Culture & Lifestyle

Rave

French case reveals Scientology secrets

Posted 60 months ago|30 comments|4,365 views
Written by
Mark Tomles
FPO, AE
"In a small Normandy village, surrounded by wheat fields, Gwen Le Berre keeps a Scientology "electrometer" machine in his bedroom. He opens the large green briefcase and peers at the machine inside. It looks like a lie-detector from an old TV cop show and Le Berre doesn't really understand how it works – he just knows it's a key piece of kit for the Church of Scientology.

Le Berre, 21, keeps the machine as a memento of his mother's life. Four days before Christmas 2006, Gloria Lopez, a 47-year-old secretary, tidied her kitchen, hung out her washing, left her dull, suburban apartment overlooking the railway in Colombes, west of Paris, and walked the 30 metres out on to the tracks. She stood with her arms outstretched, smiling at the driver of the oncoming commuter train. He couldn't stop in time."

(The Guardian, link to the left)

A recent story in the guardian outlines the trials and tribulations relating to scientology in France, with an outcome expected in October.

According LeBerre, his mother became depressed after her divorce to her father, and soon joined scientology after meeting some adherents. the group quickly became "her life", and she left her two children behind to move closer to the scientology center in France.

Due to see her mother just two days after the tragic suicide, Gwen LeBerre and his sister, Mathilde, were convinced that she would have left a suicide note; a goodbye; and went to the apartment to find one. Instead, they found shelves and stacks of scientology books and DVD's.

Instead of a note, they "found a box of documents in which she had handwritten a series of punishing self-appraisals as part of her membership of the Church of Scientology. She wrote of how she owed money to the organisation for courses, was struggling to advance up the path to spiritual enlightenment, really wanted to succeed as a Scientologist, and regretted every mistake in her life. "She even wrote that she had surfed the internet for two minutes beyond her allocated lunch break at work," Gwen says."

The family was surprised at the lack of bills and normal household financial documents in the "flat" (Apartment, for us American folks), and wondered if they were removed by the regular scientology visitors or logers.

According to legal filings, the surviving family members decided to file a legal complaint for "its role in her death. They estimate that in around 10 years as a Scientologist, Lopez spent between €200,000 and €250,000 on courses and books – despite her secretary's salary, which was €2,000 a month at the time of her death. Her family also claim that she was counselled by Scientology financial advisers and decided to sell a property she had inherited in Spain, freeing up capital for more courses. "They stole my mother," Gwen says. "I don't feel I knew my mother apart from in her role as a Scientologist."

But this isn't the first of the legal troubles for scientology in France, but it is, perhaps, the most devastating, with the potential to convict scientology itself as an organization in France (a move also made in Canada, where scientology is the only non-profit organization to be convicted as an entity in Canada).

Currently, there is an ongoing investigation into an alleged 2008 kidnapping case in which 48 year old Frenchwoman Martine Boublil is said to have been found being held against her will, half naked, on a vermin-infested mattress in a house in Sardinia. She filed a complaint saying that her brother – an ex-doctor and prominent Scientologist – had kidnapped her and attempted to treat her psychological problems himself.

According to the Guardian:

"But this May the most serious fraud trial that the Church of Scientology has faced anywhere in the world opened in Paris. Not only were six important French Scientologists placed in the dock for organised fraud and illegally practising as pharmacists – for selling vitamins classed as medication in France – but, for the first time, the Church itself was accused of organised fraud. In a historic move, the state prosecutor requested that the judges dismantle and dissolve Paris's two flagship Scientology premises: the Celebrity Centre and its bookshop in the capital. The verdict is due at the end of October, and the world is watching. If the Paris centres are shut, it will limit Scientology's operations in France and may have implications elsewhere.

In May, Aude-Claire Malton, a former hotel housekeeper, took the stand against the Church of Scientology at the Palais de Justice in Paris. She described how, depressed after a relationship failed, she met a group of Scientologists at a Metro exit and filled in their personality test questionnaire. A few days later, the Church of Scientology called her to fix an appointment at the Celebrity Centre. "They told me I was in a very uneven state, and that they could help me by giving me some courses." The first course cost €20, but immediately afterwards she was offered a "package" of several sessions for €4,800. She emptied several savings accounts, her life insurance policy, and took out a loan to pay for more courses on the advice of her Scientology personal financial adviser.

