Scientology Critical Information Directory

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Suicide and Scientology

«Former Scientologists had the highest rates of persistent fear, sleeplessness, suicidal and self-destructive tendencies, violent outbursts, hallucinations and delusions, compared to ex-members of other religious groups [...] Conway and her colleague Jim Siegelman found in a University of Oregon study.» — Joseph Mallia. "Why did this brilliant MIT student jump to his death?". Boston Herald. May 21st, 1998.
«One witness, Christine Cleostrate, said she was forced by Mazier to stop psychiatric treatment and sign a letter saying the Scientology center in Lyon would not be responsible if she committed suicide.» — "Scientology got blame for French suicide". St. Petersburg Times. February 8, 1998.

Glosslip Radio (April 25, 2008): "Marc Headley"

[Excerpt, starting at 1h 24m 54s] MH: There is a girl by the name of Stacy Moxon, or Stacy Meyers. That's a girl that worked at the INT base. They said she committed suicide [sic] . . . she was electrocuted to death in a high voltage transformer vault. Well, somebody told me that she left a note. So, it wasn't actually an accident. The [Church of Scientology] make it, basically saying that it was an accident, she went in to save a squirrel or something. [...] That's the way they played it off, as that she was that nature loving girl who wanted to make sure the squirrel wasn't hurt, and then she slipped on some oil... No, she went in there and she grabbed the vault, that's what happened.

DO: Why did that happen?

MH: She wasn't allowed to leave the property to go see her husband and her family. And she wasn't being allowed to go, she was basically being held captive there, like every other person at the INT base. But she was new to the INT base, and she has been only in there for a few months. And she was basically, "I can't take this anymore." And she even threatened and told other people that she was depressed, she was separated from her husband who worked in Los Angeles.

Her own father is one of the lead litigation attorneys for the church, Ken Moxon. And he still fights for the church, even though that happened to his daughter. And he doesn't even know that there was a note. But he still fights for the church, his daughter is dead, because she wasn't allowed to go down and see them. [...]

Carlton Television: "Inside the cult"

John Buchanan, a Scottish landscape gardener working in Germany, was recruited by the Munich org 3 years ago, accrued huge debts to several Munich banks to buy courses and materials, and committed suicide in May 1994 to escape his debts. His mother quoted a letter claiming he would be re-incarnated and come back to Scotland Closing shot of his headstone "He did return to Scotland."

St. Petersburg Times: "Scientology got blame for French suicide"

After spending a day with Mazier and failing to convince his wife to help obtain the loan, Vic returned home looking for papers so he could apply for the loan by himself, Mrs. Vic said.

"He was just coming in and out, very agitated," she said. "He kept getting up out of bed, he was unable to sleep."

At 5 a.m. as she tried to stop him, Vic dashed toward the window in the room where their two sons were sleeping. "He said "Don't keep me, it's the only solution,"' and he went through the window, she told the Times. Patrice Vic was 31.

Affidavit of Hana Eltringham Whitfield (8 March 1994)

163. During my twenty years in Scientology, I delivered thousands of hours of auditing to others, among them preclears with similar experience to mine and worse, and some who committed suicide. [...]

199. Some attempted suicides that I know of:

(a) Jim Hester was a preclear at the Miami Org in the mid to late 1970s. He attempted suicide in Miami and was then hospitalized in critical condition. He left a suicide note blaming Scientology, attached hereto in Exhibit 80, a copy of a GO report.

(b) Leah Theriery. She attempted suicide sometime in May 1974, attached hereto in Exhibit 81, a copy of a GO report.

(c) A friend of Gerald Simon's who was a Scientologist, attempted suicide by drinking a full can of RAID insect killer because he had been ordered to disconnect from his girlfriend.

200. I saw many Scientologists and Sea Org members go crazy and/or suicidal, like myself, while getting auditing.

The Mirror (Nov. 2005): "Mirror investigates: Inside cult castle" by David Edwards

Richard Ford spent seven months at St Hill, and by the time he left in 1995 he was so depressed he considered suicide.

"You had to work and you didn't get much sleep," he says. "You had to confess your sins all the time. It was an absolutely crazy, authoritarian atmosphere.

"I would have loved it if the police moved in and let us all go. I'm sure almost all of us, even the top people doing the shouting, would have breathed a huge sigh of relief.

