The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's move against Scientology did not deal the crippling blow to the movement that its initiators had hoped it might do.
Confiscation of the Church's E-meters occasioned a brief period of inconvenience; the court trials entailed a substantial outlay for legal fees and provided material for biased news stories in the media; but Scientology was growing faster than ever.
Not only in America, but in other English-speaking countries as well, people in great numbers were enrolling in communications courses and auditing sessions. A man-and-wife team of hack writers who had been put to work to do a derogatory magazine piece on the movement, lamented: "Millions of young people all over the world are becoming 'addicted' to the dangerous new cult of Scientology."
News of the FDA raid, always in a slanted and sometimes in a distorted version, was given the widest circulation possible, in an effort to discredit Scientology abroad. The global network of Scientology's detractors
correctly reasoned that the prestige of the U.S. Government would lend weight to their charges that Hubbard and his adherents were operating what an AMA official called "a well organized piece of chicanery".
In Australia, where Scientology had attracted a very large following, the much-publicized FDA action encouraged the Church's enemies to renew their attacks with even greater vigour.
The best organized and loudest campaign was mounted in the state of Victoria, where Scientologists had the largest and most active branches.
Unlike the Church's opponents in the United States, who remained discreetly in the background and used other persons and organizations to do their fighting for them, the Australian group made no bones about identifying themselves. It was composed of prominent psychiatrists, psychologists, professors from Melbourne University, mental health crusaders, members of the Australian Medical Association and their obedient representatives, the civil authorities.
Leading the pack was Dr. E. Cunningham Dax, chairman of the Victoria Mental Health Authority. In 1962, he wrote to every Minister of Health in Australia, citing what he considered to be the dangers of Scientology. He also urged the State Government to curb the activities of Scientologists by prohibiting their advertising.
An interesting fact about Dr. Dax is that he attended the inaugural congress of the World Federation for Mental Health in 1948, and has maintained close ties with that organization over the ensuing years. In 1961, the WFMH sponsored the publication of Dr. Dax's book, Asylum To Community, which describes the rapid expansion of community psychiatric centres in Australia.
As elsewhere in the world, the enemies of Scientology found willing allies in the press. One of Melbourne's leading dailies, curiously named Truth, boasted in its news columns that the paper had "spearheaded the initial
onslaught against Scientology in the early 1960s". 1 (p. 13) No pretence of objective reporting was made by any of the Australian media. The usual "eminent critics" of Scientology -spokesmen for the Australian Medical Association, health authorities and leading psychiatrists were accorded front-page prominence as they daily voiced their deep concern about the dangers of Scientology. Lengthy commentaries on previously published reports of the U.S. marshals' raid on Scientology's Washington headquarters I continued to appear, with not a single line of explanation or rebuttal from the Scientologists. The newspaper accounts carefully avoided mention of the fact that the U.S. authorities had, in fact, raided a church. Instead, the stories stated that the marshals had "raided the headquarters of the Academy of Scientology". This secular designation was more in keeping with the establishment thesis that L. Ron Hubbard was a mental-health quack, preying upon "thousands of neurotics in Melbourne, in desperate need of proper medical care", that is to say, people who should be swelling the ranks of "patients" attending the proliferating psychiatric clinics and outpatient departments set up by the Mental Hygiene Service. Truth, the Melbourne newspaper mentioned in a foregoing paragraph, consistently referred to Scientology as "bunkumology".
The biased handling of news is effectively illustrated by the comparative "play" given a call for evidence against Scientology, and the lack of response to that appeal.
Noting that the Government was powerless to move against Scientologists until they had valid evidence, to support such a move, Victorian Health Minister R. W. Mack issued a statement asking people who thought they had proof of illegal practices by Scientologists to contact the Crown Law Department.
The health official's request for information about alleged exploitation by Scientologists was given major prominence
in the newspapers and run under a three-column, threebank headline.
When not a single person came forward with a complaint against Scientology, the no-response story was a brief three-paragraph item, buried beneath an 18-point, one-column head. (I am here referring to articles in the Melbourne Age of August 10 and 14, 1963, respectively, which were typical.)
For more than two years, at the instigation of Scientology's "eminent critics", both the police department and investigators for Victoria's Department of Health had subjected the Church's activities to intensive investigation. But, according to a public statement of the Minister for Health, the authorities could find nothing in existing laws under which the Scientologists could be prosecuted.
New legislation would have to be drafted to stop them. That called for fancy footwork on the political level. Accordingly, a plan of action was worked out. Phillip Bennett Wearne, a disgruntled former Scientologist, acted as front man for the get-Scientology alliance. In his own words:
"I knew that the way to go about it was to go to the Labour Opposition; so former political contacts put me in touch with the Hon. J. Walton, M.L.C., and he was most interested in bringing in the subject. He was a backbencher, and a successful attack on some subject like this would be very helpful to his career as a politician. So I made several visits to Parliament and he recorded conversations about it, and I gave him notes and documents, and one thing and another." 2 (p. 2)
On October 17, 1963, Walton delivered an antiScientology speech in the Victorian Legislative Council, calling for a full governmental inquiry into the practices of the dangerous cult.
His remarks were prominently quoted in the press.
Perceiving that the Opposition had hold of a good thing, John W. Galbally, Labour leader in the Upper House, gave the attack on Scientology his personal attention. In a high-decibel speech before the Legislative Council, Galbally
censured the Government for its failure to deal with the wicked "cult", despite repeated warnings from the Mental Hygiene Authority "and other responsible persons and bodies" (meaning mental health lobbyists and the AMA).