Asked by the judge how she could have spent so much, she said: "You have to understand, you're in the brouhaha of the Scientology Centre where everyone repeats to you: 'You must continue, you're making progress, you're going to be able to better yourself, all this is for you.' "

The verdict in October will be an important one for scientology, where they face fines of up to 4M and heftly fines against the alleged offenders. In addition, it may very well result in the dissolution of some of scientology's major branches in France and abroad.

According to former scientologist (of 15 years) and accomplished musician Alain Stoffen, author of "Voyage to the Heart of Scientology", ""When you leave Scientology, you're totally broken, as a human being, financially, morally. Your own identity is the result of indoctrination aimed at destroying your critical faculties. When you leave, the feeling of shame and guilt is enormous. It's unbearable."

According to Georges Fenech, magistrate and former MP for president Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, this isn't a matter of religious persecution, as French scientologists allege. "For France, Scientology is a vast commercial enterprise hiding behind a religious mask," he says. "This is not something against the Ron Hubbardian doctrine, or beliefs about intergalactic happenings thousands of years ago. What we're interested in is that people are dragged into this movement, lose their liberty, autonomy and sometimes their life." He says France protects freedom of religion, "but if a law is being broken, the state will go there. Religion isn't a protection against the law."

Furthermore, according to the US Department of State (link), France makes efforts to protect scientology in their country. "Discrimination against Jehovah's Witnesses, Scientologists, and other groups considered dangerous sects or cults remained a concern and may have contributed to acts of vandalism against these groups." As with all groups considered to be "cults" or "sects", France attempts to be fair and reasonable, and will only intervene, as in this case, where there is a perceived danger to the public.
EMAIL|FLAG THIS POST
COMMENTS
Mark Tomles
Mark Tomles
FPO, AE
60 months ago: Correction:

"According LeBerre, his mother became depressed after her divorce to her father, and soon joined scientology after meeting some adherents. the group quickly became "her life", and she left her two children behind to move closer to the scientology center in France."

Should be "his" father.
60 months ago: Courtesy of redstateguy

"JFK'S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when DeGaule decided to pull out of NATO. DeGaule said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded "does that include those who are buried here?

DeGaule did not respond.

You could have heard a pin drop "
Mark Tomles
Mark Tomles
FPO, AE
60 months ago: The actual story is a little bit less dramatic...

"After President of France Charles de Gaulle withdrew France from the common NATO military command in February 1966 and ordered all American military forces to leave France, President Johnson asked Rusk to seek further clarification from President de Gaulle by asking whether the bodies of buried American soldiers must leave France as well. Rusk recorded in his autobiography that de Gaulle did not respond when asked, "Does your order include the bodies of American soldiers in France's cemeteries?" (wikipedia)

But... what's your point?
60 months ago: There is a strong and resentful anti-American sentiment in France. Scientology is American in origin, hence the attacks.
Mark Tomles
Mark Tomles
FPO, AE
60 months ago: okay, at least you're relevant here.
Other than the anti-NATO (not necessarily American) sentiment from a former president, on what do you base this?
If I may also note, shouldn't scientology be able to overcome such opposition in some way?
60 months ago: A1. French anti-Americanism has a long history - http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/723682.html

A2. Yes. You can be sure that truth will out and justice prevail.
Mark Tomles
Mark Tomles
FPO, AE
60 months ago: Jack, I can't say for sure whether or not you actually believe the things you say, but there are potential visitors to the site that may be fooled. So I'll play it straight.

First, this seems like the Australian thing over again, where you stereotype an entire nation to further scientology's agenda.

For one- I got news for ya, many countries hate america to some degree. And yet, according to scientology, they're in most of them.

