June 24, 2012
Re: Your Inquiry regarding the Church of Scientology
Dear Messrs. Childs and Tobin:
This is in response to your letter of June 4. As has now become routine for the Times, your questions have nothing to do with the current activities of the Church of Scientology. Instead, you maintain what can only be described as an unprofessional — if not incestuous — relationship with apostates who have a record of lying about their former religion and have been gone from the Church for so many years they are completely out of touch with what is happening in Scientology today. Your letter is off target from its opening sentence where you state you have "questions that arose after recent testimony." The testimony you cite was not "recent" and has been reported on ad nauseam by your publication. Meanwhile you do not ask one question showing interest in what the Church is in fact doing "recently." Further, you ignore all the Church does today in your community and the thousands of parishioners who contribute directly to the Clearwater and Tampa area, information that would be of true interest to your readers. Instead, by continuing to proudly wear your bias on your sleeve, you do your readers a grave disservice.
Surely the Times — which claims a great interest in Scientology — is aware of the tremendous growth the Church continues to experience today. The month of June alone has seen the following Scientology Churches open their doors:
• The Church of Scientology Orange County, in Santa Ana, California on June 2, 2012.
• The rededication of the Church of Scientology Stevens Creek, in San Jose, California on June 9, 2012.
• The Church of Scientology Denver, Colorado on June 16, 2012.
• The Church of Scientology Phoenix, Arizona opening just yesterday on June 23, 2012.
Information about these opening ceremonies is available at scientologynews.org.
Additional Churches will be opening in the week leading to the annual religious convocation commemorating the anniversary of the maiden voyage of the Freewinds religious retreat, as well as immediately following the anniversary celebration.
Your continued biased and unfair treatment of the Church has foreclosed the possibility of an interview with any Church official, let alone with Mr. Miscavige. Have you forgotten your unilateral cancellation of the interview he scheduled with you in 2009? Moreover, given Mr. Mascavige's schedule, his involvement in the momentous projects noted above and others, including delivering the keynote address at Church openings, and his many other responsibilities as the leader of our religion, an interview would be physically impossible.
In the face of the Church's continued and unprecedented growth, you resurrect outdated and false allegations to which the Church has previously responded. Further, you have long been provided incontrovertible documentation of the dishonesty of the sources you rely upon. There is nothing "recent" or "newsworthy" about any of the allegations you regurgitate. It appears that the older the story — in this case six or more years — the more the Times pushes it, no matter the lack of corroborating evidence and the contradictory testimony the same discredited sources provide. The fact that the Times continues to rely on individuals who banded together to attack their former religion, have been incapable of moving on with their lives and have never provided any evidence whatsoever to counter the overwhelming evidence the Church has supplied to you in the form of declarations, video footage, documents, photographs, medical reports and more leaves little doubt as to your motives. Lest we not forget: the original versions of these stories were false. You then went back to them and they revised their allegations and changed their story. Those versions, too, were shown to be false. Your third round was no more successful. The most recent unsubstantiated allegations also have been proven false.
Cook: It is disingenuous at best for you to ask the Church about testimony in a court case you know was settled and about which you already have the Church's response. To repeat, the Church denies all statements purporting to be from the February 9, 2012, court hearing and from the press conference of the same date. The Times was provided with the Church's statement on February 10, 2012, and provided answers to your further questions the same day where I made clear: "Cook's false statements are too numerous to list. Her statements about her experiences in the Church and the charges she leveled at Church leaders are entirely false." Nothing has changed except that the Times knows the matter was settled by a stipulated injunction, which speaks for itself.
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Brousseau/Matsumara: As you well know, Brousseau is a card-carrying member of Rathbun's small anti-Scientology coterie and he echoes the same false allegations as the rest of that group. If Matsumara made the statements you allege, he is mistaken. Any allegation of "bars" being installed to hold people against their will is false and malicious and is denied. The Church does not violate any laws in exercising ecclesiastical discipline or anything else. The security system at Golden Era Productions exists to protect the property and is no more or less sophisticated than the system of any similar film studio in Southern California. Golden Era Productions is a 750-acre, 150-million dollar production facility and maintains routine security to prevent theft of the valuable equipment or harm to the dedicated Church staff that work there. It is a beautiful and safe property. The buildings you refer to are constructed and maintained in accordance with all codes and are used in the manner appropriate to the building. Any allegations to the contrary are false.
