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Scientology vs. Panoussis Ruling 566

The Swedish High Court has rejected the appeal in the Zenon Panoussis case, where Panoussis was accused of distributing certain documents of the Church of Scientology in violation of their copyright. The case has been ongoing for some time and has more twists and turns than I can possibly summarize here, but we can cut to the chase: Panoussis lost, and lost big. There is apparently one more court in Sweden which can be appealed to, so it's not entirely over yet. Here's the report from the trial. The submitter provided many more links and information, included below.

leto writes "The Swedish High Court upheld the ruling today in the case of Scientology vs Panoussis, where Scientology accuses Panoussis of copyright infringement of religious trade secrets. Panoussis believes the public should be warned against Scientology, and is therefore trying to legally publish various materials that would warn people against Scientology. He is the guy that submitted the secret OT's to the Swedish parliament, which caused quite a diplomatic incident when the US interfered with the Swedish legal system because the Swedish Offentlighetsprincip then caused these documents to be available to everyone, but has also done other things as reported by slashdot such as protecting the Flashback site as reported by slashdot before.

Having lost now means that apart from needing to pay the (minimal) damages of $2000 for copyright infringement, he needs to pay an additional $40,000 on legal costs for the Scientology lawyers, on top of the $150,000 of legal costs that were the results of the previous episodes in this court case.

There was a minority opinion from one of the judges. She regards the OTs to have been legally published, something Panoussis focussed on in this case, because in Europe, the right to 'fair use' depends on the texts having been published. Panoussis has already appealed to the Supreme Court.

Regardless of which party is right, this case shows clearly that anonymity is a right you need, to fight the denial of services practices that large institutions apply towards individuals in the current legal systems. Though Panoussis will disagree with me on this. He has always told me that if you believe in something, you should be willing to make the sacrifice, or as he put it, you need to defend freedom, and not take it for granted, but I can't help but feel that it should not be necessary for one person to sacrifice his life for other people's freedom.

If we only had micropayments properly working, I'm sure he would be able to pay the legal costs from contributions all over the net.

More information can be found either here, here, here and in the newsgroup alt.religion.scientology Panoussis's latest project is an advanced search engine to help locate information about Scientology at"

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Scientology vs. Panoussis Ruling

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Scientology Kills [] -- The Dead

    Lisa McPherson [] -- An Unanswered Murder

    Scientology Lies [] -- Good Rundown of Various Crimes
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They might say "that's none of your business" (with the operative word being 'business,' IMO).

    They have tactics that cause folks like me to post anonymously out of fear (I'd appreciate being moderated up, though). They have attacked free speech (especially anonymous speech) with tactics that may border on criminal, and while I don't particularly care about their weird beliefs, it's annoying to think of how much money they're extracting from empty-headed Hollyweird actors with their cult, but they have the right to believe that God is the nearest oil rig as far as I'm concerned.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "I'd like to start a religion. That's where the money is!" - L. Ron Hubbard
  • I just finished reading an interesting book, called "The Jesus Mysteries" that presents strong, well-researched evidence (if in a somewhat tabloid style) that the Christian myths are heavily based on Greek Dionysus cult rituals, which themselves seem heavily based on Egyptian Osirus cult rituals.

    According to the book, Christianity is a "new" face on a very, very old religion.

    It's a good read.

  • I don't think that the murders had anything at all to do with atheism. They were politically motivated. It was all about power, not religious beliefs. I also think you're confused about agnostics. It doesn't mean they don't care. It just means that they don't believe there is any evidence to support or refute the existence of a deity.

    Atheists don't direct the followers to murder fellow human beings, the philosophy does not have clean hands, as far as attrocities goes.

    As near as I can tell, atheists don't do anything in the name of there (lack of) religious beliefs. They don't believe in religions, so they do things for more worldly reasons.

  • This is sort of beside the point. Scientology should have the right to control the copying of their copyrighted documents.

    Even copyrighted documents are allowed to be copied under certain circumstances. One of those is for the purpose of criticism or comment. That seems to fit the current case. The documents pretty much criticize themselves in the eyes of most rational people. Publishing them in their entirety seems warranted. Additionally, it could be argued that it was in the public interest that these documents be revealed, given what happens to people that find out too late about the Scientology "religion" and try to leave it.

  • Ok, I'm not entirely familiar with the reasons for these slaughters, but I don't recall atheism being part of it. Are you saying that Stalin and Pol Pot killed people because they believed in a god of some sort? Were Stalin and Pol Pot atheists?

  • Phrased like that, you could make any religious group sound like a bunch of whackjobs. Christians, Muslims, anyone at all I think. Face it, there is no real evidence of anyone's religious beliefs. That's why they are called faiths. Therefore it's quite easy to declare that any religious group is a bunch of whackjobs for believing something that there is no evidence of, and that's before you even get down to their individual rituals and texts for the really hilarious stuff.

  • "(I'm sure some atheiests have committed an atrocity in the name of atheism at some point in history.)"

    They have. To name a couple:
    Stalin, 45 million.
    Pol Pot, 10 million.

  • you mispelled "evel" because I was thinking bad thoughts about you.
  • Stalin and Pol Pot were Communists, and as such Atheists. (the Communist philosophy holds that religions are a burden on humanity, and serve no purpose other than to keep the poor people down and promote social hierarchy and inequality). The people that were murdered were murdered in the interest of furthering the cause of Communism, therefore, indirectly Atheism.

    While I agree, that the tennets and beliefs of Atheists don't direct the followers to murder fellow human beings, the philosophy does not have clean hands, as far as attrocities goes.

    In other words, I argue, that ANY philosophy, no matter how well intended, can be twisted to justify murder. Except maybe Agnosticism (if you're Agnostic, you don't care, and if you don't care, what's worth killing someone over?). My point is, don't blame Christianity (or any other religion) for the bad things humans do.
  • The Catholic church keeps an enormous amount of secrets. Some of these secrets are simply not well-known facts, like the whole Exorcism thing, but there are 2000 years of history, quashing heretical movements, absorbing others. They've been in the unique position of being the sole religious authority over much of Europe, being party to political fighting, mediation, and I'm sure they've had the privilege of documenting much of it.

    As far as judging Scientology as an evil cult; if you've ever seen their "church" in Hollywood, (the actual town), with the Gold-lettered sign - it's as lavish as any medieval Catholic church, Orthodox church or Islamic Mosque. (though it IS rather bland, architecturally). Definately gold in them-thar hills. Someone's worshiping Mammon again.
  • You're the first Athiest I've met who agreed with the statement ("feverishly believes there is no God, and without a whipser of proof or any evidence whatsoever.")

    As a Christian, I respect your blind faith in NO God, as you respect my blind faith in God.

    (interesting, was it recklessness by which you decided to capitalize "God", and NOT capitalize "athiest"?)
  • On MY property, yes, nobody else has a right to privacy or anonymity.

    In PUBLIC property or forums, a person SHOULD have the right to anonymity. Whistleblowers and such have been killed.

    I don't have a lot of details, it goes along with the history of the OLD Freemason organization, but some former Mason, back in the early 19th century, tried to publish a book containing secrets about the organization; secrets about a political power block, composed of Masonic members who were also senators and governors and judges. The power block was extensive, and you might say that they pretty much had control of the United States at that time.

    Then, some unfortunate things started happening to this person, I believe attempts at his life, his house burned down, etc. When he tried to pursue justice on the matter in court, it was thrown out, the judge was a mason, the jurists were masons, the police were masons, etc. Very similar situation to people who tried to go up against the KKK. Somehow, he was able to get the word out, and there was a huge public backlash against the masons, and an Anti Mason political party was formed aimed (successfully) at breaking the political influence of the Masons in American politics.

    Anonymity is absolutely necessary to maintain freedom against, not to sound overly dramatic, but large, powerful, secret organizations. It happens in real life, and it's a real threat.
  • Again, I submit to you, Stalin, was a Communist, and an essential element in the Communist philosophy is that religion is inherently a bad thing, the Science of man tells us that there is no God, the bible is false, and religion is nothing more than an evil plot to keep the masses "down", and therefore religion must not only be outlawed but vigorously eliminated, because it is the enemy of mankind.
    Sure, there are interpretations of Communism that don't think that way. But let me note the persecution of the Falun Gong in China as a modern-day example.
    Sure, what's driving the anti-religious zeal is political control, perhaps "payback" for making "the people" poor slaves for the past thousands of years, but in the end, there's no basic moral justification in the Athiest religion that says that "life is sacred" or has a value above other things. Not that having a moral justification has saved the diety-based religions from making the same mistakes (shouting about how terrible it is to kill a human being, then killing human beings).
  • Hey Taco!
    Hows this for opposing your dogmatic mythological beliefs?