Also, it is an insult to their judicial system to claim that they are allowing anti-american sentiment to cloud their judicial duties. I would imagine that the multiple recorded deaths, allegedly attributed to scientology (as above) may be more of a factor than intangible and potential xenophobia.

I do hope truth and justice prevails- it doesn't always.
markbyrn
markbyrn
 Moderator
60 months ago: I just love the neo-con dramatic embellishments - "and you could have heard a pin drop"

FYI, France withdrawing from the NATO military structure (they still remained a member of the alliance) was not a matter of anti-Americanism and most importantly, they fully rejoined NATO on 4 April 2009, to include the integrated military command of NATO. So what's your excuse now?

Pulling out the France doesn't America card is simply a laughable but despearate grab straw to justify the descipable conduct of the cult.
Mark Tomles
Mark Tomles
FPO, AE
60 months ago: Good point, markbyrn- one really seems to have nothing to do with the other.
On a personal note, I worked with a French contingent in Kuwait. No hard feeling there, unless you count some aggressive negotiations when trading MRE contents.
Based on your comments, markbyrn, I researched a (very) little bit, and found this on wikipedia:

"France, along with other nations as Germany, Belgium, China and Russia, opposed a proposed U.N. resolution authorizing the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003.[5] During the run-up to the war, French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin emerged as a prominent critic of the George W. Bush administration's Iraq policies. Despite the recurring rifts, the often ambivalent relationship remained formally intact. A few days after the September 11, 2001 attacks, President Jacques Chirac -- later known for his frosty relationship with Bush—had ordered the French secret services to collaborate closely with U.S. intelligence, and created Alliance Base in Paris, a joint-intelligence service center charged with enacting the Bush administration's War on Terror.
President George W. Bush meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. Since Sarkozy's election, ties between France and the United States have strengthened considerably.

Public attempts in 2003 to boycott French goods in retaliation for perceived French "active hostility toward America"[6] ultimately fizzled out, having had little impact. Nonetheless, the Iraq war, the attempted boycott, and anti-French sentiments whipped up by American commentators and politicians bred increased suspicion of the United States among the French public..."

It seems that the anti-American sentiments are mostly perceived on our side of the pond.
markbyrn
markbyrn
 Moderator
60 months ago: Reminds me of when I visited Paris for the first time in 2004. I took the Eurostar from London to Paris and the first thing I see as I leave the train station is a huge McDonald's and it was packed. They also liked Pizza Hut - seemed like I saw on every other street corner.

The problem here has nothing to do with disliking Americana but they do want to preserve their culture and regardless of it's origin, they have every right to thoroughly investigate a cult that engages in Fair-gaming (black propaganda), Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), Training Routine - Lying (TR-L), and is potentially involved in or contributing to the death of it's members (Lisa McPherson) or it's members children (Jett Travolta)

Regarding Travolta, see this very illuminating video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRFQZ5oNKLw
Mark Tomles
Mark Tomles
FPO, AE
60 months ago: Thanks- I'm on away on business at the moment, so I can't watch the vid on this network, but I'll check it out.

You know who tells the best French jokes? The French. They know some great American jokes, too. Do with that what you will!
JWElder
JWElder
Beverly Hills, CA
60 months ago: Jehovah's Witnesses is
like Scientology,NO BETTER NO WORSE SAME OUTCOME



megaangryman
megaangryman
England
60 months ago: "There is a strong and resentful anti-American sentiment in France. Scientology is American in origin, hence the attacks. Jack H Remington"

total rubbish, the french are not anti american, they are just pro french, that is, they will stand up for their country and their people when they feel they are being bullied. In the case of scientology, the french can see that the cult isn't a religion but that it uses relgion as a front for it's franchised businesses in order to "MAKE MONEY. MAKE MORE MONEY. MAKE OTHER PEOPLE PRODUCE SO AS TO MAKE MORE MONEY." quote from l ron hubbard
Frederick
Frederick
Canada
60 months ago: Part of Scientology's sacred scripture in L.Ron's statement about what to do when being attacked. "Double curve our reply by saying we welcome an investigation of them." I think we are seeing Jack perform a religious ritual. Vive la France.
markbyrn
markbyrn
 Moderator
60 months ago: JWElder says "Jehovah's Witnesses is like Scientology"

In one respect they are or have been; that would be their cultist practice of putting the health of their children at a distant second to following the tenants of their religious fantasy with respect to blood transfusions. However as I understand it, they have modified their position on this, but perhaps you can add some facts here instead of making a uncited comparative blurb.

