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This is a radio show that was done in Victoria, BC, on July 22nd, 1997. This transcript can also be found at Marina Chong's http://www.entheta.net/entheta/media/radio/1997-003.htm.
List of people on the air:
Neil Kelly [Producer] Howie Siegel [Talk show host, CJVI AM 900] Al Buttnor [Allan Anthony Buttnor; Scientology Spokesman] Dr. Stephen Kent [University of Alberta Prof. of Sociology] Wesley Wakefield [Bible Holiness Movement, Vancouver. "Reverend" Al Buttnor's little diversionary entry into the mix.] Martin Hunt [Studio guest; former Scientologist] Gregg Hagglund [1st caller from the lit-up switchboard] L. Ron Hubbard [Scientology founder; from tape] Paul Grosswald [Call-in guest; ex-Scientologist] Roy [2nd caller; South African Scientologist] Karl [3rd caller; another Scientologist] Brian Beaumont [4th caller; yet another Scientologist] [text] = comments
Neil Kelly: It's Siegel, AM 900 384-0900 if you want to join in; and Howie, what are we doing today?
Howie Siegel: Neil, this is a very, very special show. Hi everybody, I'm Howie Siegel, that's Neil Kelly, and as those of you who have been tuning in regularly understand that we are dedicated to laughs, anything for a laugh, as a matter of fact. However, today is a departure, today's going to be a little bit different, today we're going to explore Scientology, and if you've been reading the newspapers you know what's happening in Germany, as a matter of fact today a thousand Scientologists marched in Germany to protest the treatment they've been receiving at the hands of the German government, and on the show today for the first hour we have Wesley Wakefield who will be calling in from Vancouver, he represents the Bible Holiness Movement, Dr. Stephen Kent, a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta, who's just returned from Germany, where Scientology is a large issue, and on the line right now from Toronto, a spokesman for Scientology, for 18 years he's practiced Scientology, Al Buttnor. Hi, Al. How are you today?
Al Buttnor: Oh, I'm fine Howie; how are you?
Howie Siegel: Good. Fine, thank you Al, I appreciate you in taking part, and just let me start by asking you, well, tell us about Scientology.
Al Buttnor: Well, I think that's a good starting place because people really need to understand what Scientology is all about, factually. Scientology is an applied religious philosophy which helps an individual understand himself, his family, others and life better. It's basically an understanding of who we are spiritually and what we're all about and it gives answers to life that are practical, so that it's actually something that can be applied.
Howie Siegel: So, for instance, like if you were to ask me I'm Jewish, God appeared to Abraham 4,000 years ago, and said you'll be a holy people and keep the covenant and I could describe sort of logically that we believe in one God, maybe you could give us a little bit more about the nuts and bolts of Scientology.
Al Buttnor: Oh, definitely. The primary belief in Scientology is that we are all spiritual beings in that we are not just a body. The body is part of what we are, but we are actually spirits, and when the body dies, that doesn't mean that you or I die. We actually carry on. And the idea in Scientology is to recover one's spiritual awareness of his beingness as a spirit and to basically become salvaged in that why.
Howie Siegel: Uh-huh. Does Scientology believe in God?
Al Buttnor: Well, the belief in God is basically left up to the individual. Scientology holds that there are something in life called the dynamics. And the dynamics are the breakdown of life. And you start out with the first dynamic, which is your self, you go to the second dynamic, which your family and children, the third dynamic, which is your groups and the people you participate in at work, your social groups, you have the fourth dynamic which is mankind in general, you have a fifth dynamic which is all of life, you have the sixth dynamic which is the material universe, you have the seventh dynamic with is the spiritual universe, and then you have the eighth dynamic, which is the infinite or the god dynamic, and Scientology talks about the first seven, and it's left up to the individual to decide for himself what the eighth is, because we hold that as you grow in spiritual awareness, you will come to know the true meaning of God better.
Howie Siegel: In my religion we talk about God creating the heavens and the earth in seven days. Some orthodox Jews accept it, most think of it as a metaphor. What does the cosmogony in Scientology, what is the beginning of the earth, where did man come?
Al Buttnor: Well, that's a big question. In relationship to Scientology, we hold that basically, you know, that you have lived before, that in the long time track of history in this universe, we have all participated in the creation of this universe and that I don't have a beginning of the universe story that I can tell you. It's more along the lines of an Eastern or a Buddhist tradition, and that what we're looking at is sort of a wisdom about life one has to more or less come to grips with the beginning himself.
Howie Siegel: I see. By the way, we're talking to Al Buttnor, everybody. Al has been a practising Scientologist for 18 years, Al's in Toronto right now, I'm Howie Siegel, you're listening to Siegel, AM 900 384-0900. Well, what can I tell you, Scientology has been so much in the news lately. What's going on in Germany now is almost unprecedented. Germany has been in the forefront of our democracies certainly since World War II, they've gone out of their way to practice multiculturalism and toleration, they've been an apostle of democracy and due process, particularly since the Nazi period, in reaction, if nothing else, to that. And now we find that there's a movement afoot to ban the 30,000 practicing Scientologists in Germany.
Al Buttnor: Well, just to put it to you Howie, we're not the only one's that are affected. And basically, the more or less problems have occurred since reunification, and there has been an increase in anti-Semitic activity there has been an increasing attack on foreigners also in Germany, that includes Turks and other foreigners who are living in Germany who are denied German citizenship.
Howie Siegel: Well at this point perhaps, Al, is there anything else you can add to Scientology perhaps that could give first-time listeners, most of us actually, an appreciation of Scientology?
Al Buttnor: Well, yes, I think I can, because I can say what Scientology has done for me.
Howie Siegel: For instance, do you guys go to, do you have weekly prayer meetings?
Al Buttnor: Well we have a weekly Sunday service. It is not our major religious practice. Our practice is basically having to do with the learning of the Scientology religious philosophy, and then counselling others with that, or we call it auditing. And that is, for us, the spiritual salvation, is going through the counselling process.
Howie Siegel: Do you go to classes, or do you have one on one, or how does it work?
Al Buttnor: Well, classes, as far as learning the Scientology philosophy, yes, you do have classes. We have what's called an academy, and people come in, and have various levels of courses that people do depending on what they're interested in and where they are.
Howie Siegel: So, for instance, I could tell you as a Jew I don't eat pork, I circumcise my sons, I keep certain holidays, I respect other traditions; as a Scientologist, how does your week differ from my week?
Al Buttnor: Well, I don't think it differs that much at all, Howie. Basically, we have, what we do is very normal. We don't have dietary regulations, we are not concerned about things along that line, we do have concerns about decisions and ethical values that we maintain, but the whole idea is what we're trying to do is look towards improving life for people, not taking away from life.
Howie Siegel: And how do you improve life for you?
Al Buttnor: Well, how do you improve life? By getting involved. By getting out and assisting where you can assist. Mr. Hubbard was a genius in coming up with technologies or methodologies to assist in the areas of education, moral rejuvenation, criminal rehabilitation, and also drug rehabilitation.
Howie Siegel: L. Ron Hubbard is the founder of Dianetics and Scientology.
Al Buttnor: Absolutely.
Howie Siegel: For those of you who don't know about L. Ron Hubbard he started as a science fiction writer, is that correct?
Al Buttnor: Well, Mr. Hubbard has a lengthy career and that was one of the things he excelled and which he was most recognized for. He was actually also an explorer, a photographer, he had meritorious service in World War II, he was an incredible individual.
Howie Siegel: Now we should actually go to Dr. Kent, in Alberta. Dr. Stephen Kent is on the line; he's a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta, and he's just returned from Germany. Dr. Kent?
Dr. Kent: Yes, Howie; how are you?
Howie Siegel: Hi, well, I'm fine, a little bit nervous. Like I explained in the beginning, this is my first serious show, and you know usually I'm devoted to making people laugh, and it doesn't really matter what I say, but now each word seems to have a gravity, so I'll be grateful for any help you gentlemen can give me.
Dr. Kent: OK.
Howie Siegel: You've been listening to Mr. Buttnor.
Dr. Kent: That's right, yes.
Howie Siegel: Now it's fair to characterize you as an anti-Scientologist.
Dr. Kent: Uh, probably so. Let's put it this way. Some of my scholarship is pointing out things about Scientology that the organization doesn't like...
Howie Siegel: Hello?
Dr. Kent: So I think I'm being labelled as an "anti-Scientologist." But it's important to think about what we mean by "Scientology." When I look at Scientology, I say that it is not *merely* a religion, in fact it is a multi-dimensional transnational organization, only one *part* of which involves religion. Other parts involved pseudoscientific practices and ideas, business practices, historically at least of some political practices, pseudomedical practices, people would say, critics at least, pseudo-drug and radiation cleansing practices, people would say pseudo mental health practices, and so on. So if we only look at the issues about religion and doctrine and theology we *miss* the whole complicated dimension about what Scientology is, and then we can't understand the activities that are going on in Germany. Now, Scientology still operates in Germany, it just doesn't have religious status. It's also now the case that in at least one state people have to identify themselves as Scientologist if they want state jobs, and it's also the case that people who are members of the major political parties there have to identify their involvement in Scientology. We can talk about...
Howie Siegel: Dr. Kent?
Dr. Kent: Yes.