Availing himself of parliamentary privilege, which protected him against charges of slander, he described Scientologists as charlatans who were guilty of intimidation and blackmail, which could lead to insanity and even suicide.
Then, evidently in the belief that to deliver a truly rousing political oration, one must, in the words of former President Johnson, "get your hand up under the dress", Galbally read from a list of questions he said were asked of Scientology "victims who underwent lie detector tests". He came down hard on those having to do with sexual acts and perversions.
In its sensationalized coverage of the speech, the Melbourne Truth modestly refused to cite any of the questions which, it said, any newspaper "conscious of public decency would not publish."
"It is a scandal," Galbally declared, "that the Government allows this sort of thing to go on in Melbourne."
The Labour Leader's words were still ringing in the air when his colleague, J. M. Walton, rose to continue the onslaught. From his briefcase he produced an E-meter, the harmless device that had figured in the now-famous FDA raid on the Founding Church of Scientology in Washington.
"This is the instrument the Scientologists use to extract confessions from people in prominent places in the community," he told House members.
He added dramatically: "We are dealing with something that is very deep and very dangerous."
He was, in fact, dealing with a simple skin galvanometer, but the Victorian MPs had never seen one before and were properly impressed.
In a final, thumb-screw tactic, Walton suggested that perhaps some members of the Government had themselves been consorting with Scientologists, to whom they had divulged their secrets. Because of this they had used their influence to prevent any official action against the cult.
Yielding to the combined pressure of Opposition political leaders and mental health lobbyists, the Victorian Governor-in-Council on November 27, 1963 appointed a Board of Inquiry to "inquire into, report upon, and make recommendations concerning Scientology as known, carried on, practised and applied in Victoria".
The "Board" consisted of one man - Kevin Victor Anderson, Q.C., a senior member of the Victorian Bar and a practicing Roman Catholic. Appointed counsel to assist the Board in conducting the Inquiry was Gordon Just, instructed by the Crown Solicitor.
The marathon Inquiry set something of a record for such proceedings, both in terms of the time consumed (16o days of sittings) and the enormous bulk of testimony (nearly 4,000,000 words, which filled 8,92o pages of transcript).
When the Inquiry was first announced, the Scientologists expressed enthusiasm for the hearings because, they said, such an impartial review of the evidence would completely vindicate Scientology. They co-operated fully with the Board, providing all documents and records that were requested.
As the Inquiry went forward, however, the proceedings appeared more and more like an adversary situation in which they were defendents. In a later legal brief, their lawyers said: "The Inquiry into Scientology was not judicial in constitution, it was not judicial in function and only perhaps in its 'trappings' was it superficially judicial in its procedure."
A careful, unbiased reading of the transcript certainly supports some of the principal charges made by the Scientologists against the Inquiry; for example, that Anderson sometimes adopted the role of prosecutor, and harried
both witnesses and counsel for Scientology, while treating with courtesy and deference those "expert" witnesses hostile to Scientology; that there was collusion among antiScientology witnesses; that the Board declared some findings before all the witnesses were heard; and that Anderson and Just used confidential information from Scientology files to embarrass and ridicule witnesses for Scientology.
Sessions of the Inquiry that were heard in camera sometimes bore a striking resemblance to the witch trials of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It is only necessary to identify sex as the Devil and Scientologists as the witches who corsort with him. An auditing session here figures in the same way as Sabbats of the past.
The transcript of these sittings was issued as a secret appendix to the published report and was not generally circulated. However, I have come into possession of a copy and will quote a portion of it to show the inquisitional nature of the proceedings.
The date of this hearing was September 18, 1964 and the Board's counsel, Gordon just, was leading the evidence. The witness being interrogated was a Scientology staff member.
"MR. JUST: If the Board pleases: I am going to put some material to Mrs. Williams which people with ears unaccustomed to obscene language and the like would perhaps best not remain to hear. It is the sort of language which would not be, I think, normally used in most places, but I propose to put it to Mrs. Williams language used on the files as recorded by various people.
THE BOARD: Very well.
MR. JUST: Mrs. Williams, when you are auditing a male preclear does it embarrass you if that man starts talking about cunts?
WITNESS: I would not attach any particular significance to it.
MR. JUST: I am not going to have any naming of the preclear in question, but on a file (perhaps Mr. Crook may write the name of the file down and hand it into the Board and my friend) of a male preclear, when you were yourself the auditor, this appears: Auditor's report forms, then the preclear's name. I think it is fair to say it was a staff member - a staff co-auditor. Question: what question shouldn't I ask you? Then there is a note about the tone arm: what sexual activity could you confront, not confront: havingness: point about something. What question shouldn't I ask you? Then 4-T-A havingness 3-T-A. Then on Pre-Session Comm. - there is written on this, O.W.'s a word I cannot now read, but you may know it, Mrs. Williams. I think it is your writing. Then the word fannys (cunts): further down, what terminals are unflat on case: fanny/cunt: auditor's opinion on progress: ran incident on being a nun in 1643 name Isabel, main point of attention fixed on (cunts), ran incident on what question shouldn't I ask you: got T.A. reading proper. Is that your writing? (Document shown to witness).
MR. JUST: What is the word I could not read there, perhaps you would read it; it is half way down the page?
WITNESS: O.W.'s oh, I think that is 'nuns'.
MR. JUST: That may well be. You were not embarrassed or shocked by this sort of language?
WITNESS: Not really, no.
MR. JUST: Coming from a male in an auditing session?
