces are often bitter about their former partners. Sometimes, as apparently in your case, but not always, the anger is justified by the underlying facts.

    But, in your own case, for example, if you were to extrapolate from your misfortune and conclude that all men are evil, all relationships are bad, and love is an illusion, I think you would be doing yourself a disservice.

    And, in a free society, even your ex should have the right to have his “side” of the story heard, and for the matter to be decided based on FACTS.

  10. Whingey Bingey

    “Controversial, and core, beliefs — the church’s aversion to traditional psychiatric treatments and medicine…” You got it in one Crikey. Here is one example from the Affidavit of Tory Christman:

    6. A few months after joining the Sea Organization I realized I needed to re-order the medication I was on for Epilepsy. I was routed to a person they called the Medical Liaison Officer, or the MLO. This was a young man I was told was studying nutrition. He had no actual medical training that I knew of. He informed me that I needed to get off of my medication, and that he would write out a program to get off of it. In Scientology if you have ANY illness it is considered there is something wrong with you, not just physically, but that this is a very bad thing, caused by you being connected to someone who is suppressive to you. At least that was the beginning pitch I heard.

    9. Finally one morning in the shower I knocked my front teeth out during a Grand Mal seizure. All during this time my mother was begging me to go back on all of my medication. Being new in Scientology, I assured her Dianetics and Scientology would handle this. Finally, after so many seizures and so much trauma, I realized no matter what these people thought, I wasn’t going to live if I kept doing this. At that point I decided to go back on my medication in full, no matter what.


    19. After attesting to OT 3, I once again tried to get off of my medication, only to end up in a hospital with status epileptus, or many seizures. I finally went back on all medication, and have stayed on it, and have never had a seizure since.


  11. Maroubraman

    Hello John P. Regardless of whether or not you yourself are an ex-Scientologist, like Whingey Bingey you help to prove my point.

    First you say what Scientologists don’t believe, and then you say that what Scientologists DO believe is “that man is actually a disembodied immortal spirit that reincarnates . . . ”

    Actually, that is NOT what Scientologists believe. Scientologist believe that man is composed of spirit, mind and body — how radical. And since “spirit” is not mortal by definition, your “disembodied immortal spirit” hyperbole is just your anti-Scientology rhetoric.

  12. Mike Flanagan

    What a load of tosh many have expressed in the above thread.
    All religions are only a sop to human mortal insecurities.
    As Gustav Nossal once observed, that those that believe in life after deathe are fools.
    A practical exercise of lifting ones eyes to the ‘heavens’ on a clear night will serve to confirm to the god botherers, he is far too busy to attend to our individual wishes and wants.
    When one considers the enormity of the part of the galaxy we actually cannot see together with the gathering knowledge that there are a multiplicity of other galaxies, then it is time we recognised this mythology for what it is.
    A means by which a few may influence greater power and access greater wealth over his fellow believer.
    God bothering will not resolve our problems.
    It is time we stood on our own two feet and banished to the back shed, these false profits of reincarnation, that serve their own selfish purposes.

  13. Whingey Bingey

    Maroubraman, as an EX Scientologist my issues with Scientology are not what they believe, but how they BEHAVE.

    There are, however, many beliefs expressed by Scientology’s founder that I was unaware of when I joined and would NEVER have joined if I had known existed that I would be happy to discuss if you wish.

  14. Whingey Bingey

    Ah, Maroubraman… Always attack, never defend, eh?

    1) Whether or not I have had a negative experience with a spiritually abusive cult, this does not change the truth of what I have to say. This is the kind of logical fallacy Scientologists often use to justify ad hominem discrediting of a source. This is textbook Hubbard, of course.

    2) I am not bitter about a former partner. I am bitter about an abusive paedophile. See the difference?

    3) So who is stopping you from having your side of the story heard? Are you not being heard right now on this forum? The issue is that you don’t want me and others like me to be heard. The numerous documented incidents of Scientology attempting to silence criticism shows that it is Scientology who does not respect free speech – not critics.

    4) How am I “discriminating” against Scientology? Name ONE way. What I am doing is CRITICISING them – something Scientologists cannot bear.

    5) You would indeed seem idiotic if you attempt to argue the number of Scientologists, actually 2,163, from the official 2011 Australian Bureau of Statistics census figures. But be my guest. Once again I call bullshit on your tens of thousands. You are making the claim. YOU prove it.

    6) And now, illogically, you are calling ME a minority.

    7) Yes, it is possible there are 2,163 Scientologists in Australia “leading happy, successful lives, enjoying the company of friends, family and workmates who may or may not also be Scientologists.”

    8) Where are the rest?

    9) Scientology has been operating in Australia since the 1950s – selling services to thousands of people for decades. Go figure. Perhaps there are more silent but unhappy former Scientologists than you admit. You do the math.

    10) And yeah, to a “church” who orders my husband IN WRITING to leave me, who would stalk my family home when my children were trying to go to and from school, forcefully enter my home and leave a message on my answering machine (we kept the tape) so vile that the police attending the incident advised me I could press charges based on that alone, and which kept me living in fear for the better part of the next two decades (all documented on the police report) I COULD turn the other cheek, but why should I?

    11)I worked for you people between 40-100 hours a week for less than $20 pay for five years and that was my thanks, along with a bill for thouands of dollars.

    11) My children suffered from my involvement with Scientology, my family suffered, and I am still suffering in many ways. So by all means you share your “wins” and I will continue to warn people.

    Fair enough?

  15. Whingey Bingey

    Do you know how you get your name on a Scientology mailing list? You buy a book or service.

    So even if you never read the book, even if you never do any other service, even if you have tried for years to get your name off the mailing list, the Church of Scientology still considers you a Scientologist?

