The founder of this enterprise was part storyteller, part flimflam
In Nebraska in 1911, Hubbard served in the Navy during World War II and
complained to the Veterans Administration about his "suicidal
and his "seriously affected" mind. Nevertheless, Hubbard was a
successful writer of pulp science fiction. Years later, church brochures
him falsely as an "extensively decorated" World War II hero
crippled and blinded in action, twice pronounced dead and miraculously
Scientology. Hubbard's "doctorate" from "Sequoia
was a fake mall-order degree. In a I984 case in which the church sued a
biographical researcher, a California judge concluded that its founder
Hubbard wrote one of Scientology's sacred texts, Dianetics: The
of Mental Health, in 1950. In it he introduced a crude psychotherapeutic
he called "auditing." He also created a simplified lie
an "E-meter") that was designed to measure electrical changes
skin while subjects discussed intimate details of their past. Hubbard
unhappiness sprang from mental aberrations (or "engrams")
early traumas. Counseling sessions with the E-meter, he claimed, could
the engrams, cure blindness and even improve a person's intelligence and
Hubbard kept adding steps, each more costly, for his followers to
the 1960s the guru decreed that humans are made of clusters of spirits
who were banished to earth some 75 million years ago by a cruel galactic
named Xenu. Naturally, those thetans had to be audited.
An Internal Revenue Service ruling in 1967 stripped Scientology's
of its tax-exempt status. A federal court ruled in 1971 that Hubbard's
claims were bogus and that E-meter auditing could no longer be called a
treatment. Hubbard responded by going fully religious, seeking First
protection for Scien- tology's strange rites. His counselors started
clerical collars. Chapels were built, franchises became "missions,
fees became "fixed donations," and Hubbard's comic-book
During the early 1970s, the IRS conducted its own auditing sessions
that Hubbard was skimming millions of dollars from the church,
money through dummy corporations in Panama and stashing it in Swiss bank
Moreover, church members stole IRS documents, filed false tax returns
the agency's employees. By late 1985, with high-level defectors accusing
of having stolen as much as S200 million from the church, the IRS was
an indictment of Hubbard for tax fraud. Scientology members "worked
night" shredding documents the IRS sought, according to defector
who took part in the scheme. Hubbard, who had been in hiding for five
before the criminal case could be prosecuted.
Today the church invents costly new services with all the zeal of its
Scientology doctrine warns that even adherents who are "
engrams face grave spiritual dangers unless they are pushed to higher
expensive levels. According to the church's latest price list, recruits
meat," as Hubbard called them -- take auditing sessions that cost
as $1,000 an hour, or $12,500 for a 12 1/2-hour "intensive."
Psychiatrists say these sessions can produce a drugged-like, mind-
euphoria that keeps customers coming back for more. To pay their fees,
can earn commissions by recruiting new mem- bers, become auditors
did so at age 12), or join the church staff and receive free counseling
for what their written contracts describe as a "billion years"
"Make sure that lots of bodies move through the shop,"
in one of his bulletins to officials. "Make money. Make more money.
others produce so as to make money . . . However you get them in or why,
BAKER, 73, LOST HER HOUSE after Scientologists learned it was debt free
a $45,000 mortage, which they pressured her to tap to pay for auditing.
approached her after her husband died to help "cure" her
she couldn't repay the mortage, she had to sell.
Harriet Baker learned the hard way about Scientology's business of
religion. When Baker, 73, lost her husband to cancer, a Scientologist
at her Los Angeles home peddling a $1,300 auditing package to cure her
Some $15,000 later, the Scientologists discovered that her house was
They arranged a $45,000 mortgage, which they pressured her to tap for
until Baker's children helped their mother snap out of her daze. Last
demanded a $27,000 refund for unused services, prompting two cult
members to show
up at her door unannounced with an E-meter to interrogate her. Baker
the money and, financially strapped, was forced to sell her house in
The Lotticks lost their son, Noah, who jumped from a New York City
$171, vitually the only money he had not yet turned over to Scientology.
blame the church and would like to sue but are frightened by the
reputation for ruthlessness.
Noah Lottick killed himself, he had paid more than $5,000 for church
His behavior had also become strange. He once remarked to his parents
Scientology mentors could actually read minds. When his father suffered
heart attack, Noah insisted that it was purely psychosomatic. Five days
he jumped, Noah burst into his parents' home and demanded to know why
spreading "false rumors" about him -- a delusion that finally
his father to call a psychiatrist.