Howie Siegel: Can we go to traffic and then come back and finish this?
Dr. Kent: Sure.
Howie Siegel: OK, great. We're talking with Dr. Stephen Kent from the University of Alberta, we're talking about Scientology, when we come back, we've still got Al Buttnor on the line from Toronto, a Scientology spokesman, but now here's Neil.
Neil Kelly: And we're back on Siegel AM 900, 384-0900.
Howie Siegel: The subject is Scientology, from Toronto, Scientology spokesman Al Buttnor, he's been practicing Scientology for 18 years, a very positive gentleman, very clear in his love for Scientology, and how positive a force in the universe. On the other line, Dr. Stephen Kent, a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta, who's just returned from Germany, and before the break Dr. Kent was talking about how Scientology is not just a religion, but that has ramifications that extend into many other areas of human endeavour, and Dr. Kent I'll allow you to continue now.
Dr. Kent: OK. When Scientology has gone into some countries around the world, it has backed away from its self-identified religious designation and just called itself an applied philosophy. Consequently, when it went into Greece, it dropped its self-identified religious designation. Also, when it went in Japan. The debate in Germany began, as near as I can tell, about 1981 when politicians from around the country were getting calls from their constituents, who were saying that Scientologists had been involved in questionable real-estate practices. And there's been a lot of real-estate activity in Germany because of some changes in laws but also because of the opening up of East Germany. So, the concern in Germany has an immediate historical set of activities surrounding it, and those activities involved what appear to be business endeavours.
Howie Siegel: But Dr. Kent, if I as a Jew do something wrong, break the country's laws then I'll be tried as a citizen who has broken a particular law, not as a Jew. If individual Scientologists are committing crimes, shouldn't they be tried as individuals, as citizens? Why are we condemning Scientology because *some* Scientologists have broken the law?
Dr. Kent: OK. It is true that there are a number of court cases involving individual members of Scientology in Germany. The concern organizationally comes from the historical understanding of what's happened with the Scientology organization in other countries. Some of that historical debate has to do with Canada, some with the United States. The Church of Scientology of Toronto and at least seven former members were convicted of breach of trust, which is a criminal charge, and this breach of trust involved individuals who had been planted in various police agencies, and were either collecting or attempting to collect information that these investigative agencies have about Scientology. Also, in France, forward leading Scientologist had infiltrated the security section of the Ministry of the Interiour. There is a German police officer in Berlin who was feeding information to Scientology about investigations that were going on. The concern with the German government and the German political parties seems to be that the allegiance to Scientology for some people will override any political and social adherence to laws and so on. Some of that concern is because of historical and cultural events that happened in other countries.
Howie Siegel: Dr. Kent, see it's a very fragile ground, because in the old days they used to accuse Catholics of...
Dr. Kent: Sure.
Howie Siegel: Ultramontanism...
Dr. Kent: Sure.
Howie Siegel: ...of allegiance to the Papacy before the country. Jews have for thousands of years have been accused of, you know, conspiracy, putting their own tribe above all others, so it's a very difficult argument. What is it about Scientology per se, not so much what laws Scientologist have broken, but about the philosophy/religion itself that odious?
Dr. Kent: Well, I don't know that I'd use the word "odious", but I can tell you about the issues I was discussing in Germany. Scientology as an organization runs forced labour and re-indoctrination programs for its high-level, most committed members. These programs are called the Rehabilitation Project Force, and if people do an internet search, they can find out a lot of information, because many legal documents and former, statements of people who have been through these programs exist. These camps are run for the high-level Scientologists who deviate, who's production is supposedly not high enough, who've questioned leadership and leadership's decisions, and so on. These Sea Organizations or Sea Org members go through an internal trial called a committee of evidence, and then if convicted, they may get sent into these programs. As near as I can tell, the purpose of these programs is to break down the will of the individual and reformulate it to be completely devoted to Scientology's morals and ethics. Moreover, what's of greater concern is that there is a program inside of the program for people who get sent into these forced labour and rehabilitation projects, and then don't respond: it's called the Rehabilitation Project's Force's Rehabilitation Project Force, or the RPF's RPF, and this is an extreme program, where they work hard labour, well actually in both programs they work hard labour, in the RPF's RPF they don't get paid anything. There's a lot of accounts about very difficult and problematic sleeping conditions. There's supposed to be at least five hours per day of reading, working with Scientology materials, personal confessions about alleged deviations, and so on. Now, if one knows anything about the history of modern Germany, with its unfortunate experiences with both National Socialism and Communism, it's unthinkable that the German government would allow, would give religious status to an organization that sends its high-level members into these programs. The reality always exists that Germans who would join Scientology move up the ranks and join the Sea Org would wind up getting thrown into these programs. So, German government officials know about these programs. There's a homepage that the Bavarian government put up about Scientology, and it actually talks about one of these RPF program in Hemet California.
Howie Siegel: RPF meaning Rehabilitation Project Force?
Dr. Kent: That's right, yes.
Howie Siegel: Well we have thirty seconds left before we go to the news, Dr. Kent. We're talking to Dr. Stephen Kent, professor of sociology at the University of Alberta. Also on the line is Al Buttnor, a spokesman for Scientology who of course we'll give a chance to retort when we come back from the news, I hope you stay with us. We've also go Wesley Wakefield on the line from the Bible Holiness Movement in Vancouver. So thank you gentlemen for holding on, and we'll see you in a few minutes after the news.
Dr. Kent: OK, thanks.
Howie Siegel: An uncharacteristically subdued Howie Siegel ladies and gentleman, here on AM 900. 384-0900, I'm back with Neil Kelly, but more importantly it's a serious subject today, it's Scientology. Now, if you were with us before the break you heard Al Buttnor speak from Toronto, Al is a Scientologist, he has been for 18 years. He spoke about, well, the beautiful philosophy and the idealistic religion that Scientology is, how altruistic it is and how it tries to help people and improve the world. On the other side of the coin we've got Dr. Stephen Kent, professor of sociology at the University of Alberta, who has just returned from Germany where he took part in a press conference about Scientology. Dr. Kent, when we left him before the break, was talking about the very many criminal actions that Scientologists are responsible for, not as individuals, but as agents of Scientology. Now, gentlemen; at the risk of perpetrating another Hollyfield/Tyson, I'm going to bring the two of you together. Your phone lines should be free and unfettered, you should be able to talk to each other now.
Dr. Kent: OK, hi, how are you doing?
Howie Siegel: OK.
Al Buttnor: Heh, oh, I'm fine Stephen. I'm unfortunately, I'm very concerned about your rather heinous mischaracterization of out religion, and I think it's a shame and a travesty that you as a Canadian would actually go over to Germany and state that the Church of Scientology operates forced labor camps. You've never even seen one, Stephen, you don't even know what they look like. I feel sorry for you.
Dr. Kent: Well, Al, I've got in front of me Hubbard's Modern Management Technology Defined, and it has a section on the Rehabilitation Project Force on page 441; it then discusses the RPF's RPF on page 451.
Al Buttnor: Well...
Dr. Kent: In the RPF's RPF it says number 2, the second characteristic is that no pay, people do not get paid, they do not get trained, they do not get auditing. I mean I'm only going, in that case, from Hubbard's own works.
Al Buttnor: Well, you know that dictionary Stephen happens to be available to anybody.
Dr. Kent: Oh, I know...
Al Buttnor: And it's one thing to characterize something out of a written word, but to see it in action...Mr. Hubbard wrote tremendous number of works in relationship to a lot of different subjects, and you're taking two paragraphs out of it. And I'm going to just accurately describe to you what the Rehabilitation Project Force is.
Dr. Kent: Have you been on it, Al?
Al Buttnor: The Rehabilitation Project Force is a rehabilitation program offered only to members of the Sea Organization, a religious order consisting of full-time staff who have signed a pledge of eternal service to Scientology and its goals. Sea Organization staff members who would otherwise be subject to dismissal for serious and/or continuous ecclesiastical violations are offered a second chance through the RPF. Personnel burnout is not new to organizations, but the concept of a complete rehabilitation is. Those participating in the RPF both study and receive religious counselling on a daily basis to address areas of difficulty in their personal lives. Along with study and counselling, members of the RPF work eight hours per day as a team on tasks which improve the facilities of the Church.
Howie Siegel: Excuse me, excuse me, Al.
Al Buttnor: Sure.
Howie Siegel: You know, we've only got a limited amount of time, and if we just read from journals.
Al Buttnor: Well, I'm just trying to give you the proper perspective.
Howie Siegel: Yes I know, but you know we have a lot of things that are written in the Bible, we have a lot of things that are written in the Koran.
Al Buttnor: Mmm-hmm.
Howie Siegel: And the adherents of those religions don't necessarily follow the dictates of their God. So we really should confine ourselves to what Scientologists are practicing today.
Al Buttnor: Well, OK. The bottom line is that...
Dr. Kent: See, you've got to...
Al Buttnor: Anyone can leave the Church of Scientology. Nobody has to participate in anything. All right?
Dr. Kent: Howie...
Howie Siegel: Dr. Kent, Dr. Kent, what would be your response to Mr. Buttnor's claim that anyone can leave. It's completely voluntary.