"You're not even allowed to have nightmares, so you have to fight against them which involves more conflict and more pressure.

"I developed ulcers and my hair started falling out and I became suicidal.

"I had to leave." But leaving the cult was not easy. Richard, now 42, was taken to see a senior member of staff who screamed abuse at him. [...]

The Flint Journal (1983): "Have Scientology Practices Led to Suicide tries?"

One of the suicides listed by Flynn was a recent one by a 13-year-old boy from Los Angeles who spent several-years in an "Apple School," a private school that has been described as a Scientology educational front.

"His attorney told me that the boy's father said the kid was destroyed by Scientology's brainwashing routines," Flynn said "The kid had the mind of an 8-year-old."

Affidavit of Andre Tabayoyon (5 March 1994)

42. I personally observed a number of other Scientologists go crazy and commit suicide as a result of the auditing processes. Bob Shaffner and I were serving sentences on the RPF's RPF together. Although inmates are not allowed to speak to each other while on the RPF's RPF, Bob made it a point to tell me two or three times daily that he was going to kill himself because of what he experienced during RPF's RPF & OT III auditing. One day we were working on dangerous machinery and Bob suddenly thrust his finger into the machine which cut his finger off. Scientology management was fully aware of Bob's condition. He was placed on the risk of suicide list. Because he was suicidal, his berthing quarters while in the RPF were limited to first floor facilities. Whatever was done, if anything, to help Bob failed. He successfully committed suicide several years later. [...]

45. I received instructions directly from Ray Mithoff to use the Hubbard Tech of thought reform to drive Tom Ashworth to a psychotic break. The express object of the exercise was to drive Tom crazy and to commit suicide.

Italian OT 8 Speaks out

Then a lot of my friends and acquaintances who did the OT levels had died relatively young. Giuliano Cocchetti had had a stroke just after having attested OT 8, then he committed suicide. Daniele Pozzebon, OT 8, had died of cancer in a few months, and his son, an OT 4, had committed suicide just after his father died. Enza Guzzo, OT8, had died of cancer. Paolo Meini, OT 8, had felt ill during a session, and had died. Luigi, a restaurant owner in Brescia and OT 8, had died of a heart attack.

ITV England (1996): "The Big Story - The S Files"

Ten British recruits to Scientology have committed suicide in the past twelve years. But despite the disturbing evidence in cases like Richard's, Britain has been tolerant of the cult. In Europe it's a very different story. There the authorities have taken strong action against Scientology because of public outrage over the suicide of recruits. The cult's use of manipulative psychological techniques, and dubious financial practices have been condemned. [...]

And the cult is in the dock in Spain too. Twenty one Scientologists including the Church's international president Heber Jentzsch have been indicted for crimes including tax evasion and inducement to suicide.

Affidavit of Vicki Aznaran (7 March 1994)

11. Flo Barnett's suicide was a scandal within the inner circles of Scientology. This was not due to the fact that she supposedly committed suicide, but due to the fact that she had become a member of a declared enemy group, David Mayo's Advanced Ability Center. She was receiving auditing and assistance from this group and at the time of her death, possessed a pack of the NED for OTS (secret upper level auditing procedures) which were believed to have come from David Mayo's group. Flo Barnett's membership in this group made her a suppressive person as she was actively "squirreling" and a member of a suppressive group. The fact that David Miscavige was linked to her by familial ties was extremely repugnant to him and to his wife, Michelle Miscavige. David Miscavige's comment upon her death was that "the bitch got what she deserved.

Time: "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power"

This young Russian-studies scholar had jumped from a 10th-floor window of the Milford Plaza Hotel and bounced off the hood of a stretch limousine. When the police arrived, his fingers were still clutching $171 in cash, virtually the only money he hadn't turned over to the Church of Scientology, the self-help "philosophy" group he had discovered just seven months earlier.

The Psychiatric Times: "Prozac Frees Ex-Scientology Leader from Depression"

Hana believes that her suicidal ideation resulted from her acceptance of Scientology's doctrines of reincarnation and karma. "If I was experiencing such pain in the present, what was the bad thing from the past that had caused it?" Hana said. "I couldn't find it and it haunted me."

