Once again you try to paint an ugly picture of a religious movement that has helped hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of people lead happy and successful lives. So let me address your latest falsehoods.
My experience in Scientology has been incredible.
I have been a member of the Church of Scientology since 1973. I met and married my husband while working for the church. I have raised two sons in the church. They are both practicing Scientologists. They have never taken drugs or abused alcohol. They are ethical and productive members of society. My husband and I have been married 32 years. We are both productive members of society. We both do extensive volunteer work in Clearwater.
THERE IS NO CHURCH POLICY CONCERNING ABORTION. I put that in all caps because I'm not sure that it will come across accurately if I don't. What's true about the Church of Scientology is not what any member or former member says. Even what I say is not the truth about the Church of Scientology. What is true is what L. Ron Hubbard wrote or said.
I know countless Scientologists who have children. I know hundreds — if not thousands — of staff members who have children. I know members of the Sea Organization who have raised children within that group.
Therefore your Sunday headline — No kids allowed — is a lie, pure and simple. But it is no less than what I expect from your newspaper.
I thank goodness that there are people in this society who do help others and who take responsibility for their own lives. The people you interviewed obviously don't do either.
Joanie Sigal, Clearwater
A sad set of truths
I am and have been a Scientologist for more than 35 years and was a member of the Sea Org for 25 of those years.
Sadly, the accounts in your recent articles exposing the abuse of women and families within the church's Sea Organization are true and if anything underplayed.
Almost from the moment L. Ron Hubbard passed away David Miscavige began to implement a series of policies and actions against women and families in the Sea Organization which directly caused abortions, divorces and abuse and punishment of couples who sought to have children. Perhaps the real cost of Miscavige's actions can be counted in terms of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will never be.
For church spokesman Tommy Davis to say that everything that took place, the many hundreds of incidents, were a matter of individual choice is completely absurd. The Sea Organization is so regimented and micromanaged by David Miscavige that, if it happened, you can be absolutely sure it was done according to his dictates and policies, both written and verbal.
For that very reason, badly needed changes and reform within Scientology and the Sea Organization can only be brought about by outside pressure. And I thank your newspaper for its vital role in that regard.
Haydn James, Tarpon Springs
Stop attacking Scientology
I have been a Scientologist for 35 years and I have never met a more ethical group of individuals who really care about making the world a better place. I can only believe that your relentless attacks against my church are motivated by an agenda other than fulfilling your trust to keep the public informed. If this were not the case, we would see more of the good works of Scientologists in the community covered in your publication. I cannot call it a "newspaper" because you print editorial bias on your front page.
Helgi Ruenne, Clearwater
Thanks again for outstanding journalism concerning the "Church" of Scientology. I had a brief brush with that church a long time ago. You have revealed the truth about this cult, and you are helping to enlighten millions of people who might be vulnerable when they don't have full information.
Thanks also for an outstanding newspaper. I look forward to my paper every morning.
Jane Cone, Ruskin
Poor use of space
Enough about Scientology! Most of us don't care. There must be more important news out there.
You can't afford the space for a daily Pasco section but you seem to have tons of funds to waste on repetitive blathering. Please use your funds more wisely.
Joyce Sengua, New Port Richey
I find it amazing that everybody who is suing or claiming to have been victimized by the Sea Org is lying and only the church officials are telling the truth. I don't buy it.
These women who were taken advantage of were mostly teenagers and still impressionable. When their natural urges to reproduce kicked in, they were told to deny those urges and destroy the products of their desire. To refuse meant deprivation and constant bullying until they gave in and faced the possible end of their marriages.
They are feeling guilt and shame, but that guilt and shame belongs on the heads of this "religion's" authorities. I hope these women find peace of mind in blowing the whistle on what this group really stands for.
Folks, exposing these people and that questionable pharmacist is what newspapers have a responsibility to do. I'll keep reading as long as you keep investigating.
Theressa Placke, Tampa
Oil spill is more important
I choose the St. Petersburg Times over the Tampa Tribune because I feel your paper has better coverage of national news. I now question that decision when the front page of the Sunday Times has a huge story, Inside Scientology: No Kids Allowed.