It was too late. "From Noah's friends at Dianetics" read
that accompanied a bouquet of flowers at Lottick's funeral. Yet no
staff members bothered to show up. A week earlier, local church
given Lottick's parents a red-carpet tour of their center. A cult leader
Noah's parents that their son had been at the church just hours before
-- but the church denied this story as soon as the body was identified.
form, the cult even haggled with the Lotticks over $3,000 their son had
services he never used, insisting that Noah had intended it as a "
The church has invented hundreds of goods and services for which
urged to give "donations." Are you having trouble "moving
up the Bridge" -- that is, advancing up the stepladder of
Then you can have your case reviewed for a mere $1,250
to know "why a thetan hangs on to the physical universe?" Try
Hubbard's tape-recorded speeches from 1952, titled "Ron's
Course Lectures," for $2,525. Next: nine other series of the same
the collector, gold-and-leather-bound editions of 22 of Hubbard's books
on subjects ranging from Scientology ethics to radiation can be had for
To gain influence and lure richer, more sophisticated followers,
has lately resorted to a wide array of front groups and financial scams.
CONSULTING. Sterling Management Systems, formed in 1983, has been
recent years by Inc. magazine as one of America's fastest-growing
(estimated 1988 revenues: $20 million). Sterling regularly mails a free
to more than 300,000 health-care professionals, mostly dentists,
increase their incomes dramatically. The firm offers seminars and
typically cost $10,000. But Sterling's true aim is to hook customers for
"The church has a rotten product, so they package it as something
says Peter Georgiades, a Pittsburgh attorney who represents Sterling
"It's a kind of bait and switch." Sterling's founder, dentist
Hughes is now under investigation by California's Board of Dental
incompetence. Nine lawsuits are pending against him for malpractice
have been settled), mostly for orthodontic work on children.
view (169 k)
Many dentists who have unwittingly been drawn into the cult are
filing or threatening
lawsuits as well. Dentist Robert Geary of Medina, Ohio, who entered a
seminar in 1988, endured "the most extreme high-pressure sales
have ever faced." Sterling officials told Geary, 45, that their
not linked to Scientology, he says, but Geary claims they eventually
him that he and his wife Dorothy had personal problems that required
Over five months, the Gearys say, they spent $130,000 for services,
for "gold-embossed, investment-grade" books signed by Hubbard.
contends that Scientologists not only called his bank to increase his
limit but also forged his signature on a $20,000 loan application.
insane," he recalls. "I couldn't even get an accounting from
what I was paying for." At one point, the Gearys claim,
Dorothy hostage for two weeks in a mountain cabin, after which she was
for a nervous breakdown.
|THE ROWE FAMILY
on Dianetics treatment. Like many dentists, Glover Rowe was drawn in by
Management, which does not publicize its ties to Scientology.
Last October, Sterling broke some bad news to another dentist, Glover
of Gadsden, Ala., and his wife Dee. Tests showed that unless they signed
auditing Glover's practice would fail, and Dee would someday abuse their
The next month the Rowes flew to Glendale, Calif., where they shuttled
a local hotel to a Dianetics center. "We thought they were
because they seemed to know so much about us," recalls Dee. "
realized our hotel room must have been bugged." After bolting from
$23,000 poorer, the Rowes say, they were chased repeatedly by
foot and in cars. Dentists aren't the only once at risk. Scientology
pitches to chiropractors, podiatrists and veterinarians.
PUBLIC INFLUENCE. One front, the Way to Happiness Foundation, has
to children in thousands of the nation's public schools more than 3.5
copies of a booklet Hubbard wrote on morality. The church calls the
largest dissemination project in Scientology history." Applied
is the name of still another front, which is attempting to install a
program in public schools, primarily those populated by minorities. The
also plans a 1,000 acre campus, where it will train educators to teach
Hubbard methods. The disingenuously named Citizens Commission on Human
is a Scientology group at war with psychiatry, its primary competitor.
typically issues reports aimed at discrediting particular psychiatrists
field in general. The CCHR is also behind an all-out war against Eli
maker of Prozac, the nation's top-selling antidepression drug. Despite
the group's members -- who call themselves "psychbusters" --
Prozac drives people to murder or suicide. Through mass mailings,
on talk shows and heavy lobbying, CCHR has hurt drug sales and helped
of lawsuits against Lilly.
