February 2004
Letters From the Edge

Our December/January issue was responsible for evoking some very passionate letters in response to our Scientology article, "A Church's Lethal Contract," by Dr. David S. Touretzky and Peter Alexander. Here is a compendium of those received on both sides of the debate.

Dear Mr. Knight, A moment ago, I logged onto your website and saw the highly offensive promotion for the story. Until we connect with each other by phone, I strongly urge you to remove it from your site. I can only assume you do not know the persons who authored the story, nor what their actual agenda is, nor how inaccurate and slanted the story is.

Linda Simmons Hight
Church of Scientology

A Question of Agenda
I was a bit taken aback when I read Lloyd Grove's column [in the New York Daily News] this morning and saw the letter to you from Scientology spokeswoman Linda Simmons Hight. I was shocked simply by the sheer hypocrisy that it contained in reference to your sources: "I can only assume you do not know the persons who authored the story, nor what their actual agenda is, nor how inaccurate and slanted the story is."

Coming from an organization that seems to lack even a gesture of transparency, I am surprised that Ms. Hight would dare to broach the subject of an "agenda."

Ashley Bell
Washington D.C.

Listen to Me
As a 30-year Scientologist, I am shocked by your magazine's willingness to ignore truth. Touretzky and Alexander are well-known anti-religious zealots, yet you give them a forum apparently free of any responsibility to adhere to fact.

I am one of the millions whose lives were saved by Scientology. I have a story to tell. Unlike the one published by your magazine, mine is factual.

Joel Phillips
Scientology Parishioners League

I Didn't Need to Read the Whole Thing
I read the first few paragraphs of your Scientology article and found it to be a very misleading piece of journalism.

I have been a Scientologist for over 25 years and have noted that several times exploitative journalists have unsuccessfully attempted to cast a bad impression of what Scientology is or has done. The facts are, Scientology and its social betterment programs have helped improve the lives of many, many people, including myself. I make everyday use of the brilliant discoveries of the founder. You have done a great disservice to your magazine and your readers.

Doug Hay
Valley Village, CA

Religious Attack
I am extremely disappointed that you published the anti-Scientology article, "A Church's Lethal Contract," by Touretzky and Alexander. I do not know who is responsible for checking the credentials of your writers and verifying the so-called "facts," but whoever it is did a terrible disservice, not only to you, but to your readers. In the end, I hold you responsible for letting this trash be published in the name of journalism.

I have been a Scientologist for 36 years and have observed most of the attacks on my religion. As in any group, religious or otherwise, there are people who do not live up to the standards of the group to which they belong. In the case of Scientology, many, if not all the attackers/writers, use "facts" from members of the Church who have been excommunicated because of their unethical activities as their source material, either against other nonmembers or against the Church itself.

By default, those journalists who use these people as "sources" end up in the same dilemma as the "sources." Of course, many of the writers have their own agenda which may be to write a derogatory article no matter what the facts. This certainly was the case with Touretzky and Alexander. Both are notoriously well-known anti-cultists with an even more colorful and checkered background than all the so-called terrible things about Scientology. An article written about these two characters would be of real interest, not only to you, but to your readers.

A funny thing about such articles - historically, whenever they get published, a huge influx of new people come to our Churches to find out why we create such controversy. Many become members. I can only wonder how many more new members we would have if you published a positive, truthful article. Marshall Swerman
via e-mail


Got Out Just in Time
I happened to come across your magazine today and found your article on Scientology.

Two years ago, not knowing what Scientology was, I was lured into taking their Stress Test, and then I paid $200 for six hours of auditing. I also had experience with the E-meter and other scary control tactics. When I brought a bottle of water into the room, they asked me to leave it at the door. I was pressured to not even get up and get a drink during the session. Lisa McPherson died of illness caused by dehydration. Part of their control and brainwashing is using social pressure from the very beginning to reinforce behavior.

Three months later, I finally grew disgusted with the Scientologists trying to control my actions and pressuring me into therapy in order to extract my money. After I left, I received four phone calls and two letters asking that I return. I did not.

I would like you to know that I was surprised to see your article, and am relieved and grateful that someone had the guts to speak up about Scientology's horrible practices.

Hopefully they will fall before more people are killed in their hands.

Heather J. Nordstrom
Las Vegas, NV

The Power of Decision
A friend of mine recently gave me a copy of a very disturbing article from your magazine called, "A Church's Lethal Contract." As a life-long Scientologist, I felt it was my responsibility to dispute the outrageous claims made by Touretzky and Alexander. First of all, I have grown up as a Scientologist. My parents are both Scientologists, as are my brother, his wife, my sister and her husband. We are all active in our communities and open about our religion.

I have seen the evolution of this religion and at times experienced firsthand the prejudice of being part of it. This is a religion based on the freedom of choice. If someone doesn't want to be a Scientologist, so be it. It's not for everyone, but you can bet your last dollar that we will protect it against anyone who seeks to weaken or oppress our right to practice our religion.

The key to Scientology, however, is not so much about contracts or agreements or what we "charge" (which by the way is a ridiculous statement, since our donations cover the expenses of building rental, furniture, paper and office supplies that every other religion has, plus the spiritual counseling and training that is the core of our religion), the key to Scientology is choice.

Mr. Hubbard sums it up best with this statement: "Choice is the keynote of self-determinism. To determine anything, you must have the choice to determine. Choice to determine means that you must have the power of decision."

