If you look at the statements made about the Internet by the Church of Scientology, you will notice a very peculiar fact: not once, in any of their publications or court documents, do they mention the name alt.religion.scientology. These publications only use the vague term "The Internet," or else they use the abbreviation "ARS." This omission speaks volumes about the effect the Internet is having on the organization. They are genuinely scared of the Net. They know that the truth about Scientology is being sent to the world through this newsgroup, in spite of every attempt by the organization to suppress it. They've tried removing the newsgroup, cancelling messages, seizing the computer equipment of their critics and former members, threatening lawsuits, investigating posters to the newsgroup, and flooding the group with garbage posts…and still the information continues to flow.
The image of Scientology is so soiled on the Internet that they have nothing to lose if they continue their current attack. After all, the Net may be all but closed to Scientology now, but does that really matter in the REAL WORLD? Outside of the Internet, who has heard of alt.religion.scientology? Who has read the affidavits, and how many people have been able to find the books that criticize Scientology?
The gap between the "real world" and the Internet may be the last, best hope for Scientology. The Church knows that if people read about Scientology on the Internet they will learn the truth about Scientology. Therefore, the Church is taking another course of action: they are trying to keep the existence of alt.religion.scientology and the critical Web sites a secret.
This is why I am appealing to you, the reader.
We must tell the world about Scientology and the Internet!
We must reach past the line of defense that the Church is trying to hold. For if more people learn about the existence of the Web sites, the discussion forums, and the newsgroup, more people will read them. More people will learn the truth about the Church of Scientology. Perhaps…even Scientologists?
This may be what the Church fears more than anything else. If their own members were to learn about the war on alt.religion.scientology, then they may become disillusioned. They may enter what Hubbard called a "condition of doubt." Many Scientologists may quit the Church and never come back. And the money would stop flowing.
Without money, the Church of Scientology would come crashing down. Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other religions may be able to survive without money, but Scientology can't. L. Ron Hubbard himself stated this when he made his statement: "Make money. Make more money. Make others produce so as to make money."
This is where you, the reader, can help.
Bring the word of the Internet to the REAL WORLD! Do whatever you can to spread the word and get people interested in the Web sites and the online battle. Print pamphlets praising the newsgroup and get them to the Scientologists! Mention the war between Scientology and the Net whenever the subject of censorship comes up in your conversations with your friends. And above all, SPREAD THE WORD.
By doing so, you will be spreading the news of a valuable source of information, one that may be beneficial to a great many people. Instead of listening to nothing but the polished Scientology public relations campaign, people will have a chance to discover for themselves what Scientology is really about.
Help Yourself, Help Others
- Are you a member of Scientology…or a former member? Do you have friends or relatives who have recently joined the organization…or are they considering joining right now? If you are in a situation like this, then you may be feeling confused, lonely, or scared. What can you do to help yourself? How can you help the ones you love? There are a number of sites on the Internet that can help you find the right path to take, including:
- How to Talk to a Scientologist: This essay was written in August of 2003 by a former Scientologist who made up his mind to leave the organization. Here he explains how direct confrontation an only drive a person further into Scientology's folds, while the best way to reach someone is with compassion, caring, and love.
- Ex-Scientologist Message Board: This message board is for former Scientologists (and current Scientologists) to freely discuss mutual experiences in Scientology. It covers such topics as L. Ron Hubbard, David Miscavige and current management, auditing and training, Ethics tech and its application, OSA, fair game, Clear and OT levels, Freewinds, and recovering from the experience of being in Scientology.
- Ex-Scientology Kids: Similar to the Ex-Scientologist Message Board, this site is especially for former members and families with Scientologist friends and family…and who have been ordered to disconnect from them because they are no longer part of the Church of Scientology.
