All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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City of Clearwater Commission Hearing: The Church of Scientology
Day 4, Dr. John G. Clark, M.D. more
Jack Clark, please.
I say Jack Clark because I've come to know him; it's Dr. John Clark, and he's one of the — well, I won't state his credentials.
Dr. Clark, will you be sworn in, please.
I must also ask you the same five standard questions, sir.
Are you appearing here today and testifying under oath voluntarily?
Yes. Yes, I am.
Have you been paid by anyone for your testimony, other than expenses for coming to Clearwater?
Do you have a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology?
Do they have a lawsuit against you?
Mr. Flynn, do you want to present your witness? Or Dr. Clark — how you would like to proceed.
The purpose of this testimony is basically in the line of expert testimony, because there are mental health conditions involved in this city. There are mental health issues that have been presented before the Board.
In addition to that, there's a level of harassment, which goes to some of the policy considerations I mentioned earlier, that Dr. Clark has been subjected to. But his basic testimony is of an expert nature with regard to some of these mental health issues.
Since you are an expert witness, state your qualifications.
My name is John G. Clark, Jr., M.D. I have been an M.D. from 1953, at the time that I graduated from Harvard Medical School. I have been trained in psychiatry in the Boston area in the Massachusetts Hospital and McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, also a part of the Massachusetts General Hospital. I have worked on the staff — I want to say on staff — on the staffs of these two hospitals, as well as another organization in the same area. I am now in private practice since 1973.
My work has been very, very wide, mostly clinical and having to do with people from adolescence on up, as well as community work in various places around the Boston area.
My interest in Scientology came along at the same time as my interest in rapid conversions and the processes that led up to those conversions. This is not a well-known area in the psychiatric world.
Explain "rapid conversions."
Rapid conversion tends to be a massive change of personality, of belief systems over a very short time, brought about by usually deceptive practices of the people who want to get these people. There are also very many other kinds of conversions which are expected, useful, sometimes related to real illness, such as temporal lobe epilepsy, for instance. It's a very, very interesting area.
I showed my interest two years after I began to do some studying. I studied as a result of being asked by a fellow physician for help; he had problems with his son, who was a disturbed young man, who had gotten himself involved in the Hare Krishna doctrine — cult. Two years later, approximately, I had begun to believe these astounding things that I was hearing about and actually seeing. It was very hard to believe. In other words, I did not go into this study clearly knowing what I wanted to hear.
I then spoke — gave testimony — to the Special — a group, the Special Committee of the Senate of the Vermont Legislature in '76. And from that time the pan has been in the fire because I did mention, among a few other people, the Church of Scientology. I found out much later, just very recently, that they had been worried about me before I even got to that particular place to speak my words.
From that point on there has been an unrelenting kind of harassment, whatever they wish to try to do to me to try to get me out of this business. They seem to be very, very frightened of somebody legitimate, as a Harvard professor, who could possibly talk in a negative way about their group.
I might say in this regard that I am not interested in religion itself; I'm interested in the behavior of groups and the relationship of those behaviors to what I would consider to be harmful results, and especially through the process of conversion. And I will not have time to give you the entire view of that.
I would like to first show you how hard it is for any kind of a professional to look into this area. This is very much like an anthropologist who decides that he must go up to see the river in New Guinea in order to look into the mating processes of the — of some of the natives up there who are still eating one another to a degree. Now, I don't mean to put down their culture; their culture in some ways is just as valid as ours. But the people who, come in from the outside are not necessarily going to be treated all that well. And it was my interest of looking into the cultures of these groups to find out what had happened to the individuals who had been taken into them and why had they changed so much and why had they become so mean.
Now, if I can give you a brief listing of what has happened: In my writing, I have put down some of the attacks on me. In '77, the — I got my first letter from them, telling me that I had said the wrong things in the Vermont legislative — the hearing and I'd better stop it. I got a series of calls, which I pretty much ignored. They, also, quite simultaneously, wrote a whole series of letters to the Deans at Harvard Medical School and the head of the Massachusetts General Hospital.
In '78, three of my patients were investigated enough so that their places of work and their places of living were known to Scientologists, who then called them and asked them about my behavior in treating them. To a doctor, that is extremely bad business, just terrible.
Shortly after that, in about '78, I was called a Communist because of their interest in my daughter and my having gone to Russia to visit. And they put that into some very interesting fiction which they had put together from all of their investigations of my neighbors and friends, which they then presented to the legislative committee that was beginning to look into some matters of other cults.
They also tried twice to keep me out of England by sending a very strong protest to the proper authorities in England, looking into the matters on Ron Hubbard.