Dr. Kent: The accounts that I've read and the accounts that I've heard from people speak against the voluntary nature of certainly the RPF program. People all are always under guard. Indeed, one of the descriptions of an RPF camp in Hemet, California talks about being behind a wired fence with ground sensors, guards who allegedly have guns, and so on. Again, people are not assigned to the RPF with any kind of external legal representation, nor are they assigned for a specific length of time. They are assigned as long as it takes for them to convince the people in charge of the camps that they have come back in line with the way leadership wants them to act and believe as Scientologists. So again, people don't have to take either Mr. Buttnor's or my word for it; they can get on the internet and do a web-search on Rehabilitation Project Force. Last time I did it I think I got about a hundred and twenty seven hits, and in those hits are court affidavits, and personal statements of people who have been through the program.
Al Buttnor: Now, there's a big difference between talking to an ex member of a religion and talking to somebody who's an actual participating member of a religion. Individuals who have completed the RPF basically are rehabilitated in their attitudes towards life and livingness. They feel refreshed, they feel improved, and that's the way it's supposed to be, and I think your mischaracterization of these Church activities as being somewhat dark is really deceptive. And I think the fact...
Dr. Kent: Oh, no, it's not deceptive at all, Al.
Al Buttnor: Well, it is, Stephen; it is. I mean, you haven't been willing to meet with me for six years, have you, Stephen.
Howie Siegel: Wait, wait. Hold on a second, Dr. Kent.
Dr. Kent: Sure.
Howie Siegel: Al has just said that you haven't been willing to meet with him for six years. Now I don't think that that's so relevant actually Al, forgive me. What your personal relationship is is really quite beside the point. We're really interested in...
Dr. Kent: Also not true Howie, but ah...
Howie Siegel: Well it, OK. I really...
Dr. Kent: But I don't want to get into personal issues here; let's talk about Scientology.
Howie Siegel: Let's talk about Scientology. Now we've got Dr. Stephen Kent on the line from the University of Alberta, and we've got Al Buttnor on the line from Toronto who's a spokesman for Scientology. Let me ask Al a question. Al, I asked you this on the phone yesterday; I'll ask it to you again. Now, I spoke to you at length yesterday. I have very good instincts. You seem like a very nice person, a appreciable person, and a sincere person.
Al Buttnor: Mmm-hmm.
Howie Siegel: But I asked you yesterday: is it possible that your leaders are abusing people, and are corrupted at a level you're not familiar with. It has happened before. Isn't that a possibility?
Al Buttnor: Well, I'm going to tell you Howie, at this stage of the game, No.
Howie Siegel: Why do you say that? It's happened in so many other religions and so many other endeavours where the people at the top are committing corruptions, and the people at the bottom, now you yourself you're not part of this Sea Org. Maybe it's going on and you don't know it.
Al Buttnor: Well Howie, our leaders are very accessible, All right. We have presentations from the leaders in the Church on an average of once every two months. And, I tell you, the leaps and gains that Scientology is making in the world are tremendous, and if there were anything like that going on, I'll tell you those gains would not be happening.
Howie Siegel: Dr. Kent, is it possible that the abuses are at the higher levels and at the more ordinary levels perhaps that Mr. Buttnor acts at that the abuses aren't going on?
Dr. Kent: It certainly is likely that abuses may be going on at the higher levels. It's also the case too that Scientologists as members of the organization are prohibited from saying anything negative about the practices, the beliefs or the activities...
Howie Siegel: Let me ask Al that. Dr. Kent, let me ask Al that. Al?
Al Buttnor: Yup.
Howie Siegel: Are you allowed to criticize Scientology? Can you say something bad about L. Ron Hubbard or about Scientology?
Al Buttnor: Well if I have a criticism, I keep it within the Church, and I think that the point of the matter here is if Mr. Kent is worried about...
Howie Siegel: No, I want to, I asked you; could you say anything bad about... Is everything that L. Ron Hubbard wrote, is that scripture, is it challengeable?
Al Buttnor: Yes, it is, it is scripture to us. I take matters up within the Church, you know. Taking...
Howie Siegel: Is there anything...in 18 years, is there anything you could to us that you didn't like about Scientology? I want to see if whether, you know, forgive me, but if you're really a free person, and your mind is free...
Al Buttnor: Mmm-hmm.
Howie Siegel: You should be able to express a simple criticism. I don't think it's ...I could say a thousand things bad about Jews, if you want to hear me, but the subject is on Scientology. So just say some one little bad thing about Scientology.
Al Buttnor: Well, I'm not going to do that, Howie.
Howie Siegel: Please?
Al Buttnor: Because...
Howie Siegel: Please? Please. Just one little thing.
Al Buttnor: Well, let me tell you why. Look. Why don't you let me appreciate my religion. If you want to say bad things in relationship to your experiences in your religion...
Howie Siegel: We're too forceful. We're too pushy.
Al Buttnor: If you want to publicize them, that's fine.
Howie Siegel: We're too pushy.
Al Buttnor: I prefer to keep it to myself, and deal with people within the Church. All right.
Howie Siegel: OK. Thank you. Thank you, Al. So, where were we?
Al Buttnor: No I just wanted to make another point.
Howie Siegel: All right.
Al Buttnor: If what Mr. Kent is saying is so wrong with Scientology in these forced labour camps, how come he has not written us in relationship to those and taken some effective action to correct them. I'm very concerned about the fact that he's making these serious charges... I'm just going to read something from the British House of Lords Report on Germany, All right. And this is...
Howie Siegel: No, listen, again, we really can't, we shouldn't get into documents, because I've got loads of documents, here. Talk to me from your heart, Al.
Al Buttnor: OK, I'll talk to you from my heart...
Howie Siegel: Tell me from your heart, tell me from your heart.
Al Buttnor: You know, there are 30,000 people over in Germany that are being oppressed because of their religious belief, and to characterize them because they belong to a certain religion as somehow deviant or somehow different or somehow they should be banned, I think is disgusting. And I, personally as I said earlier, I'm shocked and I'm sorry that a Canadian would go over and do this, and, you know, I hope somewhere down the road Mr. Kent will actually find it in his heart to look uncritically at Scientology, and see it for what it is and the benefits that it has for people.
Howie Siegel: Well Al, when we come back from a short break, we're going to see if Dr. Kent has had a change of heart. I'm Howie Siegel, this is AM 900, 384-0900, and we're talking about Scientology.
Neil Kelly: We're back on Siegel, AM 900, 384-0900.
Howie Siegel: Scientology. For the last hour we've been talking with Dr. Stephen Kent from the University of Alberta, professor of sociology, who's not a friend of Scientology, and Al Buttnor from Toronto who is a Scientologist, and has been for 18 years. I was a very exciting exchange; but if you missed it, I can't tell you that there was any consensus. Mr. Buttnor feels that Scientology is being vilified in the worst possible way, particularly in Germany, where there's a movement afoot to, well, outlaw the movement, if nothing else. Dr. Kent feels that there may be some justification - that Scientologists are acting unlawfully. Gentlemen, I appreciate your sticking on the line. We're going to be going to a break soon. You're more than welcome to hold on, and we can continue our conversation. I have Wesley Wakefield in Vancouver. Wesley is part of the Bible Holiness Movement. Wesley, what is the Bible Holiness Movement?
Wesley Wakefield: It's an evangelical missionary society patterned somewhat after Methodism, of John Wesley.
Howie Siegel: I see, well ah...
Wesley Wakefield: My name almost tells you who I am.
Howie Siegel: Well of course, John Wesley. Did you go to Wesleyan?
Wesley Wakefield: Ah, pardon me?
Howie Siegel: Did you go to Wesleyan?
Wesley Wakefield: I've taken Wesleyan theological studies, yes.
Howie Siegel: OK. And...
Wesley Wakefield: But not to the school.
Howie Siegel: And essentially, John Wesley believed what?
Wesley Wakefield: John Wesley's main belief was that you could experience God's grace.
Howie Siegel: And do you believe in...
Wesley Wakefield: And that experience would transform your life.
Howie Siegel: Do you believe in predestination? Does God predetermine who's going to be graced, do you have any way of knowing or do you find out...
Wesley Wakefield: Well, I think we all do, even yourself would, in that we believe God foreknows, if we believe that God is eternal.
Howie Siegel: Do you have to be a Christian...
Wesley Wakefield: I think... Pardon me?
Howie Siegel: Do you have to be a Christian to be blessed by God?
Wesley Wakefield: What about Abraham?
Howie Siegel: Well, no, for instance could a Scientologist, well, yeah, what about Abraham, that's what I'm asking, could a Scientologist who...
Wesley Wakefield: Abraham was blessed by God above most, because he was submitted to God...
Howie Siegel: I see.
Wesley Wakefield: Even, we all honour him, even the Jews and the Islam in their own way, and Christians honour him, at least, real Christians do.
Howie Siegel: So in other words you don't have to be a Christian to be blessed by God.
Wesley Wakefield: I think "Christian"'s only a label.
Howie Siegel: OK. So, tell us why you're participating in this conversation.