- Operation Clambake Message Board: The Webmaster of this site, Andreas Heldal-Lund, hosts a number of message boards where he promises better anonymity to those who post there. If you post to the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology, your identity could be discovered by examining the message header lines of your post. Andreas encourages questioning Scientologists and people with family members in Scientology to post their experiences to his message boards, and he allows anonymous posting.
- Resource Center for Freedom of Mind: Steve Hassan is a former member of the Unification Church (a.k.a. the Moonies) who has dedicated his life to helping people under the influence of organizations such as Scientology and the Moonies. If you are a Scientologist, then you may have already heard of him; Scientology vilifies him as one of the "evil deprogrammers" who supposedly uses kidnapping, shock treatment, and drugs. None of this is true. I know Steve Hassan personally, and I will vouch for his honesty and his compassion. His two published books, Combatting Cult Mind Control and Releasing the Bonds, are essential reading for anyone who has had any exposure to Scientology or other organizations; whether you are a friend or family member of a Scientologist, or if you are a member yourself.
The Most Important Thing You Can Do
Tell your friends and family about alt.religion.scientology and the Internet!
I cannot possibly stress this enough. This is easy to do, and it is safe. The newsgroup may be the most valuable source of information about Scientology that has ever existed, which is why Scientology does not want people to know about it. By mentioning the struggle between Scientology and the Internet whenever the subject of free speech, censorship, and harassment comes up in your casual conversations, you will be making people aware of the newsgroup's existence. You can't be hurt or sued for suggesting that people read a newsgroup, and once the phrase "alt.religion.scientology" has been mentioned, people will become curious and want to read the newsgroup for themselves.
Other Safe Things You Can Do
Here are a few suggestions of actions that you can take to spread the word about Scientology and the Internet, and safely avoid being targeted for harassment. These are only suggestions, and this list is certainly incomplete. Be creative, and come up with your own ideas.
- Read the Web message boards regularly, especially the ones listed above. regularly. Follow the threads and learn what's going on. Encourage your friends to do the same. The alt.religion.scientology newsgroup is also available, but Scientology's incessant and constant attacks have rendered it largely useless for newcomers. A lot of valuable information is still being made available there, but the Web forums are far more user-friendly…especially if you are new to the battle.
- Get people to read the Scientology entry at Wikipedia. At this time, this is probably the single most accurate and informative source about Scientology in the entire world, because Wikipedia is dedicated to following a neutral point of view. It is not pro-Scientology, it is not anti-Scientology. And thus, it has a lot of useful information.
- Find copies of rare books about Scientology in used book stores. (Some of these books are already available on the Web pages, as you have probably discovered already.) Make these books available to your friends and family, if they are curious.
- Check your local library and see if the books that offer information about Scientology are available. In many libraries, you will find that these books have been stolen or misfiled. If possible, you may want to try to replace these missing books. This can also be applied to library archives of magazines, newspapers, and microfilm records containing articles about Scientology. (The Time magazine article of May 6, 1991 is especially hard to find in libraries.)
- If you have your own World Wide Web page, include a link to one or more of the pages dealing with Scientology.
- I offer the following banner for you to use, if you wish to include a link to this Web site:
- Bring news of the Internet war to talk shows, newspapers, and magazines. Be sure to mention the name alt.religion.scientology, and try to make sure that the name of the newsgroup is included in the final edition of any published media report.
- Print flyers and leaflets informing people about the Internet, and leave them in public places such as bookstores, music stores, college campuses, doctor's offices, the lobby of your local public library, or other places. Don't do anything that will get you in trouble, and don't make a nuisance of yourself; make sure that you're going to places where no one will object to having flyers distributed.
- Here is a Microsoft Word document of a one-page flyer promoting this World Wide Web site, An Introduction to Scientology. You may print out copies of this flyer, or write your own. Be sure to print only the truth, because the story of Scientology and the Internet is so bizarre that there is no need for you to make anything up. The truth is stranger than fiction.