In 1979, I and a number of others were picketed by the Scientologists twice, once in Pennsylvania at a meeting we were having, talking about cults, and one at the then IMH where we were having the only meeting on the cults that the government has been able to put together so far.
In 1978, they lodged a complaint to the Board of Registration of Medicine. This is the Board that gives us our right to practice medicine, and that's in Massachusetts. This had to do with my behavior in court on a case that had to do with the original family that brought me into this, quote, business in the first place. That particular problem with the Board of Registration stretched on for a very long time.
By 1979, they were in Montreal passing out flyers at the place where I was giving my lectures at McGill. This time they were calling me a Nazi.
In 1980, they were sending an article to all kinds of people very high up in my profession, purporting to be something rather favorable to me, except that it was about ECT, electroshock treatment, and it had some material in it that claimed to be direct quotes from me saying that deprogramming could be brought about by the use of electroshock treatment. Fortunately, I have friends who called me up and said, "What's this all about?" But I'm still quite sure that some people think that I'm advocating ECT.
They began to blow hard in various ways toward me in their magazine or their Freedom paper. And we have one copy of the most recent ones, '78 to '81. They call me a Nazi and one of the leaders of the ARM, as they call it in their own internal records, and that's the Anti-Religious Movement.
Several people approached my professor, one a college student who was looking for information and just happened to mention me in some way that was really quite derogatory, a patient who tried to get into my office and talk to me, somebody on one of the television shows from the Citizens' Commission on Human Rights talked about my use of drugs and ECT and my terrible attitude toward these people. Another — in about '80, another student wanted to study deprogramming, and it was quite clear, when we checked up, that was certainly not what she was interested in. It goes on and on and on.
In 1981, another complaint was lodged at the Board of Registration, and in this attempt — a second one was also lodged, a third one now lodged against me, both of them very, very clear — one from a Scientologist and the other one, again, purportedly from a Moonie; however, it had all the earmarks of the Scientology capacity to mischief.
By the way, all of these complaints have been dismissed. The first one was dismissed with a little bit of nastiness on the part of the Board, who could not — which could not understand what was going on. The last two, which recently came to me, are clear, clear releases from any obligation at all.
This past year from last July, there has been a fire storm of attacks. There's almost something once or twice every week coming. Because I haven't answered to them, they can't do some of the things they did to Paulette. But they did a few other interesting things, such as picketing the Mass. General Hospital and passing out some very interesting leaflets, offering a twenty-five thousand dollar-reward, for instance, for information leading to my conviction. This was done several months. They approached every newspaper, every TV outlet —
They wanted —
They only offered four thousand nine hundred fifty for ours.
Well, that's beginning to make me think that I'm bigger than I really thought I was. I was thinking, as I was listening to everybody here, "I'm a pretty small potato."
These are all — it even goes on further. They also informed me, in the midst of all of this, of the kangaroo court Ethics trial last fall, and they had — I guess you could probably believe that they convicted me. They offered me the possibility of some kind of release if I would just admit that I was wrong. And so it goes on and on and on.
And it's obvious that this organization does not want to be criticized, and the way of handling criticism is the ad hominem attack, which is what we've been talking about all along. It is very, very unlikely that they will really argue on the basis of the facts or of the allegations against them. They will simply try to do what they have done before, that is, to make life too painful for anybody to go on with this kind of attack, which they are launching on me.
They consider me someone with some sort of animus against them, of course, that they will try to prove in these various cases against me. As a matter of fact, they make their own enemies, obsessively make their own enemies. They try very hard not to let anybody know that, but anybody who even, begins to look into this and speaks out at all is going to find that the enemy situation has once again arisen.
I would like now to talk a little bit about what happens from a clinical view. I'm really not all that happy just to talk about my own predicament, the degradations against me. I'm surviving them and — but I think they are somehow illustrative of —
We know what we're going to have to go through.
You might as well face up to it, you're becoming heroes whether you like it or not. We'll talk about suggestions for them maybe later.
What happens, and in general, what happens to the people who go into Scientology? Why do they change so much? How does it happen? What is there about the human mind that most of us do not want to know that does it make it possible for one of our children, who has been thoroughly healthy in every way, to be caught up in one of the groups and, suddenly or over a few months, are simply lost to the parents and to the community?
The change in these people tends to be very, very large. The parents who have said to me that "My two older kids got into drugs, sex, and they led me on a merry chase. But I knew that was just sort of added on, applied, to them. And my younger daughter, who was the nice one, behaving herself, went into the Divine Light Mission. The change was integral." This is also true of the changes of people who go into the Church of Scientology. In fact, in some ways it — the changes are even more complete.