    Pi != 3.

    (referring to the biblical passage where Pi is defined as 3, thereby proving that the Bible contains at least one false statement, unless that guy's grain silo was a hexagon, which is not backed up by archeological evidence)
  • Oops, I did it again.
    Downloaded your song.
    And listened for free -
    ooh baby baby,
    you think I'm a putz,
    that I'll pay 20 bucks,
    I'm not that gullible.
  • "The real purpose of evolution" (hm. didn't know that natural processes had a "purpose") "is to create sentient engropy machines to change matter from one form to another."

    So, basically, I'm here to convert beer into urine? Cool. I'm ready to go to church now!

    Your other assertion: monotheism does not provide even a reasonable analogy of nature and reality - that depends on your interpretation. Christianity can be very existentialist.

  • 75 million years?

    Obviously total bullshit because Hawaii itself is less than 5 million years old!!! (The oldest islands in the chain are about 5 million years, Hawaii is the youngest - )
  • This is stuff that matters.

    Because we're talking about a revolution here. Computers and Information Technology have brought a means with the potential to change human society in ways most people haven't even thought about.

    It validates the notion that just about everything can be reduced to "information", and that information can be copied, stored and transmitted very cheaply and quickly, from any place in the world to any other. It challenges the human notions of physical property. It's particularly relevant in light of the American concept of "Free Speech". If Speech is Information, and Speech is Free, then Information should be free. But IP Laws, and Copyrights, and Trade Secrets are running counter to that notion.

    Computers, Information, represent a revolution, a tidal change in a given direction. Hope for the future. People empowered when they were mere slaves before. IP Laws are counterrevolutionary. They represent the status quo. Resistance to the changes that could take place. We've seen the wonderful potential of the internet years ago, when it first started. Theoretically, you could get ANYTHING. But when it started to actually become technically feasible to get Copyrighted music on line, freely, and the bean counters started to get nervous, they knew they had to get their lawyers on the horn to start shoveling that toothpaste back into the tube. As a consequence, the internet may very well evolve into a vast collection of "this is my car, this is my dog" pages, pr0n, and Flash animations.

    I think that's stuff that matters. And Nerds, being the custodians of the machines that make this revolution possible - probably give a crap what happens to the internet, and the coming revolution.
  • Being successful in Hollywood has a lot more to do with having a well-connected agent than anything else.
  • That's starting to sound SCARY.

    Walt Disney? Sonny Bono? These are names that keep coming up in this whole Copyright law abuse debate. . . and to read that they were also involved with Scientology? It's starting to sound like a conspiracy alright. . .
  • Oh yes there is. There is plenty of need to make fun of Tom Cruise. What is it, exactly that Tom Cruise DOES, anyway?

    Tell me *that* wont be replaced by some crafty modelling at Pixar in 10 years. (the good thing being, the only actors that will be employed at that point, will be ones that can *act*)
  • first, the guy was being sarcastic. Wow, it's a rare athiest that doesn't get sarcasm THAT obvious!

    The Crusades were NOT about slaughtering people who didn't share the Catholic faith. It was about protecting Christian pilgrims to the holy land from bandits. Until it was later found that some of the "bandits" were sanctioned by the regional authorities at the time, and still attempting to protect the pilgrims from violence, it of course escalated into wholesale warfare, and the Catholic authorities believing that the only way to ensure the safety of the pilgrims was to militarily take control of the region. The Crusades were a lot more complicated than people think. However, I can't say the same thing about the Inquisition (for which, the Catholic church has officially apologised).

    The statues in Afghanistan ARE being destroyed, not preserved, by a lunatic fringe of Islam called the Taliban which happens to be in control of the majority of Afghanistan, thanks to the support of the US Government, who was trying to get the Soviets out of there because they were afraid that the Soviets would be able to move their control Westward to Iran, Iraq, etc. It was about OIL. Oil is the God and national religion of the US. Not Christianity.

    It's not tiding, it's "tithing" and translated from Hebrew, it means 10%. Not a lot to ask in return for the favor of existance and grace, for those that believe that.
  • He's talking about Freemasonry from BEFORE it was reformed. Back in the 1800's there was a US political party called the Anti Masons, whose platform was removing Masonic influence from the American political process, such was the public outcry and backlash when the Masons unsuccessfully attempted to silence a former member who spoke out against the organization, and it's influences on American politics in that era.

    After that, the Freemasons pretty much died out or went underground for around 50 years, and resurfaced as a reformed organization, less secret and dedicated mostly for charity work and precision go-kart driving.
  • . . . or NASCAR's status as a sport?
  • by jafac ( 1449 )
    I am a Christian, and I had never heard that Hitler was an Athiest. Stalin, yes. But not Hitler.

    Of course there were also rumors about the SS leadership being involved in some Thor cult.
  • Yes, she should have instead, lobbied the Indian government to create forced-abortion laws like the Chinese.
  • I thought that Scientology also had lost their tax exempt status in the US at one point, and then regained it, or there was a serious challenge to that status - and the overall rhetoric at the time was that Republican administrations were generally less likely to favor Co$, while Democrats rolled out the red carpet (due to the large campaign contributions from Co$, and other Hollywood actors and organizations).
  • Moderate down? Flame? Hmmm... I'll try semi-intelligent reply.

    The big difference between an acceptable faith and a ... let's say "secret society" is the secrets. Scientology is rife with secret. One could say it's based on secret. The Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) has quite a few secrets, and they aren't looked favorably upon by many Christians for this reason. The Roman Catholic Church to my knowledge doesn't have any secret doctrines. (And hey, give me specifics if they do.) Doctrines would be very hard to follow if they were secret. Catholics publish their doctrine in the Catechism which is available for believers and non-believers alike.

    Also, major religions have stopped endorsing killing the non-believers. The Catholic Church has formally apologized for this behavior in the past. That's hard to do when an organization considers itself the Church of the Almighty God. (You may be able to tell that I have some affinity for the Roman Catholic Church, though I am not Catholic myself)

    Scientology is dangerous [], as in causing deaths []. Their obsessions with their oddball practices of "auditing," learning the secrets of Scientology, and giving money to Scientology often destroy followers' lives. Does anyone else wonder why this church is the most litigious organization in the United States (and there are a lot of lawsuits in this country)?

    I won't say that Scientology is an evil cult. I will merely say that Scientology is a dangerous, ligtigious, exploitative, secretive money pyramid organization that was founded by a mediocre science fiction writer in order to make money.
    -the Pedro Picasso


  • It is not unknown for a religion to possess "intellectual property"

    For instance, several christian denominations vigerously enforce their copyrights on their translations of the bible.

    The Worldwide Church of God, having disavowed one of their main religious texts, have (rather sucessfully) accused a splinter group (Philadelphia Church of God) of copyright infringement for continuing to distribute this text. (Mystery of the Ages)

    Most of the protestant denominations were founded partly on a belief that clergy should not intercede between God and the individual worshipper-- thus literacy, and a widespread distribution of religious texts are both important.) At a more extreme level, the freedom of an individual to define their own relationship to God should not be impeded by intellectual property. (Despite this, the Supreme Court has recognized the copyrightability of divinely inspired texts)

    However, almost diametrically opposed to this religious tenet is the so called "Mystery cult", in which religious secrets are gradually revealed to an initiate. This apparently is the basic model behind scientology.

  • It seems more like the INTERCAL of religions; something designed deliberately to be as perverse and bogus as technically possible and still (sort of) work.

