Church of Scientology responds to new Tom Cruise Biography

Well, Andrew Morton certainly has the church of scientology all aflutter. The church issued a 15-page statement to the Today Show, denying many allegations made in the book. It makes for entertaining reading.

How reliable is their rebuttal, you may ask?

Well, let’s take this statement for example:

7. Does Scientology encourage their members not to speak to their family if they don’t support the religion?

This allegation is not only false, it is the opposite of what the Church believes and practices.

[snip]  Indeed, the Church always counsels to mend any and every familial upset – whether between Scientologists or those of another faith.

How interesting then is the response by church high poombah David Miscavige’s own neice, Jenna Miscavige Hill, posted at the Operation Clambake message board. According to Jenna,

As you well know, my parents officially left the Church when I was 16 in 2000. I, having been separated from them at the age of 12 and thoroughly engulfed in the beliefs of the Church since birth decided not to go with them.

Not only was I not allowed to speak to them, I was not allowed to answer a phone for well over a year, in case it was them calling me. To give exact specifics, this “law” was enforced ruthlessly by one Tracye Danilovoch – the local representative for the Religious Technology Center – who intercepted all letters from my parents (and my friends). She would then pass them on to Marc Rathbun (the then 2nd in command of the Church) and Mike Rinder – who happens to be the former head of YOUR office – “The Office of Special Affairs” (you can thank me later for not elaborating on this one). Only after they had seen the letters and decided it was ok for me to see them would I receive some of them while sitting in a board room while they watched me read them and asked me to comment on them.

I was allowed to visit my parents from the age of 16-22, once a year for a maximum of 3-4 days, but that was only after they (my parents) threatened legal action if the Church got in the way of this and even then only after I underwent a “Security Check Confessional” before I saw them and immediately after I came back. A security check is interrogation (usually about if I intend on leaving the Church, or finding out if my parents have said anything bad about the Church, etc.) while being attached to an electrophsychometer which is similar to a lie detector. This happened every single time I saw then (which was never more than 3 or 4 days a year).

She goes on to describe a number of other incidents involving family members. No doubt the church will claim she is lying, but the nature of the allegations has a common thread with statements made by many other ex-scientologists and family members of scientologists about the scientologist policy known as a ‘disconnect’ – a practice the church itself once compared to Amish ‘shunning’.

So if they are lying on that point, and all evidence appears to point to the fact that they are, then what else are they lying about? Let’s take another point:

8. Are Scientologists taught to harass people who oppose them?

This allegation is not only false, but another of Morton’s false propaganda. To be clear, it’s Morton who is harassing the Church, not the Church harassing him.

And while it may be true that Hubbard’s policy of “fair game” was officially cancelled many years ago, reports from those who earn the wrath of scientologists seems to indicate that it was cancelled in name only. Most recently journalist John Sweeney was repeatedly harrassed during his investigation into the church’s practices, frustrating him to the point of a highly publicised shouting match with a scientologist.

9. When L. Ron Hubbard died was his body full of Vistaril, a psychiatric drug? If so, how do you explain this?

This allegation is a vicious lie.

As Mr. Morton is aware, the Church of Scientology is entirely opposed to psychiatric treatment.

The facts are these:

Vistaril is an antihistamine. It is used to treat itchiness from allergic eactions.

[snip] Further, Mr. Hubbard’s body was not “full” of Vistaril upon his death. As the oxicology report clearly states: Trace of Hydroxyzine (Vistaril).” A “trace of” is not “full of” (and as the toxicology report clearly provides, no other drugs or alcohol were present).

[snip] A printout from medicine.net is attached that clearly states that Vistaril is an antihistamine and, in the first sentence “…is used to treat allergic reactions.”

How interesting then that the medicine.net description also goes on to say “Hydroxyzine is also used for treating anxiety and tension, and inducing sedation prior to or after anesthesia.”

And on drugs.com: “Hydroxyzine depresses activity in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), which causes relaxation and relief from anxiety. Therefore, hydroxyzine is used to treat anxiety disorders and tension in stressful situations–before surgery, for example. Hydroxyzine may also increase the effects of other medicines, such as pain relievers and sedatives, so it is useful after surgery also. Hydroxyzine is also an antihistamine.”

Spin, much?

We have time for one more:

As but one final example of the gross falsity of Morton’s book, in a single paragraph he cavalierly writes of the Church being banned in foreign countries such as England, Australia, France, Germany and Spain. This is entirely false. The Church is not and has never been banned in any of these countries or any nation anywhere.