You describe an unrecorded conversation from 1986, more than 26 years ago, that Brousseau purports to have had with Mr. Miscavige. I can find no record such a conversation ever occurred. What I can say is that it is no surprise that the leader of the Scientology religion is professional and demanding. After all, he has preserved the orthodoxy of the religion for over two decades, something the Times recognized in its 1998 profile, stating, for example, "No one in Scientology is more dedicated to Hubbard's words than Miscavige. As chairman of Scientology's Religious Technology Center, his job is to 'preserve, maintain and protect' Scientology ... [He is] a leader who sets the tone, establishes goals and ensures that Hubbard's policies and teachings are followed with precision." There is one thing you are right about: Mr. Miscavige is an extremely competent, professional and effective leader and the Church is fortunate and honored to have him at its helm.
Rinder: Mike Rinder's allegations are as false today as they were the last time you asked about them. Your statements about senior officials of the Church have been mischaracterized to fit your preconceived agenda. You were offered interviews with these senior officials and you refused to interview them. You have twisted their statements to imply there was some "culture of violence," which did not and does not exist. Rinder is once again modifying his "story" to excuse the incompetence that caused him to be removed from the ecclesiastical management hierarchy of the Church.
To remind the Times, you came to the Church with false allegations from Rathbun about violence that caused the Church to investigate what he might have done to make up such stories. Rathbun had not initially told you about his abusive and violent actions. When the Church looked into the matter it found several instances of violence over Rathbun's tenure and brought this information to you. You later confirmed the truth of our information stating: "He's told us about some times that he hit people ... Marty said to us all through this, 'I have my transgressions, I've attacked people.' "
As you were told in 2009, when Rathbun's transgressions against a staff member came to the attention of the leader of the religion in 2003, Rathbun was immediately banished from the organization he worked for and assigned to ecclesiastical discipline, in which he declined to participate. Both Rathbun and Rinder are proof that no one is held against their will in the Sea Organization, regardless of stories to the contrary. Rathbun's propensity for violence many years after leaving the Church confirms he is unhinged.
Hawkins: You attribute an allegation to Jeff Hawkins and "several former staffs" regarding Golden Era Productions and the "turning point about the year 2000." This allegation is false. It is not surprising that Jeff Hawkins would offer his unfounded opinion about how terrible things were at Golden Era Productions, given his dismal performance. Contrary to Hawkins's delusions of his success, he could not meet the standards of the religious order and was dismissed by his peers. While we have always represented the Sea Organization as a tough and dedicated group, it is also a professional, talented and caring membership. Contrary to Hawkins's assertion, Golden Era Productions is a wonderful place to work and the members of the Sea Organization and outside professionals who work there are proud of their products, their accomplishments and their fellow team members. We are not unique, as a religious order, in applying the ecclesiastical discipline to members.
DeVocht: Regarding Tom DeVocht's allegation about the movie, Full Metal Jacket, oh, please! I contacted the other named person in your "story" and found he has never, to date, seen this movie and he never made such a statement to DeVocht or to anyone else. Everything about this story is fabricated, right down to the Church chairs, which do not have legs that "unscrew" as DeVocht claimed.
Allegation concerning the FBI: The Church had never heard of any FBI investigation until your sources and the media began talking about it.
Your statement that the FBI began "examining" the Church in 2009 is simply that: your statement. The Church has no knowledge that this "examining" ever occurred. Everything your sources claimed regarding the FBI has not materialized. Instead, it is the Times that reported that these same sources knew there was no investigation before they made their wild claims to the media in 2010. This tells you all you need to know about the honesty of your sources.
As we previously advised the Times, a former US Attorney dealt directly with the United States Department of Justice regarding this allegation and confirmed that there was no open investigation of the Church or any of its affiliates or leaders; any report to the contrary is false.