Another Scientology linked group, the Concerned Businessmen's
of America, holds antidrug contests and awards $5,000 grants to schools
as a way
to recruit students and curry favor with education officials. West
John D. Rockefeller IV unwittingly commended the CBAA in 1987 on the
Last August author Alex Haley was the keynote speaker at its annual
in Los Angeles. Says Haley: "I didn't know much about that group
I'm a Methodist." Ignorance about Scientology can be embarrassing:
ago, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar, noting that Scientology's founder
solved the aberrations of the human mind," proclaimed March 13
Hubbard Day." He rescinded the proclamation in late March, once he
who Hubbard really was.
HEALTH CARE. HealthMed, a chain of clinics run by Scientologists,
a grueling and excessive system of saunas, exercise and vitamins
designed by Hubbard
to purify the body. Experts denounce the regime as quackery and
yet HealthMed solicits unions and public agencies for contracts. The
plugged heavily in a new book, Diet for a Poisoned Planet, by journalist
Steinman, who concludes that scores of common foods (among them:
peaches and cottage cheese) are dangerous.
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop labeled the book "trash,
and the Food and Drug Administration issued a paper in October that
distorts his facts. "HealthMed is a gateway to Scientology, and
book is a sorting mechanism," says physician William Jarvis, who is
of the National Council Against Health Fraud. Steinman, who describes
favorably as a "researcher," denies any ties to the church and
"HealthMed has no affiliation that I know of with
DRUG TREATMENT. Hubbard's purification treatments are the mainstay
a Scientology-run chain of 33 alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers --
in prisons under the name "Criminon" -- in 12 countries.
classic vehicle for drawing addicts into the cult, now plans to open
what it calls
the world's largest treatment center, a 1,400-bed facility on an Indian
near Newkirk, Okla. (pop. 2,400. At a 1989 ceremony in Newkirk, the As-
for Better Living and Education presented Narconon a check for $200,000
study praising its work. The association turned out to be part of
itself. Today the town is battling to keep out the cult, which has
through such tactics as sending private detectives to snoop on the mayor
local newspaper publisher.
FINANCIAL SCAMS. Three Florida Scientologists, including Ronald
a big contributor to the church's international "war chest,"
guilty in March to using their rare-coin dealership as a money laundry.
notorious activities by Scientologists include making the shady
exchange even shadier (see box) and plotting to plant operatives in the
Bank, International Monetary Fund and Export-Import Bank of the U.S. The
purpose of this scheme: to gain inside information on which countries
to be denied credit so that Scientology-linked traders can make illicit
by taking "short" positions in those countries' currencies.
In the stock market the practice of "shorting" involves
shares of publicly traded companies in the hope that the price will go
the stocks must be bought on the market and returned to the lender. The
brothers of Palo Alto, Calif. -- Kurt, Joseph and Matthew - have become
short sellers in the U.S., with more than $500 million under management.
command a staff of about 60 employees and claim to have earned better
than the Dow Jones industrial average for most of the 1980s. And, they
owe it all to the teachings of Scientology, whose "war chest"
more than $1 million from the family.
The Feshbachs also embrace the church's tactics; the brothers are the
of the stock exchanges. In congressional hearings in 1989, the heads of
companies claimed that Feshbach operatives have spread false information
agencies and posed in various guises -- such as a Securities and
official -- in an effort to discredit their companies and drive the
Michael Russell, who ran a chain of business journals, testified that a
employee called his bankers and interfered with his loans. Sometimes the
send private detectives to dig up dirt on firms, which is then shared
reporters, brokers and fund managers.
The Feshbachs, who wear jackets bearing the slogan "stock
insist they run a clean shop. But as part of a current probe into
stock trading, federal officials are reportedly investigating whether
received confidential information from FDA employees. The brothers seem
with Scientology's war on psychiatry and medicine: many of their targets
and bio- technology firms. ""Legitimate short selling performs
service by deflating hyped stocks," says Robert Flaherty, the
editor of Equities
magazine and a harsh critic of the brothers. "But the Feshbachs
scores of good start-ups."
Occasionally a Scientologist's business antics land him in jail. Last
a former devotee named Steven Fishman began serving a five-year prison
Florida. His crime: stealing blank stock-confirmation slips from his
a major brokerage house, to use as proof that he owned stock entitling
join dozens of successful class-action lawsuits. Fishman made roughly $1
this way from 1983 to 1988 and spent as much as 30% of the loot on
books and tapes.