    The question is: would it be possible to design a belief system more bogus and implausible than Scientology, and yet make it somehow viable? Anybody care to take up the challenge? (Self-aware parody religions don't count.)
  • Now that Bush is in the Whitehouse, these people will be getting federal funds to brainwash the vulnerable^W^W^Whelp the needy. Bush, you see, believes that "faith-based" programmes are innately good, and has set up an Office of Faith-Based Action in the Whitehouse, to distribute a $7bn annual slush fund to religious charities. Now, because of this pesky thing called the Constitution, Bush cannot just give all the money to conservative Christian groups, but has to consider all religions equally. Which means that the Scienos will be waiting with their hands out to fund their already established "charity" programmes.
  • As for the Bible telling you how to kill homosexuals... that's just silly. Nowhere does the Bible even use a word meaning "homosexuals".

    Then what does it mean in Leviticus when it says you're supposed to put to death any man who lays with another man?
  • When the media does this to geeks, Hellmouth reigns. When trolls do it to religion, it's approved. See the contradiction?

    America's religious conservative undercurrent is the main reason the media does this to geeks - and when trolls do it to religion, it's a reaction to this.

    It's not contradiction, it's a returned favor.
  • Wasn't the main objection to the first non-Latin translation of the Bible, the terrifying idea that suddenly ANYONE could read the Bible instead of getting it spoonfed?

    Similarly, the big thing that finally convinced me to leave the Christian church, was: I decided to actually READ the Bible. Leviticus convinced me it was written by a human - one who compulsively washed his hands 80 times a day, no doubt.

    The Church of Scientology isn't as dumb as it looks - it knows the truth would drive people away, for the same reason Microsoft doesn't want people publishing benchmarks.
  • While it might matter to some, its hardly news or while its news, it hardly matters.

    It's here because it could be YOU. Scientology, the MPAA, it's all the same - say something Those With Silly Amounts of Money and Power would rather you didn't, and they'll find or buy laws that can be used as a blunt object upside your head.
  • Hubbard, a certifiable wacko, decided it was a great idea.

    It IS a great idea. Religion's where the money's at, just ask Jerry Falwell.

    I half considered starting a religion and changing my name to L. John Shepard.

    I am told the device is a battery, a meter, and a couple wires attached to what looks like a coffee can.

    L. Ron insisted that soup cans work the best. Wouldn't electrodes, or some kind of custom-manufactured, tight-tolerance handgrip be better? Nope. Hubbo's extensive knowledge of the scientific principles of the universe told him that Campbell's soup was the way to go.

    The newer e-meters have variable gain, digital readout, and can cost in the low thousands - and they still hook up to Campbell's Clam Chowder. (Insert clam jokes here.)
  • I have a friend who's brother was converted to JW, and my friend told me that JW's believe that Heaven only has room for 27,000 (or something like that) souls.. is this true?

    If it is true, where do they get the number from? (Do they believe Heaven has a Fire Code, or what?)

    Isn't it 144,000 for the 12,000 each from twelve tribes of Israel? It's in the Bible, in Revelation I think (it's been awhile). Jehovah's Witnesses aren't the only ones who have this belief, I've heard it from Nazarenes before.

    Me, I think it's a hilarious concept: 144,000 out of the billions of people who've ever lived, that's it. Neither you, nor anyone you know, is gonna make it. Were these odds meant to impress us, make Heaven sound better because it's a VERY exclusive club, scare us into line, or make us shrug and say why bother?
  • The way I understood it was that pretty much everything bad said against the Gnostics at the time was false made up by their 'rivals'. (is that the word?)

    I kinda like the core belief of Gnosticism: that God went away after making the world, the God seen through the rest of the Old Testament is Jehovah, a poseur pretending to be God, and Jesus came to Earth to tell us about the REAL God. Rather clever way of dealing with the Bible's contuinity problems, if you ask me. :-)

    The mainstream Christians claimed that Gnostics ate babies.

    And the Romans claimed it about the Christians.

    Which makes it rather ironic that Christians now claim it about Wiccans. Selective memory is wonderful.
  • I'm not 100% comfortable myself with the bashing of religion around here, but on the other hand, I've seen too many people damaged by religion.

    I've seen people who are genuinely helped out of a dark place in their life by religion, yes - but many more who are put in that dark place by religion. Many more who find religion a convenient excuse to do what they were gonna do anyway (like hate people and stay indoors). Many who use religion as a mind control device, so they can extract money, power, and allegiance from others - and MANY, MANY more who are victims of the above.

    For religion to serve a useful purpose for us as human beings, it should enable us to become more than what we are, and I don't mean after we die. Instead it tends to make us LESS than we are - it tends to make us stop thinking, stop asking questions, and turn off the detectors in our head that light up when we hear bullshit and rhetoric. It gives people an irrefutable authority to do whatever they want - if they can find a way to say "but the Bible says" or "but God says" - often without even having to justify it to themselves the way the godless heathens have to do. :-) Religion has tended to draw people into a state where they disbelieve what they see in favor of what they've been told - thus they gradually come to live in a world that bears no resemblance to reality. I've been there.

    As I said, I'm not comfortable with dismissing religion out of hand. But the notion that religion is used in all of the ways I listed above to make this country and this world into a violent, crippled shadow of what it could be, is something that I feel needs to be whacked on the head at every chance.
  • Both belief systems preach non-violence.

    Then they need to preach it a lot louder.

    The fact that some leaders of some sects happened to support evil causes is not a reflection of what those belief systems stand for, but rather a reflection of how horrible those particular individuals were.

    Which Bible did you read that wasn't filled with God-ordained mass slaughter, that didn't give explicit instructions on how to murder homosexuals? Which Koran did you read that didn't say God's word is to be spread by the sword if necessary - and that if you die killing infidels you get a free ticket to heaven? Which newspaper did you read that says the constant violence in the Middle East isn't for religious reasons? Which U2 album did you buy that says the war in Northern Ireland wasn't between Catholics and Protestants?

    Which history books did you read where it wasn't a worldwide thing to burn witches?

    Which United States do you live in (bear with me if you don't) that doesn't have so many beatings and murders because of people's race or sexuality or religion that we're now considering laws specifically dealing with hate-crimes? Which USA is it where racism, religious intolerance, and violent homophobia AREN'T justified on a mass scale by religious fundamentalism?

    On which Earth can you honestly say all this shit is due to a few evil leaders of a few extremist sects, in past tense?

    The peace-loving followers of these religions seem to be the minority sects.
  • I'm sure some atheiests have committed an atrocity in the name of atheism at some point in history.)

    Care to share?

    During the Spanish War (1936-1939), Communists or Anarchists (I don't remember well) burned churches and convents. They also shot priests. The Catholic Church has recently recognised them (the executed) as martyrs. The revolutionaries thought them helpers of the military rebellion.

    I think that Soviet repression of religions and the Chinese Cultural Revolution and invasion of Tibet could qualify as well.
  • I wanted to post the same thing but you were ahead of me. The clergy was either viciously excuted or sent to labour camps in Siberia. I have heard accounts of priests being fed to rats. Alive! Churches were ruined. Icons were destroyed. Books were burned.

    Of course, one can argue that in the Soviet Union, communism became the official religion and all other religions had to be exterminated because they conflicted with what the communists preached. Stalin became the official god or messia or what have you. In 1953, when Stalin died, Khruschev came to power. For a while, sanity prevailed. Khruschev criticized "the cult of Stalin"!! But it didn't last long and Lenin, once again, became the official god. Did you hear about the Mausoleum? (pardon my spelling) Did you know that Lenin's body is still preserved there and is still available for all the faithful to see? (That was done contrary to Lenin's wishes -- he specifically said that he wanted to be buried but that didn't prevent the rabid communists from turning communism into an organized religion).

    Anyway, back to the point -- atheism *can* become an organized religion. And it still is happenning in China.

    Oh, and just to let you know that I'm not talking out of my ass -- I was born and in the Soviet Union and lived there for 15 years before I came to Canada.
  • Who were the congressmen who did this? Were they the same people responcible for DMCA and UCITA?

  • canonization?
  • I know people who would give their left nut for unrestricted access to the Vatican archives. There's a world of occult resources and information on different saints and heresies in there.

    OK, granted, this isn't a secret doctrine; but every religion has its secrets, for various reasons. Have you seen the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City? Or read all the Mason initiations?

    ObJectBridge [] (GPL'd Java ODMG) needs volunteers.