When you first approached the Church in 2009 with false and misguided claims from your gang of arrant miscreants, we informed you the Church was experiencing a renaissance as a result of its restored Scripture and, not coincidently, the renaissance had begun with the departure of those very same individuals. You were briefed on the new Ideal Scientology Churches that had opened up to that time and our planned expansion. You were even offered tours of those Churches (something you declined, though you had time to travel around the United States to interview apostates as that apparently served your antireligious agenda). I remind you that the Church laid out for you a single copy of only a fraction of the materials that have since been made available to our parishioners in the years that followed. You were shown photographs of our new publishing facilities which produce our Scripture — the largest all-digital printing plant in the world — and responded by saying, "It's impressive. I mean obviously, we own a digital printing facility, so it's impressive. It's really cool."
In the three years since the Times began this hate campaign, everything the Church predicted in terms of Church growth has come true. At the same time, everything your sources predicted has failed to materialize. In June 2009 you chose to publish their false claims and went so far as to publish their statements of the Church's imminent collapse.
They were wrong then, just as they are today. We told you that their removal from the Church was a result of their malfeasance. We told you they were bitter and we further told you the Church was enjoying unprecedented growth since their departure. The last three years tell you all you need to know: The Church has doubled in size since your sources left and, since your opening articles in 2009, Church expansion has only accelerated, contrary to the predictions of both the Times and your sources.
It would be a disservice to your readers if I did not remind you of the real stories the Times has refused to cover while continuing to sow its preposterous allegations.
IDEAL CHURCHES OF SCIENTOLOGY
A significant factor in the Church's expansion has been the establishment of new Churches, known as Ideal Organizations. These Churches realize the Founder's vision by providing ideal facilities to serve Scientologists on their ascent to higher states of spiritual awareness and spiritual freedom. They have been designed in accordance with our Scripture to serve as a home for the surrounding community and to provide services for our parishioners and those interested in their spiritual betterment and exploring the study and handling of the spirit in relation to itself, universes and life. We offered you the opportunity to tour several of these Churches, but you refused. Just since the Times embarked on its most recent anti-Scientology crusade, we have opened the following new Ideal Scientology Churches:
1) Church of Scientology of Malmö, Sweden, April 4, 2009
2) Church of Scientology of Dallas, Texas, April 11, 2009
3) Church of Scientology of Nashville, Tennessee, April 25, 2009
4) Church of Scientology of Rome, Italy, October 24, 2009
5) Church of Scientology of Washington, D.C., October 31, 2009
6) Churches of Scientology of Europe, in Brussels, Belgium, January 23, 2010
7) Church of Scientology of Québec, Canada, January 30, 2010
8) Church of Scientology of Las Vegas, Nevada, February 6, 2010
9) Church of Scientology of Los Angeles, California, April 24, 2010
10) National Scientology Organization in Mexico City, July 10, 2010
11) Church of Scientology of Pasadena, California, July 18, 2010
12) Church of Scientology of Seattle, Washington, July 24, 2010
13) Church of Scientology of Melbourne, Australia, January 28, 2011
14) Church of Scientology of Moscow, Russia, February 26, 2011
15) Church of Scientology of Tampa, Florida, March 13, 2011 (The congregation expanded fourfold since 2003 and the Church moved to Ybor Square, dedicating its new place of worship in honor of L. Ron Hubbard's centennial; a singular event you also did not find worthy of reporting to your readers.)
16) Rededication and expansion of the Church of Scientology of Johannesburg, South Africa, August 13, 2011
17) Church of Scientology of St. Paul, Minnesota, October 22, 2011
18) Church of Scientology of Inglewood, California and its Community Center, November 5, 2011
19) Church of Scientology of Hamburg, Germany, January 21, 2012
20) Church of Scientology of Sacramento, California, January 28, 2012
21) Church of Scientology of Greater Cincinnati, in Florence, Kentucky, February 25, 2012
22) Church of Scientology of Orange County, California, June 2, 2012
23) Rededication of the Church of Scientology of Stevens Creek, in San Jose, California, June 9, 2012
24) Church of Scientology of Denver, Colorado, June 16, 2012
25) Church of Scientology of Phoenix, Arizona, June 23, 2012. (This is uniquely significant given Phoenix is the birthplace of the Scientology Religion.)
All of this information is on our website at: scientology.org/churches/churches-of-scientology.html.
