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Sect lawyer attack archivist's testimony

Title: Sect lawyer attack archivist's testimony
Date: Thursday, 17 May 1984
Publisher: Clearwater Sun (Florida)
Author: George-Wayne Shelor
Main source: link (104 KiB)

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LOS ANGELES—Church of Scientology lawyers began their cross-examination of Gerald Armstrong in Superior Court here Wednesday, trying to prove he continued collecting sect-related documents after a temporary restraining order prevented him from doing so.

Sect lawyers also began eliciting testimony from Armstrong, a former Scientology archivist, that he joined the Clearwater-based church not because of his belief in founder L. Ron Hubbard, as Armstrong testified, but because he believed in the organization and its technology.

It was Armstrong's fifth day of testimony during the trial brought by the Church of Scientology of California, which is demanding the return of 10 thousand documents the 37-year-old man took in December 1981.

Armstrong, a Scientologist for 11 years, took the thousands of papers, records and recordings he collected while helping in the production of a biography of Hubbard. He has testified that they prove the reclusive, 73-year-old has systematically misrepresented himself for more than 40 years.

Armstrong testified it was his belief in Hubbard's numerous claims of heroism, scientific discoveries and educational accomplishments that attracted him to the worldwide organization. But the documents, he says, prove many of those claims false.

"Basically, we're trying to show that Mr. Armstrong joined the Church of Scientology because he believed in Scientology," said sect attorney Barrett Litt. "He joined because he found something to believe in Scientology."

"His claims about Hubbard just won't hold up under cross-examination," Litt predicted.

The attorney walked Armstrong through his claims about Hubbard's alleged misrepresentations, asking him again to state specifically the contradictions he believes the court-sealed documents revealed.

The lawyer then went over Armstrong's introduction to Scientology, the books he read, the courses he took and his feelings about what the sect offered him.

Armstrong said he "was interested in finding out about" Scientology after reading books and talking with organization members in his Canadian hometown during the summer of 1969.

He joined the Vancouver, British Columbia, branch later that year and acknowledged that sect lectures, tenets and beliefs were "useful and helpful" to him.

"But it was more its promised usefulness" that attracted him, Armstrong explained. After six months of study, "I had not solved (several particularly burdensome problems), but I was told later that what I sought would happen."

Attorneys say they expect their cross-examination of Armstrong to continue through next week. Then Armstrong's attorney, Michael Flynn, plans to have several other former Scientologists testify for the defense.