Strong opinions, weakly held

What the Church of Scientology denies

For those of you too lazy to read all ten billion words of Lawrence Wright’s New Yorker article on Paul Haggis and Scientology, here’s a list of the things the Church of Scientology denies:

He staffed the ships with volunteers, many of them teen-agers, who called themselves the Sea Organization. Hubbard and his followers cruised the Mediterranean searching for loot he had stored in previous lifetimes. (The church denies this.)

Scientology defectors are full of tales of forcible family separations, which the church almost uniformly denies.

Hawkins told me that if a Sea Org member sought outside help he would be punished, either by being declared a Suppressive Person or by being sent off to do manual labor, as Hawkins was made to do after Miscavige beat him. The church denies that Hawkins was mistreated …

… he presumed that the church had obtained its information from the declarations that members sometimes provide after auditing. Such confessions are supposed to be confidential. Scientology denies that it obtained the information this way, and Davis produced an affidavit, signed by Scobee, in which she admits to having liaisons.

The church denies that it pressures members to terminate pregnancies.

The church denies this characterization and “vigorously objects to the suggestion that Church funds inure to the private benefit of Mr. Miscavige.”

He worked for fourteen months on the renovation of the Freewinds, the only ship left in Scientology’s fleet; he also says that he installed bars over the doors of the Hole, at the Gold Base, shortly after Rathbun escaped. (The church denies this.)

Cruise brought in two motorcycles to be painted, a Triumph and a Honda Rune; the Honda had been given to him by Spielberg after the filming of “War of the Worlds.” “The Honda already had a custom paint job by the set designer,” Brousseau recalls. Each motorcycle had to be taken apart completely, and all the parts nickel-plated, before it was painted. (The church denies Brousseau’s account.)


  1. I thought there would be more!

    Also, toward the end of the article Wright discusses what happened when the scientologists (and their lawyers) came to visit, the wrangling over L. Ron Hubbard’s war record and medical history, and whether the records were falsified.

    The church, of course, denied falsifying documents.

    To me, one of the fascinating aspects of the article was the implicit answer to “How can people so smart be so dumb about the Church?” I don’t have the article in front of me right now, but there was a kind of banal “go along to get along” from him throughout, like “Just get these auditing sessions over already.” And that didn’t seem to change as he kept moving up the ladder. Lazy wins over smart again!

  2. They definitely contested a lot more of it. Those are just the actual instances of the word “denies.” I couldn’t go back and read the whole thing again — it was too long.

  3. It’s been obvious to me for years that Scientology is nothing but a very well-organized tax shelter for celebrities under the guise of a religion.

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