Scientology denies any tie to the Fishman scam, a claim strongly
both Fishman and his longtime psychiatrist, Uwe Geertz, a prominent
Both men claim that when arrested, Fishman was ordered by the church to
and then do an "EOC," or end of cycle, which is church jargon
BOOK PUBLISHING. Scientology mischiefmaking has even moved to the
Since 1985 at least a dozen Hubbard books, printed by a church company,
best-seller lists. They range from a 5,000-page sci-fi decology (Black
The Enemy Within, An Alien Affair) to the 40-year-old Dianetics. In 1988
publication Publishers Weekly awarded the dead author a plaque
appearance of Dianetics on its best-seller list for 100 consecutive
Critics pan most of Hubbard's books as unreadable, while defectors
church insiders are sometimes the real authors. Even so, Scientology has
out armies of its followers to buy the group's books at such major
chains as B.
Dalton's and Waldenbooks to sustain the illusion of a best-selling
author. A former
Dalton's manager says that some books arrived in his store with the
stickers already on them, suggesting that copies are being recycled.
claims that sales of Hubbard books now top 90 million worldwide. The
up to gain converts and credibility, is coupled with a radio and TV
campaign virtually unparalleled in the book industry.
Scientology devotes vast resources to squelching its critics. Since
and his church have been the subject of four unfriendly books, all
small yet courageous publishers. In each case, the writers have been
and heavily sued. One of Hubbard's policies was that all perceived
"fair game" and subject to being "tricked, sued or lied
to or destroyed."
Those who criticize the church journalists, doctors, lawyers and even
find themselves engulfed in litigation, stalked by private eyes, framed
crimes, beaten up or threatened with death. Psychologist Margaret
an outspoken Scientology critic and professor at the University of
Berkeley, now travels regularly under an assumed name to avoid
After the Los Angeles Times published a negative series on the church
summer, Scientologists spent an estimated $1 million to plaster the
names on hundreds of billboards and bus placards across the city. Above
names were quotations taken out of context to portray the church in a
The church's most fearsome advocates are its lawyers. Hubbard warned
in writing to "beware of attorneys who tell you not to sue . . .
of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than to win."
has brought hundreds of suits against its perceived enemies and today
estimated $20 million annually to more than 100 lawyers.
One legal goal of Scientology is to bankrupt the opposition or bury
paper. The church has 71 active lawsuits against the IRS alone. One of
vs. IRS, has required the U.S. to produce an index of 52,000 pages
who helped Scientology victims from 1979 to 1987, personally endured 14
lawsuits, all of them dismissed. Another lawyer, Joseph Yanny, believes
"has so subverted justice and the judicial system that it should be
from seeking equity in any court." He should know: Yanny
cult until 1987, when, he says, he was asked to help church officials
records to blackmail an opposing attorney (who was allegedly beaten up
Since Yanny quit representing the church, he has been the target of
burglaries, lawsuits and other harassment.
Scientology's critics contend that the U.S. needs to crack down on
in a major, organized way. "I want to know, Where is our
demands Toby Plevin, a Los Angeles attorney who handles victims. "
be left to private litigators, because God knows most of us are afraid
involved." But law enforcement agents are also wary. "Every
is very cautious, walking on eggshells when it comes to the church,
a Florida police detective who has tracked the cult since 1988. "It
take a federal effort with lots of money and manpower."
So far the agency giving Scientology the most grief is the IRS, whose
have implied that Hubbard's successors may be looting the church's
1988, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the revocation of the cult's
status, a massive IRS probe of church centers across the country has
way. An IRS agent, Marcus Owens, has estimated that thousands of IRS
have been involved. Another agent, in an internal IRS memorandum, spoke
of the "ultimate disintegration" of the church. A small but
beacon shone last June when a federal appeals court ruled that two
featuring conversations between church officials and their lawyers are
of a plan to commit "future frauds" against the IRS.
The IRS and FBI have been debriefing Scientology defectors for the
years, in part to gain evidence for a major racketeering case that
have stalled last summer. Federal agents complain that the Justice
is unwilling to spend the money needed to endure a drawn-out war with
or to fend off the cult's notorious jihads against individual agents.
my opinion the church has one of the most effective intelligence
the U.S., rivaling even that of the FBI," says Ted Gunderson, a
of the FBI's Los Angeles office.