Wesley Wakefield: I'm interested in the religious freedom aspect of it. And I'm rather concerned it involves Germany, especially after East Germany's previous record and the German's previous record prior to the World War where they had an agreement, as you know, with the Pope made by Hitler with Cardinal Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius the XII, and that agreement was that a percentage of German wages at source would be paid to the Church, and this later included the Lutheran Church, but not at that time. Now, this gives somewhat of a money motivation for some of the larger churches to sit by idly while some smaller ones - and it's not just Scientology alone: others are involved - because any time a person leaves the two main groups it means those tow main groups are suffering a loss of money that's being paid to them under this agreement.
Howie Siegel: You know the problem is that Dr. Kent has asserted that Scientology is only partially a religious movement, and that it's really its corporate activities that are illegal. It is not as a religion that Dr. Kent has a problem with Scientology; it is its other manifestations that he finds so problematic.
Wesley Wakefield: Well, I think that you'll understand that any religion affects total corporate activities; look at the Church of Rome, look right now in Russia where they have the Orthodox Church has made itself the official body, and wants other bodies to wait 15 years before they can practice. And the Roman Church has laid out affairs for rules for corporate societies and you look back in their history, and it's very much so. Islam does the same thing.
Howie Siegel: Well, I'm afraid that I must agree with you; generally speaking, it's almost impossible to go after a church or an organization as much as democratic society and scruples demand that we go after the individuals. It's very difficult to...
Wesley Wakefield: Right. Right. And you know, I'm not a Scientologist. I belong to a conversionary type of religion. People find that difficult, they find it difficult that we're evangelical in our faith. I have no problem with them finding difficulty there. But the thing is, I find a serious problem with a country that says "you're all equal", but it's like the old Orwell's _Animal Farm_? Where the pigs put up a sign: "All animals are equal; some are more equal than others."
Howie Siegel: Well, Wesley, compared to some, I'm a Hapsburg.
Wesley Wakefield: Are you?
Howie Siegel: [laughs]
Wesley Wakefield: Well, I'm Irish.
Howie Siegel: Well, God bless you.
Wesley Wakefield: [laughs] Yes.
Howie Siegel: What's a nice Irish boy doing being a Wesleyan? You should be a Papist, like the rest of your ilk. Or at least, I shouldn't say that, you could be an Orangeman too, of course.
Wesley Wakefield: Well, we are from the South; we were driven out by the English during the Potato Famine.
Howie Siegel: Well, listen, I want to tell you a story about...all families have their problems. You know when Jesus chased the moneychangers out of the temple?
Wesley Wakefield: Right.
Howie Siegel: That's when my family lost all their money.
Wesley Wakefield: Well, I think maybe they found something better then.
Howie Siegel: I hope so. Listen, Wesley, thanks you for talking with us. Wesley Wakefield from the Bible Holiness Movement in Vancouver speaks for tolerance in Germany. I'm here with Neil Kelly, I'm Howie Siegel, it's AM 900, we're...
Wesley Wakefield: Let me give you a...
Howie Siegel: Excuse me, but we're going to go to the traffic, my friend.
Wesley Wakefield: OK.
Howie Siegel: What did you say, Neil? Speak up, Neil; you have a voice. I don't understand sign language; what are you saying? Talk into the microphone. I don't read lips, Neil. Just say it to me. Say it to me. Say it.
Wesley Wakefield: Well, we're going to break away for the news, and when we come back, who's up?
Howie Siegel: Well, we're going to talk to, I don't know. Al, are you going to stick around, Dr. Stephen Kent you're welcome to stick around we'll pick up all the charges, of course. And Wesley's on the line from the Bible Holiness Movement, and we're going to speak to Martin Hunt who was a Scientologist for two years in 1988 and 1989, and we're going to talk to Paul Grosswald from New York who was a Scientologist several years ago. So I hope you're going to stick around, we're going to talk to Scientology and Scientologists here on Siegel.
[end of first hour]
Neil Kelly: And we're back on Siegel, AM 900, 384-0900.
Howie Siegel: A very atypical Siegel show. I'm here with Neil Kelly. For the last hour we've been talking about Scientology. We've had Dr. Stephen Kent on the line, professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta; professor Kent has just returned from Germany, where he was involved in a press conference discussing Scientology, and Al Buttnor, a practising Scientologist for the last 18 years is on the line from Toronto. And these gentlemen have been mixing it up for the last hour; it's very interesting. I can't tell you that there's been a lot of consensus - not at all, as a matter of fact; they're still butting heads. Now we're going to introduce another fly into the ointment; his name is Martin Hunt, and he lives in Victoria since 1992, he's a Vancouver boy. In 1988 and 1989 he was a practising Scientologist, and today he isn't. Martin, thank you for coming on the show.
Martin Hunt: Thank you, Howie.
Howie Siegel: I appreciate it, I appreciate it very much. What are your feelings abut Scientology?
Martin Hunt: Well, I feel a lot hasn't really been said about the core beliefs of what I would tend to call a cult. For example, I've got some quotes here in front of me written by the Founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and one of them says "never fear to hurt another in a just cause", and Scientology has, over the years, carried out this policy in attacking its critics: anyone who speaks out against it. For instance, authors have written books...Paulette Cooper wrote a book called _The Scandal of Scientology_, and was attacked and threatened, framed up with a bomb threat, and sued 19 times under another Scientology policy simply for writing a book and expressing her beliefs.
Howie Siegel: Are you worried about being punished for coming on the air with me?
Martin Hunt: Well it is a concern, and a lot of ex-Scientologists are scared to speak out against the cult, because their beliefs basically justify attacking anyone who attacks them. And by "attacking them", if someone merely criticizes them, that is seen as an "attack".
Howie Siegel: I see. Well, tell us about your personal experiences with Scientology.
Martin Hunt: I was in Scientology for a couple years; I was a staff member in Vancouver, and I was sent down to Los Angeles for "training", where I did 18 courses. And I noticed Al Buttnor before mentioned the RPF, and how Dr. Stephen Kent hadn't seen the RPF, well I've seen it.
Howie Siegel: You have?
Martin Hunt: I've seen it; I was in fact a supervisor for the RPF.
Howie Siegel: Now, the RPF is the Rehabilitation...
Martin Hunt: Rehabilitation Project Force is basically a prison camp for Scientologists who speak out against the cult or...
Howie Siegel: Now.
Martin Hunt: ...do some infraction, don't produce enough money and go "downstat", it's called, down statistics, then they are sent to the Rehabilitation Project Force. It's not really a very voluntary thing.
Howie Siegel: I see. Now, Al Buttnor said that in fact it was a second chance for orthodox Scientologists, a chance for them to reload themselves or refresh themselves, that in fact it's a way for a wayward Scientologist to get better, so to speak.
Martin Hunt: Well, I've spoken to many ex-Scientologists who were in the Rehabilitation Project Force, and they didn't really see it that way. I know one in particular who I'm exchanging a lot of email with over the internet who ran away from the thing, and he basically considered it a prison camp. He was locked up, there was barbed wire; this was in California.
Howie Siegel: There were people forbidding him to go?
Martin Hunt: He was forbidden to go, and there were guards to keep people in.
Howie Siegel: I see; where was this in California?
Martin Hunt: This was in Hemet.
Howie Siegel: The old...I went to Gilman Hot Springs when I was a kid.
Martin Hunt: You did?
Howie Siegel: That was like a Jewish Kosher resort when I was a kid, and then when that fell out of favour, much like the Catskills, for instance, or Grossinger's in New York, it was bought by Scientology.
Martin Hunt: Ah, interesting...
Howie Siegel: Yeah, I was at Gilman Hot Springs as a kid. In any case I...
Martin Hunt: Anyway, this is one of their world, this is sort of a world headquarters for them now, sort of one of their main locations or focuses...
Howie Siegel: OK, but Martin...
Martin Hunt: The cult has many different levels, and Gilman Hot Springs is an extreme example of Scientology, like an extreme...
Howie Siegel: This is one thing that I've discovered is that there are devotees, initiates who are attracted to Scientology, and who are brought up in a series of gradual steps.
Martin Hunt: Right. And, for example, for listeners in Victoria, just to bring it home here a little bit, there's a mission that has just opened up in downtown Victoria on Johnson Street. This is a very low-level affair; these used to be called "franchises" when Scientology was seen as a business. Hubbard originally established it as a business, not as a religion. And people who go there won't really see the extremes that can happen up at higher levels, especially on their ships and in their higher-level camps and higher-level areas.
Howie Siegel: Is that where the abuses take place?
Martin Hunt: That's where the abuses mainly take place, yes. And the local mission acts basically as a funnel to take people in, give them a little bit of training, hopefully sign them on a staff contract, funnel them to Vancouver, and then they're funneled down to Los Angeles.
Howie Siegel: OK; so a staff contract. By the way, we're talking to Martin Hunt, ex-Scientologist here on Siegel, AM 900, 384-0900. We have Al Buttnor on the line from Toronto; he's a Scientologist, and we'll give him full chance to respond to Martin and Dr. Stephen Kent on the line from Alberta. You sign a contract; are you talking about money now?
Martin Hunt: Staff are supposed to be paid, however the actual pay usually comes to a matter of $15 or $20 per week, it's usually very minimal. It used to be better back when the cult was more successful back in the 70s people were possibly paid more. Yes, the staff contracts. At the higher levels at the Sea Organization the staff sign a one billion year contract, but at the lower level it's 3 or 5 years.
Howie Siegel: OK, you've lost me a little.
