Letters for April 4, 2002

Scientology’s evil?
Re “Scientology’s unique” [RN&R Letters, March 31]:

I read with great interest the letter from Denise Vaughn regarding the Church of Scientology. Being a person who likes to have as much information as possible before making a choice, I looked on the Internet for information.

I read the organization’s Web sites and looked for other related Web sites. I came across www.xenu.net and read other opinions regarding Scientology. On the Web site are testimonials from former members of the church and comprehensive information about their practices. It even has the “Personality Test” that Denise was touting. The test is described as “rigged so that it will usually produce poor results; without scientific recognition or validity; sold in a manner deliberately calculated to imbue the testee with the maximum amount of worry and concern, a tactic most likely to work on the weak and vulnerable and used to pressurize the testee into buying expensive courses.”

Especially telling is the quote from Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria: “Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community—medically, morally and social. Its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill … [Scientology is] the world’s largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy.”

Name withheld via e-mail

Scientology’s expensive
Re “Scientology’s Unique” [RN&R Letters, March 31]:

I am writing in response to Denise Vaughn’s proselytizing letter last week on behalf of Scientology. Particularly, I’d like to dispute her claim that Scientology is “a religon in the most traditional sense.” Unlike traditional religions, Scientology charges its followers a tremendous amount of money for its teachings and services up front. “Traditional” religions typically request a donation, but do not demand it or withhold service when payment is not rendered, as Scientology does. Scientology is in fact the only known “religion” (I do not want to imply that Scientology is a religion in any sense) that does so. And Scientology is expensive. By some conservative estimates, finishing the Dianetics course up to “The Bridge to Total Freedom” costs the follower over $300,000. Where this kind of spiritual extortion flourishes, as can be predicted, people are hurt. And in this case, victims are now leading a movement to demand that the federal government investigate Scientology’s actions as criminal.

John Newbrough
via e-mail

That slippery relativism
Re “The Logic of Tolerance” [RN&R Letters, March 31]:

In his criticism of David Payne’s commentary ["Evolving Beyond Religion” RN&R Guest Comment, March 14], Ed Park informs us that there is no wrong way to view the world, and then goes on to tell us that his way is the right way. He warns us that reality is illusory and unintelligible and then proceeds to describe it for us.

I wonder how he feels about female genital mutilation, as practiced by various tribal groups in Africa. Is he open-minded about their beliefs as well? Or is he forced to take a stance closer to David Payne’s, when he’s not amusing himself with his sweet, New Age nonsense?

Joe Beverly

Fighting feds on Yucca
It is time to stop sniveling. The nuclear waste repository is a fact. It will be located at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The hysterical hyperbole concerning the so-called hazards of nuclear waste storage and transportation will not stop it. This negative propaganda is likely to cause serious damage to Nevada’s main industry. Who wants to come to Nevada to be nuked?

To engage in a legal hassle with the federal government will not succeed. The feds have determined that the unappropriated lands of this state are the property of the United States, which is not so. They will claim Article IV authority that gives them absolute control over the territories of the United States.

I have not heard from our elected officials concerning enforcement of the Public Lands Ownership Act, or of the U.S. Constitution, which admitted all states to the Union on an equal footing. Nevada is not a territory. We could win on this issue by insisting on this point. I believe it is our only hope.

Merritt K. “Ike” Yochum
Carson City