WITNESS: Well, as an auditor I have been trained to listen without showing anything, or that sort of thing.
THE BOARD: Do you frequently come across this?
BOARD: You were not prepared for this sort of thing?
WITNESS: Well, not frequently, I have heard sometimes.
BOARD: From time to time?
BOARD: Not from any preclear, this is by no means an exceptional case?
WITNESS: No, from time to time -
BOARD: So that you were quite accustomed to this sort of language and this sort of discussion taking place between the preclear and yourself?
WITNESS: No, I am not accustomed to it.
BOARD: I mean by 'accustomed' it occurs from time to time And such occurrences do not occasion you any surprise?
WITNESS: Well, again, one is trained to listen.
BOARD: What is the answer to my question?
WITNESS: I am sorry.
BOARD: Does it happen from time to time with such frequency that this occurrence does not occasion you any surprise?
WITNESS: No, it doesn't.
BOARD: It doesn't occasion you any surprise?
WITNESS: No, it doesn't happen a lot.
BOARD: I think we have our negatives crossed. When it happens, you are not surprised it happens?
BOARD: You are not surprised?
MR. JUST: With this same member of the staff, 26th October 196o, Auditor's Report Forms: Terminals assessed today: sexual organs. Then amongst other things: Auditor's opinion on progress: PC has chronic PTP on sex organs. (Then I think what follows does not add to the case very much.) [By the latter statement, Counsel probably meant there was nothing of a titillating nature in the intervening portion of the file.] That did not surprise you - a male preclear: terminals assessed today: 'Sexual organs'?
WITNESS: No. When one assesses cases, if it reads on the meter and has charge on it, that is, if the T.A. moves on
it -the tone arm on the meter moves up and down on it - it would have some bearing on the case and that is what would be audited.
BOARD: Can you tell from either of those that Mr. just has spoken to you about, how long the processing session took on the particular topics that have been mentioned.
MR. JUST: His answers would be frank answers, discussing all sorts of sexual behaviour, would they?
WITNESS: I imagine they would be.
'BOARD: How old was this preclear at this stage?
WITNESS: Forty or something.
BOARD: Married to your knowledge?
BOARD: You were twenty-four at that stage, were you -four years ago?
MR. JUST: How old was [name omitted], the auditor?
WITNESS: I think she'd be about twenty-two now.
MR. JUST: That makes her, in February 1962, somewhere about twenty, and on this same preclear, on February 26th, 1962, on the 'Results and Comments' column the note is: 'All the sexy things we came up with in the last intensive, January '62.' That rather indicates that this young auditor on that occasion was subject to talking about all the sexy things this particular preclear may have been interested in at the time?
WITNESS: If it had a charge on it, that would definitely be audited."
The interrogation continues in this vein, ad nauseam; but I will spare the reader. It is not necessary to eat a whole egg to know that it's rotten.
From the foregoing, it is clear, I think, that for Anderson and Just, mention of repressed sexual feelings and recall of past incidents, even within the context of pastoral counselling, was shocking, shameful and wrong. It
went against the grain of the two men's upringing, their social, moral and religious outlook.
Scientologists who were present report that sometimes during testimony which explained beliefs and practices of Scientology, Anderson was heard to mutter unjudiciously, "Rubbish!" and "Nonsense!" These remarks were not recorded in the transcript.
Among the witnesses hostile to Scientology, two were outstanding because of the quality and extent of their testimony.
The first of these was Dr. E. Cunningham Dax, chairman of Victoria's Mental Health Authority and long-time active member of the World Federation for Mental Health. Speaking from on high, Dr. Dax defined the objectives of Scientology as indoctrination of a large number of blind, uncritical and faithful followers, who were trained to spread Scientology principles in order to satisfy their leader's lust for power. He said an alleged IQ test form used by Scientologists to test a person's intelligence quotient included matters of personality, intelligence and sometimes mental disturbance which would be impossible to measure with accuracy in the way it purported to do.
With regard to the E-meter, Dr. Dax testified that it had been used in the United States as a lie-detector and was an instrument not employed in normal psychiatric practice. Grave doubts about it had been raised in America. He added that the fact that the person being "audited" knew he had disclosed some of his innermost secrets to an organization might have a dangerous effect on him. A person who had confessed would often wish he could get the information back, but he could not recover the material. "I am convinced this is enough to induce ill-health, chronic anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms in people who had expressed their shortcomings."
Reaching somewhat far afield for symptoms, Dr. Dax suggested that a guilt feeling had prompted L. Ron
Hubbard to call the 1962 Scientology meeting in Australia the "Clean Hands congress". Washing the hands, he explained, was commonly associated with feelings of guilt.
After admitting that he had never met L. Ron Hubbard, nor, indeed, ever set eyes on him, Dax proceeded to practise the kind of remote diagnosis common to his profession, and pronounced the founder of Scientology to be a person of unsound mind, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
Various Scientology writings supported this view, he assured the Board of Inquiry. "They display all sorts of exhibitions of histrionics and are hysterical."
The second and even more prolific witness against Scientology who deserves special attention was Phillip Wearne, executive officer of the Committee for Mental Health and National Security. His testimony, comments and questions fill a massive 348 pages of transcript - enough to make an average-size book.
Wearne first appeared before the Inquiry as a witness vehemently opposed to Scientology and whose references to it were couched in the most intemperate language used during the entire course of the hearings. His remarks were studded with terms such as corpse, creature, un-person, nasty child, beast, imbecile, monkey, zombie, and so on. Typical references to Scientologists:
"You get the impression that the exterior entity cleverly keeps the pupils of the eyes fixed in a suitable direction while the mouth talks."
