Wednesday morning (May 10, 2006) I received a phone call from a producer at KCOL, a Clear Channel radio station in Ft. Collins, Colorado. They were doing a Scientology show and wanted me to appear as a guest. The original plan was to do three segments, 10-15 minutes each, half an hour apart. The first guest was to be Bob Adams, who is this month's official spokesdroid for the Church of Scientology International. He has apparently replaced Ed Parkin, who in turn replaced the prickly and wonderfully inept Linda Simmons Haight.
An interesting side note about Bob Adams: he is a former VP of ABLE INT who was "disappeared" from the ABLE web site after he verbally threatened Pamela Lichtenwalner over her anti-Narconon work, which resulted in her filing a police report. Details here:
The second guest was to be Chuck Beatty, who spent 27 years in the Sea Org, and the third guest was going to be me. While chatting with the producer, I started warning her about all the lies that Scientology tells the media (e.g., that they have 10 million members, they're compatible with Catholicism, they never heard of "Xenu", etc.)
As a result of this conversation, they changed the lineup. They decided to have me on much earlier, to set things up. Then they'd have Bob Adams on at his scheduled time, and see how well I had predicted what he was going to say. And then Chuck would go. So that's what we did.
Here's what I covered:
- 10 million members is a lie; the real number is under 100,000
- Scientology is not just a cult, it's an ABUSIVE cult (with a quick explanation of the characteristics of abusive cults)
- compatibility with Catholicism is a lie; reincarnation is heresy to the Catholic Church, and Hubbard said "there was no Christ"
- Quick summary of Scientology beliefs: (1) you need therapy for all the bad stuff that's happened to you from the moment of conception onward; (2) you're an immortal being and need therapy for all the bad stuff that's happened to you in all your past lives, too -- and you have to pay by the hour; (3) you're possessed by the spirits of murdered space aliens, called "body thetans", and they need therapy too.
- Quick summary of the Xenu story the cult's attempts to suppress it, and the fact that I have the first page of OT III in L. Ron Hubbard's own handwriting up on my web site at Carnegie Mellon,
- If I had a chance to ask Bob Adams two questions, what would they be? Answer: (1) When are you guys going to stop lying about Scientology being compatible with Christianity, and (2) When are you going to stop lying about Xenu and talk openly about what you believe?
- I ended my segment in the traditional way: with a plug for XENU.NET.
About an hour later it was time for Bob Adams. They asked him a bunch of questions based on my segment, and what was interesting was the way he dialed back his answers compared to the usual Scientology canned PR lines.
For example, they asked him how many members the church had, and he said about 10 million, but it was hard to get an exact number because it was based in part on how many people had bought books. (A tougher interviewer would have jumped on this and said "You mean anyone who buys a copy of Dianetics is considered a Scientologist? So if I buy a copy of DSM 4, does that make me a psychiatrist?")
Then they asked him if Scientology was compatible with Catholicism, and he did a major waffling job, sort of but not really conceding that different religions have different belief systems and the two weren't really compatible.
They they asked him about "space aliens", and he said something really surprising. He claimed that the critics had confused Zeno, an ancient Greek philosopher, with some of Hubbard's science fiction writings, and that's where this "Zeno story" comes from; it wasn't really part of Scientology.
Wow!!!! It looks like Scientology has come up with a new shore story for its pre-OT members who encounter the Xenu stuff: it's just part of a smear campaign invented by confused wogs.
If the hosts were more confrontational, they would have asked Bob Adams why Scientology sued Karin Spaink and Arnie Lerma for copyright violations over the OT III document which tells the story of Xenu. I had briefed them on this earlier that morning. But they weren't interested in giving him a hard time; they just wanted to let him do his PR thing, and they'd dissect it later.
Most of the rest of Adams' segment was spent talking about Scientology's good works, e.g., literacy programs, drug rehab, etc.
Then Chuck Beatty came on and talked about some of his experiences, including spending 7 years on the RPF, which he described as a kind of Scientology prison. He rambled a bit, but also got in some good material. He mentioned me by name, and the hosts said they'd be talking with me in the next segment. (They apparently forgot that they'd already done my segment about 90 minutes before. Just another screw-up of the sort that happens when you do live radio. I spoke with the producer again afterwards to verify.)
Next the hosts discussed their impressions of their guests. They said Bob Adams came off as "hinky", untrustworthy, and obviously engaged in spin control. Chuck struck them as someone who was still coping with the damage caused by spending 27 years as a cultist.
Finally they took a few callers. There were at least two, and possibly three. None of them had anything good to say about Scientology. If CoS had any shills lined up, they didn't make it onto the air.
And thus ended another fine day of entheta. This was my fifth radio appearance of 2006. I did eleven shows in 2005, so it looks like the stats are trending upwards. No grey rag for me!
I like Bob Adams as the new official CSI chew toy. I'd sure like a chance to go one-on-one live with him, but I don't think he'll be allowed to do that. Pity.
No wonder Scientology hates the Internet.
-- Dave Touretzky: "Xenu's paradox: Scientology is a science AND