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Newsletter May, 1998

Spiritual Responsibility
P.1
This Month at FACTNet P.2
A Father's Fight P.2
News Briefs P.3
Cult Index
Ananda Church P.3
Freemen P.3
Heaven's Gate P.3
ICC P.3
Frederick Lenz P.3
Scientology P.1, 3
Cults in General P.1

Battling Scientology's Attack on Free Speech

Remarks delivered by FACTNet director Robert S. Minton to the Cult Information Service's Annual Conference, April 19, 1998. [Unfortunately, due to space limitations, we can only provide excerpts from the beginning and end of these remarks. Please see entire text at www.factnet.org].

Thank you Paul (Grosswald). It is truly a great honor to have been invited to speak at this annual conference of the Cult Information Service.

I won't be able to keep my secrets from you much longer, but I am neither a public speaker nor do I possess any formal training on the subject of cults. However, over the last three years, and particularly in the last 9 months, I have received a rather fiery baptism on cults and free speech from an organization that Cynthia

Kisser said "is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members."

Yes, I am involved in a controversy with the Church of Scientology over the most fundamental right in a democracy--the freedom to speak. Scientology hypocritically cries that theirs is a persecuted religion attacked by bigoted and intolerant critics. Further, Scientology's mantra, repeated ad-nauseum throughout their paranoid and delusional history, continues to be that those individuals and governments who dare criticize their anti-social goals, tactics and civil rights abuses of their own members are engaged in some grand conspiracy to destroy Scientology. Nothing could be further from the truth.

(see BATTLING, page 3)

Spiritual Responsibility: Avoiding Abuses and Pitfalls along the Path

by Steven Hassan

"Let us not look back to the past with anger, nor towards the future with fear, but look around with awareness." James Thurber

Whenever the subject of mind control comes up, an almost inevitable discussion ensues about family systems, advertising, salespeople, the military, and the even the Catholic Church. A great confusion currently exists concerning how to make meaningful distinctions. I have heard people say time and time again that "everything is mind control."

Overgeneralizations like this obscure important distinctions. As a person who has spent almost two decades researching and considering this topic, I offer the following thoughts.

All influence processes can be visualized as falling somewhere along a continuum. In one direction of the continuum, mind control techniques can be regarded as positive and constructive, promoting understanding and choice while respecting an individual's integrity. In the other direction, mind control is regarded as destructive and constricts understanding and choice while undermining personal integrity. Since mind control techniques are not inherently good or evil, they can be used ethically and practically to enhance our lives, expand choices, and to cultivate our creativity and individuality.

These techniques can also be used to destroy individuality, stunt personal growth, and create virtual slaves, as exemplified by Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Adolf Hitler. People can be deceptively manipulated and indoctrinated to distrust their ability to feel, to think, and to make mature decisions. Destructive cults want to control people to enable them to expand their temporal power and raise money. They exist to serve totalistic dictators, not to serve the people.

They desire to rule through power, not with the power of love. Charismatic leaders often stray into temptation to exploit their power over others in dangerous ways.

(see RESPONSIBILITY, page 2)


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