"Marks on paper are free - free speech, press, pictures - all go together."
Terminology FAQ Definitions for Scientology Lingo by ex-member Martin Hunt
A Day at Gold Base with David Miscavige , by Jesse Prince
Fake war claims: Chris Owen's Ron The War "Hero"
Use of PC File data
against it's enemies:
Conspiracy for Silence Use of Gag Agreements as the cost of doing business
1982 Clearwater Commission hearings 1000 pages of SWORN testimony by many ex-members, including L Ron Hubbard's son, Ron DeWolfe
The Secret IRS Agreement
What A Scientologist faces who wants to leave The Scientology Matrix
Hubbard caught lying on video Secret Lives snippet
Scientology's Private Army of Private Investigators
Major News Articles
Son of Scientology - An interview with Ron Dewolfe
Through the Door:
Movies that help understand Scientology:
Speakers address topics of cultic behavior including deception, recruitment, one dimensioned living, the recruitment process, independent thinking, absolutism, totalism, motive shifting and information control. Topic discussion is followed by a question and answer period.
Moderator: Doug Augustyn, President of the local chapter of Free Minds, part of (old) The Cult Awareness Network, CAN. (note the new CAN is run by scientology.)
Good afternoon, I guess we're about to get started. A couple minutes tardy, but, it seems that the sessions always have a tendency to go a little longer than originally scheduled. Welcome, again for those of you that might not know who I am, my name is Doug Augustyn. I'm the President of the local chapter known as Free Minds, of The Cult Awareness Network. What this session is about primarily, and on your schedule there, it says that I am the moderator, actually I am the guy thats going to introduce everybody, and then I'm going to let them take over. We will towards the end, have a question and answer session, and as you've seen through the other sessions, that we would like the questions to come in written form please, verbal questions taken vocally. That make sense? We hope to avoid question and answers that get out of hand and maybe get into discussions rather than information that we might be able to offer.What we hope to do in this session is to show similarities in different kinds of groups and how they use thought reform or mind control techniques and tactics. The things that are used in, what the Cult Awareness Network would describe as destructive cults.
The panel to my right are all former members who have belonged to various types of groups that used these tactics. We'll start at the far end, come to my direction, and we have John Kelly, the Minneapolis, St. Paul Church of Christ otherwise known as the Boston Movement. We have Pat Ryan and I almost said Kelly again, TM, or Transcendental Meditation. We have Hana Whitfield, a group which we need not name. And Bruce Laughton who had a connection to Lifespring a human potential training type movement. Bruce is going to be our narrator. Now we do something a little bit unusual. We do not have a Jehovah Witness on this panel. However, we are going to use their criteria, their information as the initial example. We're doing this for one main reason. In most circles it's not widely recognized, as to the fact that the Jehovah Witness movement does use thought reform and mind control practices. And one of the reasons for that is that they take a very long time in their indoctrination process. Perhaps up to a couple of years. Whereas most of the groups we're familiar with, it's slam dunk, it could be 24 hours, maybe in a couple of weeks they've got someone deeply, deeply involved. Without further ado, I'll turn this over to Bruce Laughton. Thank you.
Bruce Laughton: I forgot to bribe Doug before the conference, I wanted the before lunch group, but we'll work with this crowd anyhow. We're going to cover a tremendous amount of information here. We're going to try to do it very, very quickly. I want to open up here by putting forth a couple of caveats, a couple of understandings. First of all, the information we're going to be presenting is in the order and it's following topics that surfaced through my work with current members, ex-members and children raised as cult members. I run one of the largest support groups here in the five-state area and are working with a large group of ex-members from a variety of different groups. Many, many of them are Jehovah's Witnesses. And as I worked with these people a pattern began to develop. It's a pattern of tactics used that seem to cross group lines. It crossed the lines so that people out of a communist party cult could find many things in common with people out of Jehovah's Witnesses, or out of the Boston Movement, or [unintelligible] karate. And they found these common basis for discussion, That's what is really what we are going to be looking at. I want to make it very clear, the group doctrine is not the central issue. Now there may be some discussion of group doctrine and its role into this, but really we're dealing with the approach that these groups use to bring about the change. Now it's also important to understand that a brief exposure to one of these groups may not reveal all of the issues that we're going to talk about. In many cases, I'll use my example from Lifespring. I know people that went through a basic training at Lifespring and walked away and wondered what all the to-do was about. Those that got more deeply involved in Lifespring, we'll talk about many things that people had a very brief exposure would not have and so the length of exposure to the group, sometimes the level of leadership to which a person has risen, will in fact reveal the issues that we're going to be dealing with.
Now all of us are going to be speaking either from direct documentation which I have with me with respect to the Watchtower Bible Tract Society, the governing body of the Jehovah Witnesses, or from personal experience. Our personal experience as we experienced the various groups that we'll be representing. So with that, I want to try to approach something here that's a little bit different. I want to take a look at the whole concept of ethical recruitment. What is ethics in recruitment with one of these groups? Now, as you read the whole body of ethics there's a great deal that's been written for the helping professions. And as you read through it you're going to hear dependency is one of the main issues, manipulation and deception. These are very, very key issues in the whole issue of ethics in the helping profession. What I've done is gone to a book called 'Issues and Ethics for the Helping Professions' and I've taken some statements that are mainly directed for those professions and changed the words somewhat, substituting groups for therapists, members for clients, and put other group oriented language in to this just to see how well that ethical test might fit the description. In other words, we'll put forward a model of something that might be ethical in terms of recruitment. 'An ethical issue does arrive however, when well meaning groups encourage dependence on the part of their members. A related issue involves attempts by group leadership to keep the recruitment process and its end result mysterious. This effort can have the effect of encouraging members to remain powerless. They describe powerlessness as a learned state of generalized helplessness in which members believe they are unable to have an impact on their environment, and need group leaders to intercede on their behalf.' Last statement is a positive statement. 'The ethical group experience must be one in which members adaptability and growth toward self direction are encouraged and cultivated.'
We're going to try to present something that is a little bit different as a counterpoint. I'm going to read to you a quote that was taken from a 1980 documentary called, 'Thy will be done.' Quote comes from a gentlemen by the name of Andy Compton. He was then the current Minnesota state director for the Unification Church. And Andy is quoted in this documentary as saying, 'No, it's not brainwashing, it's natural, you see. We like to have new members. Now through our work we find what is the best way to present our beliefs. We present them this way, no one is interested. We present them this way, lots of people are interested. So it's natural. We'll present our beliefs the way most people are interested.' So the groups themselves recognize that there is something they can do to increase the receptivity to their particular doctrine. That's what we are going to take a look at here today.