    That’s it? That’s their measure? ROFL

  16. Whingey Bingey

    What that tells me is that of a quarter of a million people who have become involved with Scientology, just over 2,000 have stayed. That’s a 0.009% retention rate. Some satisfied customers there!

  17. Whingey Bingey

    Actually I guess you’d have to subtract the New Zealand, Japan etc figures from that, but still….

  18. Enthralled Observer

    Maroubraman: You say the media should report those positive stories from happy Scientologists, however, it is a fact that a Scientologist in good standing is not allowed to talk to the media, lest he/she say something that is not approved by Co$… or they become exposed to negative criticism (Entheta)and their faith questioned; thereby planting doubt. If you are a Scientologist, then go ahead, offer yourself up to a journalist. I for one am interested in the ‘stories’ from such Scientologists who are not ‘guarded’ by Scieno handlers, nor is a spokesman for the group – just your average joe public Scientologist whose life we can follow around for a couple weeks to see what it is like – and get their responses to the accusations made by their ex-fellow worshipers.
    It won’t happen, because without Co$’s strict controls a Scientologist can’t be trusted, because even the parishoners don’t have the full story. I dare any pulic scientologists to prove otherwise… come on, we’re waiting!

  19. Michael Ferriss

    Scientology, regardless of who thinks what, is popular. It brings out the critics, the boors and blessed. I believe that aside from all this noise about the subject (the gossip and mud slinging) Scientology is breaking through into the mainstream. Sure it will be attacked, but what isn’t when it is new? People fear change and those who fear it most are those who seek to benefit from tenuous positions of power they exert of others for their own gain.
    Scientology offers hope. It says mankind can rise above the false ideologies that are there to control him. The false mental health practices that seek to suppress and drug every human impulse and behaviour not considered “normal” is but one of these ideologies. There are many others.
    Scientology holds that man is spiritual in this very materialistic age. It has had to fight for its footholds in a hostile environment, but what religion hasn’t?
    What we are witnessing is the birth of a new movement only 63 years old. It now spans the globe. Its profile is now huge and it ranks very high as a subject of inquiry with searches on the Internet. Smart people will go to the source of the subject and read L.Ron Hubbard’s books and find out for themselves what it is about. You can find these in most libraries.
    Some others might amuse themselves with the vacuous gossip
    and ridicule spouted in the media and look no further. And a small number will outright attack it, hoping to stall its progress by spreading their invective and hate.
    But one thing is for sure, it isn’t going to go away. Scientologists will win through as they spread their message that people can resolve their problems of mental and spiritual anguish using the simple auditing techniques of Scientology. People will try these and find they work and pass it along to others. It is happening now all over the world and that’s a hard thing to stop: the idea that mankind can be free by his own efforts and by his own understanding of life.

  20. Whingey Bingey

    “Last week The Atlantic removed a paid advertisement for the Church of Scientology that was written to appear like a normal article (its comments were also moderated to only allow pro-church comments) after a public backlash. It is now reviewing its advertising and content policies.”

    Well, who knew Scientology was so popular? One of us obviously needs to get out more. :p

  21. Whingey Bingey

    And to think they paid 50 million dollars for that Atlantic piece – and the Atlantic STILL pulled it.

  22. Whingey Bingey

    By the way, did you forget to do your disclosure?

    From The Drum: Opinion

    “Mike Ferriss is the Secretary for the Church of Scientology in New Zealand. He has represented the Church on radio, television and in the press over the past twenty years.”

  23. Whingey Bingey

    Interesting training they give you in the Office of “Special Affairs”. I had to help our Director of Special Affairs out once with this really interesting “drill” where they train you how to lie. TR-L, I believe, or TR-Lie. It was a bit shocking to realise that my “church” was deliberately training people to propagate falsehoods. Most other religions teach that this is a bad thing to do.

    However, when you are the only hope for mankind the end does justify the means.

  24. Whingey Bingey

    Really, when you think about it, you can justify anything. Spying on the government. Plotting to have somebody committed to a mental institution or thrown into gaol. Faking a hit and run to get a politician discredited. The possibilities are endless.

  25. Whingey Bingey

    I guess that’s why people love Scientology.

  26. Whingey Bingey

    Sorry, 50 thousand dollars they paid for the Atlantic ad. My zeros got ahead of themselves.

  27. Whingey Bingey

    “TAMPA — A California couple filed a federal lawsuit today in Tampa against the Church of Scientology, saying hundreds of thousands of dollars they gave to the church for specific purposes was spent elsewhere.

    Attorneys for the couple say it is the first of a series of lawsuits that will be filed by former church members across the nation, alleging fraud, unfair deceptive trade practices and breach of contract.”

    By KEITH MORELLI | The Tampa Tribune
    Published: January 23, 2013

    Yet more “bitter defrocked apostate” haters making a big fuss about nothing!

  28. Whingey Bingey

    This is an interesting tidbit!

    “While nothing untoward has happened to me as I covered the Church intermittently over the years, writing about Scientology used to be not just a frightening proposition but a difficult one. Aside from the suspicions about harassment and the threat of litigation, it was hard — during the late ’80s and early ’90s — to get Scientology’s critics with firsthand knowledge to speak out, even off the record. Some I knew were not just afraid but terrified. Former Scientologists often were reluctant to reveal even their names.”

    Why the Media Is No Longer Afraid of Scientology (Analysis)
    by Kim Masters | The Hollywood Reporter


https://www.crikey.com.au/2013/01/22/no-aliens-living-inside-us-scientology-educates-the-media/ == https://www.crikey.com.au/free-trial/==https://www.crikey.com.au/subscribe/

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