Hmmm… and yet here we have a scientologist complaining about the bans that scientology has suffered in Australia and Germany, the former having banned it in three states in the 60s, and the latter having currently declared scientology unconstitutional; in the case “Attiki Prefecture vs. KEPHE, the practice of Scientology was ordered ended in Greece (Case Number 7380/1996, Athenian Court of First Instance ); France has recommended dissolving the church; it has been banned in the Russian Federal Republic of Bashkortostan; and a number of sites claim that foreign scientologists were banned from entering the United Kingdom between 1968 and 1980 (although I can’t seem to find a solid reference for this). So I don’t see how this can be ‘entirely false’.

Don’t they get it yet? Even if some of the claims are truly false (and frankly, some of the stuff about planted meadows and L. Ron Hubbard’s frozen sperm seems a little speculative), their lies in rebutting the obviously true statements only cast doubt on their rebuttal of the rest. If anything, they’re only going to succeed in driving up the sales of the book.

Most people firmly believe in the ‘doth protest too much’ litmus test of scandalous truth, after all.

14 Responses to “Church of Scientology responds to new Tom Cruise Biography”

  1. Disclaimers are such fun. My favourite was years ago when the now defunct Spy magazine was plannign a feature on Arnold Schwarzenegger. His management sent them a leeter saying they’d sue if the mag circulated an of a list of rumours (like he’s a nazi, he imports, uses and sells steroids). Spy reproduced the letter in ful, adding “we’d never even heard half of these rumours and we certainly weren’t planning on printing any of them until we received this letter.”

  2. Heh, usually you can figure out one’s true beliefs by the energy put into denying the accusers. Judging by the whopping 15 page response from the Church of Scientology, I would guess quite a few things written in that book are true, if not most of them.

    Besides, didn’t Hubbard say, “If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion?” Which he did.🙂

  3. Great blog, I can’t believe I haven’t discovered it until now. Point of Inquiry had a great interview with Tory Christman this week on Scientology. http://www.pointofinquiry.org/

    Very interesting stuff.

  4. For such an commited opponent of the CoS, I’m surprised you haven’t commented on the Anonymous protests and internet campaign.

  5. Anonymous: I think you can tell by the number of people who participated in the Feb 10 protest on the African Continent (zero, i hear?) that the campaign is not exactly reaching our shores. I myself only found out about it yesterday.

  6. i loved the V masks… perfect. now if only the same attitude could be brought to bear on all the other absurdities…

    i’d start a “sanity party”, but nobody sane believes in political process anymore. maybe we need to form an illuminati-type organization?
    moonflake: i offer you the directorship🙂

  7. [quote author=moonflake]
    … a number of sites claim that foreign scientologists were banned from entering the United Kingdom between 1968 and 1980 (although I can’t seem to find a solid reference for this).
    [/quote]

    In L.Ron’s only interview with an independent press agency, he denied that the Home Office had barred him access but the voice over says that on the day of the interview the declaration came from the Home Office that he was barred from entering the UK. This documentary was released in 1968. I know this evidence falls far short of a printed copy of the Home Office official decree but I find it unlikely that “World In Action” would make that up.

    Download the interview here (http://www.xenutv.com/int/shrinkingworld.htm) or read the transcript on the same page.

  8. Dianarn wrote:
    “Heh, usually you can figure out one’s true beliefs by the energy put into denying the accusers. Judging by the whopping 15 page response from the Church of Scientology, I would guess quite a few things written in that book are true, if not most of them.”

    So, the more thorough the defense is, the guiltier the client? I do not agree. The facts should be the chief merit of an argument, not a supposition on human nature.

  9. Man…these guys make such awesome bad guys.

  10. I have to share this experience….

    I was absolutely horrified this morning to receive a mail from one of my service providers (with whom I have had an SLA for about a year now) inviting me to L Ron Hubbard’s birthday party!!!!

    The blurb went on to discuss the virtues of being a scientologist and lists a barrage of (very questionable) statistics regarding the popularity and success of the church and its activities.

    At fist I thought it was just a joke… but I was absolutely astounded to discover it was a genuine invite the CEO of said company had sent to ALL of his clients!

    I have just completed drafting a response to this incredibly unprofessional (and in my mind, offensive) piece of business communication and I am actually considering cancelling said contract with immediate effect…

  11. I think canceling a contract based on religious beliefs is a dubious course of action – unless, of course, said beliefs effect the service.

    On the other hand, reply suggesting that you do not take said invitations well is well within reason.

  12. Meta_meme Says:

    Andy – you are quite correct and I would have been sorry for my earlier comment had it not been for the manner in which they responded to my mail suggesting that they should perhaps, not, have sent out the invitation to clients…

    They have effectively suggested (from their side, with no prompting by myself) that it would be beneficial for us both if they severed our business relationship – I even received a mail from their technical director suggesting that he would waiver my three months cancellation period and void the agreement immediately.

    I gracefully accepted.

    Scary stuff…..

  13. If you feel strongly enough about the pervasive nature of an organisation then refusing to do business with one of its promoters is entirely rational. Why give “them” your money?

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