The first issue is one of deception. Groups legitimize the process of deception. They do it in such a variety of ways. The following quote comes from the Bible dictionary that's put out by Jehovah Witnesses and it reads, 'Lie, the opposite of truth. Lying generally involves saying something false to a person who is entitled to know the truth.' (audience laughs) You're not so sleepy after all! Lets see how that plays out in their document. It says, 'as a soldier of Christ, he is in theocratic warfare and he must exercise added caution when dealing with God's foes. Thus the scriptures show that for the purpose of protecting the interest of God's cause it is proper to hide the truth from God's enemies.'
What I am going to do now is I'm going to present each point and let the panel talk about whether they experienced something similar in their respective groups.
Hana Whitfield: In my group I think, can you all hear me? which maybe we can fondly call the 'tin can religion.' The same basic principle, the same basic practice is in operation. The neophytes, the new people are presented information which in a certain light, which later on is found to be actually quite different in the group. For example, early on one is told that everything that's wrong with you, whether it's physical ailment or whether it be a mental or emotional ailment comes from something called engrams in the mind. But later on when you get on to the confidential, upper levels you find out that that's not correct. All these ailments come from the souls of men who died 75 million years ago, and who are stuck to you. So that's rather a big difference, you know. From one statement from the other.
question from the audience: [unintelligible]
Hana Whitfield: Um, somebody else can fill you in that. It's a quasi-religious group.
Another statement is that this group is non-denominational and anyone and everyone is welcome with their own belief systems. Again, later on in the group you find out that group does not believe in God, in any principles related to God, or the Christian type of hereafter, that is commonly accepted by so many people in the world. Another one just very quickly, is the group, one of the lower levels at the bottom is to improve communication. It's something almost everyone goes through early on in the group. Yet later on members are expected to disconnect literally, physically from friends and family who may be critical of their association with the group.
Pat Ryan: The group that I was involved in, TM uses a tremendous amount of deception in recruitment. They tell everyone in the public, as I used to give lectures, many, many, many times that it is not a religion, it's not a philosophy, it's not a lifestyle, that it's compatible with all religions. And Maharishi said that we needed to teach people the sweet truth, the truth that is pleasing. Because the courts in the United States had found TM to be a religion, the ceremony that people go through when they learn TM, in English translation, a little bit of it is, 'To Lord Narayana, to lotus-born Brahma the Creator, to Vasishtha, the abode of the wisdom of the Shrutis, Smritis the Puranas. At whose door the whole galaxy of gods pray for perfection day and night. So there's a tremendous amount of deception from the religious nature of the organization. Additionally, the organization wants people to think that's its scientific, and its produced vast amounts of studies on the positive effects of its programs. Both on the individual and the environment. And over and over we find there are a large amount of deception in the research, and out and out fraud in their research. The West German government, the Stanford Research Institute, Penn State, University of Kansas, Laurentian University, University of Washington, have all found that the practice of TM for a substantial portion of the population, has severe adverse effects. And that's kept from the people up front.
John Kelly: I was in the Boston Church of Christ, and if I would have met you, and you identified yourself as a Christian, I would have said, 'wonderful!' we have a non-denominational bible study we'd like to invite you to. That was our approach, and when you hear non-denominational, you might think well, Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans would all be welcome and we'll study the bible and that would be it. What we really wanted you for was our recruiting sessions. We believed that we were the only Christians. We wouldn't tell you that. If you thought you were one we would play along with you, and pretend like we believed that until we could get you indoctrinated into our way of thinking. We had special doctrines about baptism, we had special doctrines about our church leadership and other things that we were specifically told. 'do not talk about the new people, do not talk about the people until they are ready to hear it.' And that's, it's subtle, but it was deception because we knew about it all along exactly what we were going to do with them.
Bruce Laughton: So there's a pattern of learned behavior that the leaders of these groups, and the older members of these groups model for those that are coming up through the ranks, and this deceptive practice and outright lying in some cases, soon becomes ingrained.
The next issue here that we've seen pop up, is an invitation for what I'll just call, one dimensioned living. Jehovah's Witnesses approaches it two ways. They've rewritten the bible for their own purposes, and they retranslated this one verse so that it says, 'this means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God.' Now in this case what they're doing is they're setting up a premise. There is only one place where you can take in accurate knowledge. By the way, you're incapable of doing it on your own. The only place you get accurate knowledge is through their system. And the second premise they'll introduce is that of 'whole souled service.' And they define whole souled service here as, 'service to God involving the entire person, no bodily part, function, capacity, or desire is being left out.' So it's an invitation here to unidimensional living.
Hana Whitfield: Pretty much the same applies to Scientology. One is expected at the lowers levels, to, you're not to expected to give up everything. But you're expected - your dedication, your association with the group is expected to be complete. This comes along in, this is made known to the neophytes through various ways. If you have any interest in keeping a sideline job and making some money, the label that's assigned to you is, you're money motivated. You shouldn't be money motivated. You should only be motivated towards the group, the teachings of the group, and it's ultimate goal which is to clear the planet. And there are other ways as well. But the same exists.
Pat Ryan: In TM, at the lower levels, people normally just practice the technique at their home. But as soon as someone is introduced to the upper levels, and the benefits of doing TM in groups, then people are encouraged to live in TM communities, go to the TM center daily, morning and evening to do their practice, an ideally to move into a large community if Fairfield, Iowa and a previous one in Washington, DC. In Fairfield Iowa there's about 3,000 members who live basically, communally and live in their own homes, but in the larger community. They go to TM schools, TM Universities, TM doctors, work in TM businesses and support the TM organization.
John Kelly: We didn't use the term 'whole souled service.' Our term for that was 'total commitment.' And we also called it, 'being souled out.' What that meant was that you should sleep about four and a half to five hours a night, and every person that you ran across during the course of your day, you were supposed to invite them to an event of function or something, or else be meeting with one of your leaders and confessing your sins. That was how your day went and to the degree that you failed to do that throughout the day, that was how much sin you accumulated that day, and that was the degree that you failed God that day. And that would need to be confessed. That was our total commitment.
Bruce Laughton: Now at this point here in the recruitment process, a prospective member is in study with someone and the trust level is growing. Early in the process Jehovah's Witnesses introduce a very interesting concept. This comes from chapter two of their main recruitment book, the red book that they will give to you if you ask them next time they're at your door. You could read this, 'if we were to receive everlasting light, we need accurate knowledge about God is [unintelligible] about his kingdom. You can be sure that satan does not want you to this knowledge and he will do all in his power to stop you from getting it. How will he do this? One way is to see to it that you receive opposition, perhaps in the form of ridicule, because the bible says all who desire to live with God who lead a devotional association with Christ Jesus will be persecuted.' Interesting word. 'It may even be that close friends or relatives will tell you that they do not like you're examining the scriptures. Jesus Christ himself even warned that these and mans enemies will be persons of his own household.' Dropping to the bottom of the page it says, 'but, if you give up study of God's word when opposition comes, how will God view you, and also if you give up, how will those friends and loved ones be helped by you, to understand the accurate knowledge of the bible?' So they plant the thought here, early in the process that satan didn't care about you before, you had no opposition. But now that your finally studying the truth, you're going to come under attack and satan always attacks through the ones we love.
