Jeff Jacobsen was a guest on a local talk radio show in Phoenix, Arizona, January 30, 1997, to discuss the Lisa McPherson case and Scientology. I found it a fascinating show. What follows is the complete transcript (minus about 10 minutes, which I lost when one of the tapes ran out), broken into five parts, of the three-hour program.
Bill Straus is the host.
Jeff Jacobsen: Well, the Clearwater police had --
Straus: I should introduce you. Jeff Jacobsen is a gentleman that I have talked to on the phone a number of times. I think we probably go back two or three years. We have never gotten together to do a show, but I find what he sends me or what he feeds me over the telephone always interesting, and in this case, the death of Lisa McPherson, I was extremely interested, and interested by the attention that it's already gotten from some national media also. Now, with that said, why don't you just capsulize the situation for us?
Jacobsen: OK. The way the story came out essentially was I was getting ready for the next picket. We're going to picket again in March in Clearwater, Florida, the "Church" of Scientology, which we did last year. So I was on the City of Clearwater's web page. And the police have a section where there's three deaths that they're investigating. Number three was Lisa McPherson. I never heard of any of these people or anything, but I noticed that 210 S. Ft. Harrison was her last address, and that is a "Church" property -- "Church" of Scientology property. I knew that address because we picketed there before.
Straus: And I want to point out at this point, I invited the local spokesperson for the "Church" of Scientology onto the show, and she declined. Talked to her again, and reinvited her. She declined again. Today I got a phone call from her, and she asked me to not go on with the show. That piqued my interest in the subject even more, in all honesty. So, with that said -- and I even reiterated to her at that time, as I have over the air when I've promo'd the show, I would love to have somebody from the "Church" of Scientology on in case they feel that they want to counter something Jeff says. And if we have any Scientologists listening, and I am most certain that we do, particularly after a phone call I got later this afternoon that I'll get into a little later, I would invite you to call us if you find that, you know, if you find that you disagree with something that's said. The number remains 277-KTAR as always here. Now. 210 South Harrison.
Jacobsen: South Fort Harrison.
Straus: South Fort Harrison.
Jacobsen: Yeah, the Fort Harrison Hotel, which is the largest building in downtown Clearwater. The "Church" owns that, and many other buildings in downtown Clearwater. So I just posted about it onto our newsgroup, which is called alt.religion.scientology on the Internet. Actually I was also looking for another case regarding another person who was a "Church" member, and there was supposedly -- the "Church" was trying to prevent the mother of the children from going to the police with a child molestation case involving a Scientologist. I was kind of looking for that on the police page too, but instead I see this address.
Straus: We're going to have to get into your thing with Scientology at some point, but right now I want to stick with Lisa McPherson.
Straus: And you and I just watched a tape of Inside Edition's coverage of this case.
Straus: And quite honestly, in such a short period of time, there was a lot of information, and I've also had an opportunity to review the transcript that you sent me of the show. OK. Getting now down to the specifics. Lisa McPherson was 36 years old. And this was December of a year ago?
Jacobsen: She died December 5, 1995. And that's the thing. I think the reason the police put her case on their web page is because they're sort of stuck. They're looking for three -- at that time -- Scientologists, who they want to interview, I guess. The names of those three people are on that web page. But then, Lisa's name. So then, I posted about it, I sent -- I was starting to talk to some media in Tampa/Clearwater area because of our picket coming up, and I sent just a bunch of stuff to Cheryl Waldrop at the Tampa Tribune, and she picked up on the Lisa segment of what I sent, which I didn't -- you know -- all I knew was just what was on the Clearwater web page--
Straus: Just the address.
Jacobsen: That's it. And she started to investigate, and then came out I think December 15th with a front-page story about Lisa's death. So that's where the story started.
Straus: I believe I also read an editorial by her, or was it an editorial that was quoting her possibly from the Tampa paper?
Jacobsen: Yeah, both the St. Pete Times and the Tampa paper have many articles about Lisa's case.
Straus: There's so many things that I want to ask you, but I want to give people the basic background of the death. Lisa McPherson was -- the reason she went to the hospital initially was...?
Jacobsen: Well, let me give you, like, I can give you maybe two or three minutes.
Straus: That's what I'm looking for.