Martin Hunt: Mmm-hmm?
Howie Siegel: The people who work for Scientology at the Victoria level make $15 or $20 a week.
Martin Hunt: Probably, yes.
Howie Siegel: So they're basically volunteers?
Martin Hunt: Basically, yes, I suppose you could say they are volunteers.
Howie Siegel: Well, we have religious volunteers in all religions; that's not extraordinary by any means. People feel altruistic, and they want to contribute. But, when you come into Scientology, what is the money situation in Scientology?
Martin Hunt: Well, it's interesting you bring up money; one of their prime policies is called the steps...or the Governing Policy of Scientology, and it lists out a series of steps of what's supposed to be done. This is the Governing Policy; step A is make money, step J is make money, K is make more money, and step L of this policy is to make other people produce so as to make more money.
Howie Siegel: What are you reading from right now?
Martin Hunt: This is a quote, as a matter of fact it is from L. Ron Hubbard, and it's one of his bulletins or policy letters.
Howie Siegel: OK. So, all religions are interested in money. My son...
Martin Hunt: Scientology focuses on it to an excess, though. I mean, one thing that hasn't been brought up here is that the people who go to the top level of Scientology, to OT 8, as it's called, end up spending about three hundred and sixty thousand American dollars to get there. I don't know; in the Catholic religion they may pass around a plate and people may put on a dollar or two, and if they have the money, you know, they will and if they don't they won't. But nobody says that to achieve a certain level you need to pay $1,599.59 plus tax, please.
Howie Siegel: So, in other words, every level of Scientology has a price tag on it?
Martin Hunt: A price tag set on it, fixed in policy, and charged and run through Visa or Mastercard. It's not really very religious; it's more businesslike.
Howie Siegel: And if you don't have the money but you're orthodox, you want to progress in Scientology?
Martin Hunt: You do have one option: you can sign a staff contract, basically in servitude, and do them, get them done under, get the things for free, as a staff member.
Howie Siegel: You get...
Martin Hunt: But remember, it's not really "free", since you've signed a contract to give them all your time, so it's your time going to them instead of your money. They want your resources, basically.
Howie Siegel: I see. Well listen, we're talking to Martin Hunt who was a Scientologist. What are your feelings about Scientology now? You've left...it's been 7-8 years, do you have any positive feelings about Scientology?
Martin Hunt: It's perhaps not an entirely negative experience; I'm not really concerned about the religious angles of it and whether... and you know a lot of people are there in Scientology for good motives; they want spiritual freedom. My concern is that they are being exploited and being used to make money.
Howie Siegel: Do you consider it a cult?
Martin Hunt: Yes I do.
Howie Siegel: When somebody speaks positively of Scientology, are they brainwashed?
Martin Hunt: Well, they're operating under a specific policy when they do this; the policy is Good Roads and Fair Weather. They're just supposed to talk about good things, and people in Scientology are trained to say these things. Whether these are really their feelings or not, I don't know, since it's a written-down policy to interact with people in this way. Sometimes you get the feeling you're not really dealing with a real person.
Howie Siegel: So if what you're saying is accurate, when I asked Al Buttnor to say something negative about Scientology...
Martin Hunt: He would not. That's right; he refused.
Howie Siegel: Well, he couldn't, then.
Martin Hunt: Well, he can't, really. Criticism of Scientology is considered a *crime* as a matter of fact, you know. It's if you criticize Scientology, you're a "criminal".
Howie Siegel: OK. Let's...
Martin Hunt: It's kind of extreme.
Howie Siegel: Let's go to Al Buttnor in Toronto. Al, are you there?
Al Buttnor: Yes I am.
Howie Siegel: Al, have you been listening to Martin Hunt?
Al Buttnor: Yes, I've been listening very interestedly in.
Howie Siegel: Any response?
Al Buttnor: Well, I think you need to start a paranoid club out in Western Canada.
Howie Siegel: Let me ask you Martin; are you paranoid?
Martin Hunt: Not particularly, no. Possibly I'm a little concerned about how Scientology has targetted and gone after critics in the past; and I'm not speaking, I'm not really making it up. You're not really paranoid if they're actually out to get you.
Al Buttnor: Well, I think it's the other way around, Martin. I think we had to phone the police back in 95 about your threats.
Martin Hunt: Is that a fact?
Al Buttnor: That is a fact.
Howie Siegel: Did you make any threats?
Martin Hunt: Absolutely not. Be interested to know what he's talking about.
Al Buttnor: Well, you were visited by a detective Ken Rogers, and he met with you about the death-threats you had put onto the internet, I believe.
Martin Hunt: Oh, were these certain printed-out documents you alleged to be mine? I noticed that these same documents were used down in Clearwater...
Al Buttnor: [talking over]
Howie Siegel: Al, Al, wait one second. Gentlemen, gentlemen; one at a time, please.
Martin Hunt: Sure.
Howie Siegel: He said...is there any basis to this story?
Martin Hunt: Absolutely none. These same documents were used to get a temporary restraining order against Dennis Erlich when he was down in Clearwater, at Flag, protesting their organization. This same document he attributed to me he also attributed to Dennis Erlich. [chuckle] Which one of us wrote it, Al Buttnor?
Al Buttnor: Well, I, I do have...
Martin Hunt: You're using the same document for two different people.
Al Buttnor: I just have a report, Martin.
Martin Hunt: Yes, well your report isn't accurate.
Al Buttnor: I don't even know you, Martin.
Martin Hunt: To put it mildly.
Al Buttnor: Oh. Well. OK. Look...
Howie Siegel: So, Al, I must tell you.
Al Buttnor: Sure.
Howie Siegel: And I spoke to you last night and I told you sincerely that you sound like a swell guy.
Al Buttnor: Mmm-Hmm.
Howie Siegel: But I've talked to so many people in the last few days setting up this show.
Al Buttnor: Mmm-Hmm.
Howie Siegel: And the ones that concern me the most are the ex-Scientologists who are afraid to speak to me on the radio about their experiences in Scientology for fear of retribution. Now, I'm not going to give you their names; I've promised them anonymity. But you must believe me as I believe you, and I believe you are a sincere person, that I am sincere in telling you that they are afraid to go on the air with me, and I was warned that if I was to go on the air and malign Scientology and talk about quote "confidential doctrines" that my happiness would be under attack.
Al Buttnor: Well, you know, I don't know what to say to you, you know.
Martin Hunt: Well, Al, Howie, I can answer that. Basically he's operating under the Fair Game policy...
Al Buttnor: [talking over] No, no, let me...
Howie Siegel: Gentlemen, gentlemen; we'll go to the weather, we'll go to the traffic, we'll talk about something absolutely meaningless, and then when we come back we'll give everybody a chance to speak. So, thanks for your patience. Neil Kelly.
Neil Kelly: We're back on Siegel, AM 900, 384-0900.
Howie Siegel: Scientology. Scientology, Scientology, Scientology. In the studio, Martin Hunt, he was a Scientologist in 1988 and 1989; he's living in Victoria. On the line, Al Buttnor; he is a Scientologist and has been for the last 18 years. Before the break, I asked Al why so many people seemingly were afraid to talk to me about Scientology, so many ex-Scientologists were afraid to talk to me for fear of retribution. I was warned not to talk about Scientology in a negative way, or that my life would be made miserable, and Al had an answer to that before we went to the break. Al, are you there?
Al Buttnor: [very quiet] Sure. Look, you know, I don't know who you've been talking to, Howie. Now, the response to Scientology is popularity, as far as I'm concerned. The people I talk to, I'm on a number of interfaith committees out here in Ontario, I'm on a lot of other committees relating to city activities [click]...Hello?
Howie Siegel: Yeah, I'm here, I'm here; I'm listening.
Al Buttnor: OK. And I don't have any problem with it.
Howie Siegel: Well, you know what I think?
Al Buttnor: Can I just finish?
Howie Siegel: No, Absolutely, Al; Absolutely.
Al Buttnor: All right. Look. And you've been talking to a cadre of individuals who have somehow not been able to get on with their lives, and start taking up as their cause so-called the Church of Scientology. I have a letter here from Mr. Hunt, if he wants to deny death threats...
Martin Hunt: Speaking of policy, I mean that's Dead Agent material; that's what that is.
Al Buttnor: [talking over]
Howie Siegel: But Al, I have to tell you Al, I'm not talking to a cadre of anybody; there were people I had known in school that I hadn't talked to in 30 years, and I found out about them, you know, I came back into Scientology, I called them up, I heard that they had been practicing Scientology. So I'm not talking to a cadre or cabal of anti-Scientologists at all...
Al Buttnor: Well...
Howie Siegel: ...Not even a little bit; but listen, I've got somebody on the line. This guy just called; his name is Gregg Hagglund, and Gregg...
Al Buttnor: [quietly] This is a set-up.
Howie Siegel: ...Gregg, are you on the line?
Gregg Hagglund: Oh yeah; I'm right here.
Al Buttnor: [too quiet to be sure] I'm not talking anymore...
Howie Siegel: What do you think? You've been listening to the show, tell us about yourself.
Gregg Hagglund: Well, I've listened to the show only since the last 20 minutes...
Al Buttnor: [quietly again] This is a set-up.
Howie Siegel: Yeah...