And it goes without saying that all of the above are in addition to the opening of the fully restored landmark Fort Harrison religious retreat on March 14, 2009. See www.scientology.org/videos/category/churches/fort-harrison-tour.html.
Then there is all that we have done to further the dissemination of our religion and to make it available to the masses:
• In 2010 we opened the 274,000 sq ft Bridge Publications facility in Los Angeles to publish all of L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology materials, much of it now available in 50 languages. Combined with its sister organization in Denmark, the two publishing houses can produce our Scripture at a rate of 26 million books and 48 million Compact Discs (for Mr. Hubbard's lectures) annually to provide our religious materials in the quantities and languages needed to serve our growing congregations worldwide. See www.scientologynews.org "Bringing Scientology to the World."
• In 2011, we established a new 185,000 sq ft plant for the production of Church dissemination and humanitarian campaign materials. This facility enables the Church to produce all of our religious dissemination items in-house and to accelerate the delivery of our humanitarian campaign materials, making possible their dissemination at a rate ten times our previous levels for virtually the same cost. See www.scientologynews.org/press-releases/dissemination-and-distribution-center.html
THE GOLDEN AGE OF KNOWLEDGE
2010 saw the completion of a 25-year project to recover all of L. Ron Hubbard's writings and lectures on Dianetics and Scientology and to restore them for our parishioners. This endeavor involved some two million man-hours on such work as locating and restoring more than 2,000 recorded lectures, the majority of which were never before available and are a significant portion of the religion's Scripture. Mr. Hubbard's written works consisting of 18 books and some 1,000 written issues were similarly verified and restored, free of any transcription errors or other editorial alterations and produced in a manner to achieve the highest level of readability, comprehension and durability. You can see more information about this at: www.scientology.org/basics.
During this same time period, the Church produced more films than ever to make Mr. Hubbard's discoveries more broadly available, exactly as the Founder intended. More than a decade ago, you toured Golden Era Productions and are familiar with the extent of the facilities where these films are produced. You can see the video Inside Golden Era Productions, www.scientology.org/goldenera. Our studios have produced award-winning films for our social and humanitarian programs, as well as for religious dissemination including:
• The Truth About Drugs, a full-length documentary portraying the experiences of real people and their struggle with addiction.
• The Story of Human Rights, an educational animated documentary giving the world history of human rights.
• The Way to Happiness, an unabridged full-length motion picture on the common-sense guide to better living, from which any individual can learn to help those around him to live a happy and fulfilling life.
• How to Use Dianetics, a book-on-film drawn from Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, visually demonstrating Dianetics principles and procedures. The film is the centerpiece of new Dianetics services for new parishioners.
• The Problems of Work, a film drawn directly from the pages of the book of the same title, illustrating basic Scientology principles for use in everyday life.
• The Scientology Handbook, our most recent feature film production, released in October 2011, providing tools for everyday living. We simultaneously made available corresponding online courses in 17 languages.
ACQUISITION OF NEW BROADCAST FACILITIES
In 2011, the Church acquired the historic Hollywood film studio formerly owned by KCET TV to expand our ability to disseminate using state-of-the-art TV, satellite and Internet broadcasting capabilities. This new studio provides the means to move into religious broadcasting and to further advance our many social and humanitarian programs. It is also ideally set up to establish a central media hub for our growing network of Churches around the world.
NEW L. RON HUBBARD BIOGRAPHICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA
The centennial of our Founder was certainly newsworthy, although the Times declined to cover any centennial event. As part of our yearlong celebration, the Church produced a 16-volume biographical encyclopedia, the L. Ron Hubbard Series, chronicling Mr. Hubbard's life and legacy as well as a companion photographic biography, Images of a Lifetime, containing restored (and newly discovered) photographs from Mr. Hubbard's exceptional life. This information is at www.scientologynews.org/press-release/the-l-ron-hubbard-series.html.
We have made this material available to the Times before. In fact, on May 29, 2009, Joe Childs acknowledged the importance of understanding the growth of Scientology in relation to accurately reporting on the Church: "I think there is some question about what depth of knowledge Tom and I bring to this, you know. At first I thought, "Why are we watching this stuff?' But now I see that Mr. Miscavige had an active role in its creation. And I see that that's a point of, you know — we spent a lot of time on the Scientology website familiarizing ourselves, so, I mean, it's just our responsibility to bring as much understanding of the topic as we can."