Jacobsen: OK. Lisa was 18 when she joined the "Church". I don't know when, but she moved to Clearwater, Florida, a few years before she died, I guess, which is like the spiritual world headquarters of the "Church" of Scientology. She had a high-paying job there with a Scientologist business, and she donated apparently a lot of her money to the "Church", was very active in the "Church". November, or sometime in late '95, she called a friend of hers that she grew up with, and the friend says she had stated that Lisa was thinking, was planning to come home, or go back to Texas, in other words, where she's from. And she couldn't talk about things on the phone, but she had a lot to talk about. So then comes November 18th, and Lisa had a minor car accident, which she apparently didn't really get hurt, but she got out of her car and took all of her clothes off and was walking down the sidewalk. So she was taken to the hospital by ambulance, I guess. At the hospital, the doctor there wanted to have her psychologically evaluated. But other Scientologists came to the hospital and stated that Scientologists don't believe in psychiatry, so they wanted to take her with them. They said they would take care of her 24 hours a day, according to the hospital report. So she checked herself out and went with those people to that 210 S. Ft. Harrison, the hotel, the "Church" said for rest and relaxation. This is November 18th. We really don't--
Straus: She had spent how long in the hospital?
Jacobsen: Part of that day. Just a few hours at most.
Straus: And it was clearly against the advice of the medical people that were in attendance that she leave?
Jacobsen: They wanted her to be psychologically evaluated. But the "Church" has a big thing against psychiatry. They consider psychiatry to be their, probably their main enemy ... on earth. So now she's at the Ft. Harrison. The only thing I know for sure -- or I think I know -- is that the attorney Elliot Abelson stated that sometime between November 18th and her death, she was hitting the walls with her fists in that hotel. So what was going on, we don't know, but 17 days later, December 5th, some Scientologists put her in a van and take her to a hospital. According to Inside Edition, they passed four other emergency rooms to get her to a hospital where there was a Scientologist doctor.
Straus: Well, and correct me if I'm wrong. They drove 25 miles when an emergency room was a quarter of a mile away?
Jacobsen: That's what Inside Edition said. Yeah, you can look on a map and see where Clearwater is and see Newport Richie straight north up the coast is quite a distance -- for somebody that's dying -- to my mind. So she died, according to the people who were taking her, she died just before they get to the hospital. In the autopsy report, the next day, the coroner's report, they said she was severely dehydrated. The reason for her death was bed rest and severe dehydration. She weighed 108 pounds, was five foot nine tall. And she had bug bites. She had bruises and abrasions on many parts of her body. And she was just pretty beat up, essentially. So the question is, that makes this case kind of unusual partially, is that the "Church" claims that Lisa looked fine up to 24 hours before she was taken to the hospital. No problem. And that she died from a severe staph infection. And that's the cause of the bruises and everything, I guess.
Straus: And from what I read -- and again, I want to make sure I -- accuracy is important. Didn't the people that took her back to the hospital also maintain that she had been conscious that day, in fact she had even participated in a discussion of maybe going back to the hospital?
Jacobsen: Yeah, Elliot Abelson said on Inside Edition that she had discussed which doctor she wanted to go to, which was this David Minkoff in Newport Richie, who is a Scientologist. Now, there's a huge -- well, you can't put the two together, there's a huge discrepancy between what the "Church" says happened and what the coroner and the police say what happened. The "Church", again, says that 24 hours before she died, that's when she got sick, severe staph infection killed her. The coroner's report, or the coroner, the medical examiner, says that she had gone a minimum of five days without water, and possibly up to the whole time that she was there for rest and relaxation at the hotel. That the bug bites were cockroach bites most likely, whereas Abelson says they were mosquito bites. So this huge discrepancy between the coroner's report -- the medical examiner's opinion -- and the "Church"'s definition of what really happened.
Straus: That's pretty much the nuts and bolts of the case. There are so many angles to this, and I want to get into that a little more with Jeff, and I also want to find out what's driving Jeff on this thing. And we talked about that briefly, and we decided we'd hold off, and I'd get the answer along with you. You should know: Elliot Abelson is counsel for the "Church" of Scientology, and he did give me a call today. I returned his phone call, we finally connected, and he voiced grave concerns over this show and having Jeff on and I just -- quite honestly, it's a judgment call on my part. I find Jeff to be interesting, I find the case to be very interesting, and I feel that I've approached this extremely fairly all the way through. Gave Elliot Abelson the phone number and told him that he is more than welcome to call us tonight, and so we may hear from him before the night is over.