"Its eyes move like the eyes of a living person."
"This creature is, by all human standards, inside out."
"The remains of the former personality at some moments speak through the lips of the un-person."
It was after a lengthy address of this kind that the Board -Mr. Anderson - said:
"Thank you, Mr. Wearne; I am greatly obliged to you for your thorough, very complete and very painstakingly prepared and delivered address. It speaks volumes for the
amount of labour and tremendous industry you have applied to the preparation of your case."
When the Counsel who represented the Committee for Mental Health and National Security withdrew during the protracted Inquiry, Wearne asked the Board for permission to represent the committee himself. Anderson granted this request and invited Wearne to sit at the Bar table, where he asked questions, led evidence and cross-examined witnesses.
In a lengthy statement, in the form of an affidavit sworn to before a notary some time after the Anderson board closed its Inquiry, Wearne related in detail the circumstances surrounding his participation in the Inquiry proceedings.
He said that one day prior to the Inquiry he was discussing Scientology with his bank manager, who suggested that he get in touch with Dr. E. Cunningham Dax, chairman of Victoria's Mental Hygiene Authority.
"I met Dr. Dax and explained to him my hostility to Scientology. It was obvious to me he didn't know anything about Scientology, and he could not relate it to any of the psychological or psychiatric disciplines because he did not have any of the necessary lexicon of terms. He did not have the Rosetta stone, so to speak, to translate Scientology into psychological terms and show it up to be a perverted form of psychology.
"It was equally clear to me that he was extremely antagonistic to Scientology and wished its destruction and saw me as a means of accomplishing it. This became even more evident throughout the Inquiry when Dax gave his evidence on the basis of the research and material which I had provided, which material I had extracted in part from his psychiatric library and which he had been so willing to study in the publications which I distributed, such as Probe."
Wearne gathered together a handful of former Scientologists whom he carefully briefed to give evidence before
the Board of Inquiry. On the whole their testimony appears to me to be unconvincing and ambiguous.
One of the witnesses, a man named Douglas Moon, went on about it for 511 pages, but at times no one, including Moon himself, apparently knew what he was talking about.
Throughout the Melbourne hearings, a mysterious observer haunted the proceedings, a man Wearne tentatively identified as an agent for CIA.
"Now this chappie," said Wearne, "appeared about the second day of the Board of Inquiry and was a constant shadow-you know-if you looked around at any time of the day, you would find him there; and he was always approaching me and talking to me about the Inquiry and how it was going and what the witnesses were doing and how they should be handled and so on. He didn't know what he was talking about, really - but as he insisted on inviting me for lunch practically daily, I felt obliged to listen to him anyway.
"He made it his business to keep in close contact with me. I became embarrassed by the number of times that he wined and dined me, brought liquor to my flat and irritated me by constant and inept suggestions concerning Scientology witnesses. On one occasion, Doug Moon, who considered him an intolerable ratbag, when probed by him as to what evidence he would give, abused him in tones of high anger and left the flat, slamming the door behind him.
"I was tolerant because, while I realised he did not have a clue about how our programme against Scientology should be conducted, he was trying to do his best and I assume was being paid for it. If I remember rightly, I made him a member of the Committee for Mental Health and National Security and gave him a card which no doubt is held in a repository of honour in his archives either at the CIA office or whoever else was paying him.
"I rather prefer the idea that the security service that employed him was the CIA because both he and his brother-in-law were employed in a finance company which
had a set of offices to the rear of the United States Consulate, an organization which I approached at one time to interview the CIA man in charge."
Hubbard himself did not appear to give testimony before the Board, a fact which is dwelt upon at some length by the Anderson Report. The report does not mention, however, that solicitors for the Scientology organization in Melbourne on September 28, 1964, formally requested that the state of Victoria pay Hubbard's travelling and incidental expenses to fly to Australia from England to give evidence.
The request was refused, as was a proposal that the Board appoint some representative in England to hear evidence from Hubbard there.
Regarding the latter suggestion, Anderson said that such evidence taken on Commission was a very poor substitute for actual oral evidence before a tribunal. "One has to see the witnesses, observe their demeanour. In fact, one has to see whether they are 'Dear Alice-ing' you to determine whether what they are saying are things you, as a tribunal, should accept. I feel that I could get no assistance from Mr. Hubbard's evidence if all I had before me was his evidence taken on Commission. It would only be the bald written word without any means available of appraising the demeanour of the witness and those other multitude of things which one's professional training and years of life, for that matter, enable one to form some fair appraisal of the weight which would be given to the evidence."
While thus refusing to consider evidence in the form of interrogatories put to Hubbard by an experienced lawyer in England, Anderson based his eventual findings upon what he called "the great body of scientific evidence ... experts in a variety of fields, scientific and otherwise". That is, he relied upon psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers, university professors and others, most of whom had never come closer to Scientology than the "bald written word", here declared to be so unsatisfactory.
Critics of Scientology and its founder have said that Hubbard had had no intention of coming to Melbourne; that the request for expense money had been made, knowing that it would be rejected.
If true, it merely shows that Hubbard was using good sense. Only four months prior to the request, Dr. E. Cunningham Dax, chairman of the Mental Health Authority in Victoria, had publicly declared Hubbard to be of unsound mind. There was open discussion among the legal profession that he could now be charged with fraud.
