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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When the Church of Scientology offered last August to send its E Meter into battle against Communist subversion, President Kennedy didn't even say, "No thanks."
Because this religious organization when scorned has political fury of a Hell it doesn't especially believe in, Mr. Kennedy will hear more about his oversight.
In the meantime, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seized the E Meter.
FDA, bureaucratically unconcerned with any spiritua or ideological magic the machine might work, had United States marshals confiscate [?] from Scientology's Washington, (D.C.) offices.
The FDA said the meter had been labeled an aid in treating almost all the ills that is heir to, from schizophrenia to cancer.
It had not, said the Rev. John Farrell, in Detroit to "help organize" Scientology's local branch of about 1,000 members, five ministers and "20-odd practitioners in training."
Mr. Farrell did not rule out the possibility that "application of spiritual doctrine can bring about a better physical state."
But it was clear to him that FDA, in seizing a "spiritual" instrument and two truckloads of books, most of them by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology and inventor of the E Meter, was "trying to get us under the wording of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act."
* * *
AND WORSE, he said at Scientology's Detroit headquarters, 18212 James Couzens, the seizure was "a Communist attack."
"We're seventh on the Kremlin's list of organizations that must be destroyed," Mr. Farrell explained. "The American Legion is No. 1."
The instrument, a simple ohmeter such as a television repair man would use to detect a short or open circuit, Is of proved and unparalleled value in detecting subversives, Mr. Farrel said.
[Picture / Caption: The E Meter. Can it catch Communists electronically?]
A trained operator — it takes up to 300 hours to train one in the Academy of Scientology and there are about 1,000 in the world — can detect a Communist in 15 minutes of interrogation, Farrell said.
"An FBI security check takes a lot longer," he said.
"It seems obvious that no government can afford to refuse our offer."
The E Meter's Communist-hunting value Is a fortuitous by-product of Scientology. Hubbard's application of the ohmeter to the spirit, circa 1951, was part of his attempt to bridge the centuries-old gulf between religion and science.
Scientology's auditors (ministers), using the meter in "processing" (a sort of confessional - consultation) members of the church, found that spiritual fluctuations were indicated as charges in body resistance to the meter's current flow. "It is one of the principles of the polygraph (lie detector)," Farrell said.
MEANWHILE Scientology, growing to a membership of 13,000 in Washington alone and perhaps 100,000 in the world, was being very choosy about its personnel.
All "except maybe some janitors," Mr. Farrell said, must have an intelligence quotient of at least 120 "and an acceptable personality profile." Perverts are out and so are subversives, so there had to he a security check.
"We've had trouble with Reds since 1950," Mr. Ferrell said. "We checked everybody. We round only about five Communists in our organization—which isn't bad, out of 100,000."
The process is simple. The church member being processed or the security risk being checked grips two tin cans connected to the meter and talks.
Communist tendencies show up as spiritual difficulties because they are "subversive and criminal"—what Scientologists call "overt transgressions of the individual's mores," and other religions call sins.
* * *
THE E METER performs no function itslf, Mr. Farrell stresses, and no claims of Infallibility are made for it. But what subversives it does not detect it may chase out of town.
"We found the subvesives in South Africa," Mr. Farrel said, "and they've had a lot less trouble there. When the word got around that we were going to use the E Meter, a couple of planeloads left the country."
Some of those fleeing subversives, he said, had survived other security-checking procedures.
Mr. Farrell, 40 and Brooklyn-born, is ruggedly handsome and articulately blunt.
"We're ready to leave the question of the hereafter to those churches who specialize in it," he said in explaining Scientology as "the study of the human spirit in its relationship to the physical universe."
It is an offshoot of dianoeties, "science of the mind," which Hubbard founded in 1950 and abandoned, or refined, in 1953 when he found that it did not quite bridge the gap between science and "empirical study of the spiritual being."
* * *
It first worked in Detroit In 1953, when two dianoeticians were arrested. They were let off with $50 fines when authorities were unable to decide what the charge against them should be.
[Picture / Caption: Rev. John Farrell]
Mr. Farrell was blunt, but not too articulate, about his religion's position on the existence and nature of a Supreme Being. "I do not counsel faith in God as a solution to problems," he said. And: "Salvation through Christ seems to me not to have much to do with an individual's conduct In everyday life. . . . We're Interested in making people happy; if they're happy, they'll be good."
But: "The Government is trying to adjudicate that my religion is not a religion. . . The theory of the Supreme Being is something we do not care to stress to those who are relative strangers to us."
* * *
ANOTHER THING Scientology does not stress to strangers is its financial condition.
"Some of these organizations," an FDA official said, "try to create an aura of religion—partly to evade taxes."
Replied Mr. Farrell:
"Our attorney advises us that we are not required to divulge our sources of. support."
Scientology sees an Individual trying to survive in eight ways, living in eight spheres of responsibility: To himself, his children, mankind—"and, at the other end of the spectrum, to the Infinite, or a Creator. Take your choice."
When the eight "motivations" are in proper balance, the individual will be "clear," Mr. Farrell explained. "He will have a heightened sense of how to play the game of life."
And it will show on the E Meter. Mr. Farrell produced a meter from an attache case.
"This is the serious menace to health," he said. "It was in the same office and those marshals missed it."
The reporter held the tin-can electrodes and registered 6,500. Mr. Farrell took them and registered 14,500.
* * *
"NEITHER OF US is clear," he explained. "Clear is 12,500 for a male, 5,000 for a female. Except pregnant females; we haven't tried enough of them yet."
Mr. Farrell didn't blame President Kennedy directly for the FDA attempt to "break up our internal security program."
"It was probably some tool or dupe," he said. He displayed a booklet, in Russian, which he said was the Kremlin plan for "psycholopolitical warfare. . . They attack any religious organization that is successful," he said.
Still, Scientology's leadership is disillusioned with M. Kennedy, who was "our man" in 1960, and this snub of the Communist-hunting offer last August may prove costly.
Scientologists are almost as particular about their Presidents as they are about their personnel. Kennedy was their man in 1960 because of a fatal blunder by Vice President Nixon two years earlier.
* * *
NIXON, THROUGH aides, advised that he'd just as soon not have his name mentioned in any more Scientology sermons.
"That upset Mrs. Hubbard," Mr. Farrell said, "and two of the office girls, terribly."
And that did it. "We opposed Nixon in 1960 and our man won," Mr. Farrell said. "And I don't know what you can make of it, but he tried to run again in California, where we're very strong, and he lost again.
"Now we're feeling very unhappy about Kennedy, and a lot of us are looking for a suitable replacement. That's why we're watching Gov. Romney very closely, in his attitude toward Federal control.
"What we have now is a welfare state but Romney seems to favor individual responsibility.
"And that's four-square," Mr. Farrell concluded.