Gregg Hagglund: But Mr. Buttnor, of course, sounds very sincere, but he's trained that way, I mean it's part of the package. Mr. Buttnor is never going to admit the actual facts because he can't. He's governed by certain laws and regulations within Scientology and...
Howie Siegel: Are you tell...
Gregg Hagglund: ...he's entitled to that faith.
Howie Siegel: Gregg, Are you telling me that Scientologists are brainwashed?
Gregg Hagglund: Ah, to a certain extent, yes. There is a certain amount of - I wouldn't call it "brainwashing" - ever read _1984_?
Howie Siegel: Yes.
Gregg Hagglund: Thought reform. That's talking about is thought reform here. Now, I long long long long time ago practiced hypnotism, as a stage act, and I got really educated by a professional about not to do that because it's dangerous. But when I stumbled upon Scientology's inner workings last October and I read some of the auditing processes, my jaw dropped. Raw, plain, hypnotic techniques, step by step, getting ahold of your willful...
Al Buttnor: Ah, ha ha [laughs]
Gregg Hagglund: ...suspension of disbelief, step by step, until finally you're willing to believe things like OT III, where Xenu created the body thetans by blowing us all up in volcanoes, billions of us, 75,000,000 years ago, and then implanting, according to Hubbard, God and Christ as evil implants. Now what I want to know, and what I stand out in front of the Toronto org at least three times so far organizing pickets, I hand out a pamphlet about Xenu, which reveals this truth...
Howie Siegel: Now, Xenu Xenu...
Gregg Hagglund: ...this truth in Scientology.
Howie Siegel: Excuse me.
Gregg Hagglund: And you know what?
Howie Siegel: Yeah.
Gregg Hagglund: They don't tell people going through the door about that. You know why? I don't think a Christian or a Jew or a Moslem or anyone else who believes in Christ or a monotheist belief is going to walk through the door of Scientology for two seconds...
Howie Siegel: Let me clarify something, Gregg. By the way, where are you calling from?
Gregg Hagglund: Oakville Ontario, just South of Toronto.
Howie Siegel: OK. I want to tell you about Xenu, or at least my listening audience - obviously don't have to tell you about Xenu. Xenu, according to L. Ron Hubbard, was in charge of all the planets 75,000,000 years ago, including Earth, and all these planets had an overload and overpopulation of a 178 billion people, and so they were brought to Earth, where, in fact, they were blown up, their bodies were disintegrated, but their souls survived, and those souls aliens are now residing in all humans. Now is that basically the philosophy of Scientology?
Gregg Hagglund: Yeah, they're basically stuck to us, the clusters, body thetans, and you have to pay many many thousands and thousands of dollars in the higher levels once this is revealed to you.
Howie Siegel: Right. You can't just...
Gregg Hagglund: And get rid of these things.
Howie Siegel: They don't tell you that when you walk in.
Gregg Hagglund: No no no, when you go in...
Howie Siegel: Off the sidewalk.
Gregg Hagglund: ...to work on yourself and improve yourself and get over your reactive mind, and when you get to the point you're clear you find out that that's all bull, you were making up the fact that you had a reactive mind, if I understand correctly, and what the problems is, you have these body thetans, the body thetans from Xenu's evil acts, and Hubbard wrote at that point - and Scientology has sued people and spent millions trying to hide this fact - Hubbard wrote at that point that God and Christ are evil implants. Now, I'm not a Christian, OK? But I happen to believe in God. And I find it outrageous...
Martin Hunt: It's bait and switch, Gregg, plain and simple: bait and switch.
Gregg Hagglund: That's right.
Martin Hunt: Yup.
Gregg Hagglund: Hello, Martin.
Martin Hunt: Hi.
Gregg Hagglund: Absolutely, absolutely outrageous they don't do that when you walk in. When you walk into a Christian church they hand you a bible and if you ask questions, they say "yes, we believe that Jesus died for all our sins, and rose from the dead, and we have this ceremony where we go through ritual cannibalization." And you know what? I don't find that outrageous, because people find out about that from day one. OK?
Howie Siegel: Listen, Gregg?
Gregg Hagglund: You don't walk into Scientology and get told that Xenu the galactic overload, overlord; "overload", yeah.
Howie Siegel: Gregg?
Gregg Hagglund: Overlord, and there's no God or Christ.
Howie Siegel: Gregg.
Gregg Hagglund: Because Christians and Muslims and Jews would not have anything to do with it.
Howie Siegel: Gregg, we have to go to a break. You've made your point, and when we come back from the break I hope that Al in Scientology will be able to give us an answer.
Gregg Hagglund: Yeah, well, you'll have to give him a chance to look it up in his script.
Howie Siegel: [laughs] We'll ask Al. And now, Neil Kelly with his religion, which is basically centered around the traffic and the news.
Neil Kelly: And we'll be right back after this newsbreak for another half hour of this stimulating topic.
Neil Kelly: We're back on Siegel, AM 900, 384-0900, star-900 if you're on a cell-phone. Howie?
Howie Siegel: Neil, we're talking about Scientology, and before the break we were talking to Gregg Hagglund, who's still on the line. Gregg essentially said that when people are first approached to...interested in Scientology they're not told that much much later on in the game when they're already into Scientology for thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars they find out that there's an other-worldly science-fiction Genesis to Earth. In fact, 75,000,000 years ago there was a ruler named Xenu who blew up aliens and these aliens souls are populating our human bodies, and that in fact Scientology does not believe in Christ. And now I want to go to Al Buttnor in Toronto, who is a Scientologist, and ask Al what his response is to Gregg's charges.
Al Buttnor: Well I have a question for you Howie...
Howie Siegel: Please.
Al Buttnor: How does a guy in Oakville hear your show?
Howie Siegel: It was on the net. Someone put it on the net that we were having a show.
Al Buttnor: I see.
Howie Siegel: So he called in; I've never Gregg Hagglund before, nor had I ever heard of him, Al.
Martin Hunt: Well, Al, you're in Toronto, are you not? So...
Al Buttnor: Then he just happens to get on your show out of all the people in Victoria.
Howie Siegel: Is this, do you find that maybe I'm part of a conspiracy against Scientology? Is that what you're implying?
Al Buttnor: Well, I'm asking you.
Howie Siegel: I'm telling you the truth; I've never heard of Gregg Hagglund before. I've never talked to him. The first time I ever saw his name mentioned was ten minutes ago when my engineer put a piece of paper in front of me that said "Gregg Hagglund is on the line." I didn't even know where he was calling from.
Al Buttnor: Well...
Howie Siegel: But when I talked to Stephen and Martin, obviously one of those gentlemens put the information on the net that this show was going to take place...
Al Buttnor: I see...
Howie Siegel: And that's how I assume that he found out about it, but it was not by my withal that it took place...
Al Buttnor: OK. Fair enough.
Howie Siegel: So, in any case, what about this science-fiction stuff; is this true?
Al Buttnor: Well, I have a little problem with Mr. Hagglund's position.
Howie Siegel: Yeah, but what about the science...forget Hagglund.
Al Buttnor: Can I, can I, can I finish what I'm saying?
Howie Siegel: Forget Hagglund. But can't we just talk about Scientology?
Al Buttnor: Well, I would like to know why Mr. Hagglund is posting pictures of our staffs and public and children onto the internet.
Howie Siegel: I want...Al...let's...Al, Al; it's not about Hagglund, it's about Scientology. Is it true about...
Al Buttnor: Well, can I just say something?
Howie Siegel: Do Scientologists believe in Christ? Do Scientologists believe in Christ?
Al Buttnor: It's up to the individual.
Howie Siegel: Do, well, Ron Hubbard...
Al Buttnor: We're not a Christian church.
Howie Siegel: Ron Hubbard does not believe in Christ. Ron Hubbard said there was no Christ.
Al Buttnor: Howie, we're not a Christian church.
Howie Siegel: So you don't believe in Christ?
Al Buttnor: It's not, we've never professed to be a Christian church.
Howie Siegel: OK. So you don't, but Ron Hubbard said there was no Christ.
Al Buttnor: Well, that's not true.
Howie Siegel: Yeah, well, I have a tape of Hubbard saying there was no Christ.
Al Buttnor: Well, OK...
Howie Siegel: Would you like to hear it? Would you like to hear the tape? I'd be happy to play it for you.
Al Buttnor: Glad to say to you, glad to play it.
Howie Siegel: OK, I'm going to play it right now. On October 3rd 1968, onboard the Apollo which was Ron Hubbard's cruise ship, his Sea Org headquarters, he addressed what was called the first class of OT 8, and in fact, he said...
Al Buttnor: When was this?
Howie Siegel: He said there was no Christ, and now we're going to play of the actual L. Ron Hubbard saying that.
L. Ron Hubbard: Every man, is been shown to have been crucified, so don't think that it's an accident that this crucifixion may found out to be crucified. [unclear] Somebody, somewhere on this planet, back about 600 BC, found some pieces of R6. And I don't know how they found it, either by watching madmen or something, but since that time they have used it, and it became what is known as "Christianity." Ah, the man on the cross: there was no Christ. But the man on the cross is shown as every man, so of course each piece of a person seeing a crucified man has an immediate feeling of sympathy for this man. Therefore, you get many PCs who say they are Christ. Now, there's two reasons for that, one is that the Roman empire...