It's no wonder, for instance, that they tend not to like to have people in and amongst them whose parents and family do not agree with their choice, if you want to call it choice; they're PTSs, and often they do not allow them to stay in. It's much easier to bring about these changes and have it not noted — or them not note it — if the parents don't — either don't give a damn or they sort of like the quiet, controlled people that have now stopped taking drugs and are very, very busy doing what they're supposed to do.
But, in fact, the human mind is capable of an enormous amount of change in a short time. It can, as I said, happen from natural forces. It's quite commonly seen in temporal lobe epilepsy, and sometimes — I should also mention just for your imaginations to work on — that the people with temporal lobe epilepsy are also characterized by their absolute need to write, constantly write: turn out poetry and they just write in a descriptive manner. I'm not suggesting that anybody we have talked about might have this.
It's very clear that at some point these people who also go through various kinds of conversions do have — that those who go through conversions naturally do have real changes in their brain structure. But you don't have to have that. You can be an ordinary kid who's just going through a bad time, and that's why the late adolescents are the best marketplace for cults, in general.
The process is quite fairly simple to bring them in. First, get their attention, entice them into someplace where they can then be bombarded with information; it's a closed system where all the information is controlled and where the seduction can be set up. Over a period of time — and it can be very short from minutes to two weeks — the attention of the individual is very carefully narrowed, just narrowed. These various processes that are used in Scientology, for instance, are attention narrowing processes. It requires the individual to attend to only the task for a very, very long time.
There is in this a great relationship to formal hypnosis; in fact, exactly the same is just done to them. And the object is to push the mind, the attention, to a narrower and narrower state until something kind of breaks. It's a system — the mind is a system that is highly flexible. But with any flexible system, there is a limit of elasticity. If you push it hard enough, you'll crack, snap, whatever you want to call it. Any one of us, under certain circumstances of very high pressure, might find themselves cracking one way or another.
Then, if the person who has brought about this cracking, this changing, this snapping, this trance state, can manage that state for a time, can manage it and keep it under control — in other words, the person's old mind has been taken down under this heavy pressure, a kind of emergency — if they can keep it under control long enough, the individual must then identify with those people who are managing the whole system; they identify with everything. They begin to take in information: the rules, the language, everything. It's like falling in love. It's the same process, except that it's managed differently.
That's why this is so mundane in one respect: There's nothing about this that is really, really spooky. But if this management is done just the right way by very intense processes and by people who signal their intent to control — which, again, applies to this matter today — the individual, as I said, becomes almost as all those other people. The only way to survive, for the mind to survive, is to become as much like the persons who have begun to hold you as hostage as possible.
There has been a lot written about the Stockholm effect in hostage taking, where the people who are with the hostage for a long time in a very ambiguous state, not knowing whether or not they're going to be killed or tortured or something — they're — these people sometimes fall in love with the person who has held them hostage. Again, go back to the fact that most of this is normal but it is manipulated.
It must be remembered that in almost all — in fact really in all of those organizations which are most dangerous, nobody is told in advance what is going to happen. There is no argument about the virtues of the organization — and it's interesting — until after the change of the mind or conversion. It's a snapping, it's whatever you want, a leap into another world.
Now, this means that these people who have gone that far are now in a different state of mind, essentially, a separate personality; it's a dual personality. The first personality is put on hold. Again, it sounds like science fiction, but it can be done and it can be replicated; it's been done in — by hypnosis. And it has to be managed by more and more and more processes, so that the whole thing just sort of gels and people just can't get out of it; they cannot get out of it.
Now, in this state, these various kinds of cults become the most dangerous of all people, that is, they take on as a mass the we/they psychology. That is, "We exist and we're real; they" — they're all of you — "you don't understand us." And because they're so focused and cannot remember any of the tenderness of their earlier times toward parents or friends or others, they are extremely intolerant, extremely intolerant. They are behavior paranoia in their simplicity of thinking and are easily pushed — well, they're totally pushed around by the leaders.
This means that within two weeks individuals who have first come into the Moonies have signed checks for a hundred and fifty thousand dollars to go to the Moonies. You see, it isn't just the Church of Scientology that can get a lot of money out of people in a hurry.
The — in these groups, almost — in almost every case — it's almost a real rule — the people who run them are living still; they're the living leaders who are charismatic individuals who have found out how to manipulate other people's minds. It's very hard for most cults to continue to go on; probably, 99.9 percent of them die within one generation for very good reasons, often because the children don't go along with it.