This is Straus's place, this is KTAR. Talking with Jeff Jacobsen about Lisa McPherson's death in Florida. And we will be right back.
Straus: What happened to a 36-year-old woman in Clearwater, Florida, Lisa McPherson? That's pretty much what we're talking about. Jeff Jacobsen is my guest, and Jeff kind of -- I would describe Jeff as a -- well, you're an anti-cult activist?
Jacobsen: Basically, yeah.
Straus: You think that Scientology is a cult.
Straus: And what is driving you? I mean, you've been into this for a number of years and spent a great deal of time at it. What got you going in this direction, and -- You know, I'm looking at you trying to decide, well, what are his motives here?
Jacobsen: When I was in high school back in the early 70s, I joined a religious group that I consider to be cultish now. I was in that from the age of 16 to 22, and then I finally left because I felt that they were hypocritical and not really what they claimed to be. After that, I went to the University of Arizona, er, Arizona State, and finished my religious studies degree. So I've always been interested since I was 16 in religions and cults, after I decided I had been in one, and gradually I came to meet ex-Scientologists, read the material about them, and I gradually formed the opinion that they were one of the more harmful groups out there. So I started to specialize in Scientology.
Straus: Harmful in what way? And I ask because I really am wary of somebody who is wanting to limit or infringe upon anyone's right to exercise whatever religion they want. I think it's one of the most crucial freedoms we have.
Jacobsen: Because the "Church" has policies to hurt people, actually. L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology -- he also wrote the book Dianetics, which is where this all started. There's a policy called the fair game policy, which was written by Hubbard in 1967. The "Church" later claimed that it was revoked, but this is part of that: "SP Order." SP means suppressive person, by the way. "Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued, or lied to or destroyed." That's a teaching of Hubbard's. Now, I'm a Christian, and if I found where Jesus had written something like that, I would not be a Christian.
Straus: No, but that's what religion is ... you know, by definition, it's all different kinds of beliefs.
Jacobsen: But this is a policy that says you should hurt people. But Hubbard said that. Here's another one. The "Church" is known for its litigation, for suing people quite a bit. Another quote from Hubbard in a different book: "The purpose of the suit," meaning lawsuit, "is to harass and discourage rather than to win. The law can be used very easily to harass and enough harassment on somebody who is simply on the thin edge anyway, well knowing that he is not authorized, will generally be sufficient to cause his professional defeat. If possible, of course, ruin him utterly." And this is Hubbard, and this is what he taught, his "Church", and it's written in stone, they put these words in their expensive vaults so they'll be safe in case of a nuclear attack, and the "Church" follows these policies.
Straus: Well, I've got to be honest. In my conversation with Mr. Abelson this afternoon, he used the word "libel" twice. I would have had him on the show without using the word "libel," and I think anybody who listens to this show knows I'm speaking the truth there. Besides that, you know, to have someone throw the word "libel" out to me in formal conversation is to infer that I would be out to intentionally injure somebody or something. And I've got to tell you all, the purpose of this show is not to do injury to the "Church" of Scientology or to the Clearwater police or any group or anyone. It really isn't. The purpose of the show is I'm fascinated by the death of Lisa McPherson. I have to be very candid with you. I'm also very fascinated with the communication that I've had regarding tonight's show. So you know what I know. We're all on the same playing field.
Tell you what. Ginny, hang on the line. Rather than give you a short run before the news, we'll get to you immediately thereafter. If you'd like to call and ask Jeff a question -- if you'd like to call and counter anything he's saying -- 277-5827. 277-KTAR.
Straus: Straus's Place at 9:36 and a half. I have not, I don't think that I've known very many people, I know I've known a couple of Scientologists. I don't know much about it. I do know that whenever I've talked to anybody else -- a colleague in the media -- about doing a show on it, they have told me to be very cautious, it's more trouble than it's worth, I will have people giving me a hard time, I'll have legal threats, one thing, another. Quite honestly, as far as I'm aware, there no subjects that are taboo to talk about on the radio, and Jeff Jacobsen, my guest, interested me in the death of Lisa McPherson. I should make it clear, there is -- the case is still being investigated by the Clearwater police.
