Been going through some old files today and came across this interesting letter from a Scientologist to the Dialogue Centre (the precursor to Dialogue Ireland). I am guessing it is from 1994 (there is no date on it).
The reason I am posting it here, in full, is because it is illustrative of the Scientology response to criticism. I include my comments below.
My name is [name snipped] and I am a Scientologist. You do not know me but you have met my uncle [name snipped]. I want to object in the strongest possible terms at the way in which you have spread false information and allegations about Scientology. My uncle went to you in the belief that you know something about the subject. Instead of providing him with factual data on Scientology (which you have access to at any time, in the Dianetics Centre) you gave him newspaper clippings and a 7 year old, thoroughly discredited programme on Scientology.
These newspaper clippings and video only contain allegations against Scientology, all of which are unproven. You made no attempt to present any factual information such as the creed of Scientology, aims etc. This act of deliberately spreading false information about Scientology is clearly a violation of the Incitement to Religious Hatred Act. [the word Religious was arrowed in]
While I am a firm believer in free speech it is clearly an abuse of that right for an individual to knowingly spread lies and allegations which are damaging to a person or their reputation. The end result of your action is to create worry, trauma and antagonism in a family and that is a very destructive action indeed.
Unlike you I have taken the trouble to evaluate Scientology for myself – I know that it is a workable technology which is of immense benefit to individuals and to mankind. I don’t say that because I have been told it, or have read it somewhere – I say it because I have observed it in myself and in the many others it has helped in Dublin Dianetics Centre. This is a certainty I have reached on my own determination and it cannot be shaken by the allegations of a few reporters who obviously don’t know anything about the subject.
Millions of people worldwide have benefited from Scientology (this is well documented) as well as from the technology L. Ron Hubbard developed in the areas of Criminal Rehabilitation, Drug Rehabilitation, education and Social Reform. L. Ron Hubbard wrote “I like to help others and count it as my greatest pleasure in life to see a person free himself of the shadows which darken his days.” – This is an ideal I share, and the fact that you appear to have problem with this, I find very sinister indeed.
I am entirely in support of greater communication between Religions and open information about all Religions, but my personal experience of the ‘Dialogue Centre’ has been that false allegations about my religion were passed on to my family in a very covert manner. This is not in anybody’s best interest and would not appear to be live up to the responsibilities of a true, impartial religious information group. You own acts certainly do nothing to promote greater cooperation and understanding between religions, but rather the opposite.
I intend to pursue this matter as I take it very seriously. You have a moral obligation to provide accuratefactual information on those groups & religions about which you are asked. If you do not have accurate factual information on a group then you have a duty to tell the public so. Spreading false and misleading information about a religious minority is an outrage and an attack on religious freedom overall.
I don’t know what newspaper clippings are being referred to here although I think the video was the 1987 BBC Panorama documentary titled ‘The Bridge To Total Freedom’ which you can watch by clicking here.
Here a few things worth noting about the letter.
1) All the usual suspects are mentioned.
I am firmly of the opinion that the lady who wrote this letter (with a lovely joined handwriting style too might I add) was instructed in how to do so (I discuss this further below). For now note the ‘usual suspects’ that are touched upon:
- Criminon - Narconon - Study tech
- ‘Accurate’ information is available from the church
- You have to try it for yourself
- Referencing the Incitement to Religious Hatred Act
- Accusations of religious persecution and attacking religious freedom
- Accusations that speaking against Scientology is destructive
- The ‘millions of followers’ claim
Reads almost like some of the PR Scientology has issued against Anonymous doesn’t it? Different time, different critic – same lies and slander.
2) Who really composed the letter?
This is actually an interesting one. Two errors that appear in the manuscript (the word ‘be’ stroked out and the arrowing in of the word ‘religious’) make me wonder if the lady was copying from a transcript given to her, but that may simply be over analysing. There are, however, a few interesting facets of the letter that lead me to wonder.
- The peculiar accusation that spreading such information leads to antagonism and is destructive. Compare those claims of this letter with the comments Odhran Fortune makes in the following video at the 4:30 mark:
I personally think that Odhran was coached to say what he did. This letter is simply another case of repeating the ‘party line’.
- The reference to the Incitement to Religious Hatred Act is really peculiar. It is a particular favourite of Gerard Ryan. For someone to cro-bar such a reference into a letter such as this one is very strange indeed.
- The letter is entirely attacking. Nowhere is the Scientology faith ever defended. Nowhere is any evidence offered to document the alleged benefits of Scientology (saying something is well documented isn’t a defence). Nowhere is any evidence offered against the video (claiming it to be ‘thoroughly discredited’ isn’t a defence). Nowhere is anything offered to refute the newspaper clippings (claiming the journalists in question ‘know nothing of the subject’ isn’t a defence).
- The letter has interpreted every piece of information submitted about the Scientology organisation as a personal attack on the Scientology faith. Given the nature of claims that have been made against the Scientology organisation, (particularly those from the BBC Panorama documentary) this course of action is completely inconsistent for someone writing to defend their faith.
- The letter uses the Dianetics Centre as a source for ‘factual’ information but never actually ever quotes and/or references any of that information. When one writes a letter in defence of something one defends that something. One may even reference information and give the source – but does it really make sense to quote the source WITHOUT giving any information??
3) The content or lack thereof.
This is probably the part that stood out most for me. This letter is fierce, it is attacking and it is, at times, borderline vitriolic. From the very first paragraph it dictates and sets a tone that is followed and executed rigorously from that point on. Words that can generate an emotional response are frequently used, as are appeals to a sense of morality or decorum.
And yet, despite this righteous façade, when you actually look at the letter and look past the emotion and attacks you come to a realisation – the letter has, quite simply, absolutely no actual content within it. Seriously, someone has actually managed to compose a letter that manages to generate very strong sounding attacks while being utterly and completely devoid of any information. Did you learn anything about Scientology? Did you learn anything about how it allegedly helps people? Did you learn where those journalists were mistaken? Did you learn where the claims against the Scientology organisation were false? In fact – was a single such claim ever referenced so as to be rebutted? Here is a letter composed of 561 words, comprising a little over 2,700 letters, and nowhere is a single meaningful or informative comment present.