  • Many thanks for the pointer; I just debunked a couple my dad sent me this morning, you'd think I'd have learned...
  • "how can a religion have trade secrets???" Several a.r.s. regulars and I went over this at one point. There are some perfectly ordinary trade secrets that I have no problem with a church having: for example, "customer lists." Who is or is not a member (or former member) of a religion should be at least as protected, if not more so, than who is or is not a customer of a given business.

    That said, I don't believe that there is or should EVER be any protection for doctrine as a trade secret. This is in flagrant violation of the first amendment's right to freedom of religion: I should be able to practice the exorcism of body thetans whether or not I'm a scientologist (I don't, but I should be able to if I wanted).

    So, imho, scientology ultimately needs to decide one of two things:

    1. Is it going to be a business and pay taxes? (upside: protects "docrine" as a legit trade secret; downsides: cost, loses "confessional" privileges) OR
    2. Is it going to be a church and have to open its doctrine? (downside: no trade secret on doctrine; upsides: lower cost, keeps "confessional" privileges)

    Knowing what I know, it will probably ultimately go for #2 even though it wants to have its cake and eat it too.


  • All religion is based on control. The money is a necessary expression of that control. So is the control of utterances and thought and the control of the exposure your primary and secondary sexual characteristics. Seen any good looking Taliban babes lately? Nor are you likely to...

    But WTF is this doing on /. ?

    While it might matter to some, its hardly news or while its news, it hardly matters.

    In the Proximity to God Index today ... and the Satinists are still slightly closer to God than the Scientologists. -Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie.
  • Scientologists and their fawning admiration of someone who was only slightly less honest/more devious than Charlie Manson, rub my fur the wrong way.

    Luckily he's worm casings now so we'll never have to be subjected to more of those lousy Battlefield Earth books.
  • w h e r e S c i e n t o l o g y a c c u s e s P a n o u s s i s o f c o p y r i g h t i n f r i n g e m e n t o f r e l i g i o u s t r a d e s e c r e t s

    Now I will ask the question again: how can a religion have trade secrets?

    The proper question should rather be: "how can a trade secret be copyrighted???".


  • Although the EU laws cover all of the EU, don't local laws override that?

    Actually it's the other way around, local laws are superceded by EU laws. The issue here seems to be local and not EU law though.

    I do wish Scientology was banned in the whole of Europe like it is in several countries. Americans may value freedom enough to let criminals have the freedom of psychologically murder people, but Europeans usually believe the well being of people comes above the rest.

    And of course, as has been previously pointed out, Scientology has nothing to do with a religion. It is an international corporation (since it is designed for profit) that should be treated accordingly.

  • Remember, kids, Xenu says:

    All your race are belong to us! You are on the way to supression. You have no chance to ascend, make your time!

    Oh my god, it's been a long time since I've laughed that hard.

    Operation Clambake [] needs to make up and sell T-shirts with that on it and sell them as a fund-raiser...

    Jay (=
  • No one is saying that the Scientologistas can't believe whatever they want, secretly or not. As far as I know, the only thing said about what they believe generally has been occasionally ridicule that they think we're all alien spirits trapped in neanderthal bodies (vast oversimplification, of course).

    The real problem comes into what they DO. In particular, people who wish to leave scientology have their lives destroyed with private information obtained during the rituals of the "religion". People who attack scientology are "fair game" and can be harassed beyond their means by the great financial power of the "church". And these are only the despicable actions that are obvious in the daylight.

    Do you honestly suggest that the Vatican would go to these lengths of harassment over their secret doctrines? Perhaps 300 years ago, but I really can't see them squandering any more of the little moral capital they have left on such things today. Most people now agree that such behavior is wrong, period, and no credible organization (note that I don't include governments in the category of "credible organizations") will get away with it. I myself left the catholic church, and no one ever revealed things that had been said in confession in order to make my life hell.

    P.S. I can't recall any non-believers being killed by Bhuddists or other non-deistic religions. Care to back that up?

  • The core practice is talking about things
    while attached to a fairly simple
    skin resistance meter.
    A good teacher is supposed to be able to
    purge the effects of bad experiences.
    The goal is "clear" which may take decades
    and kilobucks.
    Some fairly intelligent-seeming people swear
    this helps them while others feel scammed.

    How this became emeshed in a religion,
    other people have explanations.

  • When I went to high school we had a project in religion class, students would group together and study a religion more carefully. Me and a friend chose Scientology, and went to visit them in Stockholm (capital of Sweden).
    Our teacher was very concerned that we shouldn't listen to their lies.
    We got to try the E-meter, which was basically a voltmeter which measured the voltage between your two hands.
    Our teacher told us about another student who managed to manipulate the E-meter by putting different pressure on his hands depending on the nature of the questions asked, so he got zero effect on everything.
    The stupid Scientologist hadn't seen anything like it, apparently he became quite startled, afraid even. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't do the same thing, so they grilled me with questions about school and which classes I didn't do well in. The moron "saw" on his E-meter that I didn't do well in some class, thing is, I had top marks in every subject.
    Oh well, what shall we do with these stupids?

    Concerning the stars, I guess they don't have to pay (as much) for the seminars and hopes to be "clear". Maybe it is status in it in Hollywood, I don't really know.
  • How about the persecution of religious in the Soviet Union? An athiest state, torturing and murdering believers? Sounds like organized, religious persecution to me, and I'm a damn athiest.

  • I'm lost as to what this case has to do with my rights online. Can someone explain?
  • by acb ( 2797 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @09:11AM (#374705) Homepage
    I've heard it speculated that the Inquisition was actually organised to track down and interrogate those contacted by superhuman agencies (which our technological society would categorise as extraterrestrial aliens, but which earlier people called "angels"/"demons" or things like the "wee people"/"elves"/"faerie" -- an archetype which recurs in many cultures), sort of like a mediaeval X Files conspiracy.

    Whether or not there's any truth in that story, I've heard from a number of sources that the Vatican Archives contains the world's largest collection of pornography, going all the way back to Greek and Roman works.
  • by the red pen ( 3138 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:15AM (#374706)
    • Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. try to reach out to people and say: "Here, these are our religious documents. Use them and you'll be a better person." And if people disagree, they don't sue them for doing so, they just label them an non-believer of that religion.

    Then, as history teaches us, the next step is usually to kill the non-believer. I have no doubt that the victims of the Spanish Inquisition, for example, would have greatly preferred to be sued.

    The fact is that you can sling mud at any organization of believers whether it's Scientologist, Baptists or even Atheists (I'm sure some atheiests have committed an atrocity in the name of atheism at some point in history.) Another fact is that Scientologies oddball practices of "auditting" and so forth does actually accomplish something. It can effectively train you not to respond emotionally to situations. It may not be the best method for achieving this kind of self-control, but some people really need this discipline (observably, many of them post to Slashdot), and Scientology might actually help those people.

    Also, if an organization wants to copyright their material or mark it as a trade secret, that's their business. The Mormons and the Vatican, notably, have lots of secret doctrine and nobody freaks out about it on Slashdot. Nobody rants endlessly because the Urantia Foundation holds a copyright on the Urantia Book (another Third Testament of the Bible that came out in the early 1900's, in case you're not keeping up.)

    No doubt this discussion is going to degenerate into a sectarian He sayeth/She sayeth/It sayeth flame war, but the point I'm trying to make is that making categorical statements about religion and trying to sort religions into "acceptable faiths" and "evil cults" is just a waste of bandwidth.

    Believe what you want and shut up. I believe I'll have another beer.

  • by Squid ( 3420 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:24AM (#374707) Homepage
    There have been variants on Christianity (Gnosticism) that were similarly secretive - and variants of Christianity today that are similarly big business. It gets hard to draw the line. In fact I'm surprised we don't see MORE religious movements with tiered architectures, where you don't learn the truth about the universe until you pass a certain level.

    As to the definition of a cult: seems to me the only dependable definition of cult is how many people follow it. Is it out to make money? Sure, lots of religions are - it's a great way to keep the temple in good repair, ministers have to eat, and so on. Does it harm people? All religions can harm people if they become fixated on it, just like bowling can harm people if they neglect real life for it, and "harmful" cults can still manage to accidentally help people.

