From THE AMERICAN JURIST, November 1995, Vol. 9 No. 2 (cover story).  
NOTE: THE AMERICAN JURIST can be reached at  
`DANGEROUS SCIENCE: The Church of Scientology's Holy War against Critics'  
By Eric J. Ascalon  (Editor-in-Chief)  
      ON THE COVER is an excerpt from an article by Marc Fisher which  
appeared in the August 19, 1995 edition of The Washington Post.  The  
excerpt contains quotations from the "sacred scriptures" of the "Church"  
of Scientology.  According to the Church of Scientology, the words  
excerpted are not for your eyes.  They are holy -- and must not be read by  
anyone who has not reached the higher orders of Scientology. Reporter Marc  
Fisher, in exposing those words to the general public, has become a marked  
man.  He might expect to be investigated, intimidated and threatened in  
the "racketeering" fashion that has become the common manner in which the  
church deals with its critics.  
      Additionally, the Church of Scientology has included Marc Fisher as  
a defendant in a current lawsuit, which is pending in the United States  
District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.  The suit is against  
individuals who have exposed these sacred scriptures, which the church  
holds to be its trade secrets. Marc Fisher is being sued by the Church of  
Scientology in spite of the fact that he revealed a mere 46 words from  
Scientology's voluminous scriptures -- an amount that would certainly seem  
to fall within the parameters of the fair use doctrine.  He is being sued  
in spite of the fact that he obtained these excerpts -- not through  
stealing them from church headquarters, where they are guarded in vaults   
-- but rather from an affidavit contained within an unsealed court file in  
California: a public document.  
      It is typical of the Church of Scientology to use lawsuits -- very  
many of which are dismissed as frivolous --  to intimidate, harass and  
quell its critics and defectors into silence.  This scheme is even written  
into the church's doctrine.  Scientology pays its estimated 100 lawyers  
$20 million annually to orchestrate these suits.  Through participation in  
those of Scientology's many lawsuits which are clearly without merit and  
solely for the purpose of harassment, these lawyers are in violation of  
their obligation under the various rules of professional conduct in  
addition to provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.   
              ...75 million years ago, the leader of the Galactic   
              Federation, Xenu, solved an overpopulation problem by   
              freezing the excess people in a compound of alcohol and   
              glycol and transporting them by spaceship to Teegeeack --   
              which we now know as Earth.  There they were chained to a   
              volcano and exploded by hydrogen bombs.  The souls of those   
              dead -- "body thetans" -- are the root of most human misery   
              to this day.  
      Such are the beliefs of the members of the Church of Scientology, an  
organization founded in 1954 by pulp science-fiction writer L. Ron  
Hubbard.  Hubbard, who died in 1986, preached in his book Dianetics that  
the individual could "clear" these "body thetans" from his or her  
existence through participation in a special series of courses.  These  
courses, called "Auditing," would nullify the individual's "reactive  
mind," and as a result, he or she could obtain true happiness.  
      This true happiness, however, does not come cheap.  Scientology  
maintains a worldwide network of campuses in which participants pay 'fixed  
donations' to partake in the organization's required classes.  The first  
class comes with a fee of between $500 and $1000 per hour.  As the  
participant climbs the ladder of course work over a period of years,  
prices increase drastically.  The most progressed stages, in which members  
become entitled to view the most sacred of Hubbard's scriptures, are said  
to cost in the tens of thousands of dollars each.  According to former  
members of the organization (known as "defectors"), by the time a  
Scientologist reaches the highest echelons, the typical Scientologist will  
have forked over in the area of $300,000 to the church.  From the very  
first stages, defectors and psychiatrists claim that members are  
hypnotized and brainwashed into a dependency on further coursework: an  
induced mind-control that can be as powerful as any drug addiction.  
      By some estimates, Scientology, which claims it has 8 million  
members worldwide, yields a revenue in excess of a half-billion dollars  
per year through a spider web of subsidiary and front organizations.   
Hundreds of millions in revenue are said to be held out in Swiss bank  
accounts.  In 1985, high-level defectors had "accused Hubbard of having  
stolen as much as $200 million from the church."  In spite of a plethora  
of allegations and even prosecutions for fraud, misconduct, and a variety  
of criminal activities, in 1993, Scientology was granted tax-exempt status  
as a religious organization.  