That responsibility has been abrogated as none of these activities make it into the pages of the Times. Instead you act as propagandists for anti-Scientologists.
The ultimate answers to your questions are the activities I have outlined above. You continue to demonstrate your propensity to inaccurately portray the Church. Anyone criticizing the Church to you while professing "love" for Scientology only proves their duplicity, as everyone knows how much our Founder despised the St. Petersburg Times. Given that your sources are anti-L. Ron Hubbard, we certainly do not find it surprising they are also anti-Mr. Miscavige, as he is guiding the Church in exactly the manner the Founder had entrusted him to do.
The story of Scientology is the story of the Church's growth and its commitment to serving its parishioners and the community at large. Both will continue for the years and decades to come. Given that all that you have published does not resemble what is happening in and with the Church of Scientology and its explosive growth, it would be most appropriate for the Times to print an apology.
I request that this response be posted in full on your website to accurately reflect the Church's position.
CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY INTERNATIONAL
(Below is a second letter from the church responding to a follow-up Times inquiry.)
January 10, 2013
Dear Messrs Tobin and Childs,
You have repeatedly made clear that you and your newspaper are behind the times, but your January 7, 2011 [sic] inquiry serves to emphasize the point. Your line of inquiry, of course, has nothing to do with the activities of the Church of Scientology. Instead, you remain incestuously connected to a small group of anti-Scientologists and your chief source, Marty Rathbun, continues to be a self-admitted suborner of perjury and liar and the ultimate conspiracy theorist who rants about the Church and its "white-shoe law firms" and invents absurd stories you blindly accept as fact. No one but you and this group of anti-Scientologists would ever ask who hired an attorney! And no, Ms. Andrues was not hired with or through our D.C. lawyers.
As to your other questions, we have nothing further to add to our prior responses. As you well know, this allegation came to our attention in the wake of Lawrence Wright's erroneous report in The New Yorker. The New Yorker trumpeted its "exclusive" in a press release, which various media, including the two of you, accepted at face value and regurgitated. You certainly cannot forget that Wright's and your same anti-Scientologist sources subsequently stated that Wright's claim was incorrect and confirmed (to the Village Voice) that before Wright published his article, they knew Wright's claim was false. Independently, you had a similar confirmation from Allan Lengel of AOL News the day Wright's article was published. Surely you do not intend to regurgitate Wright's claim yet again. There is no "investigation" as even your own sources have admitted.
In the time you have devoted to your grassy knoll theories, the Church's explosive growth has continued unabated as we dedicate our resources to serving our parishioners and the surrounding communities through our social and humanitarian programs.
In this last year alone, we opened new Ideal Churches of Scientology in Sacramento, Orange County, San Jose and Los Gatos, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Florence, Kentucky; Buffalo, New York; as well as in Germany, Italy and our first in the Middle East, in Tel Aviv, Israel. We also inaugurated a National Affairs office in Washington, D.C. this September, joined by members of Congress and other distinguished partners in our dedication to put our social programs to work throughout the nation.
This October we released a new landmark film on our religion, Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought. It is the fifth such book-on-film produced to make the basic principles of Dianetics and Scientology available to anyone. That same month saw the distribution of L. Ron Hubbard's encyclopedic biography, a 16-volume set, to libraries throughout the country.
There is more to come in this new year with the planned opening of 13 new Churches on five continents, our Flag building in Clearwater and a Scientology religious broadcasting station in Los Angeles to extend our religious services and social programs across the globe. For accurate information go to www.scientology.org.
As I have previously requested, I ask that the complete Church response be posted on your website to accurately reflect the Church's position. I look forward to your confirmation.
P.S. To the extent that Marty Rathbun is your source of information about the Church, it is patently clear that he lacks all credibility, a fact that surely you must have recognized by now. Clearly, this is not a person upon whom any reputable reporter or news organization should rely for information, or for that matter believe. Is, perhaps, the Times paying him or providing some other form of recompense, considering it knows how unreliable he is?