Gordon Just, Counsel assisting the Board had reportedly said that "the people" of Victoria were so irate against Hubbard that they might do him physical injury if he were available. When the Scientologists' lawyer asked that the authorities guarantee Hubbard's personal safety, Just replied that this could not be done because it would interfere with the ordinary workings of the law.
The newspapers were treating the Inquiry with the kind of biased sensationalism usually reserved for an especially gruesome murder trial. There is no need here to quote from the fulsome stories that dominated the Melbourne dailies during the hearings. A few randomly selected headlines and banners will suffice to indicate the tone and slant of the coverage:
"SCIENTOLOGY IS PERVETED" 3 (p. 4)
"[SECURITY] CHECK A FORM OF BLACKMAIL" 4 (P. 3)
"SCIENTOLOGY CAUSED 'DELUSIONS'" 5 (P. 29)
"SCIENTOLOGY 'EXPLOITED ANXIETY" 6 (P. 23)
"SCIENTOLOGY IS A MENACE" 7 (P. 5)
"PRODUCT OF AN UNSOUND MIND" 8 (p. 2)
There can be little doubt that, given the climate of opinion which then prevailed in Victoria, Hubbard would have been certified as insane or jailed for fraud if he had set foot within the jurisdiction of his enemies.
The Board of Inquiry concluded its hearing on April 21, 1965 and Anderson tabled his report in Parliament the first
week in October of the same year. In his report, Anderson attacked Scientology in what one news account called "the strongest terms ever used in an official investigation in Australia".
In the summary of his findings, Anderson denounced Scientology in toto. "The Board has been unable to find any worthwhile redeeming feature in Scientology." The whole body of its doctrine was a "fabric of falsehood, fraud and fantasy".
"Scientology is evil; its techniques evil, its practice a serious threat to the community, medically, morally and socially; and its adherents sadly deluded and often mentally ill."
As for the founder of Scientology: "However Hubbard may appear to his devoted followers, the Board can form no other view than that Hubbard is a fraud and Scientology fraudulent."
And in another place: "His sanity is to be gravely doubted."
In prompt reaction to the Report, Victorian Premier Sir Henry Bolte called a press conference to announce that the Government was duty bound to act on the Board's recommendations.
And so it did. In less than two months, the Victorian legislature passed what was called the Psychological Practices Act, 1965, whose principal aim was the banning of Scientology. In fact, it was at first known informally as the Scientology Prohibition Bill.
The chief provisions of the Act are:
It sets up a Psychological Council and requires the registration of psychologists with the Council; and restricts the practice of that profession for fee or reward, as well as the use of the word "psychologist", or similar expressions.
It imposes a fine of A$ 5oo for use of the E-meter by anyone other than registered psychologists.
It makes it a criminal offence, punishable by a fine of $2oo for the first conviction and up to two years' imprisonment for a second, to demand or receive directly or indirectly, any fee or reward for the teaching, practice or application of Scientology. The same restriction applies to holding oneself out as being willing to teach Scientology.
It directs all persons holding "Scientology records" to deliver them up to the Attorney-General and authorizes the seizure of such records by law enforcement officials.
Acting swiftly under terms of the last mentioned clause, within one half hour after passage of the bill, police raided the Scientology headquarters in Melbourne, where they confiscated some 4,ooo documents, personal files and books.
The Scientologists' response to this draconian suppression in Victoria was to publish a booklet entitled Kangaroo Court, which laid bare the conspiracy and bias behind the Melbourne Inquiry and vowed that Scientology would continue to grow in Victoria. "No vested interests or blackhearted politicians, no matter how much power they seem to ally themselves with, can stop our thoughts or our communications ... Our administrative form could be altered, but not the subject of Scientology ... We will be here teaching and listening when our opponents' names are merely mis-spelled references in a history book of tyranny."
Later, Hubbard and his followers took more direct action. On April 28, 1970, a writ issued in the Supreme Court of the State of Victoria by the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International against Anderson and Just, charging the two with misfeasance, breach of duty and recklessness in the conduct of the Inquiry into Scientology.
This legal counter-attack created a considerable stir in Victorian professional and political circles. Following the Inquiry, both men had been elevated to
judgeships - Anderson was now a Justice of the Supreme Court, and Just a judge of the County Court.
In order to block the Scientologists from having their case heard in a real court of law, where rules of evidence must be observed, Supreme Court justice McInerny set aside the writ on a technicality. He ruled that Ian Tampion, acting as agent for the Scientologists, was "an unqualified person".
The Scientologists refused to give up. After considerable difficulty, they eventually found a firm of solicitors that would, acting as "qualified persons", properly lodge the writ in the Supreme Court.
Hubbard's organization now went even further and had writs issued not only against Anderson and just, but against the Victorian Government (for libel in publishing the Anderson Report) and six newspapers.
This time the writs could not be struck out on the basis of some legal technicality. The defendants would have to face a full court hearing of the charges against them.
Then, in what was plainly a frantic last-ditch manoeuvre, the Victorian legislature took the unprecedented action of passing a retroactive law that conferred absolute immunity upon Anderson and just. Entitled Evidence (Boards and Commissions) Bill, it amended the evidence Act, 1958 "to overcome separate problems brought to the attention of the Government by the Chief justice and by the Crown Solicitor". Section 21 A of the measure provided that "persons constituting a Royal Commission or board of inquiry, together with legal practitioners and others appearing before the commission or board, and witnesses shall have and be deemed always to have had the same privileges and immunities in respect of acts, matters or things done in relation to or arising in or out of the inquiry or the report of the inquiry as if they were done in relation to or arose in or out of a Supreme Court action or a report of such action." (Emphasis added.)