Hana Whitfield: Again, there's a very close parallel in the group I was in, with slight differences. One is told that the minute you get into the group and therefore are exposed to the true teachings which are the only teachings in the world which can bring you to a point of to salvation. That's not the word that's used in the group, but you can reach 'clear' and OT.' That now, your own reactive mind which has always been there to hinder you, will have a greater impact on you than ever and will strive more than ever to hold you back. So your own mind has turned against you in the group. As well as that, one is told that those closest to you, whether they've been critical of you in the past or not, may now become critical of your association with this group, simply because, this group is the only group in the world that can save you. So, therefore it will come under greater and greater and greater persecution. So not only is your own mind turned against you and your own logical thinking, and your own built in safeguards are turned against you, but the people who love you the most are normally turned against you.
Pat Ryan: TM doesn't seem to have so much of a concern about people trying to taking you out of the organization, because it hasn't had a history of that. Although they work on what happens within you. And that is that they explain as you climb up the organization that this path that you're on is like a razor's edge. And the closer that you get to the goal, the more narrow this razor's edge becomes. And you can very easily fall off this path, off this razor's edge. Because you've had 3.5 billion lifetimes that you've gone through, excuse me existences from being a rock, to a dog, to a frog, an amoeba. That to be a human after going through these 3.5 billion lifetimes, I mean existences, is a very, very rare opportunity, and if you get off the path it's like selling a diamond for the price of spinach, because it's such a rare opportunity. The people from the outside that they're concerned with, is anyone who says anything negative about TM are referred to collectively as fundamentalists. No matter what the critic is they're fundamentalist Christians. Or, former members are negative. And those words are very charged in the group.
John Kelly: Our group called literature that was critical of it 'spiritual pornography,' which alot of groups use that very same term. As far as, especially new members, I'm hearing what they're doing now. Our group has had alot of exposure recently. In fact, some of you might have seen 20/20 a few weeks ago, they had a special on it. Since that show, members are being told to call home, and if your parents have seen 20/20, don't go home alone this Christmas. So, they bring another member with them, and that way nobody one can deprogram them, or kidnap them or whatever. So, there's alot of fear and stuff built up around that. Like Hana's group which dealt with your own thought processes, we were conditioned in there to, if we had doubts about the doctrine, or doubts about the group, that in itself was a sin. So if we even started to think critically, the first thing that I would want to do is confess that to a leader. Because that was the enemy, that was satan getting into my mind.
Bruce Laughton: The next thing that a recruiter would like to do with Jehovah's Witnesses is make sure they set the proper internal atmosphere within you. They're going to do this via a couple of measures. We're going to talk about guilt and fear as introduced by the recruiter. One of the ways they do this here, is make they make the individual responsible for confessing anything they have done wrong to the elders. They do not insist that this take place, but they place the responsibility on the individual to do this. But they also say that each individual in the group is responsible for reporting anyone who does step out of line and does not confess themselves. So if I sin as a Jehovah's Witness, and don't confess it, I can't escape that blood guilt, and if someone sees me they then also have that blood guilt so it establishes an inner network here of reporting on each other which sets the stage for a breakdown of any kind intimacy among members. So the person is feeling isolated and no way to process the information with others. And the second part, the fear part, is worked this way. I'm going to show you three months worth of Watchtower Magazine covers here. Now remember that the Watchtower Magazine cover is regarded with the same degree of importance here as the bible itself. 'Wars, a sign of what? Famine, what does it mean? Disease, a sign of the last days? Earthquakes, a sign of the end? Increasing lawlessness, a sign of what?' You getting the idea? 'Disobedience to parents, a sign of the last days? Fear, a sign of the end?' Now, just to keep this in proper context, the Watchtower prints two kinds of articles. Those that are doctrinal, and those where they understand there are problems being reported from the various Kingdom Halls around the nation. The very next Watchtower cover, I think speaks to the power of all those previous ones that were there. 'Suicide, there is a better solution.' So we have an isolated group dealing with a tremendous amount of pressure and fear on this whole armageddonist issue, and this makes them too afraid to do anything, to do any investigation for fear that if they do that, the end will come. Probably while they're right in the middle of that investigation.
Hana Whitfield: And again, a similar practice occurs in the group I was in. Very great emphasis put on making ones sins or misdeeds, or as they're called in the group, overts and withholds known. And this is done in several ways. It starts very early on with the neophyte. It didn't used to be this way years ago. The group was alot more permissive. But over the years, it's got, one is expected not only to divulge in the counseling what ones misdeeds are day to day, on a daily basis. But one is also expected periodically to go through what is called a security check, a sec check or a confessional, in which all the questions whether they take an intensive period of five hours or twenty five hours or fifty hours, it doesn't matter. All the questions are accusatory and are aimed at a specific area of the persons life in which he or she has some sort of weakness or some sort of unsocial trait, whether it's shoplifting, whether it's lying, whether it's - whatever it be. So after the general confessional and after the counselors, the auditors learn what the specific weak areas are, those areas are targeted. Now on top of that, in addition to that, there are other compulsory confessionals in which, and I have been through these in the group, in which one is told one that you have to sit down and write down every single misdeed, every single transgression, every single negative, bad thought. It doesn't matter if nobody else thinks it's negative. If I think it's negative it qualifies. Even if its the fact that I thought my cat should have been brown and it was ginger, that my mother bought it for me. I shouldn't have thought it was a bad thing that the cat wasn't brown. Those have to be written down and the coercive message used is, that the punishment will be three times what it normally would be if it's later found that you forgot to divulge one single thing. So that's the kind of coercion that's used. Keep in mind too, that for a true believer who really believes this group holds the persons salvation in their hand. One then becomes willing to go through something like this. For an outsider, it seems absolutely ridiculous and it's difficult to understand. But keep in mind that these poor victims are truly that.