Beyond that, there is no comparison. Fair-gaming (black propaganda), torture aka Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), Training Routine - Lying (TR-L), and attempting to suppress and censor it's detractors.

As a result of their attempts to censor the Internet, the entity known as Anonymous has vowed to bring the cult down. I agree personally because any person or group that attempts to engage in suppression of information and censorship deserves to be exposed & censored themselves.

The problem with Scientology is not the absurd science fiction theology (which is no more or less absurd than any other religion), but it's codified practices of subverting the law, suppressing of free speech of it's ex-members or non-members, and reckless endangerment of it's members or members children. Again, from my own perspective, I'm not quite as concerned about a member putting themselves at risk but when they put their children on the alter of religious sacrifice, they need to spend some quality time in maximum security prisons.
So why don't you cite me some evidence where the JW's are doing that currently, but that doesn't excuse Scientology.
THE RONBOT HUNTER
THE RONBOT HUNTER
60 months ago: Who is surprised by Scientology driving people to their deaths? Not me.

Who is surprised that this has happened too many times before. Not me.

Who is surprised by Scientology driving people to sell everything and come out a broken wreck? Not me.

Who is surprised by Scientology driving people to distance themselves from family and refusing to seek help from people who care for their lives, instead of their money? Not me.

This will happen every day as it has happened every day.

$cientology will squeeze the life out of you until death is better than staying in the Cult.

Are you surprised by $cientology any more?

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
60 months ago: Jehovah's Witnesses are schooled in 'finding common ground',if you like pink elephants they will become experts on pink elephants.

That's the beauty of religion and superstition, it has no limits.Religion is the most profitable legal business because religions can misquote, misrepresent, and use unethical practices without fear of punishment. It's the absolute best way to scam people I have yet seen


markbyrn
markbyrn
 Moderator
60 months ago: ...Jehovah's Witnesses are schooled in 'finding common ground',if you like pink elephants they will become experts on pink elephants...

That tact is not exclusive to Jehovah's Witnesses. In fact, it's more of a broad Christian Evangelicalism based on a biblical citation to become a deceitful chameleon when you proselytize:

"Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."
THE RONBOT HUNTER
THE RONBOT HUNTER
60 months ago: According to Scientology "Reality" and "Facts" are the belief and real life experiences of the majority and opinions are the belief of those who have no firsthand knowledge.

Since the majority of Ex-$cientologists tell you that Scientology is a cult, a scam and a fraud upon mankind.

That overrules your opinions about Scientology being a religion.

Being an ex-$cientologist myself for too many years, I have first hand knowledge of these facts.

Scientology does kill, harm, destroy, hurt, abuse and totally ruins the lives of many.

But since the tech has many merits, it also helps many until they can no longer stand the abuse and lies within the cult.

If they don't get out fast enough, they will die one way or another.

She waited too long and she paid the ultimate price. God bless her soul.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED--GET OUT BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE FOR YOU TOO.

I got out before they killed me.

THE RONBOT HUNTER
All Rights reserved
Mark Tomles
Mark Tomles
FPO, AE
60 months ago: To be fair, 'common ground' is no different than speech and negotiation methods taught today in business school. You speak in a way your audience can understand- and you're not very effective if you don't. For instance, when I brief my boss's boss, I'm formal, professional and succinct- that's what he needs. When I'm briefing a peer with a tech slant, I can nerd it up a little bit. But if I go to the big boss with a bunch of tech jargon, I autofail. And if I try to give my peer the 10,000 foot view, he won't know what direction he needs to go.
markbyrn
markbyrn
 Moderator
60 months ago: Mark, there's a difference between knowing your audience and attempting to deceive your audience by posing as something that you're not. If I goto a Catholic Church is the garb of Priest and do a few Hail Marys, than proceed to proselytize the congregation to Scientology, that's a ruse and it's deceitful.

