The Money Machine, Basically Obsessed | Nov. 13 and 14
Look at church's powerful allies
I commend the St. Petersburg Times for the excellent investigative reporting you have done on Scientology. My first exposure to this cult was back in the 1980s when attractive young men and women passed out free copies of Dianetics on 5th Avenue in New York City. If you accepted a copy, they tried to obtain information on you and suggest you attend a meeting to learn more.
I am amazed after reading all the disturbing information and accusations that they are still going strong and are recognized as a religion with tax-exempt status. I am sure that with all the money they scam from people that they have a powerful lobby supporting them. Only this would explain, in my opinion, why they continue to thrive in spite of the evidence published against them. It would be interesting to determine which politicians have been protecting them and why the IRS has not canceled their tax-exempt status.
Peter Brock, Sun City Center
The Money Machine, Basically Obsessed Nov. 13 and 14
Scientology series shows that history repeats itself
I just wanted to commend you and your staff on an awesome article last Sunday on the malicious activity of the Church of Scientology. It's like reading a chapter out of Orwell's 1984. It was even reminiscent of past testimonials I've read by former Communist spies and counterintelligence. It's amazing how history keeps repeating itself — how people are blinded by their own ambition for supremacy to create another cult such as Scientology. Thanks for the good work!
Mike J. Davis, New Port Richey
Efforts not unprecedented
I like to help others. Whereas the Church of Scientology is not the only group I donate to, I do give more to it than other charities. I particularly like two of the many causes the Church of Scientology is behind. The first is the effort to educate and curb the use of psychiatric drugs in today's society, and the second is the expansion of our church through its program to open new churches around the world. As a student of history, this is not any different than what the Catholic Church did from about 500 A.D. up until the Middle Ages. The Catholic Church went on a massive church-building spree that lasted a millennium. Parishioners were asked nothing less than to leave a sizable portion of their wealth in an effort to build churches and monasteries all over the world. The result we still see today.
I would be proud to know in some 1,000 years the efforts of today's parishioners would still be seen through the beautiful churches around the world and the countless people helped through Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard's teachings.
Brad Kugler, Palm Harbor
Church nothing but a scam
I want to commend you on your articles on the Church of Scientology. These articles are not only interesting for readers, but they should be considered very good investigative work. The Church of Scientology is nothing more than a scam dreamt up by a science fiction writer. The church holds millions of dollars in property that the county cannot collect taxes on. They are scamming every one of us in a time of unprecedented suffering. Joe Childs, Thomas Tobin and the St. Petersburg Times are brave beyond words to take on such a powerful institution and expose their criminal tactics.
Chris Bauman, Largo
A newspaper's obsession
I have to agree with today's headline. However, it's the St. Petersburg Times that's "Basically Obsessed" with the subject of Scientology. I'm not writing to defend Scientology, but haven't you better things on which to obsess? How about the influence lobbyists continue to exert on our elected officials in Tallahassee and Washington? I would love a long-term investigative focus on that. If your reporters investigated that issue with the same commendable zeal and determination they employ on Scientology, maybe some meaningful change could occur. And the subject of lobbyists' influence has a lot more day-to-day impact on your readers' lives than the goings-on of Scientology.
Robert Cromwell, St. Petersburg
I read your series on Scientology while visiting my elderly parents here. It is outstanding. A phenomenal work of journalism that is too infrequently seen in today's different world of news media realities and practices. We have nothing like it or of the quality of your publication in Colorado. I am certain you will come under a lot of criticism for reporting on church activities, but thank you for shedding much-needed light on their practices. My family has no connections whatsoever with Scientology, just a keen interest from having decades of time here in the Tampa Bay area.
Steve Johnson, Fort Collins, Colo.
Donations given freely
I am a U.S. citizen, resident of Clearwater and a member of the Church of Scientology. As a citizen, community member and church member I have received many valuable benefits from associations with all of these and feel I should give back.
I contribute to the Church of Scientology and their associated groups. I have found that they assist in efforts to educate people on the dangers of drug and psychiatric abuses, to improve literacy and to assist people who have experienced disasters in their lives and communities. My donations are given freely and gladly as I am busy in life and cannot always do everything that I would like to do to help improve the lot of life for those in the U.S. and my community.
Kerry Fuller, Clearwater
A hero to church's critics
You guys have fans all over the world for your excellent work exposing Scientology. I'm sure David Miscavige curses L. Ron Hubbard quite frequently for putting his mecca in your neck of the woods. The St. Petersburg Times has always been quite fearless in dealing with them. Your investigations are considered the gold standard by Scientology's so-called "suppressive persons" everywhere.
Joe Womble Yadon, Tulsa, Okla.