Editorial Opinion By R. W. Lobsinger
The Newkirk Herald Journal,
12 November 1992
Last weekend, we had the very great pleasure of attending the annual national convention of the Cult Awareness Network. This year it was held in Los Angeles. You'll remember Oklahoma City hosted the event last year, where I was asked to speak, and was honored to receive the Leo J. Ryan Award.
Congressman Leo J. Ryan died in his attempt to find the truth about Jim Jones and the People's Temple cult in Jonestown, Guyana. Over 900 people, under the mind controlling influence of Jim Jones, committed suicide at his request. Those who didn't were murdered, along with Congressman Ryan and several others. That tragic event took place the same year we came to Newkirk to publish the Newkirk Herald Journal.
The Ryan Award is presented each year to the person "who exhibits extraordinary courage, tenacity and perseverance in the battle against tyranny over the mind of man."
And so it was with great satisfaction that we were present this year to see the award presented to Rich Behar, Associate Editor of Time Magazine, for his courageous 1991 story on Scientology, which we were pleased to reprint in full shortly thereafter.
Mr. Behar most surely deserves the award. He has attempted to do for our nation what we have tried to do for Newkirk and Oklahoma. We applaud his work, and we hope his efforts inspire others in the national media to delve deeply into this subject matter, instead of treating such subjects as humorous, harmless kooks.
The conference was marred by a few picketing members of Scientology who mostly made themselves look like the southbound ends of northbound horses. Among those speaking at the conference were Dr. Robert J. Cialdini, professor of psychology at Arizona State University and author of the book Influence. His presentation was interrupted by a false fire alarm.
The presentation by Dr. Louis Jolyon West, M.D., professor of psychiatry at UCLA, was delayed by the vain attempt of cult members to have him arrested so he couldn't speak. Dr. West is also a former Ryan Award winner.
They arrogantly attempted to confound the registration of guests at the conference in order to disrupt and delay the first presentation of the conference, which was successfully delivered by Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer, Ph. D. She is an Adjunct Professor in the department of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, and a past Ryan Award winner.
Speaker at the Leo J. Ryan Award Banquet was the original host of the "Tonight Show", Mr. Steve Allen. Mr. Allen also happens to be a member of the Cult Awareness Network Advisory Board, and himself the father of a cult victim, now successfully recovered from the experience. It was our pleasure to be invited to join Mr. Allen at the speakers table during the banquet. A new and strong supporter of the efforts of the Cult Awareness Network is Mr. Mike Ferrell of M.A.S.H. fame, who spoke briefly to the audience of his advocacy of human rights and strong family commitments. He attended with his teenaged son.
Not all celebrities are nuts, after all.
It can only be a testament to the effectiveness of the Cult Awareness Network in spreading the truth about dangerous and destructive cults that Scientology has currently filed over 30 lawsuits against the organization in an attempt to "legally" silence its supporters.
When all it really has to do is quit acting like a destructive cult.