Straus: There is no link to any member of the "Church" of Scientology or the "Church" itself, but through Jeff's recognition of an address on a web page, with the Clearwater police looking for help in solving a suspicious death, and that's what they've termed it --
Jacobsen: Yes, they are looking for three Scientologists or ex-Scientologists as investigative leads and they want to interview these people, but they have apparently all three left the country, and I think the "Church" claims that they've all three left the "Church", so the "Church" cannot help locate these people.
Straus: OK, we've got some callers, want to take some phone calls, and we have stuff to talk about, but -- Ginny, thank you for your patience.
Ginny: You're welcome.
Ginny: Well, first of all, Bill, we've talked on the phone a couple of times in the past two or three weeks.
Straus: Oh, it's Ginny!
[Ginny Leason is the local Scientology spokesperson mentioned above.]
Ginny: Yeah, this is Ginny.
Straus: Oh, it said "Ginny," and I -- OK. Hi.
Ginny: Hi. Anyway, the first thing I wanted to say is that, you know, I didn't want to go on against Jeff Jacobsen and basically be scrutinized or anything else with myself or my "religion." The disagreement that I have is that he doesn't have the first-hand information on Lisa McPherson down in Flag. He wasn't there. He doesn't have the first-hand information. Jeff has been attacking the church for a number of years. He's a hate-monger and incites the hate against not just our "religion" but other religions on the Internet. I don't see him doing anything out in the community, like in respect of I went to Oklahoma City after the bombing and helped hundreds of people and assisted the injured. I do food drives for the Salvation Army. I don't see Jeff Jacobsen doing that. He couldn't say that he does that. I work with the clergy who have had their churches burned. And what Jeff has been doing is attacking a mainstream[sic] "religion" who is out in the community and helping other people. And, you know, it's a very humanitarian thing to be doing.
Straus: But in all honesty -- and I would have hoped that you would have come down here -- we've been on 39 minutes and 47 seconds. Jeff hasn't done one word of hate-mongering. He really hasn't.
Ginny: Mm hm.
Straus: I mean, he's not calling for people to do anything. He's not made any calls to action whatsoever. And I don't know if what Jeff is presenting me is all true, although he has substantiated a lot of what he's saying on the air with pre-arranging to have materials in my hand that I could read. I did find the Inside Edition clip -- 10 minutes is not a big deal -- I found it really interesting. I mean, the case is interesting.
Ginny: Mm hm.
Jacobsen: Does Elliot Abelson have first-hand knowledge of Lisa McPherson?
Ginny: He is an attorney that has a lot more correct and on-spot information than you would because he is an attorney. You would have to ask him that.
Jacobsen: Your argument against me was that I don't have first-hand information, but it seems to me Elliot Abelson does not have first-hand information either. Did he see, for instance, Lisa McPherson hitting the walls if he said she did?
Ginny: You, again, Jeff, you would have to ask the attorney. I don't know. It's not a situation for here at the, you know, here in Arizona. It's not our situation here. The attorneys, as far as I know, are the ones who are handling that. And I'm not going to debate any of this with you because it's not my place. It's not -- it doesn't have anything to do with the "Church" of Scientology of Arizona.
Jacobsen: OK. So. Hm. But you said, for instance, that you help churches that have been burned?
Ginny: Mm hm.
Jacobsen: What did you have to do with that that made you interested in that?
Ginny: Well, last year I went to a, when one of the first churches burned down in Phoenix, there was a big meeting with a number of government groups down in Phoenix that I attended. And next month we're going to be assisting in helping to rebuild one of the burned churches.
Jacobsen: What I meant--
Ginny: So Jeff, are you doing that?
Jacobsen: I'm asking what got you interested--
Ginny: Are you out in the community actually doing community service with the community? I don't think so.
Jacobsen: Well, maybe you don't know me very well then. It's your--
Ginny: So what have you done in the community?
Jacobsen: This story isn't about me, I'm sorry. I mean, you know, if Bill wants to have an hour where we talk about Jeff Jacobsen, that's fine. The --
Ginny: But I'm just interested. No, seriously, I'm just interested. What do you do in the community? Then I wouldn't have that argument.
Jacobsen: I get calls, probably several times per month, from people who ask me questions about different cults. Son or daughter gets in a religious group, and they want to know what's going on, why did my son change so much. I field calls like that regularly and consistently.
