AFFIDAVIT

CITY OF EDMONTON

PROVINCE OF ALBERTA

BEFORE ME, the undersigned authority, Stephen A. Kent personally appeared, and whom I know on a professional basis, and after first being duly affirmed by me states:

    1. I, Stephen A. Kent, Ph.D., the undersigned affiant, am a professor at the University of Alberta in the Department of Sociology, and incorporate my attached curriculum vitae to this affidavit.
    2. I have spent thirteen years studying the many aspects and organizations comprising the Church of Scientology. I also have published peer-reviewed, academic articles on Scientology, and in them have discussed its claim to be a religion.
    3. Counsel for the plaintiff asked me to provide opinions, based upon my education, experience, and investigation concerning: whether Scientology is solely and exclusively a religion; whether the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization is solely and exclusively a religious organization; whether Scientology=s Aisolation@ procedures toward perceived psychotics is a religious practice; whether Aauditing@ procedures are solely and exclusively religious practices; and whether the AIntrospection Rundown@ is a religious practice.
    4. As discussed below, my opinion is that Scientology is a multifaceted transnational organization that is not solely religious. Among the organization=s non-religious activities are its practices of both isolating perceived psychotics and auditing perceived psychotics.These specific activities are pseudo-medical and pseudo-psychiatric practices, not religious ones. Both practices, however, are in keeping with Scientology=s primary, secular goal of eradicating psychiatry and replacing mental health treatments with Scientology ones. Partly because Scientology=s pseudo-medical and pseudo-psychiatric practices take place in the Flag Service Organization, and partly for other reasons that I state below, the Flag Service Organization is not solely and exclusively religious in operation.
    5. In order to determine what role, if any, religion plays within the Flag Service Organization and the practices that occur there, I utilize a definition of religion that combines classic functional and substantive elements (as they appear individually in social scientific literature). Religion is >a set of beliefs in supernatural beings or forces along with practices related to them that provides people with a deep and abiding sense of meaning and order= (my definition).
    6. On other basic terms I follow definitions given in the Oxford English Dictionary. Therefore, when I use the term, Amedicine,@ I mean A[t]hat department of knowledge and practice which is concerned with the cure, alleviation, and prevention of disease in human beings, and with the restoration and preservation of health...; the art of restoring and preserving the health of human beings by the administration of remedial substances and the regulation of diet, habits, and conditions of life....@ By Apsychiatry@ I simply mean, Athe medical treatment of diseases of the mind.@ Frequently in this report I will use the preface, Apseudo,@ when discussing medical and psychiatric practices, and by that term I mean, Afalse, counterfeit, pretended, [or] spurious.@
    7. I base my analysis upon Scientology documents, legal decisions, and current scholarship about Scientology and its practices.

      II. OVERVIEW OF SCIENTOLOGY

    8. A. Brief History and Doctrines--Known for his pulp fiction and science fiction writing prior to and after World War II, L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) introduced Scientology's forerunner, Dianetics, to the world in 1950. Dianetics claimed that people had what Hubbard called a "reactive mind" and an "analytical mind." The reactive mind had imprinted in it painful incidents along with incidents involving unconsciousness, either of which could have taken place at any point in one's life (including in pre-natal states). These imprinted incidents were called "engrams," and various stimuli could trigger them in ways that lead to irrational or harmful behavior. In contrast, the analytical mind is not subject to such negative influences, and the goal of Dianetics was to free the analytic mind by ridding the reactive mind of its engrams, thereby reaching the state known as Aclear.@ This act of ridding the reactive mind comes about through a process called "auditing," which in the earliest days of Dianetics involved exercises in which an auditor directed a subject (called a "pre-clear") back into his or her life-events to discover and dispel engrams. The dispersal of engrams, Hubbard claimed, could lead to a wide range of cures for what he described as psychosomatic illnesses, including (among others) allergies, arthritis, asthma, bursitis, eye trouble, migraine headaches, sinusitis, some coronary problems, and ulcers. Hubbard also claimed that Dianetics could reduce insanity to neurosis. Even as Dianetics practitioners allegedly began running incidents from past lives by the end of 1950, Hubbard remained steadfast that his new system was a science. He never espoused at that time that it was a religion.
    9. In March 1952, Hubbard=s introduction of a device known as the E-meter allegedly enhanced his followers= ability to run current-life and past-life incidents. This device measures changes in the electrical conductivity of the skin as a small current runs between two metal cans that the pre-clear holds (usually one in each hand). Scientologists believe that the device gives accurate indications of emotional changes, and they continue to use the device as an auditing tool (and often as a reputed lie detector).

