April 19, 1 9 9 6
BU's Scientology Connection
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Scientology's Tangled Web

by Dan Kennedy

(Hypertext links by Ron Newman and Thor Iverson)

The Church of Scientology has waged a war in cyberspace to keep its secret documents from being seen, and it is on the Internet that some of its best insights can be found.
  • alt.religion.scientology is the most active cyberstation. Church critics and supporters post several hundred messages a day, and anonymous critics such as the notorious "Scamizdat" upload copyrighted Scientology documents they have obtained. Church critics charge that Scientologists have illegally forged "cancel" messages to erase these postings. Church lawyer Earle Cooley denies the allegation, although he says it's possible that a few Scientologists, acting on their own, are responsible. The downside: this Usenet group is chaotic and almost impossible to follow for those not intimately familiar with the issues and personalities involved.

  • The BU Scientology controversy is the topic of a Web page put together by Ramon Kolb, a Boston University graduate engineering student: http://eng.bu.edu/~ramonk/pers/scientology/bu/index.html.

  • The copyright battle, and the Church of Scientology's questionable tactics in it, is the subject of Boston-area Internet activist Ron Newman's comprehensive Web site. Although Newman believes the church should not be entitled to the protection of copyright laws, he has scrupulously avoided violating church copyrights himself. His guide, updated frequently, can be found at http://www.cybercom.net/~rnewman/scientology/home.html.

  • "The Real Steven Fishman Home Page," located on a hard drive somewhere in the Netherlands, contains Fishman's "declaration," which is, by most accounts, an excellent summation of what's contained in the copyrighted documents that the church is trying to protect. Fishman, an ex-member and convicted felon, charges among other things that the church ordered him to kill his psychiatrist and then to commit suicide before he finally left the organization. The church denies those allegations. Check out http://www.xs4all.nl/~fishman.

  • Cult expert Steven Hassan has a Web site devoted to fighting mind control in all its permutations, including Scientology. Hassan has put together a substantial number of useful links: http://www.virtumall.com/mindcontrol.

  • Scientology has a major Web presence of its own. Among other things, it contains a Q&A with the Reverend Heber Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, where you'll find the official church response to issues such as mind control, the church's legal problems, and its "fair game" policy: http://www.scientology.org.

    Click for the Church of Scientology's response to this article
    Kennedy's sidebar: The Secrets of Scientology