The idea of a retroactive law, designed to circumvent an
action pending before a Supreme Court, would be rejected by the legislature of any civilized state where jurisprudence has any meaning. Even in Victoria, where apparently the race is to the swift and the battle to the strong, a few honorable members rose during the parliamentary debate to go on record as deploring the measure and criticizing the Government (along party lines) for making such an extreme action necessary. But, having deplored the bill, they then voted in favour of it.
What seemingly incensed the dissenters most was the fact that the Attorney-General had tried to pull the wool over their eyes. In his speech before the House, explaining the bill, he had said that the aim of the legislation was to amend the Evidence Act to provide immunity for persons appointed to conduct Royal Commissions or boards of inquiry; but he did not inform the members that it was also designed to stop a writ already before the court. Said the member for Albert Park:
"We should have been told that a writ which was destined to come before the Supreme Court will be stopped in mid-air, as it were, by an action of this Parliament.
"The passage of this Bill through Parliament will indicate to many people that justice -in the sense of a person being able to plead his case in court - will not even get off the ground."
One of the most outspoken critics of the Past-Present-Future bill was the Hon. J. W. Galbally, the man who had started the legislative steam-roller against Scientology in the first place. Galbally expressed the view that if the law were amended retrospectively to put Scientologists out of court, it would only "put a sword in the hands of these thoroughly unworthy people".
"I should like to see their actions tried in the court," Galbally continued, "because even as the law stands, I do not think they would have any sort of case. If they win, let the Government pay up. I believe this would be a small price to pay for the independence of justice."
Such was not the majority view of the honorable gentlemen. Whether the Scientologists won or lost in court was not the question. The real issue was whether to allow the full story of the Inquiry to be aired in public.
"As Parliament appointed him [Anderson] to this position," said the Hon. C. A. M. Hider, "surely Parliament is bound to protect him and to avoid having a judge embarrassed."
Protecting Anderson was more important than preserving the integrity of the law itself.
Although Scientology had been outlawed - temporarily at least - in the State of Victoria, it was still flourishing elsewhere in Australia.
The medico-psychiatric group, together with their political and press allies who were conducting the extermination campaign against Scientology, now directed their efforts towards securing a nationwide ban on the organization. Health Minister G. C. MacKinnon of Western Australia told newsmen in January 1967 that he would call for such a ban at the Health Ministers conference to be held in Perth in April of the year.
MacKinnon made no secret of his motives. Scientology, he said, was dangerous "to certain groups in the community". He then made it clear which groups he was referring to:
"This is an organization which particularly argues against the established mental health services." 9 (p. 19)
True to his pledge, MacKinnon had the subject of Scientology put on the agenda of the Conference of Health Ministers. However, he was unable to get an agreement from all the ministers present to push for joint Commonwealth-State legislation against the "cult". Those in whose States there were no Scientology centres felt that it was up to the individual States to deal with the problem when and if it arose.
At the same time, for publicity purposes, a resolution was
passed condemning "the harmful cult" and recommending that "a close watch should be maintained to prevent its spread".
Scientology was even made the whipping boy for crimes which came before the courts. For example, when a male nurse in Sydney appeared in Quarter Sessions, after pleading guilty of an offence against an eight-year-old boy, Dr. Emmanuel Fisher, a psychiatrist and member of the World Federation of Mental health, gave expert testimony in his defence. Dr. Fisher told the court that Scientology was 99 per cent responsible for the man's criminal behaviour. He had attended the cult's lectures.
Thereupon, showing tender concern for an aggressive, adult pederast who had sexually assaulted a child, the magistrate - a judge Monahan - released the man on a Â£100 bond and said he hoped his name would not be published. It wasn't.
While on the stand, Dr. Fisher was permitted to discuss two other wholly irrelevant cases in which he said he had treated two young people who had been attending lectures on Scientology."
In another case, also before the Sydney Sessions, a judge Amsberg said, after receiving psychiatric reports on an estate agent he had sentenced for fraudulently converting trust funds: "It is clear that a good deal of . your mental difficulty is due to your association with people who call themselves Scientologists. It seems like an evil cloud settles on a person."
Declaring that "he has my deepest sympathy", judge Amsberg then signed an order to have the defendant removed to a mental asylum where he would "receive proper psychiatric treatment".
In response to pressure brought by the State Health Council and others associated with that body, in November 1968 a bill was introduced in the Parliament of Western Australia similar to the one earlier passed by the State of Victoria; prohibiting the practice and teaching of
Scientology. Voting on the measure divided along party lines, with the government's majority of three insuring passage of the Act. During a lengthy debate of the Bill. H. Graham, deputy leader of the Opposition promised that "when a Labour Government is elected - whenever that might be - high on the list of priorities will be the repeal of this rotten piece of legislation".
Scientologists pointed out that Dr. A. S. Ellis, chairman of the State's Mental Health Committee, and one of the chief instigators of the Western Australian legislation, had attended the founding meetings of the World Mental Health Organization in 1948 and had served under Dr. E. Cunningham Dax for nearly ten years.
Soon after the outlawing of Scientology in Western Australia, a similar Bill was introduced in the South Australian legislature. Again, voting divided along party lines, with the Opposition solidly against it. When the vote was tied, the deciding vote in favour of the Bill was cast by Tom Scott, Speaker of the House. Scott's personal physician was an outspoken critic of Scientology and a member of the South Australian Association for Mental Health, a local affiliate of the World Federation for Mental health.