Foreign governments have been moving even more vigorously against the
In Canada the church and nine of its members will be tried in June on
of stealing government documents (many of them retrieved in an enormous
raid of the church's Toronto headquarters). Scientology proposed to give
to the needy if the case was dropped, but Canada spurned the offer.
authorities in France, Spain and Italy have raided more than 50 Scien-
centers. Pending charges against more than 100 of its overseas church
include fraud, extortion, capital flight, coercion, illegally practicing
and taking advantage of mentally incapacitated people. In Germany last
leading politicians accused the cult of trying to infiltrate a major
well as launching an immense recruitment drive in the east.
Sometimes even the church's biggest zealots can use a little
star Travolta, 37, has long served as an unofficial Scientology
though he told a magazine in 1983 that he was opposed to the church's
High-level defectors claim that Travolta has long feared that if he
details of his sexual life would be made public. "He felt pretty
about this getting out and told me so," recalls William Franks, the
former chairman of the board. "There were no outright threats made,
was implicit. If you leave, they immediately start digging up
Franks was driven out in 1981 after attempting to reform the church.
The church's former head of security, Richard Aznaran, recalls
ringleader Miscavige repeatedly joking to staffers about Travolta's
promiscuous homosexual behavior. At this point any threat to expose
superfluous: last May a male porn star collected $100,000 from a tabloid
account of his alleged two-year liaison with the celebrity. Travolta
comment, and in December his lawyer dismissed questions about the
subject as "bizarre."
Two weeks later, Travolta announced that he was getting married to
Preston, a fellow Scientologist.
Shortly after Hubbard's death the church retained Trout & Ries, a
Connecticut-based firm of marketing consultants, to help boost its
"We were brutally honest," says Jack Trout. "We advised
clean up their act, stop with the controversy and even to stop being a
They didn't want to hear that." Instead, Scientology hired one of
largest p.r. outfits, Hill and Knowlton, whose executives refuse to
lucrative relationship. "Hill and Knowlton must feel that these
not totally off the wall," says Trout. "Unless it's just for
One of Scientology's main strategies is to keep advancing the tired
the church is being "persecuted" by antireligionists. It is
in that position by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National
of Churches. But in the end, money is what Scientology is all about. As
the organization's opponents and victims are successfully squelched,
managers and lawyers will keep pocketing millions of dollars by helping
Mining Money in Vancouver
[Sidebar; page 54]
One source of funds for the Los Angeles-based church is the
stock exchange in Vancouver, British Columbia, often called the scam
the world. The exchange's 2,300 penny-stock listings account for $4
annual trading. Local journalists and insiders claim the vast majority
total washouts to outright frauds.
Two Scientologists who operate there are Kenneth Gerbino and Michael
20-year church veterans from Beverly Hills who are major donors to the
45, is a money manager, marketmaker and publisher of a national
He has boasted in Scientology journals that he owes all his stock-
to L. Ron Hubbard. That's not saying much: Gerbino's newsletter picks
have cumulatively returned 24%, while the Dow Jones industrial average
than doubled. Nevertheless Gerbino's short-term gains can be stupendous.
last October found Gerbino to be the only manager who made money in the
quarter of 1990, thanks to gold and other resource stocks. For the first
of 1991, Gerbino was dead last. Baybak, 49, who runs a public relations
staffed with Scientologists, apparently has no ethics problem with
a hostile takeover of a firm he is hired to promote.
Neither man agreed to be interviewed for this story, yet both
action through attorneys. "What these guys do is take over
companies, hype the stock, sell their shares, and then there's nothing
left," says John Campbell, a former securities lawyer who was a
of mining company Athena Gold until Baybak and Gerbino took it over.
|ATHENA GOLD'S WILLIAM
Cult member got cheap stock, then ran him out of the company
The pattern has become familiar. The pair promoted a mining venture
Skylark Resources, whose stock traded at nearly $4 a share in 1987. The
soon crashed, and the stock is around 2 cents. NETI Technologies, a
was trumpeted in the press as "the next Xerox" and in 1984
rose to a
market value of $120 million with Baybak's help. The company, which
was delisted two months ago by the Vancouver exchange.
Baybak appeared in 1989 at the helm of Wall Street Ventures, a start-
announced it owned 35 tons of rare Middle Eastern postage stamps --
million -- and was buying the world's largest collection of southern
(worth $350 million). Steven C. Rockefeller Jr. of the oil family and
star Denis Potvin joined the company in top posts, but both say they
they realized the stamps were virtually worthless. "The stamps were
by sand-dune nations to exploit collectors," says Michael Laurence,
of Linn's Stamp News, America's largest stamp journal. After the stock
$6, it began a steady descent, with Baybak unloading his shares along
Today it trades at 18 cents.