      The story of this 'religious' organization is filled with irony.   
For example, it was not until after a 1967 Internal Revenue Service ruling  
--which took away the organization's original tax-exempt status -- that  
Hubbard's "counselors started sporting clerical collars.  Chapels were  
built, franchises became 'missions,' fees became 'fixed donations,' and  
Hubbard's comic-book cosmology became 'sacred scriptures,'"  The  
organization shouted "religion" and began to hide behind the First  
Amendment only after it saw the tax advantage.  
      To this day, when persons are introduced to Scientology, there is no  
mention or even hint of religion, but rather it is offered as a science to  
cure your emotional woes.  Scientology, at the entry level, is spouted as  
"the psychology of the next hundred years," and L. Ron Hubbard is  
introduced merely as an author, not a deity  (just examine 1 of the  
organization's nightly infomercials).  It is not until one progresses to  
the intermediate levels that the bait and switch tactic occurs wherein  
Hubbard and his doctrine become the Almighty.  
      This article, however, is not intended to question the religious  
nature of Scientology.  After all, whether you believe that Jesus walked  
on water, that Moses parted the red sea, or that Xenu, the leader of the  
Galactic Federation, landed on earth 75 million years ago, all is based  
essentially on faith and not proof.  It would be an exercise in futility  
to attempt to prove that any one of those incidents is more probable than  
the others.  It would also be unfair to put forth that simply because  
Christianity and Judaism have been around for a long long time, and  
Scientology is a relatively recent phenomena, that only the former two  
deserve tax exemption as religious organizations.  In this article, I will  
not delve into the question of religious legitimacy.  
"People who attack Scientology are criminals."  
      -L. Ron Hubbard  
"[A]ll men have inalienable rights to think freely, to write freely, to  
talk freely their own opinions and to counter or utter or write upon the  
opinions of others."  
        -L. Ron Hubbard  
      Which is it Mr. Hubbard?  The Church of Scientology's behavior  
indicates that they pay no heed to the latter quote, and all heed to the  
former.  On May 6, 1991, Time magazine published an in-depth examination  
of the Church of Scientology entitled "Scientology: The Thriving Cult of  
Greed and Power," in which author Richard Behar, after conducting some 150  
interviews, exposed many of the organization's evils.  It is a story of  
kidnapping and mysterious suicides of defecting members, "Mafia-like"  
intimidation against critics, Scientology's covert war against its sworn  
enemy: psychiatry, and the organization's use of celebrity outreach  
programs and high-priced public relations firms to maintain a favorable  
      The Time article is absolutely startling.  Through its revelations,  
the Church of Scientology appears every bit as sinister as a typical  
villain organization in an Ian Flemming novel.  We learn of how eleven  
high-ranking members of the church, including Hubbard's wife, were  
arrested in the 1980s for "infiltrating, burglarizing and wiretapping more  
than 100 private and government agencies"; how the organization plotted  
"to plant operatives in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and  
Export-Import Bank of the U.S."; and how the church has successfully  
disseminated copies of Hubbard's writings to millions of young children  
through thousands of our nation's public schools.  
      The Time article goes on to examine what some have had to endure as  
a result of criticizing the church.  One shocking example was the plight  
of  Journalist Paulette Cooper:    
              Strange things seem to happen to people who write about   
              Scientology. . . . Cooper wrote a critical book on the cult   
              in 1971.  This led to a Scientology plot (called operation   
              Freak-Out) whose goal, according to church documents, was   
              'to get P.C. incarcerated in a mental institution or jail.'   
              It almost worked: by impersonating Cooper, Scientologists   
              got her indicted in 1973 for threatening to bomb the church.  
              Cooper, who also endured 19 law suits by the church, was   
              finally exonerated in 1977 after FBI raids on the church   
              offices in Los Angeles and Washington uncovered documents   
              from the bomb scheme.  No Scientologists were ever tried in   
              the matter.  
      In an afterward to Behar's Time article, he discusses the  
tribulations he himself has had to endure as the result of writing his  
article critical of Scientology.  Behar says that "at least 10 attorneys  
and six private detectives were unleashed by Scientology and its followers  
in an effort to threaten, harass and discredit [him]."  A copy of his  
credit report had been illegally obtained from the Trans Union credit  
bureau.  Behar says of his plight:  
              private investigators have been contacting acquaintances of   
              mine, ranging from neighbors to a former colleague, to   
              inquire about subjects such as my health (like my credit   
              rating, it's excellent) and whether I've ever had trouble   
              with the IRS (unlike Scientology, I haven't).  