    Put it like this: If any of Earth's religions really had a metaphorical red phone to God in the office somewhere, I figure it'd be pretty obvious: their organization would be a model of efficiency (with an all-powerful being saying "do it this way" why wouldn't it?), no one would get away with stealing so much as a paperclip from the office supply cabinet (red phone rings, "it's God, so-and-so is pilfering stuff, and he keeps a Penthouse in the safe in his office, combination 16-33-54, check if you don't believe me"), church laws never need to be amended, and for some reason the church's members are always waiting at the hospital BEFORE one of their friends is in a car accident and is brought in. No religion on Earth has outwardly visible signs of having God's home phone number, though many CLAIM to.

    Which means, from any vantage point outside a religion, they all start out with a roughly equal chance of being right - and for them to be of value, it's what they tell us about OURSELVES that's important.

    Which means basically ALL religions are cults - if one is, all are, since they're all written by flawed humans and susceptible to corruption. The only difference in grade is whether the organizational aspect of the cult is actively seeking to defraud people, or whether they actually believe what they're saying. Not that this really makes a fundamental difference in the amount of damage they can cause.
  • by Squid ( 3420 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @07:08AM (#374708) Homepage
    The minute a 'church' can have its assets taken, it also means that any other organization can have its assets taken for similar reasons. M$ is a big bad company, can I post Windows XP on my site and say that I'm just doing it to expose their hypocracy?

    The better analogy would be, if you found a hole or a trojan in a Microsoft product and you had to publish a substantial decompiled piece of their code (or actual source code) to illustrate it, MS would be able to use copyright law to destroy you and squelch that information.

    Fair use is when copyright protection stops and freedom of speech begins. Fair use is a provision that exists because sometimes you HAVE to include a piece of someone else's work in order to make your point. And this is such a case: the only way to properly show the insanity of Scientology is to let people read OT III in its entirety.

    This is NO different than the shrinkwrap laws that allow companies to specify that you cannot post benchmarks of their software. Just because a company might be harmed by what you say about them, doesn't mean they get to clean fish on the Constitution!

    (Yes, fair use gets talked about a lot around here, usually regarding ways in which one may use a CD. The idea is, if you have to copy it in order to listen to it or watch it, like taping a show because you won't be home, or decrypting a DVD so you can watch it on Linux, or copying a CD to tape for your car, you should be able to do it. Usually, though, "fair use" is like "make no law" and "due process": a couple of meaningless words everybody ignores in court cases.)
  • by juuri ( 7678 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:01AM (#374709) Homepage
    Theres an old alien guy who sent a bunch of space ships here to Earth to solve an over population problem. The ships all got blown up by nukes he made once they were here. I guess somewhere in the process was a muck up because lots of "thetans" (bad souls?) were left around. Its these thetans, scientology claims, that keep you from achieving your true goals and dreams because they compete with your true soul. Scientology says they can remove them from you and help you become a better person.

    In truth this church has even less real foundation than many cults and is known for exploiting people and using is monetary muscle to hide many of the more evil facts known about it. Check out [] it should answer all your questions.
  • by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:01AM (#374710) Homepage
    Try this [] and this [], both offer a brief introduction into the Scientologists' mindset from an outsider's perspective.

  • by _xen ( 79742 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:29AM (#374711)
    I thought the purpose of a 'religion' as loosely as it can be defined, was to reach out.

    That depends entirely on whether the religion is exoteric (reaching out) or esoteric (restricted to the initiated). Unless you want to argue that cults are esoteric and relgions are exoteric, but that is 'argument by definition,' a backdoor by which to bring the connotation, 'cults are evil, religions are good,' into play.

    Why would Scientology try to 'patent' their way of religion.

    They're not. They are merely asserting the copyright (!=patent) which automatically arises by virtue of the authorship of these documents. Admitedly, they are doing this with a purpose for which copyright was not originally intended (ie to mitigate the 'free rider' externality), but rather to stifle adverse publicity. Crafty people, those lawyers. It's times like that where 'freedom of speech' guarantees reveal their necessity (of course crafty lawyers can twist those to evil purposes as well). Further, I'm far from convinced that Christian, Islamic or even Buddhist ministries, if faced with virulent criticism, would not avail themselves of the legal opportunity the defendant presented to the CoS.

  • by kspaink ( 86885 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @08:32AM (#374712) Homepage
    Fortunately, huge parts of Scientology's so-called secret scriptures [] are still legally available. The Dutch courts have by now ruled twice about my case, Scientology vs Karin Spaink, XS4all et al., and each time, my page was deemed to be fair use. (Needless to say that Scientology has appealed again...)

    Karin Spaink
    I write, therefore I am:

  • by Wolfier ( 94144 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @07:18AM (#374713)
    Stop arguing among ourselves and set up a fund to help the poor guy pay the legal fees!!

  • by ctembreull ( 120894 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @08:49AM (#374714)
    Care to share?

    There was this fellow named Josef Stalin (not his real name, it was Iosif Vissonariovich Dzhugashvili [pardon my crappy transliteration], which is a Georgian name), lived in the old Soviet Union. Fairly important fellow over there, IIRC. He had these notions about Jews, rather akin to Hitler's, but without the "Master Race" crap. I don't think we'll *ever* know how many of them he killed (not personally, mind) but I've heard estimates as high as 54 million. Word has it that he killed them in large part because they *weren't* atheists - that their religion was a threat to the atheist ideals of the Soviet Union. History calls this massive organized murder "The Pogroms", and they were a very major part of Stalin's domestic policy, along with collectivization and the endless series of Five-Year Plans.

    Being of a religious or an atheist bent doesn't automatically qualify or disqualify anyone from committing crimes against humanity.

    Chris Tembreull
    Web Developer, NEC Systems, Inc.

  • by KahunaBurger ( 123991 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @08:18AM (#374715)
    occult rituals, social tension or small and non standard? Actually none of those is what I was taught was a cult. Cult watch groups have a few simple warning signs, and while some of the more xtian ones will worry about "non xtian doctrines" the vast majority are all about social control. Cults want to know where you are. Cults don't want you to be "alone" (= without a more expereinced member) during your early introduction to the group. Cults strongly discourage or forbid interactions with those outside the group and often assign them to a lower state socially/emotionally/spirtually. Cults want you to be financially and socially dependent on them. Cults make it hard for you to leave.

    There are small "non standard" or occultist groups that are not cults. There can be large traditional churches that are cults. There can be non religious groups that still fit the definition of cults as control groups. (OT For the record I think that the first group of disciples around jesus constituted a cult by many of the (real, not your) sociological describers of cults.)

    I understand why someone in a cult group would want to play sophist games to make the word "cult" meaningless because it lets them duck the real issues of their behavior. But why is it so popular with other people? Is it just a fun game where you think you've won an argument by refusing any common language to hold the discussion in? Mental masturbation? Identifying with "outsiders" and not wanting to admit that some outsider groups are just not as healthy as others? What?

    Kahuna Burger

  • by blane.bramble ( 133160 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:07AM (#374716) Homepage

    Really really slowly:

    w h e r e S c i e n t o l o g y a c c u s e s P a n o u s s i s o f c o p y r i g h t i n f r i n g e m e n t o f r e l i g i o u s t r a d e s e c r e t s

    Now I will ask the question again: how can a religion have trade secrets?

    Note, in the UK and I presume the rest of Europe (including Sweden), religions have special status (Tax etc.). Why does a religion need to have trade secrets. It is not a business.

  • by m2e ( 215374 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:23AM (#374717)
    And I always thought that only published works can be copyrighted. Bud copyrighted trade secret? It is strange, almost oxymoron.
  • by nnnneedles ( 216864 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @09:09AM (#374718)
    I'll explain it to you. A religion can't have trade secrets. Not under swedish law anyway. The United States is behind this court. Read on.

    What happened in Sweden was this:
    Some guy published the book.
    The book then found itself into a public institution and became a public document.
    I don't know how, but my guess is that it had to do with the court that Panoussis was holding.

    In Sweden there is a constitutional law called "Offentlighetsprincipen", i.e. "the Principle of Openness", which dictates that all documents (including letters, email, everything) held by the public institutions can be read by any citizen upon request. The only exceptions (and there are few) are for military safety reasons, or to protect witnesses, etc.

    So, if you are a journalist, you get access to the mailboxes of all government officials among other things.

    At this point in time, you could also read the whole Scientology bible, because it had been made public. Under swedish law this is fully legal, no matter what the copyright laws say.