Now that's just a hypothetical example; not saying they do that but the reference I cited is clear and it's a matter of practice that some people do it when they're proselytizing.
BnThDnTh
BnThDnTh
Tilden, NE
60 months ago: Come guys.. What's the big deal??

The Thetan will just go to a between life station on Venus or Mars and await it's new body. Then once it's back here on Teegeeak, it'll start the whole cycle of action over again and become yet another paying member of the "Church" (wink,wink.. nudge,nudge.. you know what I mean).

They will audit out all the previous life engrams and the Thetan will be fine!!

See.. all better.. and if not... well, he/she can just step in front of another train and do it all over again.

Isn't Scientology the greatest!!

;-)

Don't you just LOVE the whole track concept!!

:-)
markbyrn
markbyrn
 Moderator
60 months ago: BnThDnTh, yeah but don't forget that Emperor Xenu used his elite psychiatrist legions to trick people into being injected with knock-out chemicals, and put them into futuristic spaceships that looked like DC-8 airliners, but with hyper-techno-advanced rocket engines instead of jet turbines. He flew them all to Earth, err the Planet Teegeeak, where they all were stuffed into volcanoes, and blown up by multiple nuclear bombs for some reason. Wow!

You can listen to L Ron Hubbard elaborate on this himself at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCHOpaP9704
markbyrn
markbyrn
 Moderator
60 months ago: For more background on these fantastical 'truths', watch this Australian current events clip.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrJ64jcr3_I
Frederick
Frederick
Canada
60 months ago: For markbyrn and anybody else who might be reading this-- The point is not if the story of Xenu is more or less absurd than the story of Jesus. The point is that the story of Xenu sounds like science-fiction written in the 1940's. Even by the 1950's the story would have been unsophisticated. That's what turns it into a joke.

Scientologists were told by Hubbard that if they even heard the name Xenu that restimulation would kill them, likely through pneumonia, within two days. The word is out and pneumonia rates have not gone up. That should be the giveaway for even the deeply indoctinated.
markbyrn
markbyrn
 Moderator
60 months ago: Frederick,
...Xenu is more or less absurd than the story of Jesus...

That's true and Scientology also codifies religious supremacy and intolerance (as does large swaths of Christianity) in demeaning other religions as false. For example, Scientology believes that that the concept of god is implanted as a false memory.

What makes Scientology different is they engage in deceit and lie in your face that the Xenu story doctrine doesn't exist, and hide it from their converts until they've been sufficiently indoctrinated and most importantly, have paid big money to the cult.

At least in evangelical Christianity, you get to drink the Kool-Aid before you get indoctrinated to start shelling out the cash.
Frederick
Frederick
Canada
60 months ago: Thanks Markbyrn. There is that aspect to Xenu as well.
JWElder
JWElder
Beverly Hills, CA
60 months ago: Jehovah's Witnesses have largest turnover of recruits,have one of the highest attrition rates of all denominations.

Seventy percent or more of all kids born brought Jehovah's Witnesses will leave,often in the state of 'disfellowshiped' which means they are considered dead to God and shunned by their own family.
So this is NOT a fast growing religion actually losing slightly in western countries and some gains in 3rd world as is most other new religions.

There actually are now twice as many former Jehovah's Witnesses as there are active ones with thousands leaving every month.Baptisms at assemblies is often mostly family member children who have grown up JW.

Jehovah's Witnesses 'Gospel message' is that Jesus had his return to power October 1914 and that he appointed them (the Watchtower people) as sole inheritors of all God's assets.
JW can't live down this false 1914 creed of theirs which is as fixed as Joseph Smith and the Golden plates are to LDS
markbyrn
markbyrn
 Moderator
60 months ago: JWElder,
Instead of trying to defend Scientology with the ills of Jehovah's Witnesses, why not post a separate rant about them?

Post a Comment
Sign in or sign up to post a comment.