Pat Ryan: In terms of guilt and fear, on the lower levels of the organization, it's a self improvement technique. The guilt or fear is induced by - if you miss a meditation, you're not going to improve. So if you're nervous, if you miss the meditation, that's what would cause it. If your health isn't well, your blood pressure has going up higher, it's because you missed a meditation. Once you take on the next level of the organization, where you learn to levitate to save the world, and you spend about two and a half hours every morning and evening bouncing up and down on foam rubber, then the responsibility of doing that weighs very much upon you. Maharishi has come up with some formula that if there are 7,000 people who fly together every day, the world will be saved. So every individual who does this jumping up and down on the foam is responsible for millions and millions of people. And I have close friends who missed a particular session flying in the big domes in Iowa. And they were brought in before the Council of Executive Governors, and told very clearly, this was in about 1978, that the Iranian crisis, the break ins to the Embassies in Iran had been caused because she had missed a flying session in the dome. In addition to that, you send in monthly progress reports to the Council of Supreme Intelligence. And the Council of the Supreme Intelligence is an arm of the World Government at the Age of Enlightenment where you report about how your life is going. And as a member, if someone is not following a particular rule of the group, than you have to report to the Council of Supreme Intelligence or to the Governor General of the North America that that person has gone off the teaching a little bit. Then they may be called before the Vigilance Committee, where the Vigilance Committee will ask them about how they've strayed from the movements teachings even in their thoughts.
John Kelly: Like the group Hana was in, we had sin lists. It was usually about the third or fourth study that we would ask you to write down everything that you had ever done. And everything bad you have ever done bad, including thoughts, and to go over those with the leader. They were supposedly kept confidential and most of the time they were but, if somebody were to leave them, kind of the talk would be, well you know they used to struggle with drinking, or they used to be into drugs, or whatever. And you just kind of knew, well, that's probably why they left then. So it was kind of used as emotional blackmail when people left too, the things that were confessed, going in. There were also, we were in an armageddonist group. We weren't talking about the end of the world like Jehovah's Witnesses were, but our focus was more that we needed to stay busy constantly. And there were stories told about people who had left, and either gotten pregnant out of wedlock, or gotten hurt, or you know, bad things had happened. And said in such a way that you know, see, that's what happens, that's God's judgment if you leave. And no success stories at all were admissible. For an ex-member you would not, in the context of the group talk about somebody who used to be a member that's now doing well in their career or had gotten married, or you know, any kind of success. It just wasn't admissible in there at all. So it was very unbalanced.
Bruce Laughton: Now the next thing the group would like to do here, is we would like to establish as much control as possible, while still allowing people to live out in the world. If we can control the schedule, if we can make people busy enough, we can let them live out in the world. We don't need to put them in commune. Because when I have a commune of course, people call me a cult, and I want to avoid things like that at all costs. Now, as people are engaged in this unidimensional living, actually they begin to burn out. As they burn out, the cult has some advice for them, what they should do as spiritual fatigue as it's called in this article. Here are some of the symptoms of spiritual fatigue: a lack of self-control, an eating, drinking or pursuit of pleasure, a loss of enthusiasm for the truth, complacent spirit, harboring serious and lingering doubts, neglecting association or congregation meetings, a lack of zeal and joy in field ministry,' that's ringing doorbells, 'becoming overly critical of elders and the organization.' Now, the organization comes back with a cure for all of these problems. Here they are, here's 'The Age to Endurance, Prayer from help of the Holy Spirit,' a personal study of Watchtower material, of course. 'Meditation through spiritual manners, regular attendance at meetings and assembly, regular participation in field service, and spiritual help from the congregation elders and the traveling overseers.' So if you get tired of doing all of those things, the way you get over being tired of doing those things, is to do more of those things. [laughter]
Hana Whitfield: In my group it was very tough to marry for members, especially those that had signed contracts and were working full time to work very long hours. And more and more into the present it's become customary for eventhose members holding normal jobs outside of the group to spend every waking moment were spent working on some group project. Normally contracted starts have had traditionally only one day off every two weeks. However, in recent years, new management has taken over with the death of the founder and we have reliable reports from those people fortunate enough to exit, that their free time is being curtailed more and more and more, what little free time they have. The amount of money they get is being curtailed more and more. And they've also been recently asked to give half of the little bit of money they make to build new, glamorous buildings for the group in various locations. So what they have to enjoy whether it's free time, money, whatever, is gradually being reduced. Furthermore, if one does get exhausted and burnt out, as Bruce said, which is inevitable, it happens to every single person there. There are built in remedies. One is 'take a walk.' But you rarely find a time to take a walk because you're working. The second one of course to write up or confess your misdeeds. That's the universal solvent. And then you have to do extra work as amends to make up for the misdeeds. So anytime you have to play or to sleep, you spend doing the extra work to get back into good graces.
Pat Ryan: Schedule control takes place in a few different ways. One way is on the outside for the member who lives in the community. And that person, if you're in upper levels of the organization spends about five hours a day in trance-inducing activities. About two and a half hours every morning and two and a half hours every evening. In addition to that, there's a particular diet the person is on, and that has to be dealt with. And that takes time to prepare the food in a particular way. People have to listen to particular music 24 hours a day. So that involves your time. The types of jobs that you're supposed to have, people you're supposed to associate with is also pretty, dictated by the nature that your spending five hours a day plus you're in meditation, plus your time preparing the food plus your time listening to certain music and certain aroma therapy, and certain massages that you must do. It sort of isolates you from the rest of the larger community of the world. But when you're training to do these things, the amount of time control is phenomenal. In my experience, I spent 18 months on courses, that the shortest time was one month long and at the longest time were three months long, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day that I couldn't go to the bathroom alone, couldn't watch TV, read newspapers, call home, write letters, for every moment of my day was controlled down to seconds. And I literally mean seconds. You have fifteen seconds to do this, you have two minutes to walk to this building, you have thirty minutes to eat, you have five minutes for a walk and talk, then you're to go to the meeting. So that type of control is very intense. The average TM teacher has spent eight months solid on courses that fit that structure. And then they go back into the environment, as it's called, and back into the field to a local home, where they then may be involved in teaching activities in TM, or the TM's political party, the Natural Law Party, lecturing, teaching the medicine programs, involved in many other of the TM movements activities.
John Kelly: We had a two-hour meeting on Sunday morning, followed by a two-hour leadership meeting on Sunday afternoon. And a two-hour midweek service on either Tuesday or Wednesday night, and then usually a two-hour bible talk on Thursday night. And we were accountable and responsible to bring to most of those functions, each member was responsible to bring three new recruits to each one of those things. Which would, can clue you in that the time in-between those are spent on meeting people, because I went through my bank of friends pretty quickly. Those that didn't join wouldn't talk to me anymore. So, then I had to go out and try to meet new people. And to try to get three new people for these functions is, well try it sometime, it is overwhelming. So anytime that's been at former groups meetings is spent either at quiet time, which you were supposed to have with the bible and with God every morning, or out recruiting people or in a discipleship time with one of your leaders. So, there was no real, free time. And if you kind of balked at any of this, you were put on what was called the weak and concerned list, where you were labeled as struggling.