What were you thinking when you allowed this story to supersede the BP oil spill disaster?
Scientology is not harming our shores, our marine wildlife and possibly costing our state billions in revenue and lost jobs. The BP disaster should be frontline news in your paper every day, not relegated to bottom of the front page.
Gretchen Stultz, Tampa
A simple way to limit drugs
Almost each day in the paper I read that someone has died of a prescription drug overdose. It's alarming how these prescription drugs are taking the lives of mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.
The other day I bought my Claritin D in Target. It's not available in the aisle where the other antihistamines are because it has the "D," decongestant, which apparently is used to make crystal meth. I don't need a prescription, but I have to go to the counter and show my driver's license to purchase it and I can only buy one box at a time. I use the 24-hour strength, so that's 15 pills. They take my license so pharmacies can talk with each other via computer to be sure I cannot buy a stockpile to make meth.
My question is: Why don't they have safeguards like this in place for oxycodone, Valium and similar drugs? It seems to me from the statistics that we are losing far more people from prescription drug addiction per day than from meth addiction. It's probably because these drugs are easier to get than an antihistamine with decongestant.
Why can't we put the same system in place for prescription drugs? Did it cost millions to put the system in place that takes my license to limit my Claritin D purchase to once every 15 days? I don't remember hearing about a huge cost on that. What is the cost of all the lives lost to this horrific epidemic? Priceless.
Cheri Rose, St. Pete Beach
Arizona lawmaker attacks citizenship June 16, story
Amend citizenship rules
Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce wants to deny U.S. citizenship to children born here to illegal immigrants. Now here is a guy who is finally on the right track!
The 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the United States, however I think this needs to be further clarified and amended. If someone wants the American dream and comes to our country legally and has a child here, I don't think anyone sees a problem with that child being a U.S. citizen.
Unfortunately, many illegal immigrants are coming here to have babies (for free in our hospitals) and then since their child is a U.S. citizen, they can get federal housing, food stamps and Medicaid for their child. This is not seeking the American dream — this is fraud and extortion. This is exactly what most Americans disapprove of regarding immigration.
Wouldn't this money be better spent helping to insure the millions of legal U.S. citizens without health insurance? If we eliminate what amounts to fraud with illegal immigrants, we would all be better off.
Children born in the United States to legal immigrants should be American citizens. Children born to illegal immigrants should be citizens of the country of their parents.
Cheryl Colvin, Lutz
Bishops assemble to refresh at retreat June 16, story
The Catholic bishops conference being held at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg is totally inappropriate for Catholic bishops.
If they were serious, which is doubtful, they would meet instead in a proper environment such as a monastery or seminary. Catholic bishops should never have a conference at any luxury resort. What kind of example is this? Is that supposed to edify us Catholics? I think not. It's wrong, pure and simple, and they know that.
In this particular time of unemployment when people are struggling to make ends meet, spending these kind of funds is simply scandalous and unacceptable. American Catholic bishops have been in denial for years. What the Catholic Church needs today especially is more spiritual bishops.
Carolyn Montminy, Spring Hill
Mother's Day and Father's Day are lovely holidays when we celebrate our parents. The problem is that many children are raised primarily by step-parents, for whom there does not seem to be a special day.
A child may have a biological parent and a step-parent or even a foster parent but is forced to choose one over the other. I think we should designate Stepmom's Day and Stepdad's Day so no one feels left out.
There is nothing happening in August; let's pick some dates in August and celebrate all the great step-parents who do such a wonderful job for their families.
Gloria R. Julius, St. Petersburg
Green needs to be good | June 12, letter
Make the effort
The letter writer said she believes "we must work to preserve" our environment, but she will not "sacrifice quality to purchase green products."
Whoa. There are many great green products out there — Publix's line of "GreenWise" paper towels and toilet paper, "Seventh Generation" and its line of dish soap and other products, "Nature's Place" and its line of household cleaners.
These products are environmentally friendly and effective. If a little more elbow work is required, isn't that well worth the price to pay for clear blue skies, pristine beaches and waterways, and clean air to breathe?
Everything comes with a price. We need to take a stand, place our priorities, and be willing to act on them, even at the sake of convenience.
Mary Miller, New Port Richey