Straus: Ginny, let me ask you this.
Ginny: Mm hm?
Straus: Jeff believes Scientology fits his definition of a cult. You obviously do not.
Straus: Did you hear what he said? I would love to hear the response. Because like I say, I don't know much about the "Church" of Scientology.
Ginny: Mm hm. Well, I've been in the "Church" of Scientology for seven years. And it has done nothing but very good things for myself, my family, my friends. I was at one point in my life a widow when I was in my twenties. And Scientology has done nothing but good things for my life. And it's a good feeling to go out into the community and help other people.
Jacobsen: It is. I'm not against the church per se. I don't mind it being a religion out there. I don't believe what they teach, but that's fine. And I'm not saying that the church doesn't help some people. I'm saying that the church hurts some people, and it's a policy of the church to hurt some people. That's -- the quote I said before, I want to know what you think about that. Hubbard said the purpose of a lawsuit is to harass and discourage rather than to win. Do you think that's a proper use of our court system?
Ginny: I actually am not familiar with that specific policy.
Jacobsen: Well, now you know.
Ginny: I will have to read it or you could send it to me.
Straus: Let me ask you this, because it seems to be, and this -- It's in reference to Lisa McPherson, but it could be a general question. One of the points that's disputed is -- Jeff is among those that believe that she was about to separate from the "Church" of Scientology. Her mother said something to that effect. One of her best friends is reported to have talked to her shortly before this car accident and this whole situation. Elliot Abelson says that's not even close to true, she was as close to the church when she died as she was at any other time. I would ask you: If somebody is in the "Church" of Scientology and wants to leave, have you ever heard of it being a problem?
Straus: Have you ever heard of anyone exerting any kind of force against someone's will to delay them from leaving?
Ginny: No. Not at all. If anyone wants to leave the church, they can leave the church at any time of their own free will.
Jacobsen: There's particular people -- Roxanne Friend was a woman who stated on the Sally Jesse Raphael show that she was kept against her will for two weeks in an RV by Scientologists because she wanted to leave the church. She sued the church, and the church settled out of court with her. Dennis Erlich stated -- he was a high-ranking member of the church in Clearwater, back in, I think, the late 70s -- stated that he was held in the basement under lock and key of the Ft. Harrison Hotel, the same building where Lisa was, for 10 days. There's other people. Lawrence Wollersheim successfully sued the church for ruining him psychologically and an attempt to ruin him financially. That went all the way to the Supreme Court twice and he's won that.
Straus: Are you familiar with any of those?
Ginny: Not real familiar. I know of them, but I'm not the expert to ask on those.
Straus: Well, I'll tell you what. Because I invited you -- often and sincerely -- you're welcome to stay on the phone with us. I've got to take a break right now, but I would love for you to stay on the phone, and the three of us will take questions for a while.
Straus: You're cool with that?
Straus: OK. Tremendous. Let me do this. Put Ginny on hold. Now we have Ginny -- Leason, I believe, is her last name. If I got that wrong, we'll correct it when we come back. Jeff Jacobsen. I'm Straus, this is my place. Yes, I know you like to be identified. Ed King Cole is our technical director, and we're coming right back.
Strauss: Back already? Talking about the Lisa McPherson death in Clearwater, Florida, with Jeff Jacobsen. Also with Ginny Leason from the "Church" of Scientology, and Ginny, I am delighted that you called, I really am. <pause> We have Ginny there? <pause> Well, we gotta wait until we -- I know she -- hm. Uh oh. We lost her? OK, I'll tell you what. Ginny, call us back on the newsline, 263-5556, that'll make it a lot easier. 263-5556.
Let's got to the phones and talk with Jim. Hi, Jim.
[Tape cuts out; miss a minute of dialogue.]
Jim: --have been a Scientologist for over 25 years. And I guess Jeff has the right to do whatever he wants to do in terms of, you know, if he wants to attack "religions" or cults or whatever. If he feels it's his God-given right to go out and save the world and all those poor people that are unfortunate that are being misabused and abused by all these alleged cults. I think that if one actually looked up the word "cult," they would realize that Scientology is in no way, shape, or form a cult per se. It is actually a bona fide "religion" that our Internal Revenue Service has acknowledged and given full service and acknowledgment that it is a bona fide "religion." So to continue to cast it into the realm of being a quote cult seems like it's a little bit of a disservice and a little bit of a personal vendetta and maybe a little lack of irresponsibility.
