Picket Report, Phobosopher King

Scientology Lies > Pickets > Edmonton >Picket Report, Phobosopher King

From: phobosopherking@my-deja.com
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Re: Claire Swazey voted "untrustworthy"
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 20:25:36 GMT
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In article <20000322020244.15519.00007357@ng-de1.aol.com>,
stvej@aol.com (StveJ) wrote:

> It is amazing to me that you would center your life on rumors and the
> claims of a group of people who have motives dark.
> I have been a Scientologist and a WISE member for decades. Neither I
nor anyone
> that I know disseminates private information to others, in the Church
or out.

     Steve, I would like to share a personal experience with you. On
March 12, I was present at the first Edmonton picket of the Church of
Scientology. Among the picketers was a former Scientologist named Reg,
and almost immediately upon his arrival, at least two Scientologists
began making derisive remarks about his past. Reg called them on it,
claiming that the only way they could have known about such details was
by accessing his PC folder, as he had only ever revealed these things
during auditing.

     Now, what am I to make of this? There are two obvious

   (1) Reg was lying, and his past was more or less public knowledge all
   (2) Reg was telling the truth, and the Scientologists had in fact
violated the confidentiality of his PC folder.

     Personally, I am more inclined to believe (2), not because I am a
religious bigot (for I don't believe I am), but because it seems
inherently more plausible for a couple of reasons. First, if Reg were
inclined to lie, probably the more sensible lie in this case would be
simply to deny the allegations. But secondly, and more importantly, the
tone adopted by the Scientologists themselves suggested that the
allegations were a dirty SECRET in Reg's past; if it were something
freely known to the public, they probably wouldn't have presented it the
way they did.
     I saw and heard their tactics with the cameras. They got directly
in my face (and I was just observing, not picketing!) to make sure I
knew I was being photographed, and that they'd be keeping a file on me.
I heard one Scientologist mention the full name of a picketer, saying
"Oh, that's XXXX XXXXX," not simply for the benefit of her friend
standing next to her, but loudly enough to make sure that XXXX could
hear that they knew who he was.
     Maybe I'm reading this all wrong. But I sure perceived an intention
to intimidate on the part of some of the Scientologists there. And given
all I saw and heard, it seems very plausible that what Reg said was
true: they were using stuff from his PC folder to attempt to embarrass

     So am I wrong about this? And if so, how do YOU explain what I saw?

 The Phobosopher King

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From: phobosopherking@my-deja.com
Subject: Second Encounter Report - The Picket in Edmonton
Date: 17 Mar 2000 00:00:00 GMT
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Episode 2: My first picket

     By now many of you will have read some of the reports on the first
ever picket of the Edmonton Church of Scientology. Edmonton Entheta
posted one report in which he mentioned bumping into an interested
passerby on the way to the picket. That random passerby was me, and in
fact wasn't quite as random as had been let on.

     I had, in fact, read there was going to be a picket well in
advance. For a while, I toyed with the idea of going to picket with
them, but decided I would rather try and see things from a more
impartial viewpoint. I dropped by the org on my way back from buying a
CD (our CD collection is terribly deficient) and was met at the door by
Deborah Jurt. I explained that I had been at the Dianetics workshop at
City Hall, and as I was in the neighbourhood, I thought I might drop in
and continue the conversation which had been cut short there. She
politely told me that they were just going into a meeting, and asked if
I could come back another time. She asked my name, at which I balked; I
wasn't sure which name to give her. (I make it a point to use a
different name or at least to spell my name differently on magazine
subscriptions so I can track who sells my address to whom. This works
just fine so long as my parents don't give me a gift subscription to
something or other...)

     So I left, and not entirely by accident, ran into Edmonton Entheta
and the other picketers a couple of blocks away. I considered just going
home and going in to take the personality test another time, but decided
it would be much more interesting to observe the picket, so as to see
both sides in action. So I ended up tagging along as the picket
contingent made their way to the org.

     It was remarkable. I've read hundreds of picket reports here on
ars, so I sort of knew what to expect, but I was still surprised that
all of this stuff was for real. Cameras enough to shame the paparazzi,
and with the exception of the professional media representatives there,
just about every one of them made a point of getting an intrusive
closeup, and making sure YOU KNEW you were being photographed. Of
course, the critics had brought their own cameras as well.

     It was almost like a battle. Two armies drawing near, the cameras
flashing sporadically as they first come into range, growing every more
furious as the enemies close. As we crossed the street, I could hear the
Scientologist commander directing camera fire: "Get that one. He's one
too. And him!" (Interesting that the press didn't comment on that part
at all in their stories.) But the cameras didn't stop the critic
advance, and soon it was face-to-face with sharp pointy words.

     I was stunned to hear some of the things that were said. I never
expected I would actually hear someone say, "Don't you people read any
BOOKS?" but that's the first thing one of the Scientologists said to one
of the critics. I bit my tongue; I was there as an observer, but there
were so many wonderful retorts one could have used:  "Yeah. You read any
by different authors?" or "I'd read more, but your cohorts keep stealing
them from the library and hiding them." Or, if I had felt spiteful,
"Why, are you looking for someone to read to you?"

     After the initial clash, the press dove in to get statements from
representatives of both sides. Since the heavies at this point were
occupied giving their stories to reporters, the mood calmed a little. I
leaned against the wall and watched for some time as things unfolded. A
particularly disturbing scene was when one of the Scientologists taunted
one of the picketers, a local ex-scientologist, with embarrassing
details from his PC folder. It didn't seem to faze him, mind you, but I
was upset to see that they would use such material.

    A little later, I ended up getting into a rather interesting
discussion with one Scientologist about Dianetics and its various
claims. He recommended a number of books, which I intend to read after I
recover from finishing Dianetics. One particularly interesting point for
me came when I asked him this: "You know, whenever someone is trying to
sell me something, there's a little critical thinking exercise I like to
use: Can you tell me anything about Scientology that you really don't
like?" It stopped him for a moment. I explained that if, for example,
someone's trying to get me to buy a particular new car, and he can't
tell me anything bad about it, it's usually a safe bet that either (a)
the guy isn't being honest, or (b) he doesn't know enough about the car
to be giving me useful advice.
     His first answer was that he didn't like it when people misapplied
Scientology, but I pointed out that this wasn't really a something wrong
with Scientology per se, just something about the people who
misunderstand it. After thinking about it some more, he said that he
doesn't like the fact that staff is expected to work seven days a week.
He thought that was a bit excessive, which is why he routed off staff.
Okay, I thought. Maybe that's a start.

     Later, as I was getting ready to go home, this same fellow got into
a bit of a shouting match with the picketing former Scientologist about
whether or not the latter actually got anything valuable out of
Scientology. I perceived a minor misunderstanding which, if clarified,
would probably have eased the tension somewhat, and attempted to
interject, when the Scientologist snapped at me with surprising
hostility, "Who's paying you!?" and ranted for a bit about me being
suppressive or something. A passing picketer joked about seeing a real
Tone 40, which may well be what the Scientologist thought he was doing,
but for a moment he really seemed like a lunatic. I waited for him to
calm down, told him what I had been trying to say, and went home.

     No one followed me, but seeing as they must have taken a dozen
photos of me plus video (and I appear in a couple of the webbed picket
photos), and since there were still five or six picketers keeping them
busy anyway, I doubt I was a high priority.

     The Phobosopher King

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This page was last updated on July 10, 2003.