Athena Gold, the current object of Baybak's and Gerbino's attentions,
by entrepreneur William Jordan. He turned to an established Vancouver
1987 to help finance the company, a 4,500-acre mining property near
broker promised to raise more than $3 million and soon brought Baybak
into the deal. Jordan never got most of the money, but the cult members
up with a good deal of cheap stock and options. Next they elected
were friendly to them and set in motion a series of complex maneuvers to
Jordan from voting stock he controlled and to run him out of the
been an honest policeman all my life and I've seen the worst kinds of
and this ranks high," says former Athena shareholder Thomas Clark,
veteran of Reno's police force who has teamed up with Jordan to try to
gold mine back. "They stole this man's property."
With Baybak as chairman, the two Scientologists and their staffs are
Athena, not always accurately. A letter to shareholders with the 1990
claims Placer Dome, one of America's largest gold-mining firms, has
at least $25.5 million to develop the mine. That's news to Placer Dome.
is no pre-commitment," says Placer executive Cole McFarland. "
not going to spend that money unless survey results justify the
Baybak's firm represented Western Resource Technologies, a Houston
company, but got the boot in October. Laughs Steven McGuire, president
Resource: "His is a p.r. firm in need of a p.r. firm." But
laugh too freely. Baybak and other Scientologists, including the estate
Ron Hubbard, still control huge blocks of his company's stock.
[The following part was only in the international version of TIME]
Pushing Beyond the U.S.:
Scientology makes its presence felt in Europe and Canada
By Richard Behar
In the 1960s and '70s, L. Ron Hubbard used to periodically fill a
ferry ship with adoring acolytes and sail off to spread the word. One by
countries -- Britain, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Venezuela -- closed
usually because of a public outcry. At one point, a court in Australia
the church's status as a religion; at another, a French court convicted
of fraud in absentia.
Today Hubbard's minions continue to wreak global havoc, costing
considerable effort and money to try to stop them. In Italy a two-year
76 Scientologists, among them the former leader of the church's Italian
is nearing completion in Milan. Two weeks ago, prosecutor Pietro Forno
jail terms for all the defendants who are accused of extortion, cheating
incapacitated" people and evading as much as $50 million in taxes.
of the trial's victims went to Scientology in search of a cure or a
said Forno, "But the Scientologists were amateur psychiatrists who
psychological terrorism". For some victims, he added, "the
of the Scientologists was devastating."
The Milan case was triggered by parents complaining to officials that
had a financial stranglehold on their children, who had joined the
church or entered
Narconon, its drug rehabilitation unit. In 1986 Treasury and
conducted raids in 20 cities across Italy shutting down 27 Scientology
and seizing 100,000 documents. To defend itself in the trial, the cult
some of Italy's most famous lawyers.
In Canada, Scientology is using a legal team that includes Clayton
of the country's foremost civil rights lawyers, to defend itself and
nine of its
members who are to stand trial in June in Toronto. The charges: stealing
concerning Scientology from the Ministry of the Attorney General, the
Mental Health Association, two police forces and other institutions. The
stems from a 1983 surprise raid of the church's Toronto headquarters by
100 policemen, who had arrived in three chartered buses; some 2 million
of documents were seized over a two-day period. Ruby, whose legal
the case for years, is trying to get it dismissed because of "
|This cult means business: ad
on a Paris
building for Dianetics. Below, the books are stacked by Scientologists
Spain's Justice Ministry has twice denied Scientology status as a
but that has not slowed the church' s expansion. In 1989 the Ministry of
issued a report calling the sect "totalitarian" and "pure
charlatanism." The year before, the authorities had raided 26
with the result that 11 Scientologists stand accused of falsification of
coercion and capital flight. "The real god of this organization is
said Madrid examining magistrate Jose Maria Vasquez Honrnbia, before
the case to a higher court because it was too complex for his
Ingram, a private investigator working for Scientology claims he helped
removed from the case for leaking nonpublic documents to the press.
In France it took a death to spur the government into action: 16
were indicted last year for fraud and "complicity in the practice
medicine" following the suicide of an industrial designer in Lyon.
victim's house investigators found medication allegeally provided to him
church without doctor's prescription. Among those charged in the case is
of Scientology's French operations and the head of the Paris-based
which caters to famous members.