Opposition leader D. A. Dunstan, who had previously investigated Scientology when he was Attorney-General, told members of the House: "I must say that after a few complaints made to me about Scientology in South Australia, we investigated this matter, following the urging of the Victorian Chief Secretary. I had it drawn to my attention that there were a number of prominent citizens of standing in South Australia who could not in any way be said to be mentally unstable or unsatisfactory citizens (they were the reverse, being prominent in community organizations), who were involved in Scientology and who claimed to have derived personal benefit from it."" (Emphasis added.)
In reviewing the hearings that resulted in the Anderson
Report and those which followed the same pattern in the states of Western and Southern Australia, I do not see how any unbiased observer can escape the conclusion that they were political window-dressing. In all of them the findings were preconceived and the evidence highly selective and often distorted to support the a priori assumption that Scientology is evil. Furthermore, the language of the Reports which issued from the Inquiries is clearly propagandist rather than judicial.
In New Zealand, it was a different story. There for the first -and perhaps the last time - the case against Scientology was weighed in honest balances by men for whom, apparently, the truth meant more than accommodation to a politically powerful elite.
This does not mean that the New Zealand Commission of Inquiry gave Scientology passing marks in all the subjects that came before them. On the contrary, much of their report is unfavourable to Scientology. But in reading through the summary of their findings, one gets the strong impression that they are based on careful examination and analysis, not upon prejudice and pre-commitment. The criticisms offered are pretty much those that any fairminded, non-Scientologist would make on the basis of the evidence presented. The Commission does not quote the Anderson Report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, nor the "expert" opinions of psychiatrists and cow-college professors of psychology - all with an axe to grind.
Instead, they addressed themselves to an impartial scrutiny of the activities, methods, and practices of the Hubbard Scientology Organization in New Zealand. At the opening of the session in Auckland, the Commission chairman stated that the hearings would not in general "extend to or include any inquiry into the 'philosophy, teachings or beliefs' of Scientology".
No evidence was given in camera.
The move against Scientology in New Zealand was begun in the usual way: on June 28, 1968, a petitition
bearing 716 signatures was presented to Parliament, asking that a Board of Inquiry be set up to investigate Scientology, and requesting legislative action. The petitition was referred to the Select Committee on Social Services, which, after hearing evidence, recommended that the Inquiry be held.
### The Commission was set up by Order in Council on February 3, 1969. Sir Guy Richardson Powles, the New Zealand Ombudsman and E. V. Dumbleton, retired newspaper editor were members of the Commission, with G. S. Orr as assisting counsel.
The Commission sat for eight days, during which they heard twenty-seven witnesses, whose testimony filled 650 pages of transcript.
The Report of their conclusions and recommendations was submitted to the Governor-General of New Zealand on June 30, 1969.
Throughout the Inquiry, the Commission was mainly concerned (and I believe, justifiably so) with a number of practices which Scientology lumped together under the heading of Ethics.
Officially, Ethics is defined as "rationality towards the highest level of survival for the individual, the future race, the group and mankind, and the other dynamics taken collectively. Ethics are reason and the contemplation of optimum survival".
That all sounds innocuous enough. The rub came in the security system which Hubbard and his followers developed to insure "optimum survival".
The problem, apparently, was twofold. There was a question of the individual preclear's progress, if he came under the criticism or opposition of someone in his immediate environment who was hostile to Scientology. There was also the need to deal with persons within the organization itself, who wanted to use Scientology as a nucleus for their own personal brand of technology, altering the procedures to fit their new concepts.
Scientology minister Robert H. Thomas explained the background of the first problem to me in these words:
"It was discovered a long time ago - in the early 60s that certain individuals did not respond properly to processing. They seemed not to make gains the way we expect people to do. It was discovered that they had connections to the outside, or certain kinds of problems, or difficulties in their personal lives, which had to be handled before they could give enough attention even to get into an auditing situation and derive any benefit.
"In such cases, we would issue an order to that person, saying do this or do that, or you will not be given any further auditing. We found that the person having problems was connected to people outside who were antagonistic to Scientology; were, in fact, trying to destroy Scientology. As long as the preclear was connected to or under the influence or domination of such people, they would not progress because the hostile people were a continuing source of enturbulation."
The outside troublemakers (who were more often than not, close relatives, parents, or marital partners) were known as Suppressive Persons. If a Scientologist remained in association with them he was declared to be a Potential Trouble Source (PTS).
The only effective solution to such a situation was deemed to be a formal act of "disconnection" by the PTS from the people in his life who were threatening Scientology. This took the form of a letter from the Scientologist to the Suppressive person or persons, notifying them that thereafter they would be allowed no contact with the writer. The wording and length of the letters varied but their residual import was the same. The New Zealand Commission of Inquiry quoted the following, from a Scientologist to her aunt. It is fairly typical:
"I am disconnecting from you from now on. If you try to ring me, I will not answer, I will not read any
mail you send, and I refuse to have anything to do with you in any way whatsoever. All communication is cut completely."
While such abrupt and seemingly permanent ruptures in intimate human relationships were often followed by greater consternation on the part of the Suppressive Person in some cases the individual who had taken that final step stood to benefit from it.
For a husband or wife who had been under the thumb of his or her domineering mate; or for the forty-year-old man still tied to his mother's apron strings, disconnection could only be a joyous emancipation.
However, from a human and community-relations point of view, there are better ways of dealing with such situations, as Scientology itself eventually came to see.
