Is the church founded by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard a unique way to obtain spiritual guidance in a troubled world, or is it a fraud designed to part the gullible from their hard earned money? It is a debate that’s been going on since the Church of Scientology was founded in 1954.
According to this article by Angélique Négroni of France’s Liberation, which includes lots of details left out of today’s wire copy, proceedings began in a Paris court today, with prosecutors seeking to prove that the Church and its curriculum, rather than helping people achieve a spiritual awakening, is in fact a novel way of emptying their wallets while keeping them as docile as possible.
“Up to now, the courts have succeeded only in muddying the reputation of some Scientology members. Now they may strike a fatal blow to Scientology in France. The trial should be a unique event in the annals of the judiciary. … Along with seven defendants, the Church of Scientology Celebrity Center – the central structure of the church in France – is for the first time being put on trial as a legal entity in an organized fraud case. ”
“Magistrate Hullin must review all of the trappings of the typical Scientologist and the treatment he or she must undergo. There is the electrometer [photo, left], a device that members must purchase at there own expense for €5,000 [$7,000] deemed essential for members to become adepts. There are also vitamins for any ailment. According to the order issued by the court, if the electrometer provides the illusion of scientific respectability, the only harm done is to the wallet. The vitamin cure, however, is more harmful. They could have, according to the court order, the effect of ‘plunging a person into an extreme state of fatigue, resulting in a gradual de-socialization … and finally a state of submissiveness.’ This state is carefully maintained by interminable sauna sessions, repetitive physical tests and repeated courses that can last as long as 12 hours. This often renders even the most valiant of followers completely docile and unable to resist, according to the investigating magistrate.”
By Angélique Négroni
Translated By Elise Nussbaum
May 25, 2009
France – Liberation – Original Article (French)
On Monday, a Paris Criminal Court judge will try seven followers of Scientology and two legal entities on charges of organized fraud. For the first time, the organization runs the risk of the complete dissolution of its main structure in France.
Up to now, the courts have succeeded only in muddying the reputation of some Scientology members. Now they may strike a fatal blow to Scientology in France. Those are the stakes at a trial that opens Monday at the 12th Chamber of the Correctional Court of Paris.
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