    The next thing that happened was that a bunch of people from Washington, congressmen and others, all of them from the scientology church, went directly to the government of Sweden and put serious pressure on them to stop the bible from being read. This was reported in all the newspapers and our prime minister spoke about how the united states was threatening to take Sweden to court for neglecting IP rights, they were going to boycott Sweden in the UN for neglecting freedom of religion and a lot of other things.

    Our prime minister admitted that it was dubious under our consitution to prevent the Scientology bible from being read, but that the pressure from the US was too strong and would have serious consequences for Sweden, if we didn't follow suit. It was "nobody cares about Scientology anyway, and we don't want to lose any trade benefits, so let's do what they say.."

    This whole court was then arranged to fit Americas needs.

    It is the biggest political shame that Sweden has had to deal with for many, many years, if you ask me. Because the principle of openness is the best law we have in Sweden, bar none. It is the only law people really like, because it is essentially a non-control, anti-government law. It has practically made corruption impossible for parliament members..

    This story is a great example how America can easily get smaller countries around the world to do their errands.
  • by Auckerman ( 223266 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @08:24AM (#374719)
    This text is not the posters original work. The original is for a leaflet found at Operation Clambake's Web site here []
  • by RandomPeon ( 230002 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @08:51AM (#374720) Journal
    Umm, a great many religions have used this model of of secrecy. Scientology is just the first religion to charge money for secrets.

    The Catholic Church had secret orders, certain Jesuits took a secret fourth oath. Islam has like the sufis mystic sects that aren't interested in sharing their knowledge. Juadiasm has kabbalists. The freemasons, as mentioned above, don't care to have their secrets shared with outsiders either. Only a Mormon can enter a Mormon temple once it has been "sealed".

    Both the Church of Latter Day Saints and the masons have taken legal action against people who attempt to share their secrets with others. The Catholic Church has largely given up on secrets, but I'm sure that you had a very short life expectancy if you tried to reveal them during the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation.

    Scientology is just a modern religion, designed to operate under our economic system, where everything has a price.
  • by Squid ( 3420 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:50AM (#374721) Homepage
    Can someone please explain what this scientology is all about?

    Easy simulation of Scientology:

    Pay someone $300 to read Alice in Wonderland to you while you sit and say "yes" or "no" at random until the sensory deprivation makes you hallucinate and see space aliens dropping bombs into volcanoes. Do this while running low voltage through your body from a cheap lie detector. Afterwards, stop speaking to friends and family.

    Repeat until you run out of money.

    I think I just got myself declared suppressive.
  • by Squid ( 3420 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:26AM (#374722) Homepage
    Aside from being a rather obvious squelching of freedom of speech ("this religion is trying to defraud people and here's their ridiculous high-level 'secrets' as proof") it's a vivid illustration of how copyright law can be used as a nasty weapon by entities of great money against anyone they don't like.

    This could be you.
  • by Squid ( 3420 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:41AM (#374723) Homepage
    PS. Anyone know why all those Hollywood "stars" are suckered in? I've always wondered about. Seemingly intelligent people joining this alien-cult. It like status in it? I know why the crime syndicate wants rich and influencial members, but... Oh well..

    Consider for a moment that you're a Hollywood star. It's not a normal life - it's life in a fishbowl. You never meet normal people. You don't have time to watch TV or go to the library, all your time is spent either on a movie set, or being jetted around to talk shows, or home reading scripts or spending a few precious moments with what little family you've been able to acquire between hectic film shoots.

    One of your friends has just joined Scientology. Their mood changes, they have a different outlook on life. (They're a celebrity too, so Scientology basically pays their way.) They tell you how great it is, and you, wondering why you can't be happy despite $12 million in the bank, decide it's worth a shot - hell, it can't be any weirder than the Shirley Maclaine crap.

    Of course, being a rich movie star, you aren't the type to go on the Internet and do a search for Scientology to see if anyone's had a bad experience with them. And said information can't be found anywhere else, unless you caught that A&E documentary a couple years back.

    Scientology will do its damnedest to shield you from the negative opinions. The first thing they'll do is sneakily install a proxy filter on your PC, just to make sure you don't see anything that might change your mind. Then they put the appropriate "spin" on the naysayers - something about "people who don't want to be happy, will try to prevent others from being happy" that I suppose makes sense after you've done several 2-hour sensory deprivation sessions and had low voltage run through your body every day for weeks on end. And above all, the things that drive normal people OUT of Scientology - the abuse, the money, or the ridiculous stuff they expect you to believe at the higher levels (bad science fiction, L. Ron must have written OT III on cough medication) - you'd NEVER see. They pay your way, they're nice to you and your family, and they keep you hovering somewhere below OT I just in case you aren't as gullible as you seemed. So long as you stay in the fishbowl everything's hunky dory.

    The Freemasons went after judges, politicians, and so forth. L. Ron knew where the REAL influence lay in today's world, though: Hollywood.
  • One time, a long time ago, Robert Heinlen (a first rate author) dared L. Ron Hubbard (a 7th -12th rate author) to start a religion. Hubbard, a certifiable wacko, decided it was a great idea.

    So, rather than work off the Messianic principles of religion (some human who is the spawn/creation of/voice of God) created a "scientific" system, wherein you hook yourself up to a machine designed to "audit" your feelings and thoughts and "soul". Note that I built one of these in my 5th grade science class, its a simple resistence meter. I am told the device is a battery, a meter, and a couple wires attached to what looks like a coffee can.

    Anyway, Hubbard patterned the organization after the Navy, where he served (some say dishonorably) in WWII. His naval record is a consistent source of material that his entire life is one big falsification.

    The real meat of Scientology is that you try to make yourself a better person based on this "auditing" deal. There's lots of little twists, turns, and details I have purposefully omitted, but thats the appeal. There's no one telling you you can't eat meat on Fridays, there's no strict moral code. Its very popular in Hollywood, as it reflects a certain "new age" vibe.

    The REAL interesting part is how Hubbard, as a crappy sci-fi author, wrote an interesting backstory for his religion. Turns out, the reason you feel bad sometimes (mentally, although bad thoughts lead to bad physical condition) is because... well.. I never get this part right, because its just dumb. Something about a Galactic Civil War, and all these alien people being imprisioned in a volcano on Earth (when it was just forming) and then having atom bombs (not thermonuclear weapons, mind you - we're talking Fat Man and Little Boy here, and these were aliens which could do FTL and lord knows what else) dropped on them. Their spirits came to become Man, or something like that, and the auditing process is supposed to release them.

    Look at for more info.

    Most people believe it is a cult; there is copius evidence to support that claim.
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @08:19AM (#374725) Homepage Journal

    The question of whether it is true or false is irrelevant. What is so sad is that Scientology is afraid of people knowing the story.

    Look at Chrisianity. It has a totally unbelievable story about a dead guy getting better a few days later. But as crazy as it is, they don't try to hide their belief; they shout it out with conviction. Why are Scientologists so lacking in that conviction? Have they no pride? Why do they fear exposure?

    The answer is that their meme-complex is so fucked up, that it can't contain it's own reproductive code. Stereotypical religeons rely on hooks to entice people to want to believe in them (e.g. You will be rewarded in The Afterlife), but Scientology is so wacko, that even the dogma itself isn't enough to get people to come over, so they have to rely on a bootstrap process to implant the meme: hard-sell indoctrination through their cult.

    The whole thing just reeks of poor craftsmanship. If this Hubbard guy were any good, he would have written a religeon that used the proven hook method. Instead, he invented something that is utterly clumsy compared even dinosaurs that are thousands of years old. I don't mind people experimenting with new religeous inventions, but a good craftsman knows when he's made a winner, and when he has a piece of shit. Scientology should have been scrapped as a failure long before it was ever brought to market.

    How can anyone respect such mediocrity? It's the Windows of religeons; it can't compete on its merits within its own realm, so the creators have to work outside the conventional system just to proliferate it. That's fucking pathetic.

  • "I have lived no cloistered life and hold in contempt the wise man who has not lived and the scholar who will not share. There have been many wiser men than I, but few have traveled as much road. I have seen life from the top down and the bottom up. I know how it looks both ways. And I know there is wisdom and that there is hope."