Howie Siegel: Now, Al? As you heard clearly that was L. Ron Hubbard in 1968 saying "the man on the cross", and I'm quoting, "the man on the cross: there was no Christ." So that is in fact what Hagglund said. Now...
Al Buttnor: Well, OK, I can tell you other tapes where he does say there is a Christ, or where there was somebody...Christ, as Christ, yes.
Howie Siegel: OK, so he was confused.
Al Buttnor: Well, he, he...you're taking something out of context.
Howie Siegel: Well, he was inconsistent.
Al Buttnor: Scientology is a rather large and expansive religious philosophy. There's a lot of various points to be made on various aspects of life, and you're taking one little point...
Howie Siegel: OK.
Al Buttnor: ...and trying to blow it out of context. If you want to, that's your right. OK?
Howie Siegel: OK, fair enough; I'll accept that. Fair enough. What about this science-fiction stuff about 75,000,000 years ago aliens, overpopulation, all that stuff.
Al Buttnor: Well, you know, all I can say...all I can say is you know, look. In Scientology, you're rising to be yourself as a spiritual being. We've lived a long time. I can't comment on what Mr. Hagglund says because I have no personal knowledge of what he's talking about.
Howie Siegel: How far, Al. how far have you risen in Scientology? What is your rank right now?
Al Buttnor: Well, as far as spiritual level, you mean?
Martin Hunt: OT level.
Al Buttnor: Well, I'm a clear.
Howie Siegel: Oh, congratulations!
Al Buttnor: Thank you.
Howie Siegel: Thank you, congratulations; I know that's very difficult. How much did it cost you to become clear?
Al Buttnor: Ah, well; not very much, actually.
Howie Siegel: Really? How much?
Al Buttnor: Well, it happens to be personal. You know...
Howie Siegel: Well.
Al Buttnor: My contributions to my church are my thing. How much do you give to your synagogue?
Martin Hunt: But Al; they're not "contributions", they're fixed costs.
Howie Siegel: Well, let's see.
Al Buttnor: How much do you give to your synagogue?
Howie Siegel: The shul, it's $900 per year for membership a year, and then there's the donation to the local Jewish charity, the Israel, if you want it, I give $400 to the Victoria, I give $600 to Israel, I give $900 for my membership, and then if the kids go to, you know, Hebrew school or nursery school, they charge you extra.
Al Buttnor: Yep. OK.
Howie Siegel: So it costs me about, you know, whatever, a couple grand a year to be a practicing Jew in Victoria. However, if I don't have the money, I can still go to the synagogue, I can still participate. There's no difference between a member and a non-member, except I think on a vote. You know, when you vote on a board matters at the end of the year then I think that only members would get a vote. But other than that, there would be absolutely no discrimination. I wouldn't know if somebody's a member or if somebody isn't a member. So I think a lot of people are concerned about the amounts of money that go through Scientology.
Al Buttnor: Well, you know, that's something that's totally trumped-up. You know the fact is...
Howie Siegel: Do you make a living on Scientology? Are you a professional Scientologist?
Al Buttnor: I am a volunteer within my church.
Howie Siegel: Do you make any money from Scientology?
Al Buttnor: Well, I make my staff pay.
Howie Siegel: How much is that?
Al Buttnor: Well, it varies...
Howie Siegel: Give me an idea.
Al Buttnor: From $50 a week to a couple hundred dollars a week.
Howie Siegel: So, in other words, that's not really your principle source of income.
Al Buttnor: No. No, it's not.
Howie Siegel: You know I...
Al Buttnor: You know what?
Howie Siegel: No, please, go ahead.
Al Buttnor: OK. Look. I'm devoted to my religious faith.
Howie Siegel: That's obvious.
Al Buttnor: If somebody has, if somebody has a problem, that they are upset with, or that they feel is unjust, I'm certainly willing to address that.
Howie Siegel: OK.
Al Buttnor: OK? If somebody wants to chastise me for being a Scientologist or believing what I believe in, then that's not my problem.
Howie Siegel: Al.
Al Buttnor: That's their problem.
Howie Siegel: Al, you want to know the truth?
Al Buttnor: Well, it would be good to have some, I guess.
Howie Siegel: Al, I met you, well, I've been very honest with you. I've never tried to deceive you. You are a true believer, and I believe that you're sincere, and you're a very nice person, but there's so many people who don't dislike you, but have a difficulty with this organization that you believe in, that you care about very deeply. Their fear is that you are, in fact, for want of a better word, brainwashed; you're incapable of seeing the truth, that you are in fact a zombie in the name of Scientology. And that's, it's not that, they don't dislike you, it's that they can't stand what the organization has done to people. It's hurt so many people. It's cost people their happiness, their sanity - I talked to girl on Saturday who was crying because the church told her sister not to talk to her, because for 15 years she had left the Church of Scientology. For 15 years they allowed the family relationship to prosper. On Saturday she told me that the church told her "don't have anything to do with your sister or her family again until they get rid of their associations who are anti-Scientology." After, so when I hear stories like that, when Martin, who I've never met before in my life, comes in and tells me how evil Scientology is, I start to believe it. But I don't think you're evil; I think you're a nice person. But I think you're brainwashed.
Martin Hunt: Well, Howie, that policy is called "disconnection", and it's a notorious rubbing point between society and Scientology.
Howie Siegel: OK, you're listening to Martin Hunt, who was a Scientologist. And we have, on the line, yes. All the way from New York, we have Paul Grosswald. Paul, thank you for participating. Are you there, Paul?
Paul Grosswald: Yeah, I'm here.
Howie Siegel: Have you been listening to what's going on?
Paul Grosswald: Yes, I have.
Howie Siegel: Well, tell me; what do you think?
Paul Grosswald: Well, I'm a former Scientologist, and there certainly is a disconnection policy. Scientology told me that my parents were suppressive, and they tried to intercept messages from my parents and tried to break up our relationship. And the way I was able to get back together is, thank God, there were people out there who were willing to help me. So I just want your listeners to know that if they're having a problem, from Scientology or from any other cult, there are organizations they can turn to for help. And if I can just say them for a second, you have the Toronto Cult Hotline where the phonenumber is 416-410-2858, that's in Toronto. And in Montreal, there's an organization called InfoCult, the number is 514-274-2333. So there are places people can go to for help.
Howie Siegel: [talking over] And in British Columbia, if they are in trouble, they go to a bar.
Paul Grosswald: I'm sorry?
Howie Siegel: I'm just making a joke.
Paul Grosswald: Oh, OK. [laughs]
Howie Siegel: Paul, you do work with cults.
Paul Grosswald: Yeah, well I speak out about cults a lot. I've been going to colleges and highschools and trying to educate people so they can prevent themselves from getting recruited, because I think that preventative education is obviously the best education. And also, when families have problems they've called me and I've tried to help families get back in touch with their loved ones, as well.
Howie Siegel: Yeah, very...
Paul Grosswald: So I've had a lot of experience with this disconnection policy.
Howie Siegel: Paul, very briefly, because we're going to go to a break, and then when we come back we'll talk to you, how are people aware that they're dealing with a cult?
Paul Grosswald: Oh, how do they know they are dealing with a cult?
Howie Siegel: Yes.
Paul Grosswald: OK, there are certain warning signs you can watch out for, first of all the deception. I mean, in my case I wasn't even told Scientology existed; I was told I was being involved with the L. Ron Hubbard Dianetics Foundation, so the name was being used deceptively. I wasn't told up front what all the belief systems are; there's a lot of deception. If they're trying to come between the person and the loved ones and the family and the friends, that's usually a warning sign to watch out for. If the organization is using hypnotic techniques, as Gregg mentioned earlier, or if they're trying to isolate you or trying to get you to leave school, leave work, and the group starts to take over your entire life, that's a warning sign to watch out for. And if you're getting involved in an organization, you have to be very careful to ask lots of questions, and don't ever go anywhere with somebody who tells you that you have to go now because this is your only opportunity, because that's how they get you. Once in a lifetime opportunities come along every day, so don't let somebody pressure you into doing something that you don't have time to think about.
Howie Siegel: OK, Paul? Hold on to it, and when we come back from the news, we'll talk to you.
Paul Grosswald: Thanks.
Neil Kelly: We're back on Siegel, AM 900, 384-0900 to join in.
Howie Siegel: We're doing Scientology, I wish we had two more hours. Roy, you're on the line.
Howie Siegel: Go, go Roy; I know you've been waiting a long time. Forgive us, the show's packed.
Roy: I'm on the line...
Howie Siegel: You're talking, now; you're on the radio, Roy. What's on your mind?
[sound of radio in background echoing what's being said]
Neil Kelly: Roy, turn off your radio.
Roy: OK, my radio is off. But I don't see...
Howie Siegel: Roy, you're on radio now; what did you want?
Martin Hunt: Do you have a question for us, Roy?
Roy: OK, I...if I'm on...am I on the radio now?
Howie Siegel: Yes! Roy, you're on the radio!
Roy: OK, good; wonderful. I mean, I was in the Sea Organization for ten years, and I'm very familiar with the Rehabilitation Project Force, in fact at one time I actually asked to go on the Rehabilitation Project Force.