In the month following the article's publishing, Scientology ran a  
newspaper ad series attacking Time for such wrongs as, "writing nice  
things about Hitler prior to World War II."  Then followed a $416 million  
libel suit by the church against Time for the May 1991 article.  That  
lawsuit is still pending.  
      One former Scientologist who was interviewed for the Time article is  
Steven Fishman.  In August of 1990, Fishman began serving a five year  
prison sentence for his participation in a financial scam.  Fishman and  
his psychiatrist, Uwe Geertz, allege that the scam was tied to  
Scientology.  In the Time article, Fishman claims that when he was  
arrested, the Church of Scientology ordered him to kill Geertz, "and then  
to do an 'EOC,' or end of cycle, which is church jargon for suicide."  
      Because of the allegations in the Time article, the church  
subsequently sued Fishman and Geertz for libel in the United States  
District Court for the Central District of California.  In 1994, the case  
against Fishman and Geertz was dropped.  While the case was pending,  
however, the court file sat in the court's records office -- unsealed --  
for in excess of a year before the judge granted a temporary sealing  
order.  The court file contained an affidavit by Fishman that included the  
text of 100 pages of sacred Scientology scripture -- scripture that,  
according to the church, was for no one's eyes but those in the high ranks  
of Scientology.  For the more than a year that the file was unsealed, each  
and every morning, at 8:30 sharp, two Scientology agents would show up at  
the courthouse.  They would check out the Fishman file and guard it the  
entire day until closing time so that no one could view it.  
      During this period, however, a Washington Post staffer -- who knew  
the clerk at the court -- was able to circumvent the Scientology agents  
and obtain copies of material from the public file.  These pages contained  
portions of Scientology's sacred scriptures -- portions that had already  
been scattered throughout the internet by church defectors.  On August 19,  
1995, in Marc Fisher's Washington Post article entitled "Church in  
Cyberspace; Its Sacred Writ is on the Net.  Its Lawyers Are on the Case,"  
46 words from the sacred scriptures -- which were retrieved from public  
court records -- were printed in order to illustrate the subject matter of  
the story.  The Church of Scientology (under the name Religious Technology  
Center) has thus included The Washington Post and Marc Fisher as  
defendants in their suit for violations of trade secrets and copyrights in  
the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.   
(Take a look at Religious Technology Center v. Leiby,1995 WL 518740  
(E.D.Va.)).  From the pages of The Washington Post, the scripture excerpt  
has now made its way to the cover of The American Jurist as copied from  
microfilm found in the collections of The American University's  
undergraduate library.  It is there for the sole purpose of illustrating  
the subject matter of the case Religious Technology Center v. Leiby (1995  
WL 518740 (E.D.Va.)), which is a subject of this article.  (See Editor's  
Note Below).  
      On October 30, 1995, Scientology attempted to enjoin The Washington  
Post, as part of  the Religious Technology Center v. Leiby litigation,  
from publishing anything more on the disputed documents until  
determination is made on the trade secret and copyright issues.   
Scientologist and Chair of the Board of Boston University, Earle Cooley,  
argued for the church.  He claimed that The Washington Post, by  
disseminating Scientology's sacred scriptures, was part of a conspiracy to  
damage the church (for if the scriptures of this tax-exempt "church" all  
entered the public domain, then why would people "donate" tens of  
thousands of bucks to read them?).  Using a "balancing of the harms"  
analysis for the temporary restraining order determination (under  
Blackwater Furniture Co. v. Seilig Manufacturing, 550 F.2d 189, 196 (4th  
Cir. 1977)), Judge Leoni Brinkema ruled against the church.  Judge  
Brinkema put forth that (as per Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 100  
S.Ct. 2814 (1980)), "as print and electronic media are the public's chief  
source of information about trials and that media coverage of legal  
proceedings contributes to public understanding of the rule of law . . .  
