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Bob Penny

Former scientologist, left after 13 years.

FACTNet: Bob Penny

«In Memorium

Bob Penny the co-founder of Factnet died recently. Bob was a person of amazing integrity and courage. He was the technical brains behind the creation of Factnet.

He was a friend who always challenged Factnet to do better and do more. I will miss him as I have frequently missed the heated debates we had so frequently before his MS caused him to retire from the Factnet board.

Lawrence Wollersheim
Co-Founder with Bob Penny of Factnet»

Social Control in Scientology: A look at the methods of entrapment

«Consider, for example, the relation between Scientology and psychology. Both offer explanations of and methods to change individual human behavior and so might be seen as competitors. Scientology attempts to invalidate psychology (and psychiatry) by describing both as a single undifferentiated generality identified with the physiological school of Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920). In thirteen years I never once heard any Scientologist communicate anything even vaguely informed about the actual state of psychology. Skinner, Maslow, Erikson, Piaget were all one with Wundt. To study (or teach) psychology would be heresy. To accept and promulgate this viewpoint requires accomplishing an ignorance.

This kind of thinking can produce harm beyond that done to the person's intellect. Scientology's self-serving anti-psychiatry campaign led, in 1991, to a war on the anti-depressant medication Prozac; a war in which, as usual, individual Scientologists knew nothing of the facts but just followed group direction ("Psychiatry Kills" bumper stickers, for example).

An FDA investigation, prompted by Scientology's smear campaign, pronounced Prozac to be safe and effective. But meanwhile, a public scare had been manufactured which deprived many patients of badly needed help, the April 19, 1991 Wall Street Journal reported. A representative of Prozac's manufacturer is quoted as saying, "It is a demoralizing revelation to watch 20 years of solid research by doctors and scientists shouted down in 20-second sound bites by Scientologists and lawyers."»


«A newsletter of former scientologists, the inFormer, published a Gary Larson cartoon which shows a couple driving along a dark road surrounded by giant mutant vegetation and ants.  The caption says: "Something's wrong here, Harriet...This is starting to look less and less like the Road to Total Freedom."

That cartoon describes very well the last several of my 13 years in Scientology and the process by which I was finally able to escape from what was by far the most destructive and debilitating influence that my life has encountered.»

Bob Penny Speaks: My Life and a Statement

«Instead, Bob found the OT levels a total disappointment.  And one day a recruiter for the International Association of Scientologists stormed into the course room and demanded $2000 from everyone, which was the price of an IAS lifetime membership.  The money was to go into a war chest to be used in litigation against opponents of Scientology. Bob thought the recruiter's tactics were completely inappropriate. This violation of the course room turned him off.  He considered this to be extortion.»

The Church of Scientology vs. FACTnet

«Sure enough, on August 22, 1995, Scientology representatives accompanied by Federal marshals raided the homes of two FACTnet organizers, Bob Penny and Lawrence Wollersheim, both in Boulder County, Colorado. They took the FACTnet BBS computer as well as backup tapes, CDs, floppies, and a large amount of other computer equipment and printed material from both houses. The marshals left no inventory of the materials seized at Wollersheim's house.

The Church of Scientology issued this press release minutes after the raids started. It contains many accusations that may be libelous and defamatory. I posted refutation of one such accusation, namely the claim that Wollersheim had hired thugs to intimidate a Federal judge. Looks far more likely that the Church did all the intimidation.»

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