My Nine Lives in Scientology by Monica Pignotti

Quentin Hubbard, L. Ron Hubbard's son and a very close friend of mine, committed suicide at age 22 because he could see no way out of the trap he was in. Having been born into Scientology, he could not envision living outside of the cult, but could not stand living in it. It is too late for Quentin. He is gone and no one can undo that the damage that was done to him, but it is not too late for others. If writing this gives someone the insight to get their loved one out of Scientology, then perhaps, my years in Scientology will have served some purpose.

Affidavit of Monica Pignotti (29 September 1989)

Another way we were disciplined was to spend four hours in the crow's nest. The crow's nest is a small bucket-like structure that is the highest point on the ship. It was reached by climbing up a small narrow ladder. I had to go to the crow's nest on two occasions. One time, I was so distraught, I had thoughts of letting go of the ladder and hurling myself to the ground, even though I had no prior history of being suicidal and have had no history of being suicidal since leaving the group.

Affidavit of LaVenda Van Schaick (1982)

6. The purpose of sending the PC folders to the Guardian's Office where a person had been designated SP or Fair Game was to use the contents of the folders to attack, threaten, blackmail and control the person and thereby prevent the person from seeking to collect refunds of moneys paid to the Church or to prevent the person from exposing the Church activities. The Church regularly and as part of its policy uses the material in these folders to blackmail and control its members in this way. I personally observed this done on numerous occasions contrary to the promises made to Church members. In one case, the Church declared a person named David Sandweiss an SP and threatened to expose auditing information revealed to his auditor by him if he sued for a refund or sought in any way to expose the Church problems. He thereafter committed suicide.

ITV England: "The Big Story: The S Files"

Sister: Richard was anxious about the fact that he was wanting to leave Scientology, and he was concerned that they were not letting him leave, and that they were threatening to print personal information about him. That is what he voiced to me.

DM: Later, Richard left home saying he was going to visit a friend. He stopped off at a garage for petrol and cigarettes but he never arrived at the friend's house.

[shot of Clifton Suspension Bridge]

DM: For several hours that night his movements are unaccounted for but much later that night he parked his car near the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. At ten minutes to midnight he jumped to his death.

Tory Christman: "You Can Run, But you Cannot Hide"

The tears from this family............... I cannot write about, as I begin crying just remembering their deep pain, and to this day the deep pain they feel, as I'm sure each family who has lost their child (I now know 6 Scientology families where their child took their life — I believe due to Disconnection).

DALE BOGEN Jan 06, 1952 - Nov 11, 1984

I was out of town for 2 months and when I came back I asked around ASHO if any one had seen her. The D of P told me to speak to the Dir I & R, Bobby Schaffner, who I knew pretty well. I said," Bob, What's going on with Dale Bogen? The D of P told me to ask you." He asked me to step in and close the door, which I did.

Now, my 1st thought was this:  I knew that she was getting auditing but I also knew she was a petition-approved pc so I thought maybe something changed on that and asked him. I knew he'd be straight with me. "No, she was a pc" on a rundown that is sometimes given to people who are overwhelmed and unable to proceed in processing but she'd committed suicide after leaving the org one night back in November (1984).

I was shocked. Here it was over a month later I did not know how to respond. This was, for me, the 3rd unexpected death of a scientologist in over 1 year. It was so unreal. I could not imagine Dale doing something like that but then again, I did not know every personal thing about her. I asked how she died and how did he find out. He said the police contacted ASHO when they found her because she had receipts and some books in the car.  He said she took her car way up the main road in the Los Angeles Mountains, parked and plugged up the exhaust line with a rag or something and then got back in the car and went to sleep with the engine on. He knew nothing else.

Wikipedia: Philip Gale

Philip Chandler Gale (1978, Los Angeles, California – March 13, 1998, Cambridge, Massachusetts) was a pioneering internet software developer and computer prodigy, an avid musician, and a Scientologist for most of his early life. Gale earned roughly a million dollars worth of stock options for his innovative internet service provider (ISP) programs at EarthLink, a firm established and bankrolled by members of the Church of Scientology. Gale chose Friday, the thirteenth of March (L. Ron Hubbard's birthday) as the day he wanted to commit suicide, falling to his death from a classroom window on the fifteenth floor of a building on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus. Several years earlier, he had left the church after deciding Scientology was not for him.

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