Bruce Laughton: The next item we see popping up here quite often in talking with ex-members is an assault on the whole process of independent thinking. Now as I talk with members from different groups many times they do this very subtly. Then there's the Witnesses [tape cuts] ..against independent thinking. This is one of many articles by the way. I'm going to show you just a couple real quickly here, that they say such thinking is an evidence of pride, and they also point out here that, 'where do we learn bible truth in the first place, if what we have known the way of truth if it had not been for the guidance of the organization, really can we get along with the organization, or get along without the direction of God's organization. No, we cannot.' I find the language chosen in this one, reading from the underlying section here, very interesting. 'They,' meaning people who are critical of the group, 'they may also question the need for an organization to direct the minds of God's people. There view is that God's spirit can direct the individual without some central organized body of men giving direction. They will declare all one needs to do is read the bible.' I found that language rather interesting.
And lastly on the independent thinking, I find this one too, to be pretty interesting. 'We will not forsake our mother's teaching by immediately beginning to criticize and find fault. We will realize that Jehovah knows what is going on in his organization, and if he is willing to permit it, who are we to insist it be should be different?'
Hana Whitfield: That's a very close parallel with the group I was in. The group believes that it's founder is the only source, those are it's own words. Those are the founders words. He's the only source of information and practices and policy which can lead to ones eternal salvation so to speak. Therefore, the only literature one reads, the only tapes one listens to, the only music one listens to are those of the founder. Be they good or bad. And believe me, some of his music was in great need of some assistance. A book was recently published over the last decade, pretty much a bible for the group and it's a great big volume, and newer group members when they first go home to meet their parents always come with book in tow and any question the poor parent asks, the youngster goes to the book and their flipping over the pages to find the exact answer of Ron's source for that particular question. Well of course not all of life is represented in the book. So you can imagine the chaos that sometimes ensues. Further, as far as independent thinking, within the group there is a system called a knowledge report system. Any individual who errs in thinking in anyway has to be reported by another member, be it staff, parent, sibling or child. And it's very close to the Nazi system of reporting on one another. And those reports are all filed and cross-filed and cross-categorized and their kept, their built into massive files which we now believe are all computerized.
Pat Ryan: There are two ways that this is done. There are two major concepts in the TM organization. In fact, the motto of their university is 'knowledge is structured in consciousness' and 'knowledge is different in different states of consciousness.' Which means that if you are ten percent enlightened, or ten percent perfect, then you see ten percent of reality. If your twenty percent enlightened or twenty percent perfect, you see twenty percent of reality. And in Maharishi's case, he is a hundred percent perfect, and a hundred percent enlightened, so he sees it like it really is. So if you see something that you don't agree with, that's because you are on a lower level of consciousness and there is apparent contradiction that his level of consciousness, there is no contradiction. And the ultimate justification is, if you have a doubt, or you think something is incorrect, you have what is referred to as 'the mistake of the intellect.' You should go in with your feeling states. You know it in your head and the head gives you wrong information. You have the 'mistake of the intellect.'
John Kelly: Our groups term for this, attacking independent thought was called filtering. If we would get direction or information from one of our leaders, who was maybe our discipleship partner or somebody up higher than that, and this would extend even to personal things like dating.' I think it would be a good idea if you were to date Betty Lou on Saturday night,' and dating was mandatory in the group, and if we chose to date Bobby Sue instead, that would be filtering because we were taking the advice to date, but we modified it by asking out someone different, so that is presuming to know more than the leader about that particular thing. It was mostly used in the biblical arena on interpretation of doctrine and things like that but it also extended into our personal life, so filtering was a no no.
Bruce Laughton: [..]control going, the independent thought is beginning to spool down, and so it's put to the individual that this group alone has the truth. In this article, 'Jehovah poured out his spirit upon them,' the witnesses, 'and assigned them the responsibility of serving as his sole, visible channel through whom alone, spiritual instruction was to come.'
Hana Whitfield: I've touched on this one already. The same is true in the group that I belonged to. The founder was the only force, of any only instructional material, any power, any strength, whatever, for the group. And, him alone, none other is valid. He himself wrote a number of policies prior to his death in which he said that his policies and procedures are permanently valid, even after his death. They are valid eternally, and subsequent to his death all of his written and spoken words, including his music have all been termed 'sacred scripture.' Enough said.
Pat Ryan: The teachings of Maharishi are referred to as the revival of knowledge. The movement teaches that there is an ancient tradition that's 5,000 years old. And 5,000 years ago there was a civilization called the Vedic civilization which was absolutely perfect. Everything that people in that civilization wanted occurred. If they were hungry, it appeared. If they wanted to get from here to the other side of the room, they were there. Every desire they had was fulfilled, instantaneously. They had all knowledge. And as through time passed, we lost more and more of these abilities. And as we lost more and more of these abilities religions came up to teach us codes of ethics. In the original state we live perfect, but as we gain more and more ignorance we had to have rules and regulations. And what he's bringing is the revival of knowledge. The pure knowledge. And it's referred to as the purity of the teaching.
John Kelly: We believed when we were in our group, that we were God's movement on the earth - the Christian church, all outside us were lost. We wouldn't come right out and say that to you. But we did believe that. Every active member believed that. If you backed us into a corner on that, and said, 'do you really believe that you're the only church, I mean you guys have only been around ten years?' I mean, if you used logic like that with us, we would back off to the point where we would say, 'well there might be other people out there following the truth, but we don't know of any.' And that's as far as we would go with you. And if inconsistencies, or mistakes, or past failures were found in the group, or even change of doctrines and things like that, which we have had over the years in that group, and those were pointed out, we would go as far as to admit mistakes and that we're human and were not perfect, but we're the closest, so you still got to stick with us, anyway.
Bruce Laughton: The next element is the one of absolutism. Absolutism is simply reducing everything to a black and white formula. The Witnesses do it this way. What can we say then is the basic principle underlying the movement of Jehovah's living organization? It can be expressed in one word, obedience. Now for the witness whose in that organization, any infraction causes an immediate removal of the acceptance and immediate removal of the affection or unconditional love, supposedly that they offer. The individual ends up then trying to do everything possible to hold on to the acceptance realizing that the acceptance itself is conditional upon every single rule that has been placed on them.
Hana Whitfield: Then again, there is a great parallel here, in the group that I was a member of. One was expected to give one's all, whether one was contracted full time, a staff member, or whether one still held a job. A normal job in society outside the group. The commitment was total and absolute. No doubt was allowed. And the groups thoughts and its doctrines, and therefore its practices were structured that way. For example, one was either with the group, or else one else one was totally against it. There was no inbetween, there was no gray area. One either was a good person, or else one was not, one was a bad person. There's just no shades of gray, in whatever aspect of the group you looked at. I think that's where the billion year contract [tape cuts].