Strauss: You know, Jeff, I want to just interrupt. Jim makes a really important point. I don't know, and I asked myself this question a while back. If somebody were going on the air and talking about my religion being a cult and being involved in the evil deeds of this and that and -- I would take it very personally. It would be very hard for me to divorce myself from that and exercise any objectivity. I would want to lash back. In the event that you're operating on flawed information, or that you're getting directed away from the truth through whatever -- and I'm thinking completely hypothetically -- imagine what you're doing to people like Jim and Ginny and anyone who's a member of the religion who in their hearts and in their minds both have not experienced any of what you're talking about?
Jim: Right, well, the only thing I --
Jacobsen: If I could respond --
Strauss: I'd like to get his response, Jim, and then you can get a chance.
Jacobsen: L. Ron Hubbard came up with a theory that he called Scientology, and he put it out in the marketplace of ideas. So I think what the church wants is for the church to be able to teach its teachings and not have anyone criticize it. But it's out there in the marketplace of ideas, just like my religion, Christianity. I've spoken in front of atheist groups before. I don't mind if other people have an opinion that Christianity is bunko and garbage -- which, by the way, Hubbard thought that -- it doesn't matter to me because I know for my own satisfaction what I believe. If another person has an opinion -- in fact, I read atheist stuff. I want to know what other people think about--
Strauss: You know, but when you're in the majority, it's very easy to be magnanimous. And I can only imagine if you were walking around, and because of the things that were said by people about your religion, there was a cloud over the religion, and hence a cloud over you, and I think that's where Jim's coming from on this thing.
Jacobsen: If what I say is a lie, if what I say is a misrepresentation, then that's correct. But if I say that Roxanne Friend stated she was held for two weeks by Scientologists against her will and she went to court with the church, the church settled out of court, what am I saying that's wrong?
Jim: Right. Well, I don't know anything about that particular case of reference. I don't know, but I might throw this thing back. I know that there's been a lot of discussion, and I think, if I remember correctly, Jeff has been involved in various deprogramming activities over the years.
Jacobsen: No, I have not.
Jim: You have not. OK. Oh, I'm sorry, I'm thinking of another gentleman. And that was the point I was going to make though, but it's not Jeff, but it's someone else, but, you know, these guys that go out as "We're going to save you from these different organizations," and they take someone aside and deprive them for whatever reason so they will change their religious beliefs. My question is who on this planet has the right to go in and dictate to me what I believe or don't believe? And just as a point, see, the thing that's really interesting and neat about Scientology is it doesn't teach you that you have to believe just what Hubbard says. It's not a dogmatic you've-got-to-believe-this-way-or-else. It's basically, the whole point and the purpose of the organization is to teach one to be able to think and progress through oneself and one's own awareness and one's own ability so instead of being a victim and the effect of society and the things that are going on, one comes to a point of realization that you can cause things to happen, and you don't have to be the effect of everything. And basically you move up a person to being more of a cause point and less of an effect. Now, I find nothing detrimental or negative about that. And after 25 years of experience plus in this subject, I can assure you , I don't have to be told by anybody "does it work?" or I don't have to believe anything. I simply have observed it for myself.
Strauss: Jim, are you -- were you aware of the Lisa McPherson case?
Jim: You know, the only thing that I know about it -- just as a point -- I don't necessarily want to get into a big thing on this.
Strauss: No, no, no, I just--
Jim: But I just came back from Clearwater, Florida. And the first time I'd ever heard about that was I read something in the newspaper. And there was basically some allegations about these things written, I think, in the St. Petersburg Times. And I remember even reading something, I mean some, such off-the-wall stuff, it's so ludicrous you don't even give it any attention. Like, gee, there's -- I'll mention this one, just, point, as I read something about these guys, sounds real nasty, like there were different -- she was in there supposedly and had cockroach bites and a bunch of stuff like that. Well, to be real honest with you, I've stayed in the Clearwater Ft. Harrison and the Sandcastle and these different facilities numerous times over the last several years, and I've never seen a cockroach in the place. And I mean that in all honesty. I've never seen a cockroach there.
Strauss: But I saw, with my own eyes, the medical examiner explaining that these were bug bites and they were not mosquito bites.