    L. Ron Hubbard

    So, uh, wouldn't he hold himself in contempt for hot sharing (being a "scholar" and all)? (of course, he's dead, but you'd think the "religion" would follow His words...

  • by Delirium Tremens ( 214596 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:03AM (#374728) Journal
    This [] is the Fishman Affidavit, with explanation on this other web site [].


    " The Church of Scientology (or: CoS; or: Co$, as some of their opponents call it) sells its followers expensive courses which, if students study them carefully, are supposed to set them free ('clear' them). A former Scientology member, Steven Fishman, was brought before court because he committed several crimes in order to get the money to pay for these courses. Scientology urged him to get the money any which way he could. According to Fishman, they also assigned him to kill somebody, and failing that, ordered him to commit suicide. In an interview for Time Magazine, Fishman relayed those stories and blamed Scientology for his crimes. Scientology sued him for slander."

  • by typical geek ( 261980 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @05:49AM (#374729) Homepage
    Because all religions are charlatanistic businesses designed to rip off the easily duped masses by turning over large amounts of money and control over your daily lives to self-appointed know-it-alls who will make your life better, I promise. See also "communism".

    You're writing this hateful troll on a weblog powered by Perl, a language written by a devout Christian. The main tome of the Perl language, the Camel book, is filled with Biblical allusions (as well as Tolkien allusions). This weblog started at a Christian college.

    You are heir to thousands of year of Western culture (do the names Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Solomon, Moses, et al mean anything to you?), only by virture of wise Islamic scholars and wise Irish monks, who copied and preserved all the ancient literature they could during Europes dark ages.

    And now, because of a few well known con artists, you're painting the spiritual lives of billions of people and thousands of years of history with that that same dirty brush.

    When the media does this to geeks, Hellmouth reigns. When trolls do it to religion, it's approved. See the contradiction?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:12AM (#374730)
    Please go to [].

    If you want my personal feelings, Sceintology is a close-minded UFO space cult group with asperations of world domination. Their logic is severly contraditory. For example, a Scienologiest will say he acts "for the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics." There are (I think) seven dynamics ranging from God to family, civilization, etc. However, to a Scientologist, the "greatest number of dynamics" is ALWAYS scientology. Sceintology *IS* the most ethical group of the planet. If you help advance sceintology, you are ethical. If you do not help advance sceintology, you are a "wog." If you hinder Scientology, IN ANY WAY (speak out against them, tell your Scientologist daughter that L. Ron Hubbard lied, etc...) then you will be caught up in the Scientology fair game policy, which states, and I quote:

    May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.

    Furthermore, this group is TOTALLY against free speech (though they say they're members have total spritual freedom). The internet keeps the RTC (Religios Technology Center, the "head" of Sceintology) having fits at night. I mean, a group of people who have nothing better to do that post the Church's material on-line!

    Is what these people are doing illegal? Maybe, maybe not. The Church of Scientology has called it's secrets its copyrights and it's trade secret and is trying to get the protection of both. However, court documents have shown that the copyrights to the documents may have been fraudently obtained, and that the trade secret documents are no longer trade secret because they have been published. You can order a copy of the NOTS pack from the Swiss pariliment! The church vehemently denies all of this.

    Anyway. I ranted. The Church of Scientology is EVIL. Some of the things they do make Microsoft look like Strawberry Shortcake.

    Man, I hope they don't find my address. I'd expect to have a group of Scientologist outside my house yelling that I'm a religous bigot who commits crimes on the internet. They do this. I'm serious.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 09, 2001 @05:39AM (#374731)
    Who is Xemu?

    I'm going to tell you a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Right, then I'll begin.

    Once upon a time (75 million years ago to be more precise) there was an alien galactic ruler named Xemu. Xemu was in charge of all the planets in this part of the galaxy including our own planet Earth, except in those days it was called Teegeeack.

    Now Xemu had a problem. All of the 76 planets he controlled were over-populated. Each planet had on average 178 billion people. He wanted to get rid of all the overpopulation so he had a plan.

    Xemu took over complete control with the help of renegades to defeat the good people and the Loyal Officers. Then with the help of psychiatrists he called in billions of people for income tax inspections where they were instead given injections of alcohol and glycol mixed to paralyse them. Then they were put into space planes that looked exactly like DC8s (except they had rocket motors instead of propellers).

    These DC8 space planes then flew to planet Earth where the paralysed people were stacked around the bases of volcanoes in their hundreds of billions. When they had finished stacking them around then H-bombs were lowered into the volcanoes. Xemu then detonated all the H-bombs at the same time and everyone was killed.

    The story doesn't end there though. Since everyone has a soul (called a "thetan" in this story) then you have to trick souls into not coming back again. So while the hundreds of billions of souls were being blown around by the nuclear winds he had special electronic traps that caught all the souls in electronic beams (the electronic beams were sticky like fly-paper).

    After he had captured all these souls he had them packed into boxes and taken to a few huge cinemas. There all the souls had to spend days watching special 3D motion pictures that told them what life should be like and many confusing things. In this film they were shown false pictures and told they were God, The Devil and Christ. In the story this process is called "implanting".

    When the films ended and the souls left the cinema these souls started to stick together because since they had all seen the same film they thought they were the same people. They clustered in groups of a few thousand. Now because there were only a few living bodies left they stayed as clusters and inhabited these bodies.

    As for Xemu, the Loyal Officers finally overthrew him and they locked him away in a mountain on one of the planets. He is kept in by a force-field powered by an eternal battery and Xemu is still alive today.

    That is the end of the story. And so today everyone is full of these clusters of souls called "body thetans". And if we are to be a free soul then we have to remove all these "body thetans" and pay lots of money to do so. And the only reason people believe in God and Christ was because it was in the film their body thetans saw 75 million years ago.

    Well what did you think of that story?

    What? You thought it was a stupid story?

    Well so do we. Unfortunately this stupid story is the core belief in the religion known as Scientology.* If people knew about this story then most people would never get involved in it. This story is told to you when you reach one of their secret levels called OT III. After that you are supposed to telepathically communicate with these body thetans to make them go away. You have to pay a lot of money to get to this level and do this (or you have to work very hard for the organisation on extremely low pay for many years).

    We are telling you this story as a warning. If you become involved with Scientology then we would like you to do so with your eyes open and fully aware of the sort of material it contains.

    Part of the first page of the secret OT III document in L. Ron Hubbard's own handwriting
  • by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:38AM (#374732) Homepage
    Scientoloy is not "illegal" in Germany [] and being a member of the cult does not make you an underground dissident.

    But unlike the US, where it has been granted the status of a "religion" (and it is believed that this was done to get tax-exempt status), it is considered an unethical business here that is designed to leech money from its members.

    If you ever read Scieno material, you will note that they will point out again [] and again [] that they have been granted this status of a religion in the US and try to use this as an external proof of trust into their practices.

    It is true, though, that you will not be hired as a German government official if you are a member of Scientology. Since most German schools are funded by the state, this includes teachers.

    The German view on Scientology has the organization running scared and spewing hatred [] towards the German government, often comparing today's treatment of Scientologists with the way Nazi Germany treated the jews. Internal documents [] reveal that this is done because they know that this is an easy button to press.

    Strangely enough, the US government often just copies & pastes Scientologists' allegations against Germany in their yearly human rights report.

    Look at some official reactions [] about these allegations.

    The Scientology in Germany FAQ [] is an interesting read, too, as it covers many of the standard allegations used by the cult.

  • by seizer ( 16950 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @05:43AM (#374733) Homepage
    And so the great Scientology monolith smashes another dissenter.

    Am I surprised?

    Of course not. It seems that they use a vast proportion of their earnings (read: money ripped off from gullible/vulnerable people) to sue those who speak out against them.

    Dave Touretzky (of the DeCSS descrambler gallery) has a lot of information available [] on these guys - somewhat more valuable, considering it's not in Swedish (what's with the link above, Michael? Please reply to this message, and tell me what percentage of the daily hits are from .se).

    And I'd recommend reading Bare Faced Messiah [] by Russell Miller. Unfortunately, I can't find any online retailer still willing to sell this book - the link is to used copies of early, expensive editions.
  • by JatTDB ( 29747 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @05:31AM (#374734)
    'Tis easy, when the religion's primary goal is to make money.