        10.	Hubbard began what he named, "Scientology," in the Spring of 1952, and he introduced it as an extension and expansion of the reputed science of Dianetics and not as a religion. Only in December 1953 did Hubbard initiate his assertion that Scientology was a religion. In Scientology he developed teachings about past lives (including ones in different galaxies) more than he had in his initial Dianetics system. The entity that Scientologists believe continues through countless lives is called a thetan, which is roughly analogous to a soul or spirit that has forgotten its true nature. By 1967, Hubbard claimed he had learned that individual thetans had become burdened with clusters of lost and confused entities ("body thetans") attached to people's bodies. These attachments were the result of billions of victims having died when an evil galactic warlord named Xenu captured and sent them to earth's volcanic areas, then exploded the volcanos by dropping hydrogen bombs. Scientology's upper level courses, called the "Operating Thetan" or "OT" levels, claim to free one's body and its thetan from the numerous body clusters of confused and frightened thetans.

    10. As a network of interrelated organizations, Scientology insists that it is a religion when it represents itself in the United States, Canada, Australia, and most of Europe. In 1983, however, Scientology entered one European countryBGreeceBby claiming that it was a Aphilosophic association,@ not a religion (see Angelis, 1996: 3 [100]), and two years later it called itself AScientology philosophy@ when it entered Japan. Scientology therefore, is willing to compromise its >demanded self-designation= as a religion when entering countries whose cultures Amight not respond favourably to a foreign religious incursion@ (Kent, 1999a: 155). As Scientology=s calculated self-representation suggests, the organization Ais much more than merely a religious organization. Its complex, international structure actively markets, promotes, and advertises material related to business management, education, mental health, physical health, drug rehabilitation, taxation, >moral revitalization= (to use its own term), and entertainment@ (Kent, 1999a: 148). Similarly, in another article I discuss components in Scientology that extend beyond religion to include its Apolitical aspirations, business ventures, cultural productions, pseudo-medical practices, pseudo-psychiatric claims, and (among its most devoted members who have joined the Sea Organization), an alternative family structure@ (abstract in Kent, 1999b).
    11. Support for my conclusionBthat Scientology Ais much more than merely a religious organization@Bcomes from a top Scientology official, Norman Starkey, who is the Trustee of the Estate of L. Ron Hubbard. In 1997, when controversy erupted over Scientology=s (ultimately successful) efforts to get some of its educational material approved for use in the California school system (see Helfand, 1997), Starkey wrote a letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times in which he stated, A[t]he fact of the matter is that L. Ron Hubbard wrote prodigiously in numerous fields. His books on the subject of study are not a part of the religion of Scientology any more than his prolific output of fiction would be considered part of the church=s doctrine@ (Starkey, 1997). Without wishing to analyze closely the exact content of Starkey=s claim (especially about Hubbard=s fiction and church doctrine), my argument about the Introspection Rundown and its related practices of isolation and auditing parallels Starkey=s statement about Hubbard=s educational writings. Said directly, the Introspection Rundown and related practices of auditing and isolation are part of Hubbard=s prodigious output in fields related to pseudo-medicine and pseudo-psychiatry, and are not religious in nature or content.
    12. In 1956, Hubbard himself identified Scientology as psychology and science, and specifically denied its religious nature:

      Scientology is that branch of psychology which treats of [sic] human ability. It is an extension of DIANETICS which is itself an extension of old-time faculty-psychology of 400 years ago.... Scientology is actually a new very basic psychology in the most exact meaning of the word. It can and does change behaviour and intelligence and it can and does assist people to study life (Hubbard, 1956: [1]).

