Scientology is not a scam nor a con, it is a true religion, a very fine
one that encompasses the best of man's wisdom to present time
on the technical nature of the soul and how to achieve
enlightenment for the masses. However, it is also a militaristic
religion, like Islam, with a Holy Jihad to take over the planet at all
costs.... It is a legal jihad to "Keep the Tech Pure."
As for alt.religion.scientology, I think what has happened is
WONDERFUL on many fronts, not all of which are obviously good.
Compared to what alt.religion.scientology used to be like two years
ago, this is marvelous. The whole world knows about Scientology
now, and those that are able to see the good will find out about it
(and probably become Free Zoners!) and those that are mad at the
bad have something big enough for them to chew the bone with.
The Church is a formidable opponent and there are lots of people
look just for such a game. (Email interview, 1995)
Former Scientologist (though not a Free Zoner) Robert Vaughn Young takes a
darker view, based on his background as a national PR spokesman for the CoS in
his membership days. "I am thankful I'm not having to face the Net," he told me
frankly by phone in mid-1995. "It's going to be to Scientology what Viet Nam was to
the U.S." In the end, "Their only choice is to withdraw. They cannot win." The result,
he thinks, will be to "create, for the first time the first place in the world where
Scientology can be openly and freely discussed."
The best guess in early 1997 is that Vaughn Young may have been right. The CoS
can win court judgments, certainly, but the probability is that as long as the Net's
perceptions of the CoS do not change, the more the CoS tries to squelch the
distribution of those documents, the more someone somewhere will feel called
upon to make sure they are available somewhere on the Net, always assuming that
the copies that are circulating are actually faithful copies.
One question that remains is at what point an individual Net poster has the right to
assume prerogatives that have traditionally been only the province of journalists
and news-gathering organizations. When the Pentagon Papers landed on the
doorstep of the New York Times, the newspaper was able to publish under the First
Amendment's guarantees of freedom of speech, and to make a strong argument in
court that publication was in the public interest. In the case of Scientology versus
the Net, however, a relatively small group of people made that public interest
judgment for themselves and were able to muster enough support to use the Net to
publish in such a manner that the material probably cannot be recalled, whatever
now happens to those individuals. Although the same effect could have been
achieved on a smaller scale through widely distributed paper copies, the
amplification inherent in the combination of the Net's high-speed communications
and the size of the available population has greatly changed the balance of power.
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