Those of us who have chosen Scientology as our religion, did so by our own CHOICE. Not even when growing up in a Scientology family was that choice EVER taken away from me, it was in fact encouraged that I discover for myself what religion, if any, would best fit my life. And after studying most of the world's major religions, including Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Russian and Greek Orthodox, Mormonism, and last, Scientology, I CHOSE Scientology because it has always worked for me. That was my God-given freedom of choice and every day I know that my choice was indeed correct.

Jenny Good
via e-mail


Money & Power
Thank you very much for your article exposing another facet of the secretive "Church" of Scientology! It is important in these times to strip away the faade of religiosity that this predatory cult lurks behind, while they scramble to acquire public funding for many of their phony and useless front groups.

Scientologist Tom Cruise has reportedly been schmoozing with the Bush administration to obtain federal support for their "study tech," which would introduce children to L. Ron Hubbard's junk science in public schools. Cruise is also pushing the potentially health-threatening "purification rundown" to New York firefighters, and the cult's useless "drug rehab" front group, Narconon is being promoted to various state assemblies as a viable treatment for prisoners. Twenty-six years after the Jonestown massacre, it is vital to remember that there are still destructive, predatory cults out there seeking the vulnerable, innocent and gullible. It is especially important for elected officials to realize that when you lie down with the wealthy Scientology organization, you get up covered in imaginary space cooties. There is a saying amongst critics of Scientology, "It really is worse than you can imagine." This is quite true, as a little online research will reveal.

You will undoubtedly be deluged by a flood of nearly identical letters from "individual" Scientologists, all whining about religious bigotry and intolerance. Let me state this clearly; critics of Scientology do not object to the beliefs of Scientology, silly as they are. We object to the actions of the organization; unnecessary early death from treatable illness; the abuse of members and those who speak out against this treatment; the destruction of families and life savings; the suicides and fraudulent practices.

Scientology has a 50-year history of antisocial behavior that has nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with money and power. How many churches have armed compounds such as Gold Base in Hemet, California? How many churches have slimed into a community under a false identity like Scientology did in Clearwater, Florida? How many churches have prison camps and paramilitary forces, like Scientology's Rehabilitation Project Force and their toy Navy, the Sea Organization?

Dr. Dave Touretzky has put up an excellent website outlining the Study Tech at Studytech.org. Historian Chris Owen's sites address L. Ron Hubbard's true Navy record at Ronthewarhero.org and also their dangerously useless drug rehab program at Narconon-exposed.org.

For an overview of the Scientology organization, Xenu.net is an excellent start. Of course, the curious should also visit Scientology's own websites for a comparison. Scientology.org is their main site, but the site they maintain on their "enemies," such as myself and Dr. Touretzky, is most revealing and can be viewed at Religiousfreedomwatch.com.

I have purchased several copies of this month's issue, and intend to spread them around where they'll do the most good. Thank you for your courage in publishing this article. You follow in the footsteps of other brave publishers and writers, such as Paulette Cooper and Time magazine, who have dared to take on this totalitarian monolith. Both wrote exposŽs of the Scientology organization, and suffered the consequences.

Back before the Internet, critics were more easily intimidated and silenced. Today, the world watches Scientology's every move. Congratulations on an excellent article, and your courage in printing it!

Barbara Graham
via e-mail

Here to Help
This afternoon, I read Razor's article concerning Scientology Inc. Since 1996, I have been a human rights activist who has studied Scientology, and I am considered by my peers to be highly knowledgeable on the subject.

I have found Razor's article to be completely accurate and easily supported by the evidence. Human rights activists throughout the world consider Scientology to be nothing more than organized crime; so do several governments throughout the world (such as Spain, Greece, Germany, Belgium and others). If your readers wish an excellent examination of Scientology and its sinister behavior, they may read Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi's (of the University of Haifa) very well-researched essay, titled Scientology: Religion or Racket? at: www.uni-marburg.de/religionswissenschaft/journal/mjr/beit.html.

If anyone wants documentation that supports anything contended in the article, I will merrily provide it. I have read elsewhere via the Internet that Scientologists have "asked" Razor to cease advertising the issue on Razor's website, and the Scientology spokesperson has claimed that the authors have an unrevealed "agenda." And yet nowhere in the article have I seen anything that suggests any "agenda" other than warning potential victims that Scientology is dangerous (which it clearly is). Dr. David S. Touretzky and Peter Alexander have done a very fine job at presenting the facts about Scientology and the business that sells Scientology to its victims.

David Rice
Dana Point, CA

Shame on You
I investigate psychiatric atrocities, like tying a young man to a bed and letting him die from breathing in his own vomit (happened last month), a child of 12 being shot up with brain-damaging drugs that knock her out in order to "change her behavior" (this is going on right now), etc. Just talk with people whose kids are in foster care and find out how many drugs they are on - sometimes practically lethal doses. How about electroshock on elderly women against their will? Pays big bucks from MediCare and reduces their life expectancy. Euthanasia for profit. Scientologists have the guts to clean up the criminal field of "mental health" as it now exists.

The daily horrors that people in psychiatric institutions STILL experience are chronicled in Mad in America, written by a nationally-known investigative reporter. You can get it at any bookstore or order it from MindFreedom.org (not connected with Scientology). After you read it, think again about being connected with a group that would move Heaven and Earth to get you out of one of those places.

Perhaps you should work on exposing people who are doing real damage, instead of attacking a major force working to clean that area up.

Cassandra Auerbach
Thousand Oaks, CA


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