    13. To bolster his scientific claims, Hubbard proclaimed:

      Tens of thousands of case histories, and individual records, all sworn to, are in the possession of the organizations of Scientology. No other subject on earth except physics and chemistry has had such gruelling testing....

      Scientology falls within the definition of sciences, and is more rigorously organized than any other group of data which bear the designation of science. It is derived from closely defined axioms which are then uniformly discoverable and applicable in the physical universe (Hubbard, 1956: [2]).

      Hubbard=s Ascientific@ claims for Scientology could not be clearer.

    14. Regarding religion, Hubbard stated:

      Scientology conflicts nowhere with the truth, and will be found to agree with known facts in whatever field it overlaps. It does not conflict with any religious truths. On the contrary, it has something to offer everyone, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Mohammedan [sic], Agnostic, and Atheist. It does not try to change the beliefs, doctrine or creed of the individual=s church, on the contrary it brings the individual to a point of better understanding of them, whatever they may be (Hubbard, 1956: [2-3]).

      Hubbard is very clear that both Dianetics and Scientology are psychological sciences, and that Scientology does not conflict with any religious or non-religious belief system. In this document, therefore, Scientology is not a religion, according to Hubbard himself.

    15. Hubbard=s statements about the pseudo-scientific nature of Scientology, including his medical and psychiatric claims, are part of Scientology=s alleged Ascriptures.@ One of the standard Scientology dictionaries, for example, states, AScientologists recognize and revere the spiritual leadership of L. Ron Hubbard as the Founder, and as the Source of the religious philosophy of Scientology@ (Hubbard, 1976: 486 [boldface in original]). Subsequently, the high-level administrative group, called the Watchdog Committee for the Church of Scientology International, issued a Apolicy directive@ entitled, AThe Integrity of Source.@ The policy stated:

      It is hereafter firm Church policy that LRH [L. Ron Hubbard] ISSUES ARE TO BE LEFT INTACT AS ISSUED.

      No one except LRH may cancel his issues.

      No one except LRH can revise his issues whereby changes are incorporated into the text and re-issued. Any valid revisions must hereafter be made in a separate issue stating the change and how the revision is to be read. It must also state why the change is being effected, for example, if there has been an ecclesiastical change or a technical development.

      Changes in Church policy become valid Church policy by being adopted by the Board [of Directors]....

      However, the original LRH issue (regardless of type) shall remain intact so that the original wording is kept. In this way, his writings retain their integrity and there is no mystery as to what he wrote and what the revision stated and why.

      The only occasion for any revision of an LRH issue is if a typographical error is found in the original.

      Already existing issues stand intact and valid. Any further changes will be dealt with on an issue-by-issue basis.

      This policy will allow the integrity of Source to be reinstated (Watchdog Committee for the Church of Scientology International, 1982 [capitalization and underlining in original]).

      When, therefore, I quote Hubbard himself in this report, I am quoting sources that MUST remain unaltered within the Scientology organization unless Hubbard himself subsequently had changed them. 	

      II. IS THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY FLAG SERVICE ORGANIZATION SOLELY AND EXCLUSIVELY A RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATION?