[t]he public interest lies with the unfettered ability of the Post to  
report on the news."  Religious Technology Center v. Leiby is still  
pending as of the date of this writing.  It is just one of scores of  
similar Scientology suits pending in courts throughout the nation and  
              The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather   
              than to win.  The law can be used to easily harass, and   
              enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge  
              anyway . . . will generally be sufficient to cause his   
              professional decease.  If possible, of course, ruin him   
                    -L. Ron Hubbard, Church of Scientology Directive  
              Beware of attorneys who tell you not to sue . . . the   
              purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than   
              to win.  
                    -L. Ron Hubbard  
      Obviously, Mr. Hubbard has never taken a course in legal ethics.   
The church and its 100 lawyers, however, appear to follow the above  
directive well.  A quick LEXIS search will reveal hundreds upon hundreds  
of cases in which Scientology or one of its many front organizations has  
sued defecting members, critics, opposing lawyers and journalists --  
usually for libel or a similar cause of action.  The IRS alone has had to  
endure scores of frivolous Scientology suits.  As the Time article  
suggests, "[o]ne legal goal of Scientology is to bankrupt the opposition  
or bury it under paper."  In that article, a former Scientology attorney,  
Joseph Yanny, claims that Scientology has "'so subverted justice and the  
judicial system that it should be barred from seeking equity in any  
court.'"  Yanny quit representing the church in 1987 after "he was asked  
to help church officials steal medical records to blackmail an opposing  
attorney (who was allegedly beaten up instead).  Since then, Yanny has  
been the target of death threats, burglaries, lawsuits and other  
      In court decisions, judges have even characterized Scientology as  
"'schizophrenic and paranoid' and 'corrupt, sinister and dangerous.'"   
Some critics claim that Scientology is far too great a force for just  
private attorneys and citizens to deal with.  They ask that the federal  
government take major steps to crack down on the church's illegal  
activities (as the governments of Germany and other European countries  
have been doing):  
              Federal agents complain that the Justice Department is  
unwilling to   
              spend the money needed to endure a drawn-out war with  
Scientology or to   
              fend off the cult's notorious jihads against individual  
agents.  'In my   
              opinion the church has one of the most effective  
intelligence operations   
              in the U.S., rivaling even that of the FBI,' says Ted  
Gunderson, a   
              former head of the FBI's Los Angeles office.  
In light of the Waco incident, and in light of the recent vocal opposition  
to the interference with cult activities that has emerged because of Waco,  
it seems unlikely, from a political standpoint, that the current  
administration will take an active role (especially with the presidential  
elections just a year away).    
      Scientology is paying top notched P.R. firms big bucks to maintain a  
positive image for the church -- and they are quite successful, too.   
Ignorance about Scientology and its evils are widespread, both here and  
abroad.  Governor Jim Edgar of Illinois had proclaimed March 13 "L. Ron  
Hubbard Day" before he learned who Hubbard was.  Senator John D.  
Rockefeller IV had even praised the Concerned Businessmen's Association of  
America, a Scientology front organization, on the Senate floor.  At the  
240 year old Moscow State University, journalism students are now studying  
in the "L. Ron Hubbard Reading Room."  While today, students have no idea  
who Hubbard is, as the church expands its worldwide network, plans are  
underway to build a Scientology college in Moscow (I suppose in the  
church's eyes, the ruble is just as mighty as the dollar).  
      Without widespread federal intervention, it is seems unlikely that  
the church will reform its invidious practices.  The legal community,  
however, along with the American Bar Association and state bar  
associations -- as its representatives -- have a obligation to assure that  
all members of the profession are upholding their professional ethical  
responsibilities.  Section DR 7-102 of the ABA Model Code of Professional  
Responsibility establishes that, by penalty of sanctions, "[i]n his  
representation of a client, a lawyer shall not . . . [f]ile a suit, assert  
a position, conduct a defense, delay a trial, or take other action on  
behalf of his client when he knows or when it is obvious that such action  
would serve merely to harass or maliciously injure another."  Individual  
state rules of conduct are similar.  Additionally, Federal Rule of Civil  
Procedure 11(b) requires that representations to court are  "not being  
presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause  
unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation," and are  
"nonfrivolous."  The penalty here too, under FRCP 11(c), is sanctions.    
