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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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