    16. A. Courses--Currently Scientology offers numerous courses to its members at a variety of locations. Members can take lower level courses at local Scientology organizations (called "missions"), while they must go to larger Scientology facilities to take more "advanced" material. The Flag Service Organization, for example, in Clearwater, Florida, offers all of the courses provided in other, >lower= Scientology organizations, plus delivers numerous higher level courses along with some exclusive auditor training. According to a Scientology publication, Flag Service Organization is both a religious retreat and the world=s largest Scientology church (Church of Scientology International, 1992: 356). Together the courses and related training programs constitute what Scientology calls "The Bridge to Total Freedom."
    17. Important to note is the controversy over whether the auditing and courses that Scientology offers at the Flag Service Organization are secular, rather than religious, in nature. For example, in late 1999 the United Kingdom=s Charity Commission ruled that Scientology did not qualify as Aa body established for the charitable purpose of the advancement of religion@ (Charity Commission, 1999b: 1) for several reasons, one of which involved the nature of auditing and training:

      The Commissioners[,] having considered the activities of auditing and training, which Scientology regards as its worship, concluded that auditing is more akin to therapy or counselling and training more akin to study and that both auditing and training are not in their essence exhibitions of reverence paid to a supreme being and such Scientology practices are not worship for the purposes of charity law. The Commissioners decided that auditing and training do not constitute worship as defined and interpreted from the legal authorities (Charity Commission, 1999b: 2).

      In the complete version of the decision, the Commissioners concluded:

      that auditing appears in essence very much akin to counselling, conducted on a one to one basis, in private, and addressed to the needs of the individual receiving auditing. Scientologists themselves describe auditing as counselling (for example in the video presentation to the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales). On the whole they do not appear to describe auditing in terms of worship (Charity Commission 1999a: 25).

      Auditing, therefore, did not appear as a religious activity.

    18. Specifically concerning Scientology training, the Commission:

      further concluded that training in Scientology, involving the detailed study of the works of L. Ron Hubbard, according to particular set formulae or methods of study, similarly lacks the elements of reverence or veneration necessary if it is to constitute worship. Scientology training appears more like an educational activity (the acquisition of knowledge and practical skills in the application of Scientology theory and technology) than a religious activity or worship in the sense defined by the Commissioners (Charity Commission, 1999a: 25).

      Like auditing, Scientology training appeared to be non-religious.

    19. In a similar vein, the Commission Aconsidered the core practices of Scientology, namely auditing and training, and concluded that the private conduct and nature of these practices together with their general lack of accessibility meant that the benefits were of a personal as opposed to a public nature.@ The Commission concluded, therefore, that Scientology=s application for charitable status had not established public benefit, nor had it established Scientology=s auditing and training as religious practices. Accordingly, the Commission rejected its application for charitable status (Charity Commission, 1999b: 4; 1999a: 47-49).
    20. B. Scientology=s Penal System: The Rehabilitation Project ForceBAn additional factor weighing against Flag Service Organization=s claim to be solely and exclusively a religious organization is the operation on its premises of Scientology=s forced labor and re-indoctrination program, the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF). This program is decidedly not religious. Moreover, it almost certainly violates a number of human rights conventions involving: the right to fair and public hearings by impartial judges: the right to freedom of thought; the right to freedom from unlawful interference with privacy; the right to just and favourable work conditions; and the right to appropriate standards of physical and mental health .
    21. The RPF is a penal program that Scientology operates to correct alleged deviations by members of its elite Sea Organization (commonly called Sea Org). Scientology leaders send Sea Org members to the RPF if they received a particular type of reading while being Acounseled@ (or what Scientology calls Aaudited@) on an E-meter (which is a device that gives readings about galvanic skin responses). Sea Org members also enter the RPF program if they are producing poor results on their jobs, have poor personality indicators (presumably such things as depression, grumbling, or expressing doubts about Scientology or its techniques), or are obviously making trouble (Boards of Directors of the Churches of Scientology, 1977: 1).

        23.	Scientology=s official policies allow a person to refuse an RPF assignment by resigning from Sea Org and/or by signing a statement documenting his or her alleged Acrimes@ and absolving the group from future legal action (see Anonymous, n.d.). Unofficially, however, numerous accounts exist of Sea Org members who simply were taken into RPF facilities against their will. Moreover, inmates in the RPF program who deviate from its strict rules may have their RPF overseers assign them to the harsher and more punitive, ARPF=s RPF,@ and these assignments are unlikely ever to be >voluntary= in any manner.