Howie Siegel: Now, that's what Dr. Stephen Kent called a labour camp, a forced labour camp.
Roy: Correct. Now...
Howie Siegel: Would you agree with that characterization?
Roy: No, not at all, actually. I think that's kind of...highly, highly, highly misquoted, highly, ridiculous, in fact.
Howie Siegel: Are you still, are you still, are you still practicing Scientology?
Roy: Yes, I am practicing Scientology, and I was a member of the Sea Organization, and when I wanted to leave the Sea Organization I certainly didn't have any armed guards in my way telling me I couldn't leave. My sister was also a member of the Sea Organization; currently she's married to a non-Scientologist, and she lives over in South Africa. She can tell you also she didn't have any armed guards preventing her from leaving. My other sister was also a member of the Church of Scientology, and she's also married to a non-Scientologist at this particular point. She also didn't have any armed guards telling her she couldn't leave.
Howie Siegel: Let me ask you a question. Are you capable of saying anything negative about Scientology?
Roy: Well, I'll tell you something, I don't have anything negative to say about Scientology.
Howie Siegel: So you can't say anything negative after ten years of dealing with a philosophy or a religion that encompasses three segments of your...you can't say anything negative?
Roy: What I can tell you Howie, is that if I look at the policies and the programs of the Church of Scientology, and if they are applied accurately as per the policies and programs of the Church of Scientology, I've nothing negative to say about it.
Howie Siegel: [sotto voce] OK.
Roy: On the other hand, one can always just as you have in the Catholic Church, I mean, if you have a priest that goes and molests young children, one could say something very negative about the priest who molests young children, but that doesn't involve the Catholic Church, does it?
Howie Siegel: No, I understand...
Roy: Even if the seniors of that particular priest cover it up, that doesn't mean to say that that religion is now bad.
Howie Siegel: You're a hundred percent right.
Roy: OK, good...
Howie Siegel: A religion should never be judged by its practitioners.
Howie Siegel: We're almost over; thank you for calling. I wish that we had five more hours, but we're going to go to the next call. People have been waiting so long.
Howie Siegel: Thank you. Karl?
Howie Siegel: Hi, Karl; you're on. You've got to speak quickly, though; we're almost out of time. Karl's gone. OK; have we got anybody else waiting? Ryan? Hi Ryan.
Brian Beaumont: Brian Beaumont.
Howie Siegel: Ryan, thank you for waiting; we've only got a moment or two. Could you make it fast?
Brian Beaumont: Yes, I have something to say.
Howie Siegel: Please.
Brian Beaumont: I've...am I on the air now?
Howie Siegel: Yes, you are; you're on radio.
Brian Beaumont: OK, my name's Brian Beaumont, and I've been a Scientologist for the past 22 years.
Howie Siegel: Where are you calling from?
Brian Beaumont: Vancouver.
Howie Siegel: Yeah.
Brian Beaumont: And I've made so many incredible good changes in my life because of the use of this religious philosophy. I just listened to Kent...
Martin Hunt: Brian, how do you pick up this radio station in Vancouver?
Howie Siegel: It goes to Vancouver; we're in Vancouver.
Martin Hunt: Oh, it does?
Howie Siegel: We're in Vancouver, yeah.
Brian Beaumont: Oh, yeah. I've just listened to Mr. Kent and Mr. Hunt and whoever else you've had on the air. I've listened to their warped viewpoint about my religion.
Howie Siegel: Well, you also listened to Mr. Buttnor, too, and he's a practicing Scientologist.
Brian Beaumont: Yeah, I'm not saying his viewpoint is warped, I'm saying his viewpoint is right on the money.
Howie Siegel: OK, let me ask you...
Brian Beaumont: I've also had...listen, I've got to finish.
Howie Siegel: Yeah. Yes, sir.
Brian Beaumont: I've had the opportunity to make a very in-depth study of what makes men like Mr. Kent and Mr. Hunt...
Howie Siegel: No, no; we're not going to talk about other people. We're just going to talk about Scientology. Are you capable of saying anything bad about Scientology?
Brian Beaumont: I haven't got a bad thing to say about Scientology.
Howie Siegel: [sotto voce] OK.
Brian Beaumont: No, because it's benefited me incredibly.
Howie Siegel: Karl? OK.
Brian Beaumont: It's benefited my whole family.
Howie Siegel: Thank you for calling; I wish we had more time. We're going to go to a call now.
Brian Beaumont: Listen, I've got some more...
Howie Siegel: We're going to go to a call now.
Brian Beaumont: I've got some more...I've got some...
Howie Siegel: Karl?
Howie Siegel: Yeah, I know you've been waiting a long time. We've just got a moment; what would you like to say?
Karl: OK. Well, I'm a Scientologist, and I've recently had a 16 year old daughter join the Sea Org.
Howie Siegel: [sotto voce] Yeah.
Karl: And I will guarantee you that I did an in-depth investigation into every aspect of the philosophy and the religion.
Howie Siegel: [sotto voce] Mmm-hmm.
Karl: And my dear daughter, I would not in any shape form put her in any jeopardy whatsoever with any organization...
Howie Siegel: Karl?
Karl: ...that I felt was not legitimate.
Martin Hunt: Karl, can I ask you a question? Why...
Karl: Now, she went, on her own.
Howie Siegel: Karl? There's no question. Are you still there?
Howie Siegel: There's no question that the practicing Scientologist believe in their philosophy; they believe in the organization. The problem is...
Karl: It's not a believing. It's not a believing. It's a knowing.
Howie Siegel: OK, it's a knowing. All right.
Karl: When you know something...
Howie Siegel: Yes.
Karl: You know it.
Howie Siegel: Karl. Karl; there's no problem with that. We know that you're sincere. I know that Mr. Buttnor is sincere. I can tell be your soul; I can feel it. The problem is that we believe that you are brainwashed, that you do not see the truth. Can you say one bad thing...
Karl: Do you, do you...
Howie Siegel: Let me ask you a question. Can you say one bad thing about Scientology?
Howie Siegel: Can you say...
Karl: If I wanted to.
Howie Siegel: Say it.
Karl: If I really saw something...
Howie Siegel: Say one thing. Say one poor thing about Scientology, one negative thing.
Karl: Well, I haven't seen anything bad...
Howie Siegel: Please; say one bad thing. I just want one thing.
Karl: Well, I haven't anything that's bad; what can I say? You want me to manufacture something?
Howie Siegel: All right. I want you to tell me one bad thing!
Karl: Well, I don't know of anything bad!
Howie Siegel: All right, well, call me back when you find out something bad.
Karl: Low pay, maybe; low pay.
Howie Siegel: Low tay?
Martin Hunt: Low pay?
Karl: Low pay.
Howie Siegel: Low pay? Hey, baby; I'm with ya! [chuckles]
Karl: Here, here; let me ask you something.
Howie Siegel: OK, we got a minute.
Karl: You know the Jewish...you're all paid, right?
Howie Siegel: We've got a minute!
Karl: What Jesus Christ and his disciples, man, they were persecuted to no end. They were called everything under the moon, star and sun.
Howie Siegel: L. Ron Hubbard doesn't believe in Christ; he says there was no Christ.
Karl: Oh, no no no no no; that's, I...
Howie Siegel: I just played it on the air, my friend; he said there was no Christ. Karl, thanks a lot!
Karl: I'll read you a quotation...
Howie Siegel: Thank you very much, Karl; I appreciate it, I appreciate it, everybody. Martin, can you wrap this up? Martin Hunt's an ex-Scientologist. Wrap it up; give it a minute and a half, we gotta get out of here.
Martin Hunt: Well, you asked earlier, why are people scared to speak out against Scientology if they've been in it before. As we can see, these people are calling in who are in Scientology, they have nothing bad to say about it. I don't want to get into their spiritual beliefs, you know. When you're in Scientology, you cannot speak out against it, you cannot criticize it. If you do, you're sent to ethics; you're given ethics problems and ethics troubles. And one of the policies they operate on is that "an enemy of Scientology", and this is L. Ron Hubbard said this, "may be injured by any means, or tricked, sued, lied to, or destroyed." This policy is still in force. And...
Howie Siegel: Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to interrupt Martin Hunt...
Martin Hunt: ...it's a pretty negative policy.
Howie Siegel: I'm going to let Martin Hunt, interrupt Martin Hunt to just give you my viewpoint. I became friends with a Scientologist 30 years ago. I grew up with this boy; I knew him when he was 14 years old. I loved him; we were pals. He became a Scientologist. At first he was euphoric and ecstatic. As time went by, he became more and more reclusive, he became more and more insular. After a while, he wouldn't have anything to do with anybody else but another Scientologist. He suffered, under Scientology, for ten to twelve years before he finally found his senses, found his way back to his family, found his way back to his friendships. We're friends now, and he's OK. He's made me aware of Scientology for a long time, and the destructive effects on many many many ex-Scientologists. Pick up Newsweek Magazine, about a terrible death in Clearwater which is a Scientology headquarters; my thanks to everybody who participated on the show: Al Buttnor, Stephen Kent, Wesley Wakefield, Martin Hunt, Paul Grosswald. I wish the show could go on forever; I wish life could go on forever. It's Siegel, AM 900; Thank you.
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Martin Hunt / email@example.com / August 13 1997