Pat Ryan: [tape cuts]...and this one reminded me of a few different areas. On is that in the movement people are given badges, which are sealed with a corporate seal of the World Government Age of Enlightenment. And that badge is what would gets you into the TM flying centers, and going into those flying centers is what gives you your ticket to heaven, essentially. And if you employ someone in your business that the organization who doesn't want you to employ, and you don't fire them, they take your badge. If you associate with someone they don't want you to associate with, they will take your badge. If you're negative, they will take your badge. And that badge is your ticket, you can't give it up. The other level of absolutism that reminds me of the courses that we were offered, there's the Maharishi absolute theory of management, the Maharishi's absolute theory of agriculture, the Maharishi absolute theory of Mathematics, the Maharishi absolute theory of everything. It is the pure knowledge and you have to take it in its totality.
John Kelly: As far as obedience and absolutism, our group really expressed imitation. That was a real big thing in our group. You were to imitate the people that were above you. And people who did that, and I'm not about just talking theological things or Christian-type things, but even in the way people dressed, the way they talked, their mannerisms. You would hear things, 'he's just like Roy,' or 'he's just like so and so.' And that was a really great thing to be in there. And people who imitated their leaders very precisely were held up and praised before the congregation, and people who didn't weren't, and you know, being praised was a big thing in there. It's all you had.
Bruce Laughton: The next item comes totalism, where the group is separated from the rest of the world. Where they stand alone, and they point out the persecution, they point out all of the ways in which they have been isolated. One of the ways the Witnesses work on this is to turn the Witness against anyone outside of the organization. This is a '67 Watchtower, I'm sorry, 1961 Watchtower. But they repeated this statement last month, in the October Watchtower, of 1993. 'In order to hate what is bad, a Christian must hate the person with whom the badness is inseparably linked.' Reading from here, we have, 'we must hate in the truest sense which is to regard with extreme and active aversion to consider loathsome, odious, filthy, to detest purely, any haters of God are not fit to live on his beautiful earth.' I'll let you decide who Jehovah's Witnesses consider to be haters of God.
Hana Whitfield: In the group I was in, the same principle applies. There's a tremendous emphasis of, us against them. Anyone, them being anyone, not a member of the group. And this was demonstrated in various ways. One of them is that the founder, I think truly believed that psychiatry and psychiatrists, poor dear men. I mean I know some of them are not you know, 100 % standard and a, so forth, but for heaven's sake, you know, not all of them are witch doctors and you know, practicing mayhem on people. But he truly believed that psychiatrists were behind all ills that are happening in the world today including wars, famine, disease, you name it. And that all governments are evil, are aberrated. That everyone who has any critical thought about the group is definitely a suppressive, and will be working to suppress and subdue the group. He was the only one who had developed, and this again set him apart from anyone else. He developed not only a scientific technique to free mankind, but a scientific technique which was religious. Now that I've left the group and had time to think about it, you can't have it both ways, you know. You can't have it scientific and religious. Those two don't mix. You can one, or the other, or a bit of both. But I think that with his stamp of showing how different his group was to everybody else, and of course in his own way he rationalized it and made it acceptable to his believers.
Pat Ryan: No, you can't have science and religion if you have Maharishi's absolute theory of religion. In TM there's still a concept, is the ignorant? And that's all of you. Then here's the enlightened, and I guess I'm the only one here. It's either the ignorant r the enlightened. And in the age in enlightenment, as we move towards this golden age, there is no room for the ignorant, Maharishi said. You will be made enlightened. Period. You are either enlightened, on board, or you're not on board and you're out. Where you go, I don't know, but that's the choice, You could be with us, or you're not with us. There's an analogy often about being in a boat. You can't have a foot in two boats. You've got to be fully in one boat or fully in another boat. But you can't have a foot in one boat and another foot in another boat. Because when the boats start going, you'll be split apart.
John Kelly: We didn't have so much a big boogieman out there in the world that we were so afraid of, but we sort of classified people. You were either open, or you were not open. And if you were open, that meant you were going to listen what we had to say, and pretty much go along with it. And if you were not open, it didn't matter if you were Billy Graham, or it didn't matter if you were a satan worshipper, or whatever you were, you were just lumped into one category of not open. Which meant that we didn't have to deal with you. We didn't have to think about you. And the only other people that we talked about negatively were outside religious people. Anyone outside our group that knew about the Bible, they would be labeled as Pharisees. Which meant that we wouldn't talk to them. They could influence our flock.
Bruce Laughton: Now the next issue which that we see pop up here is, which very uniformly mystifies families. Many of these groups document much of their material and family members try to bring the material up and say, 'look, see this, this really contradicts what they are teaching,' and the family member who is in the group, pays no attention to that. As we looked at this and tried to find out what were of the commonalities, something came up here that became interesting. Now, Jehovah's Witnesses is an armageddonist group, they have predicted the end of the earth - 1878, 1914, 1915, 1924, 1925, 1942 and 1975. And those are the only ones that are in print. But show this to a Witness, and it has no impact. And so we discovered what was going on. From the underlying section, we'd say, 'finally we might consider what the society has published in the past on chronology. Some opposers claim that Jehovah's Witnesses are false prophets. These opponents say dates have been set but nothing happened. Again we ask, what is the motive of these critics? Are they encouraging weightfulness on the part of Gods people? Or rather are they trying to justify themselves for falling back into sleepy inactivity? What we call this here is 'motive shifting,' or 'shifting of the focus from the concrete to the abstract.' You present some concrete evidence, they question your abstract motive, and they never exceed, or hear, what your presenting.
Hana Whitfield: We heard it a little different, I think. The attacker, or the person who was criticizing either the founder, the practices or the policy, was always the one attacked back. So, if for example the group was criticized by a newspaper reporter, the content, what he wrote, was not taken up. In other words, the issue that he brought up, was not taken up. Instead, the reporter was attacked. And in the group I was in, it was taken to such an extent, that within an internal division of this church, there were procedures that were, what could be classified as espionage, undercover, subversive procedures of investigating attackers. Finding out every single aspect about their lives, their families, their school record, educational record, bank account, financial statement, real estate, assets, you name it. The slightest little thing was tracked down. So that, that person could be defamed in the eyes of his peers and superiors. That person could be discredited in some way. And, not only were the true facts made known, but the founder also had a policy, if you can't find enough valid dirt on you enemy, manufacture it. This is still being done today to a great extent.
Pat Ryan: I think this kind of thing is again, slightly different in TM. In general, anyone who criticizes are fundamentalists, or they're negative. And it's two categories. Mostly ex-meditators are negative, and everybody is else is from a fundamentalist. And it's in those two categories. And then, that thought terminating cliché, 'knowledge is structured in consciousness' and 'knowledge is different in different states of consciousness,' quickly gets inserted into your thinking process. So you can bring up a contradiction that says this here, a person goes 'knowledge is structured in consciousness' and 'knowledge is different in different states of consciousness.' It's an apparent contradiction.