        24.	The RPF involves: forcible confinement; hard physical labor and other forms of physical maltreatment: long hours of study; various forms of social maltreatment; forced confessions; and (as a final condition of release from the program) obligatory Asuccess stories@ (see, for example, 	Boards of Directors of the Churches of Scientology, 1980). Inmates remain in the RPF for indefinite periods of time, and accounts from former Scientologists who were in this penal system report that some people remain in it for well over a year.

        25.	While Scientology operates RPF programs in various locations around the world (East Grinstead, England; Copenhagen; Los Angeles; Hemet and Happy Valley, California), one of these programs takes place in and around Flag Service Organization=s Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater. Publicly available accounts of people who have been in the Clearwater RPF program include: Gerry Armstrong; Tonya Burden; Dennis Erlich; Nefertiti [Pseudonym]; Anne Rosenblum; Margery Wakefield; and Hana Whitfield. Former Scientologist, Lori Taverna, spoke about the RPF in the City of Clearwater Commission Hearings on Scientology in 1982. Erlich reported being locked in a cage in the basement of Flag Service Organization=s Fort Harrison Hotel, and Whitfield declared under oath that she saw a woman (Lyn Froyland, who was on the RPF=s RPF) chained to a pipe in that same basement. The RPF is not a religious institution and apparently was not discussed in Scientology=s charitable tax exemption decision with the Internal Revenue Service. Its existence and operation in the Flag Service Organization mitigates against Flag=s claim to be a religious institution.

        26.	In 1984, the Clearwater Sun ran an article about the RPF. The article begins as follows:

        AThe young manBby all appearances a teenager-crouched on the dark, narrow stairway as he scrubbed the sixth-floor landing in the former Fort Harrison Hotel, the >flag Land Base= headquarters of the Church of Scientology.

        >Are you in RPF?= queried a reporter.

        >Sir?= he asked quietly, peering up from his work.

        >Are you in RPF?=

        >Yes sir I am.=

            RPF is the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), which, depending on who is speaking, is either a businessman=s approach to improving an employee=s lagging job performance or a form of punishment for Scientologists who are banished to serve penance for their misdeeds and >bad thoughts.=

            Two othersBadult men who, like the youth, were dressed in blue shorts and faded blue shirtsBworked two floors below, also cleaning the stairs. They spoke not a word. Former Scientologists say that those in RPF >are not to speak unless spoken to.=

            Those who have spent time in the RPF at the Fort Harrison tell a harrowing tale of long hours at workBas much as 100 hours a weekBand of months of humiliation and mental abuse at the hands of other Scientologists.

            But their vivid recollections of hard work and abuse contradict current Church of Scientology statements that the RPF is >an entirely voluntary= program (Shelor, 1984: 1B).

    22. Taken together, these accounts indicate that the RPF has operated in the Fort Harrison Hotel from Scientology=s earliest days in Clearwater. Since, in 1996, Scientology maintained a website devoted to the RPF (Church of Scientology International, 1996), I have every reason to believe that the RPF was in operation during the period in which Lisa McPherson was on the Introspection Rundown (or some other Scientology program). Likewise, it continues today.

        28.	C. Vacation Resort--In addition to Flag Service Organization=s role in delivering Scientology courses and housing Scientology=s RPF penal system, it also serves as a vacation resort. One Flag publication, for example, states:

            It=s the perfect time to take a vacation at Flag! Located on Florida=s SuncoastBa favorite vacation paradiseBFlag is convenient to a wide range of vacation attractions. The Flag Social Director can help arrange the activities of your choice. Clearwater=s sparkling beaches are only minutes away. Family attractions such as Walt Disney World and EPCOT Center, Busch Gardens, Sea World, Cypress Gardens and more can be reached by daily bus excursions. Summer sports enthusiasts can still enjoy waterskiing, sailing, wind surfing, jogging, bicycling, or tennis. Or just relax by the Fort Harrison pool and enjoy the many Flag activities! (Flag Crew Church of Scientology Flag Service Org, Inc., 1989: [8]).