  • by ASCIIMan ( 47627 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @05:57AM (#374735)
    Xenu's not Unix
  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @08:07AM (#374736)
    "And one other thing, even with the comical insanity, it wasn't a bad place to work. The reason I left was because the company was seized by the IRS for failure to pay payroll taxes."

    IRS to Scientology: No, you don't understand. You owe us a million dollars!!
  • by bungalow ( 61001 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @06:36AM (#374737)
    I find it fascinating that the same group who is lambasting Hubbard was, just a few days ago, giggling about how cool it's be to get Jedi [] acknowledged as an actual religion.

  • by MillMan ( 85400 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @07:13AM (#374738)
    The arguement that all religions are cult to some degree is fairly weak, IMO. I've learned quite a bit about Jehova's witnesses since my gf used to be one of them. I myself was raised Lutheran.

    In Jehova's Witness (JW) world, they control you on several fronts. You can't have friends outside the religion. You are STRONGLY discouraged from pursuing post secondary education, arguably to make you dependant on the JW network of members if times get rough, which can happen when all you have is a low paying part time job. They take up most of your time, there are four "services" per week.

    Most importantly, you can be kicked out for a number of reasons: pre-marital sex (the big one for them), smoking (I think), even voting I beleive. If you get kicked out, coupled with rule #1 from above, you have NOTHING left. When my gf left the religion (before she met me) because she didn't beleive it, she was suicidal for quite a while. She had no friends, and her parents didn't talk to her for a year. Normally if you formally leave, no one, not even your parents, can talk to you EVER AGAIN. I don't know how she made it.

    My religious experience was far different. Church once a week. I had more friends outside of church than inside, who were in other religions or none at all. There was no such thing as being kicked out of the church. You could be "forgiven" for anything. Sure, part of religion is "indoctrination", but it's nothing like the mind control you see in cults.

    There are books out there that have rules to determine whether a religion is cult or not. Most involve mind control, money control (which JW's don't really have), and culture control of your person. Usually if a religion meets a certain number of the rules it is considered cult.

    Scientology fits most of the rules I know of. Most religions were created with good intentions, even though many have been perverted into forms of control, but scientology was always evil. It was always a for-profit venture.
  • Remember, kids, Xenu says: All your race are belong to us! You are on the way to supression. You have no chance to ascend, make your time!
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @05:44AM (#374740)
    Religions don't, "religions" do. Scientology falls into the latter category. It fleeces it's gullible members into shelling out increasingly large amounts of cash for seminars in pursuit of reaching a "clear" state. The text of these seminars is the trade secret.

    The last thing the CoS would want is for their secrets to be made publically available. Not only would they unable to charge for their contents, but people would have a really good laugh reading them.

  • by albamuth ( 166801 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @08:18AM (#374741) Homepage
    A secrect document, penned by the hand of L. Ron Hubbard himself, inscribed on a "Bob's Big Boy" bar-size paper napkin with blue ball-point pen:
    I, L. Ron Hubbard, swear to pay the holder of this contract twenty dollars if I cannot start a religion with a completely ficticious basis within ten years. Signed, L. Ron Hubbard
    Ladies and gentlemen, this bar bet has gone on too long.
  • by SnapShot ( 171582 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @07:04AM (#374742)

    A quick story...

    First night after getting to college, me and my roommate were walking around the "Ave" where all the copy and coffee shops, bookstores, bars, etc.. are located. When this beautiful girl comes up to us and asks if we want to take a free personality test. At this point I'm thinking to myself, "College is going to be great, beautiful girls want me to take personality tests with them!! Whoo hoo.".

    We agree. Next thing we know, we are taking the test (never did see the girl again; talk about a "bait and switch") and a few minutes later a nice, clean-cut gentleman is explaining that our personalities are sub-par in the positive catagories and way above average on the negative catagories and have we ever hear about "Dianetics"?

    We hadn't so he explains about L. Ron and I'm starting to get a real uncomfortable feeling like we are about to be kidnapped for 16 hour days in the Thetan mines. So, to change the subject, I say, "Hubbard? Didn't he write _Battlefield Earth_?" Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book well enough, but when he responded "Yes, that was the best science fiction book ever written." I knew something was very, very, very wrong. My roommate and I realized that we had to act fast. Quickly we overcame the guards, lept from the balcony, and escaped...

    Thinking back, I realize Azimov, Brin, Sterling, Heinlein, and the others saved me and my roommate from a very expensive religion...

  • by cavemanf16 ( 303184 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @05:36AM (#374743) Homepage Journal
    Unless it's a cult, I thought the purpose of a 'religion' as loosely as it can be defined, was to reach out to people and provide them with a moral/ethical basis of beliefs. Why would Scientology try to 'patent' their way of religion. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. try to reach out to people and say: "Here, these are our religious documents. Use them and you'll be a better person." And if people disagree, they don't sue them for doing so, they just label them an non-believer of that religion. This is ridiculous, and I would have to now completely believe that Scientology is in fact a cult due to its secretive ways. Sounds more like a big business than a religion to me.

  • by infinite9 ( 319274 ) on Friday March 09, 2001 @05:57AM (#374744)

    A number of years ago, I worked as a programmer for a very small company which was owned and operated by scientologists. There were only about eight employees and half of us were normal. It was really comical sometimes.

    For example, no one could have an arguement about any subject without reaching for this giant tome with a giant S on it (like the schilling spice S or the suzuki S). The four inch thick book somehow had guidelines for how to have an arguement.

    When I arrived, I received a piece of paper with a story. The story was all about this thing called the Apollo. It went on and on about the apollo's bow, stern, engine room, and bridge. About how and when it left port and other nautical attributes of apollo. The first mention of apollo had an asterisk with a footnote, which most people don't read. At the end, they ask you what apollo is. My response was that apollo was obviously a boat. Their resonse was that it's wasn't just a boat, it was L Ron Hubbard's yacht. And since I didn't read the footnote explaining that, I obviously understood exactly 0% of the document. Huh?

    At one point, they sent a (normal) co-worker to clearwater florida which is where the Org is. They gave her what amounted to brain-washing sessions. They would make ridiculous statements. And when she argued with them, they would respond with, "No, you don't understand." Because, obviously, if you understood, you would agree with them. So, I believe that you owe me a million dollars. "No I don't!" No you don't understand, you owe me a million dollars.

    I once asked the VP of the company (a scientologist, the nuttiest of the bunch), "according to scientology, what happens to you when you die?" She went on a 15 minute lecture on how I was not prepared to understand that information because I had not attained a sufficient spiritual level or something and then finished with, "so for instance, if I told you that you go to the filling station in the clouds to get your memories erased, you wouldn't understand." She's right, I don't understand.

    One of the programmers (a scientologist) got a cold at one point. He was firmly convinced that the reason he had a cold was because people were thinking bad thoughts about him.

    It's my personal opinion that scientology is a scam. They advertise clearly non-christian ideology while using christian symbols. They use their monitary resources to engage in what can only be described as legal terrorism. They prey on people by promising them spiritual fulfillment while draining their bank accounts. And while some (even most) scientologists may really believe in their religion and have other people's interests at heart, I believe there are a lot of very power evel forces operating within their organization.

    And one other thing, even with the comical insanity, it wasn't a bad place to work. The reason I left was because the company was seized by the IRS for failure to pay payroll taxes.

  • You're writing this ... on a weblog powered by Perl, a language written by a devout Christian. The main tome of the Perl language... is filled with Biblical [and] Tolkien allusions....
    So you are saying that Larry Wall has a thing for good fiction, both classic and modern?

    It's a mistake to make the claim you're implying. It's the reverse of the ad-hominem argument. It is undeniable that Richard Wagner wrote some terrific music, but some of his personal beliefs (particularly his anti-semitism) were dead wrong and people holding similar beliefs today are held in very low esteem in enlightened circles. Just because Larry Wall made a useful and popular language doesn't mean that everything he thinks, believes, does or stands for is the same. It all has to be evaluated on the merits.

    If you have any argument about the merits of the work vs. the merits of the person, look at Wednesday's Harlan Ellison thread []. The guy has an ego the size of New York City, and it really makes him lose sympathy. That doesn't mean that his work is bad or his cause unjust... nor does it mean that a sympathetic person's work is good, nor their causes worthy.
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