John Kelly: When I was in my group, it was still fairly new in Minneapolis in St. Paul, so there wasn't a whole lot of public awareness about it yet. What I do remember, when people did voice criticism about it, about our group, I remember there were a couple of local churches that sent some people in to pull some people out of our group, and stuff like that. But what I remember hearing when critics were talked about was the phrase, 'look at their lives,' okay, and well, we didn't have time to look at their lives, but what that meant was, there lives were so messed up that, why listen to what they are saying anyway. And we really didn't have time to look at anybodies life outside our group. So, it worked pretty well. We just assumed that everybody outside our group was living wretched lives, and we really didn't have time to prove or disprove that. It was a nice, tight little package.
Bruce Laughton: Now John invited a Jehovah's Witness into his living room here several months ago and shared his experience in the Boston movement with this individual, and this individual became very upset, and stood up, and looked around the room and he said, 'you know, I can tell an awful lot about a person just by the way they arrange their furniture,' and turned on his heel and walked out the door.
The last one we are going to have time to cover here is information control. And this one is so well known, that there are lots of ways to approach it. The Witnesses though, introduced the concept that there is actually infectious material out there. Here's the way they approach it. 'Now what will you do if you are confronted with apostate teaching, subtle reasonings, claiming that what you believe is one of Jehovah's Witnesses is not the truth. Will curiosity cause you to read it just to see what he has to say? You may even reason, "it may not affect me, I'm too strong in the truth. And besides, if we have the truth, we have nothing to fear. The truth will stand the test." In thinking this way, some have fed their minds upon apostate reasoning, and have fallen prey to serious questioning and doubt.'
Hana Whitfield: And this one again, is relatively similar. In the group I was in, there is great emphasis placed on the fact that as long as one has any residues of reactive mind left, and that means anyone who has not yet reached the highest levels of the organization, one is at risk to a greater or lesser extent. So therefore, all the members of the group are encouraged to stay with their own kind; to live in communes; to live in houses with other group members; to work in businesses with other group members, because they can get infected. Now the word infected is not used. But that is the implication.
Pat Ryan: Information control is everywhere, from the beginning to the end. Every level of the organization, different levels of information are given out. So what the person on the bottom thinks this is about, is completely different at the next level. The only place that you can get knowledge of Maharishi's teachings is on these advanced courses, which are taught generally in isolated environments. Where you have a buddy assigned to you, its 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no TV, no newspapers. Completely isolated. Recently, in July in Washington, D.C., about 2 to 3,000 TM flyers went there to stop the crime in Washington. But they are in an environment where everyday they would be read the press reports about how they had lowered the crime, lowered the accidents, lowered the hospital admissions. And I've been on many of those courses where they would edit the news. Information is totally in control. And when you make a real commitment to the organization, you don't read books outside the organization. In fact in the libraries at their university, they removed books any books that are all contradictory to the Maharishi's teachings. And yet the further upper levels, in what I would call the priesthood, although it's not called that, it's called the Thousand Headed Purusha, for the men, or the Thousand Headed Mother Divine for the women, when people pay Maharishi $1,000 a month for the right to work full-time. Those individuals are very much isolated from the rest of the world and have completely censored information about what the organization is doing amongst themselves. When your sent out on teams of individuals to go to their centers or on particular projects, one example is a project called the Vedic Atom program. And a Vedic Atom consists of ten individuals, ten woman or ten men. The Vedic Atoms were not allowed to communicate with each other. So if you're on a Vedic Atom in St. Paul, and someone else is on a Vedic Atom in Minneapolis, St. Paul cannot talk to Minneapolis and Minneapolis cannot talk to St. Paul. St. Paul has to talk to Livingston Manor, New York. And Minneapolis has to talk to Livingston Manor, New York. And if they want information to go between them, it has to got through this intermediary. Information is highly controlled in the organization.
John Kelly: Our group did it a couple different ways. Within the organization there were different tiers as you went up in leadership. If you got to the bible talk leader level, which is one of the first levels of leadership, you would be led into the main leadership meetings and be exposed to a more concentrated dose of the teachings and the control in there. But as you move further up the chain, to the zone leader and the secular leader and the evangelist, they had special meetings also. The lower levels were always excluded from the next level up of meetings. So they did not have access to the information that went on in there. And I only made it up to the second level which was the bible talk leader, but my wife was a zone leader. We weren't married at the time, and what I've seen is, at least in our organization, how businesslike it became. At the lower level of even non leadership, if you would have walked into one of our meetings, you would have seen a bunch of people hugging and being very friendly and seemingly loving to you. But in the leadership meetings, it was more of a paper moving session. It was a business, and it was like a multi-level marketing thing with a religious veneer, because we were reporting how many visitors we had and how many visitors our disciples had, and we were passing paperwork around. That was our leadership meeting. And it was very compartmentalized, from one level to the next. And with people outside, I'll never forget this, Discipleship Magazine, which is our publication had a piece on exit counseling, and people who were trying to pull people away from our group. And as far as the information control they had a picture of Steve Hassan. Many of you know who he is, holding up his book, Combating Mind Control, and the review of his book if you can believe this, said nothing about the content of the book, at all. The caption underneath, says, 'Why does he do it?' The review is then a number of possible sinister motives that Steve Hassan night have for writing a book like this. Which I mean, it's perfect.
Bruce Laughton: There are slips of paper available for you to jot questions down. And we're going to open it up to questions that are submitted to us. If any of you have them at this time.
Hana Whitfeld: I have a multiple question here. First one is, did I mention long hours of working, how long?
It varies. Some of the hours are maybe ten hours a day, sometimes it's fourteen hours a day, sometimes it's sixteen hours a day. sometimes it's eighteen and sometimes it's twenty-two. And there have been many, many times when I've worked twenty-four hours a day for three days non-stop. It depends on the level of the organization that one reaches and the kind of work that one is involved in. If it's very punitive work and one is being punished, the hours can be extremely long. If one is a beginner, the hours are more committed. If one is an executive as I was, working directly for the founder for a number of years, I would be quote 'on deck' endquote when he was up and on deck. So sometimes I slept for four hours and I was awake for the rest of the time, and often times I was off for twelve and only worked for eight. So it's a completely arbitrary thing.
Next question is you mentioned half of their pay? I mentioned more recently long term contractees have been asked to donate half of their pay to build new fancy buildings. The question is, how much are they paid per week? As far as we can ascertain, contracted staff are currently paid between about thirty to fifty dollars a week and that depends again, on the positions they hold in the organization. Currently the leader, we heard, we saw in a recent article gets about sixty-two thousand he was paid for last [unintelligible].