- When calling attention to people unfamiliar with this subject, it is best to refer them to sites that are easily remembered. Several domain names exist that are easy to remember (and put on a flyer):
- A very popular and effective leaflet is available for people to download and print, called the Xenu Leaflet. This leaflet reveals the more bizarre beliefs of Scientology, and it is designed to make people realize what they are volunteering for when they choose to join the organization.
- Here's a new and clever idea: You Found The Card! In early 2008, the devious pranksters of ANONYMOUS came up with the idea of a "viral" information campaign to spread the word about Scientology to the general public. Simply print out the cards available at this site (for free), and spread them around – the lobby of your local public library, college campus, airport, train station, or what have you. The phrase "You found the card!" should be enough to make people curious…curious enough to wonder, "what's on the card? Why is it so great that I found the card?" And when they go there, they'll find out.
"What should I do next?"
- This is a message thread on the Enturbulation discussion forums that addresses the question of where the crusade against Scientology is going. Okay, so you've attended a protest, printed some flyers and passed them out, and posted Web site addresses to your favorite discussion forum. What do you do now?
Some Actions That Might Put You At Risk
- Participate regularly in the discussions on alt.religion.scientology. While it is unlikely that you will be harassed merely by posting to the newsgroup, there have been incidents of this sort. TarlaStar's story is the most notable one: she was investigated and her name, address, and phone number were posted to the newsgroup by Andrew Milne of the OSA (Office of Special Affairs), merely because she had criticized Scientology on the newsgroup.
- Put up a World Wide Web page containing useful information about Scientology: court documents, summaries and commentaries on the Operating Thetan materials(it is perfectly legal to talk about the documents themselves, using only quotes taken in accordance with the fair use provisions of the copyright laws), or other useful materials. Do not put anything on your Web page that would unquestionably be a violation of the law – especially copyright law. Scientology will not waste any time filing a lawsuit if the organization believes that your Web page violates copyright laws.
- If you know people who are involved with Scientology, try to get them curious enough to want to look at the Internet themselves. However, it is very important to remember that Scientology actively trains its members to avoid anything that even hints at criticism of Scientology. DO NOT try to force anyone to read anything that he or she does not want to read. Forced methods do not work. For this reason, I also strongly oppose the controversial practice known as forced deprogramming. For more information about attempting to communicate with friends, family members, or other people who are involved with Scientology and similar organizations, I highly reccomend this book: Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan, published in 1988 by Park Street Press, One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767, ISBN number 0-89281-311-3. Steve Hassan also has his own Web site.
- Translate the Web pages with information about Scientology into other languages, and make them available to people who cannot read or speak English. Scientology's influence is not limited to English-speaking countries (as the residents of Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Columbia, Russia, and other countries have discovered). Since access to direct information about Scientology is often harder to obtain in other countries than it is here in the United States, making information about Scientology available in other languages will be a tremendous help for those who wish to bring the truth about Scientology to the world.
- Volunteer your services in one of the various legal actions taking place between Scientology and its critics. There is certainly no shortage in the number of people who can always use assistance and aid; several of them are regular participants on the newsgroup.
I am not asking you to do anything that would make you uncomfortable, or anything that would inconvenience you. Some people are more able to participate in these online battles than others. There is nothing wrong with being able to do only what you are capable of doing. If you only wish to tell your friends and family about the war between Scientology and the Internet, then this will be enough.
But the greatest casualties in this war are the ones who don't have access to all of the facts, and all of the truth. There is an enormous number of people who have heard about Scientology and Dianetics, but they only have access to one side of the story: the side carefully manufactured by the public relations division of the Church of Scientology. These people are the ones in the greatest danger.
And this is where you can help.
Spread the word about Scientology and the Internet!
Who knows? In the long run, you may even save someone's life.
A message especially for members of the Church of Scientology who read this page:
- Though you may disappear
- You're not forgotten here
- And I will say to you
- I will do what I can do.
– from Wallflower by Peter Gabriel
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