Outside the U.S., Scientology appears to be most active in Germany
attorney general of the state of Bavaria has branded the cult "
totalitarian" and aimed at "the economic exploitation of
are in bondage to it." In 1984 nearly 100 police raided the church
At the time, city officials were reportedly collaborating with U.S. tax
and trying to prove that the cult was actually a profitmaking business.
Hamburg state authorities moved to rescind Scientology's tax reduced
members of parliament are seeking criminal proceedings. In another
linked management consulting firms have infiltrated small and middle
throughout Germany, according to an expose published this month in the
DER SPIEGEL; the consultants, who typically hide their ties to
employees by using Hubbard's methods. A German anticult organization
that Scientology has at least 60 fronts or splinter groups operating in
German politics appears as well to attract Hubbard's zealots. In March
Democrats, partners in Chancellor Helmut Kohl' s ruling coalition in
Scientology of trying to infiltrate their Hamburg branch. Meanwhile the
party, the Social Democrats, has been warning its members in the
munist eastern part of the country against exploitation by the church.
officials are being used by the church: one Scientology front group sent
of a Hubbard written pamphlet on moral values to members of the
Office of Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher unwittingly endorsed
message: "Indeed, the world would be a more beautiful place if the
formulated in the pamphlet, a life characterized by reason and
would find wider attention."
[end of Internationl Edition-only section]
The Scientologists and Me
[Sidebar, page 57]
Strange things seem to happen to people who write about Scientology.
Paulette Cooper wrote a critical book on the cult in 1971. This led to a
plot (called Operation Freak-Out) whose goal, according to church
"to get P.C. incarcerated in a mental institution or jail." It
worked: by impersonating Cooper, Scientologists got her indicted in 1973
to bomb the church. Cooper, who also endured 19 lawsuits by the church,
exonerated in 1977 after FBI raids on the church offices in Los Angeles
uncovered documents from the bomb scheme. No Scientologists were ever
For the TIME story, at least 10 attorneys and six private detectives
unleashed by Scientology and its followers in an effort to threaten,
discredit me. Last Oct. 12, not long after I began this assignment, I
to lunch with Eugene Ingram,
leading private eye and a former cop. Ingram, who was tossed off the Los
police force In 1981 for alleged ties to prostitutes and drug dealers,
me that he might be able to arrange a meeting with church boss David
Just hours before the lunch, the church's "national trial counsel,
Earle Cooley, called to inform me that I would be eating alone.
Church attorney Cooley
Alone, perhaps, but not forgotten. By day's end, I later learned, a
my personal credit report -- with detailed information about my bank
home mortgage, credit-card payments, home address and Social Security
had been illegally retrieved from a national credit bureau called Trans
The sham company that received it, "Educational Funding
Los Angeles, gave as its address a mail drop a few blocks from
The owner of the mail drop is a private eye named Fred Wolfson, who
an Ingram associate retained him to retrieve credit reports on several
Wolfson says he was told that Scientology's attorneys "had
these people and were trying to collect on them." He says now,
are vicious people. These are vipers." Ingram, through a lawyer,
involvement in the scam.
During the past five months, private investigators have been
of mine, ranging from neighbors to a former colleague, to inquire about
such as my health (like my credit rating, it's excellent) and whether
had trouble with the IRS (unlike Scientology, I haven't). One neighbor
at dawn outside my Manhattan apartment building by two men who wanted to
whether I lived there. I finally called Cooley to demand that
the nonsense. He promised to look into it.
After that, however, an attorney subpoenaed me, while another falsely
that I might own shares in a company I was reporting about that had been
over by Scientologists (he also threatened to contact the Securities and
Commission). A close friend in Los Angeles received a disturbing
from a Scientology staff member seeking data about me -- an indication
cult may have illegally obtained my personal phone records. Two
me, posing as a friend and a relative of a so-called cult victim, to
statements from me about Scientology. Some of my conversations with them
taped, transcribed and presented by the church in affidavits to TIME's
as "proof" of my bias against Scientology.
Among the comments I made to one of the detectives, who represented
as "Harry Baxter," a friend of the victim's family, was that
church trains people to lie." Baxter and his colleagues are hardly
in a position
to dispute that observation. His real name is Barry Silvers, and he is a
investigator for the Justice Department's Organized Crime Strike Force.