Scientology's Ethics division also was charged with maintaining the strict internal discipline that Hubbard felt was necessary to ensure the "optimum survival" of a worldwide organization like Scientology. A corps of Ethics officers, who combined the duties of both an intelligence service and a tribunal which heard evidence and meted out punishment to offenders, was established in every Scientology centre.
At one point in the development of this security system, the inevitable dissensions, weaknesses, and threats of egodriven reformers who wanted to "take over" Scientology and run it according to their personal views, resulted in practices that were called "harsh ethics".
Disconnection was only one of the remedies imposed. Ethics could, for example, mete out other penalties ranging in severity from personal humiliation for minor offences, to criminal charges for serious or "High Crimes" such as treason.
Scientologists who became what Hubbard called a "down statistics" - i.e., a drawback to the advancement of the org. -might be required to wear a dirty grey rag on their left arms, They could "be employed at any additional
work" and were subject to day and night confinement to premises.
For such misdemeanours as carelessness or neglect which resulted in expense to the org. - the offender could be confined in or barred from the premises, He was obliged to wear a handcuff on his left wrist.
Another and, it seems to me, even less excusable practice was that of declaring an enemy Fair Game. Any person so designated (by an Ethics Order) could be deprived of property or injured by any means, fair or foul. He could be "tricked, sued, or lied to, or destroyed".
How far Scientologists went in applying the Fair Game rule during that period of the movement's history, I do not know. Many ugly rumours and second-hand accounts of physical assaults, slander and false legal charges against those labelled Suppressive Persons have been circulated by ex-Scientologists and by Hubbard's avowed enemies. In any case, such practices can only be viewed with abhorrence by decent people; and that, indeed, is the way the Scientologists themselves, including Hubbard, seem to regard them in retrospect.
Granted that Hubbard was faced with the major problem that has plagued every religion or organization based upon ritualistic procedures - that of preserving the integrity of its body of doctrine - it seems to me it could have been handled in a more Scientological way.
At the same time, I have little patience with those who severely criticize Scientology for the strict discipline it imposes upon its adherents and yet find nothing blameworthy in, say, the Roman Catholic practice of excommunication, doctrine of infallibility and system of canonical law, with its own lawyers and court of first and last instance.
Bob Thomas, Scientology's soft-spoken apologist who appears to have a rational explanation for every facet of his Church's operation told me:
"Of course, as with any great religious movement, we get the problem of holding the organization together. You
come in with the old story of the man who was walking with the Devil when they saw somebody on the path ahead of them bend over and pick up an object. The man asked the Devil what the fellow had found, and the Devil said: 'He's found Truth.' The Devil's companion then asked him: 'Why does it make you so happy that he's found Truth?' And the Devil said: 'Because I'm going to help him organize it.'
"You see, any perception of truth has to be organized, and with organization comes the imposition of human frailty. So we try to strike a balance, a golden mean, between truth and organization."
In the face of growing uneasiness about harsh Ethics within the movement, and mounting hostility outside, in 1968 Hubbard ordered a public opinion survey of the Church's current structure and practices. According to Scientology spokesmen, 318, 885 questionnaires were sent to all parts of the world.
As a result of the replies received, Hubbard issued a directive dated November 15, 1968, cancelling the practice of disconnection, security checking, and fair game, and the writing down or otherwise recording of any confessional materials.
Later, in a policy letter of March 7, 1969, a continuing ameliorating of Ethics procedures was indicated.
"We are going in the direction of mild ethics and involvement with the Society," Hubbard wrote. "After 19 years of attack by the minions of vested interest, psychiatric front groups, we developed a tightly disciplined organizational structure.
"I don't like to see my friends pushed around. We didn't know it at the time, but out difficulties and failures were the result of false reports put out by the small but rich and powerful, group of individuals who would deny man freedom.
"Now that we know ... we will never need a harsh spartan discipline for ourselves.
"It has become apparent that such duress is not necessary when one has a technology which sets man free."
It was partly on the basis of these policy reforms that the New Zealand Commission of Inquiry recommended that no legislative action be taken against Scientology.
In concluding their Report, the commissioners set down a word of warning and advice. "The commission feels that for the future Scientology should regard as indispensable certain rules of practice. These are:
No reintroduction of the practice of disconnection.
No issue of Suppressive Person or Declaration of Enemy orders by any member to any other member of a family.
No auditing or processing or training of anyone under the age of twenty-one without the specific written consent of both parents; such consent to include approval of the fees (which shall be specified) to be charged for the course or courses to which the consent is applicable.
A reduction to reasonable dimensions of 'promotion' literature sent through the post to individuals, and prompt discontinuance of it when this is requested."
If the Scientologists in New Zealand would observe these rules, the Report added, "no further occasion for Government or public alarm should arise...".
Neither Hubbard nor his followers made any objection to these reasonable strictures, and the Church has continued to function in New Zealand without further interference by Government authorities.
"New Zealand," a leading English Scientologist told me, "is the only place where we have had a decent and favourable inquiry, and it is the only place where there is no member association of the World Federation for Mental Health."
When Australia's first Labour government in twenty
three years took the reins in late 1972, the tide against Scientology began to turn. True to his party's promise that if Labour won in the December federal elections, Scientology ministers would be registered under the Australia Commonwealth Marriages Act, the new Attorney-General registered the Church a few months after taking office.
Australian law provides that such registration is all that is needed to establish religious bona fides throughout the country. It had the effect of anulling the anti-Scientology measure passed by the Victorian Parliament, West Australia's promise to repeal was honoured in 1973, and will undoubtedly speed action on a bill to repeal similar legislation in South Australia, still pending at this writing.