Gordon Melton on Scientology

October 7, 2006
By Rick Ross

I have before me a copy of "The Church of Scientology", written by Dr. J. Gordon Melton in 2000 and published by Signature Books. The Church of Scientology lists him as a resource in the defense of Scientology as a religion. However, I am concerned about the following issues:

His primary source, as listed in the notes, appears to be Scientology's publishing house, Bridge Publications. And the non-documented statements appear to come from Scientology's public relations arm.

He makes a factual error on page 58. He states that Hubbard never claimed the kind of formal academic credentials which the average scientist or physician possesses, nor did he claim to have the formal research which would typify standard scientific inquiry into physics or chemistry. However, I have in my possession the publication "The Problems of Work, Scientology Applied to the Work-a-Day World by L. Ron Hubbard, C.E., Ph.D.," published by Scientology Consultants to Industrial Efficiency, 1956. His degree was issued by Sequoia University, a California diploma mill which no longer exists.

On page 6, in mentioning Hubbard's war record, he makes it sound as though Hubbard was at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital recovering from war wounds. That is the unsubstantiated view promoted by Scientology. Medical records have indicated that he was there for depression and mental problems.

On page 15 he mentions the first critical work about Scientology called "The Scandal of Scientology" by Paulette Cooper. He states that Church leaders were especially offended by Cooper's work and favorably settled a major libel case against her. Sounds like Scientology won. But they didnt. In fact, the FBI disclosed that Scientology planted false information to frame Cooper. She was indicted, and only when the FBI raided Scientology offices in 1977 did they discover the plans to frame her. Melton says nothing about that. The remainder of that story sounds like Scientology's public relations releases.

Page 20: Because of the above mentioned actions, 10 Scientologists were sentenced to long jail terms of four to five years in prison. Yet Melton says of those sentences, "In the end, the actual crimes for which they were convicted were relatively minor." I hardly think that five years in jail is a minor sentence. Some Scientologist have been alleged to have claimed that all they stole from the IRS offices was mimeograph paper, which for a Scientologist would be an acceptable truth. One must ask What was on that paper? Answer: negative material about Scientology.

Page 20: Melton comments on reported abuses taking place in Scientology and states that the charges of abuse have not been substantiated when presented in courts of justice, and we are left with a lack of verified evidence of any invasion of members' auditing files or invasion of their privacy. No mention of the Wollerseheim case which was working its way through the courts and which ended in Scientology paying him over $8 million in damages for the abuse he suffered at their hands. And I have had people state to me that they were held against their will for months when they stated they wished to leave. They were only allowed to do so after signing statements which in effect silenced them from ever speaking about the church.

Page 34: Melton says, Generally, people would have little problem with Scientology's ethics, and, in most situations, it promotes the same virtues that more traditional ethical codes emphasize. Oh? Listen to Hubbard's definition of ethics from Modern Management Technology Defined. "All ethics is for in actual fact is simply that additional tool necessary to make it possible to get technology {Hubbard's teaching} in. That's the whole purpose of ethics, to get technology in." And does this advice of Hubbard's sound like any other religion you know? "Critics may be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist."

Page 37: Melton suggests that many of the legal cases which involve Scientology were undertaken by critics. It doe not take much work to prove the error of that statement. The last year for which records were available indicated that Scientology spent over $30 million in threatening and filing legal actions against critics and media and Internet providers which carried that information

Page 44: He presents Scientology's promotion of Narconon, which has never been accepted as a medical model and which was recently thrown out of the California Public School System by State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O'Connell. The critical information about Scientology has been available for years yet Melton avoids mentioning it.

Page 52: He speaks favorably of the World Institute of Scientology Enterprise (WISE), a major money maker for Scientology. No mention of the fact that in the 1993 decision of the IRS, giving Scientology its religious tax exemption, the IRS mandated that WISE be disbanded by December 31, 1995. It is still in existence in 2006.

So you can see why many people believe that Melton is an apologist for Scientology, sharing only its views with minor variations and few comments from critics and former members.

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