      These ethical and legal obligations, in addition to others, directly  
contradict the directives of Scientology, which claims that the purpose of  
the suit is to "harass and discourage rather than to win."  Add  the  
church's record of frivolous suits by the hundreds, and it certainly leads  
one to wonder how many of the church's 100 lawyers are ethically in the  
red.  It is hard for me to believe that Joseph Yanny was the only  
Scientology attorney asked to take part in a blackmail scheme.  Perhaps  
some have acquiesced.   If justice cannot prevail over Scientology's  
misdeeds, then perhaps it can at least prevail over its attorneys'  
misdeeds.  It is the duty of the ABA -- in conjunction with state bar  
associations -- to assure that Scientology's attorneys are operating  
within the scope of their ethical and legal obligations.  This is no  
different from their obligation over every member of the bar.  For the ABA  
and state bar associations to have any legitimacy when they charge that  
small town lawyer John Smith overbilled Mary Lou Jones by $75, then they  
certainly must at the very least investigate the big menaces, too.   
Scientology included.  
      Editor's Note: From the pages of The Washington Post, the scripture  
excerpt has now made its way to the cover of The American Jurist as copied  
from microfilm found in the collections of The American University's  
undergraduate library.  It is there for the sole purpose of illustrating  
the subject matter of the case Religious Technology Center v. Leiby (1995  
WL 518740 (E.D.Va.)), a lawsuit which is one of the subjects of this  
article.  As Editor-in-Chief of The American Jurist I feel that the  
Washington College of Law community is entitled to view the subject matter  
of a case where it in any way may lead to a better understanding of that  
case. (See Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia, 100 S. CT. 2814 (1980)).  
 The excerpt from Scientology scripture is presented for educational  
purposes.  A mere 46 words of a 100 page document is presented -- which I  
believe falls within the parameters of the fair use doctrine.  The excerpt  
was legally obtained by The Washington Post from public records.  In  
presenting the excerpt here, I am merely quoting The Washington Post.  The  
notion that I or The American Jurist is somehow in violation of  trade  
secrets though printing such words would be absurd.  I know of no law that  
forbids me from quoting a fair use portion of The Washington Post so long  
as proper acknowledgments are given.  The views expressed in this piece  
are those of the author and not necessarily those of The American Jurist  
or its editorial staff.  
ENTER INTERNET: Alt.Religion.Scientology  
      Religious Technology Center v. Leiby also includes a defendant by  
the name of Arnie Lerma.  Scientology accuses Lerma, an Arlington resident  
and former church member, of disclosing trade secrets and violating  
copyrights by posting the church's sacred scriptures throughout the  
internet.  He is not alone.  The internet newsgroup  
"Alt.religion.scientology" has become one of the most active in  
cyberspace.  It includes thousands of postings by critics and defectors of  
Scientology -- many of which attempt to discredit the church and expose  
its evils.  Some postings reveal stories of the church's kidnapping and  
imprisoning practices -- and even murder plots against former members and  
critics.  Scientology's "Operating Thetans" (OTs), its training manuals,  
are the "sacred scriptures" that the church is attempting to protect as  
trade secrets.  On a regular basis, they are anonymously posted and  
re-posted on the newsgroup.  The anonymity of cyberspace permits  
individuals from doing this without retribution -- either legal or by the  
church.  Recently, OTs and postings critical of the church have been  
mysteriously vanishing from the newsgroup.  Church officials deny having  
connections to the vanishings.  Many skeptical cyber-nerds -- who would  
otherwise have had no interest in bringing down the church -- are now  
actively partaking in the Scientology bashing and the re-posting of the  
OTs on the newsgroup in the name of freedom of speech in cyberspace.   
Arnie Lerma has become something of a folk hero in the newsgroup.  His  
statement "I would prefer to die speaking my mind than to live fearing to  
speak," has become a sort-of mantra among the cult-bashers.  
1. Janice Castro, Scientology's Largesse in Russia, TIME, Apr. 13, 1992 at  
2. Lucy Howard & Gregory Cerio, Scientology Takes on Time, NEWSWEEK, June  
10, 1991 at 8.  
3. Marc Fisher, Church in Cyberspace, WASHINGTON POST, Aug. 19, 1995 at  
4. Richard Behar, The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power, TIME, May 6, 1991  
at 50.  
5. David Carr, A Religious Belief in Lawsuits, WASHINGTON CITY PAPER,  
Sept. 29, 1995 at 17.  
6. Richard Leiby, Scientology Fiction: The Church's War Against Its  
Critics- and truth, WASHINGTON POST, Dec. 25, 1994 at C1.