They are in this state, the we/they state, entirely non-charitable. They do not see others as valid; they're not real. In the case of the Church of Scientology, those who, have gone far enough through their processing cannot believe that it is important to be a human being; they're something else. And those of us who are human beings are — have no regard from them; our lives are of no importance whatsoever. It's something else. Perhaps, you'll say that's getting into their religious beliefs, but sometimes you have to know something about the nature of belief in order to understand behavior, especially, as egregious as that which we are talking about today
Another factor in this is all too often the reason that individuals come out in a really hurt state, and that is, they reject all magic except their own. Now, I'm saying that somewhat ironically. They think, for instance, that medicine is bad magic and, thus, the — because they also reject the scientific view of knowledge, they are unable to understand the medicine, medical position on anything. Thus, too many of these groups — and, again, I'm talking about Scientology in particular — are not at all capable of approaching doctors effectively, and they're often too late when they do. They have a few captured physicians working with them, and I say this with no prejudice to the — to them, that many, many chiropractors have been gotten in.
It is necessary in the case of all of these groups that they isolate these people that they have just brought in, the proselytes — isolate them from their families — because their families remind them too much of the past, and they can sometimes break into the mind control state.
And one other little thing, just — I'll just mention the TRs and the bull baiting, which are seen as — by me, as managing the focusing of the mind. There are many, many ways of doing that. I think that the particular ways the Church of Scientology does this can be extraordinarily damaging over the long run and over the short run.
These are exercises involving two people across the table with the E-Meter in the middle, with the face of the E-Meter to the auditor. And, thus, certain kinds of processes — questions are asked over and over again in such a way that it is impossible for the individual to answer them really quite right, depending a little bit on what the auditor wants to get from these persons. Well, this is also eye-to-eye contact. The individual who is brought in must pay absolute attention to the auditor or will have to flunk and go back to the beginning of the rather painful processes. And by the time the individual gets through with this — the mind is already controlled. And by the time they go through the first auditing courses successfully, they are entirely under control of the auditor himself and will take almost any order from that person.
One of the more heavy auditing processes that I have heard of is the one of sitting knee-to-knee for about eight hours, looking at one another, and saying nothing and not blinking or answering some absurd question over and over and over and over and over, perhaps, sometimes with bull baiting, which means they'll have to answer these questions correctly no matter what else is going on in the room, whether or not there are personal touches, some kind of laughing, some kind of nasty statements, sexual approaches. The person being audited cannot even begin to show any movement on the E—Meter or any in the face; it must absolutely be flat. In other words, that person must not respond emotionally to anything.
This kind of treatment of the individual, to cut out any response to, for instance, conscience or the outrageous processes that are going on, simply empties them of this capacity to act really in a human way.
Now, for a while it feels fine. But often these people have gone through an enormous amount of pain to get to the point where they think they're beginning to be happier. And, in fact, very few of them are happy; they're just reaching for that which they have been promised but never comes.
There is much to say about the Church of Scientology that may not sound exactly scientific, but it is nonetheless, sort of conclusional. One is that what they do is in general, very hurting, often to the detriment of the mind. A number of people have come out of Scientology with no minds at all, no flow of consciousness. It has taken years to reinstate the mind. And all they remember as they come out is hurt, hurt, hurt. Almost every one of these processes, unless you happen to be a celebrity, is extremely painful.
If you are doing the wrong thing, just like the child you are subjected to punishments. Many of these things we've talked about today are very much like a punishment to a bad child, except it goes so much further. But here, when the mind begins to fail and is entirely held up by the processes and by the orders of an organization like this, if something goes wrong within that system — that is, that the biological self, which cannot always be kept completely programmed, or the system itself, which has its own glitches — the individual maybe suddenly put out on a ledge, as it were, with nothing holding — nothing to hold on: the mind emptied of any natural flow of consciousness, of memories of the past, of an adequate control of the English language. Yes, they almost never seem to be able to put a document together that is in decent English language. And these individuals either must go flat out mad or — in several cases we've heard about, probably many cases that have been lost — in suicide.
Fortunately, for a lot of people who have come out by themselves, after a while — as with the other cults — their minds will reassemble themselves over a period of time, at least a year is necessary. The first year or so may be one of great pain, much anxiety for all of the rest of the family, and it gets even worse when they realize how much of the world they have lost, how much of a chance for a happy life they have left behind.
Is an E—Meter similar in controlling your emotions to a bio-feedback machine?
Yes, it is. And it's — it's a lie detector, in effect.