You mention contracts, how long are the contracts, did we say billion of years? Billions is in caps and underlined. And I understand your concern and your question. Yes, the longest contract is that of the Sea Organization. and it is for a billion, b-i-l-l-i-o-n years. It's an eternal contract and it epitomized the founders belief in reincarnation, and that we are eternal souls or spirits, we originally were Gods in our own, according to biblical definition of God, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. Through our own misdeeds and ignorances and so forth, we descended to the puny level that we now exist on. In bodies, being captured in bodies, and only through the teachings of this group can we reascend to that particular level of being of Godlike individual again and not dependant upon the bounds of physical reality.
Question from audience: What happens if you ever leave?
Hana Whitfield: It's a no no. You become nonperson, or a suppressive person and, if you have to speak out at all like I'm doing know, you get badly treated.
Bruce Laughton: We have a question, even though the Jehovah's Witnesses are the largest cult in the world, they seemed to have escaped this definition by most and actually for some, have an air of legitimacy. Why do you think this is so?
The witnesses stumbled onto a very successful formula. They do not take money from their members. That's one of the cardinal sins here for the American people. And when you get a group that quickly grabs lots of money, they tend to get underfocused real quickly. The Witnesses have one of the largest private printing presses in the world. Randy Waters left in 1980 and they were taking in 1,950,000 dollars a week in tax-free money from the sale of the Watchtower and the Awake Magazine alone. So they don't need to take that money. Secondly, they have not had a communal living arrangement. Thirdly, they'd be willing to work with people and achieve a very gradual personality change as opposed to the classic, snapping moment. I think those are some of the main reasons why they have escaped that analysis.
John, This one's for you. Are the Church of Christ Members told that their family will take them out of the cult and torture them, and is it true that there are 150 churches worldwide?
John Kelly: As far as the exact number of churches I couldn't say how many there are right now, but that does sounds like about the right number. They have them in most major cities and usually, if you try to identify it, it will be called the Church of Christ, but before the Church of Christ, the name of the city will be mentioned, like Toronto Church of Christ, Boston Church of Christ, Chicago Church of Christ. And they're not affiliated with other Churches of Christ that are in the cities. Because there are some that are legitimate too.
Question from the audience [unintelligible]
John Kelly: Thank you, did everyone hear that?
214 presently, congregations and there are more targeted. And as far as, do they scare the members about their parents pulling them out and torturing them, was that the question?
The Discipleship Magazine, their publication has put out information on deprogramming and exit counseling and things like that, and they paint a pretty grim picture of it. And like I mentioned earlier, what they're doing now because of the high level of publicity is people are calling home now, checking with their parents, and if there's any inkling at all that the parents might be concerned about their group involvement, their going home with a buddy, like the buddy system to prevent from that happening. So there's a high level of paranoia in that group right now, about that.
Bruce Laughton: I have two here that are kind of coming at it from the same direction, and general question. Probably be the last one we'll be able to take here. Assuming that the lower level new recruits are victims, what do the mid-level and [unintelligible] get out of the group? What is their motivation? They must be victims also. Are they powerful at one level and powerless at another? And also, is money the only motive for the leadership of the group?
So this seems to be questioning, what are the motives? For the Witnesses, the leaders lead a very austere lifestyle, they do not live in opulence with all of the money. Most of the money is plowed back into furthering the organization. But the motivation is power, very clearly. If you must come to me to get the interpretation of God, what does that make me? And so, if I have life and death control over you, if I say you may not give a transfusion to that dying child. Obviously here, I've risen to a level of power that is extremely attractive and enticing.
Hana Whitfield: In the case of the group I was in, the founders goals were definitely power and money, no doubt. Money, to, and in his own words, when I was with him, money that he could achieve anything he wanted to in the world of any magnitude. And power, sufficient to take over psychiatry or mental health and put Scientology in its place, and take over the world. And lower down, the newer people are definitely not in positions of power or authority, they rise to those in the organization. But keep in mind that no matter what level the people in Scientology, I think there's a lady in the back right there who is a Scientologist, all people in Scientology are victims, and they are unaware of it.
Pat Ryan: Well Maharishi left India, I think in 1956 with no money and according to Indian prophesies three and a half billion dollars, so besides the vastness I don't know how to evaluate his motivations. I think that at every level of the group, people are true believers. There's a very small core of people around him that may know what's going on. But people are kept in isolation throughout the group. Almost everyone I met, no matter what level they came from, they really believe what they were doing.
John Kelly: Similar in our group, I really believed that the goals of most of the people in there, they really think they were doing the right thing for God. I don't think that there's people consciously plotting that we are going to get these people and put them under mind control. And as far as, but I think up at the very top, I think some people are making some conscious choices up there that we're going to let them see this about the group and we're going to hide this, ok, because. The more you know, there's so many in there, you have to make a choice somehow that I'm going to be loyal to this group, even though I see parts of it are wrong. But as far as the money thing in our group, it wasn't really, nobody lived wealthy lives in our group, but they did put alot of pressure on individual members to give money. But is was more for the expansion of the group rather than it was, 'we're going to get a big house for the leader' or something, cause that wasn't really a part of it.
Bruce Laughton: We've got a number of questions up here that are very group specific, and I'm going to set those aside because what we're trying to present is a general overview, as opposed to specific information and want to continue to be able to speak out of our own experience. But there is one last question: If 214 churches draw a full house and so many other cult churches draw so many people, how in heavens name can we few stop the epidemic process?
I don't think that there's anybody that's been involved in this industry, that hasn't asked this question if you take a look at (tape cuts) you're going to all of a sudden [unintelligible] this into your list of mind control cults, there are 880,000 of them in the United States alone. 12 million worldwide, and it is an epidemic. And I think that the only thing that we have available to us is education and a very clear understanding, a very clear demarcation in terms of what it is we're objecting about. These groups have an absolute right to believe as they want to believe. But where those beliefs contain deceptive practices, manipulation and dependence growing tactics, then they start to run afoul of the freedom of belief that we practice in the United States. It's at this point that these groups begin to believe something which they should not be able to practice, and I believe that is what we directed our comments at.
Hana Whitfeld: Just a brief comment on that. I agree with Bruce that what the small ones and their junior schools, seniors, college campuses, it doesn't matter where it is. If we can, in our own way encourage our friends, family members, associates. Those people who have ties into those fields to start little groups, little educational groups, [unintelligible] action. Maybe lobby for something in schools in various states or whatever. That's the way to go. It's to start educational programs. Educating about manipulation, mind control, coercive actions and so forth. That's the way we'll break the back of this.
Bruce Laughton: We thank you for your attention.
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