    23. A similar advertisement appeared again several years later:

      Summer=s the perfect time to vacation at Flag! Located on Florida=s SuncoastBa favorite vacation paradiseBFlag is convenient to a wide range of vacation attractions. The Flag Social Director can help arrange the activities of your choice. Your children can learn to sail or windsurf at the Flag Sea Org Cadet Sailing School! Clearwater=s sparkling white beaches are only minutes away. Attractions and Theme parks such as Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens, Sea World, Universal Studios, Cypress Gardens and many others are a short drive away either by car or by special bus excursions. Summer sports enthusiasts can enjoy waterskiing, sailing, wind surfing, jogging, bicycling, tennis and many other activities. Come to Flag now and take advantage of the summer accommodations specials for Visitors and Vacationers! Bring your family and friends! (Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, Inc., 1992: [11; boldface in original]).

    24. In summary, Flag encourages Scientologists to use its facilities even if they are not doing courses and are simply vacationing with family and friends.
    25. This portrayal of the Flag Service Organization=s Fort Harrison Hotel merely as a hotel is in keeping with statements that some Scientology spokespersons made after Lisa McPherson=s death. Speaking about the period in which Lisa McPherson was in the Hotel prior to her death, AChurch officials have described that 17-day period as little more than a normal stay where McPherson sought >rest and relaxation.= Indeed, a top church official suggested in recent days that her death could have occurred at any hotel@ (Tobin 1997c: 7A). The Atop church official@ was Mike Rinder, who wrote to the St. Petersburg Times in an effort to clarify remarks that he had made to a German television crew that Lisa McPherson Adied in a hotel room@ (Tobin, 1997b: 8A). In the clarifying letter, Rinder insisted, A>[t]he point being made for a German audience completely unfamiliar with this issue was that the only connection between the church and Lisa McPherson was that she had been staying in a hotel room at the church and that, had this occurred in any other hotel or with someone from another religion, it would not have been a media event@ (Rinder quoted in Tobin, 1997b: 8A).
    26. While vacationing, Scientologists can go to the Flag Bookstore and purchase a non-religious item that will allow them to Astudy the craft of writing@ through tips provided by L. Ron Hubbard. A 1997 publication from the Flag Land Base told its readers that, in a new edition of Ron Magazine, Athe esoteric subject of writing is brought to light with candor and authenticity@ by Hubbard himself, since he Awas among the world=s most enduring and widely-read authors of popular fiction, with over 60 million words to his credit.@ Readers, therefore, were encouraged to A[c]all the Flag Bookstore to order your copy today@ (CSI, 1997: [27; emphasis in original]). Learning the skills needed for fiction writing is not a religious activity; it is a professional or leisure activity.

        33.	Viewing all of this material together, one can say that Flag Service Organization operates facilities that provide auditing and training that may be closer to counseling and study than they are to religious activities. Added to this ambiguity is the use of Flag Service Organization facilities as a penal system against some members and a vacation resort for others. The combined weight of the evidence, therefore, leads me to conclude that the Flag Service Organization is not a religious institution.

III. IS SCIENTOLOGY=S INTROSPECTION RUNDOWN A RELIGIOUS PRACTICE?

 

_____________________________________

Stephen A. Kent, Ph.D.

CITY OF EDMONTON

PROVINCE OF ALBERTA

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this 6th day of January 2000, by Stephen A. Kent, whom I know professionally and who did take an affirmation.

 

____________________________

NOTARY PUBLIC

My commission expires_______

 

 

(signed)___________________________________

 

(date)_____________________________________


back sub-index

 

 

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