One of the great achievements of the Church of Scientology is that it seems to be able to teach people how to beat the polygraph, and I have my reservations about the worth of that. But that's essentially what it is.
It short circuits the certain kinds of mental processes, if used by a very trained person, that is, that they can appear to be a little magical about their understanding of what's going on in the person who is being audited. They get that person's attention more and more focused. It's very simple to do without the E-Meter, as a matter of fact.
But almost all of us know that in hypnotism — the old-fashioned mesmerizers used to do this kind of thing with some kind of device to center the mind on, and this is really what the E-Meter is all about.
I somehow think the threat of the cult conversion and the kind of dreadful things that happen after are not as likely to lure a victim as, for instance, drugs, because they believe that they can handle drugs over a shorter period of time.
However, drugs are not being handled by quite such clever people as the cults. And the cults also have the friendship of the Civil Liberties Union and some of the leaders in the major denominations to sort of stand behind them and stand aside of them, saying this is also legitimate religions of whatever kind.
In that sense, I can't answer your question really yes or no.
If I may just interject one minute: The city received a letter from Branch — it was the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation, which was sent to Mr. Shoemaker, and it opposed these hearings. There are — there is at least one name, perhaps, two names — but definitely, one name of an individual attorney on the list of that National Committee Against Repressive Legislation who defended Mary Sue Hubbard and other defendants in the Washington criminal case. And upon various items of information that we have received, the legal fees in connection with that defense were in the range of four to six million dollars.
We're in the wrong business.
You better well believe it.
What — all right, I know we're getting late but — what suggestions can you give us? What should we do and what can we do as elected representatives of a fair-sized city taken over by a large organization that has much more, frankly, money than we have?
I did not mention at the very beginning that I have been facing two nuisance suits for conspiracy, and they are nuisance suits. And, indeed, the nuisance suits will be a part of the future.
It's up to us to rally our allies, the people who believe in the open society, who can smell tyranny when they hear about it. It's about time in this particular period that we admit that we're, as a country, in a lot of trouble, and countries in a lot of trouble have always had business with cults all through history. But, now, it's time to stand up and say that "This isn't working."
Now, these are groups who do not like to deal with the truth about them. They believe in what they're doing, but they know that from another point of view what they're doing is impermissible. What we can ask of them in meetings like this, when they have their time, is to speak to the issues instead of attacking individuals — which they will do, they'll attack individuals — so that they can compete in the marketplace of ideas and beliefs, and we'll let them compete all they wish. But we must not forget we're talking about their behavior which is, essentially, terrorist.
I think that's very well put. What you're saying is that — do not attack individuals but compete in the marketplace for ideas, and I think that's very well put, and I appreciate it.
Do you want — Commissioners, do you want any questions? I know it's getting late and —
How would you guide us? This Commission is very concerned about the difference between church and state and secular or religious interest. How would you guide us on — you mentioned behavior. How would you guide us? How would you give advice to this Commission on how to proceed?
I face that right now. It evolved — in this country, the behavior of religious organizations is not somehow guarded by the First Amendment. There's a lot of nonsense about that. This whole country is not set up in order that religions can do whatever they wanted to do; we're really quite frightened of the word "religion."
On the contrary, the First Amendment has two sides: It's there to protect us from religious zealotry and fanaticism, as much as the other way around. How many of our first immigrants were running away, not from government but from religious persecution by religions?
This is going to be the problem of the next generation of religious organizations and new organizations of minds and groups. Now, sometimes, they will not call them religious organizations, but right now in this country, because there's a First Amendment, it is useful to do so.
In the case of the Church of Scientology, you can almost say that it is an ad hoc religion; it became a religion because it realized that it was convenient to be a religion.
Do you feel your First Amendment rights have been impeded by their actions?
Well, in —
Freedom of speech.
— my case, I don't think they have. I think they've blown it so far. They've just simply made me more interested in what they're doing.
Last question is: We've heard belief and behavior, and we've had a lot of people say their behavior is either criminal or fraudulent.
How would you characterize their behavior?
I think I would characterize this organization by the definitions of the court of their leaders: it's a criminal organization. And, certainly, the behavior toward Paulette Cooper and to many others is truly criminal. Their willingness, their readiness to do anything criminal in order to do what they want to do is characteristic of their criminal mind.
We have a — Commissioners, I'd like to get to the last witness. If you have something you must ask Dr. Clark, go ahead.
Thank you very much, sir. You have summed it up very well.
We have one more witness that won't last too long, but because of things beyond our control we're going to take a five-minute break and come right back.
Am I on?
Ladies and gentlemen, take your seats, please.