Jim: OK, well, I don't know what they were.
Strauss: Yeah, I don't know either.
Jim: But there was an allegation there were cockroaches, and I'm just saying I've never seen cockroaches there. Obviously there's bugs in Florida, and what they were, I have no idea. I won't even conjecture on that. I'm not an authority on Lisa McPherson.
Strauss: OK. Fair enough.
Jim: But I do know that the church does not hold people against their will. They do not not allow them to leave, because I've left Florida and come home on numerous occasions, and I've just never had anybody tell me that I couldn't leave.
Jacobsen: Can I get a word in?
Strauss: We've got a minute until the news, and I want to give Jeff a chance to respond.
Jacobsen: The Clearwater police don't think this is a ludicrous case. They're still investigating. The state Attorney General, I believe, is now investigating. The county prosecutor is investigating this case. So contrary to your opinion, some people think this is an important case, and it has not been settled yet. As far as people not being held against their will, Hubbard wrote in 1974 the Introspection Rundown, where he talks specifically about people being held in isolation, and no talking to them. And the case supervisor has to ask in writing what, for example, he says, "Dear Joe, what can you guarantee me if you are let out of isolation?" And then if the guy doesn't write back correctly, the case supervisor says, "Dear Joe, I'm sorry, but no go on coming out of isolation yet." And then Hubbard says, "This will elicit a protest from the person." Well, of course. He's being held in isolation. And that's a Hubbard policy. I've got the volume 8 of the Red Volumes, you can look it up yourself. Page 260.
Jim: OK, yeah, I'll look that up. I've never actually seen it. I'm not aware of the Introspection Rundown doing that, or of that being part of the rundown.
Jacobsen: Read it.
Strauss: Well, Jim, we've got--
Jim: But could I make one last comment?
Strauss: Real quick because we're running out of time.
Jim: Scientology has more self-help programs dealing with education, drugs, criminal rehabilitation going on than most any organization that I'm aware of that exists. And I know they're making tremendous strides in that area, helping lots and lots, literally thousands and thousands, of people.
Jim: And I'm not even sure why it's even a subject of discussion, why there's any negativity towards it.
Strauss: Well, this isn't the first time that there's been a hint of negativity about it, and the subject really was stimulated by the Lisa McPherson case, because this case is interesting.
Jim: Well, sure.
Strauss: Yeah. We've gotta take a break. Thanks.
Strauss: Bye bye.
Strauss: Ginny, do we have you back? Ginny Leason?
Ginny: I'm here.
Strauss: And it is Leason?
Ginny: Yes, it is.
Strauss: OK, terrific. Will you stick with us through the next hour? Or into the next hour?
Ginny: Yes, I will.
Strauss: OK. And so will Jeff Jacobsen. And I hope so will you. The lines are full. We're coming back after the news.
Strauss: We started out talking about the Lisa McPherson case in Clearwater, Florida. We've got a lot of people on the line that want to respond one way or another to my in-studio guest, Jeff Jacobsen, who was the first person to alert the Clearwater police to the fact that the address, the 210 address--
Jacobsen: No, I got that information from the Clearwater police web page--
Strauss: But you--
Jacobsen: I'm the first person that kind of broke the story to the public, I guess you could say, because I made the connection between that address on the police web page and the church.
Strauss: Oh, I thought that you then contacted the police and told them this address is--
Jacobsen: No, it's actually the police that informed me, and then I gave it to Cheryl Waldrop of the Tampa Tribune, who actually broke the story then publicly.
Strauss: OK. Ginny Leason from the "Church" of Scientology is on the phone with us and is going to stick with us also, and Ginny, we've got you?
Strauss: Tremendous. We're in good shape. And we've got a board full of calls. 277-KTAR is the number. When somebody drops off. With that said, Paul has been on a long time. Paul. Hello, Paul.
Paul: Good evening, Bill, Jeff, Ed. How you guys doing?
Paul: Yeah, I heard Ed in the background there. At any rate, Bill, I am a Scientologist. I have been in the "Church" of Scientology either as a staff member or just a member of the church since '77, and I actually was going to say one thing, but I've listened to a good bit of your program this evening, and I do want to make one comment, and that is that just so it's out there for people to see, both my wife and I were staff members of the church for a good number of years, and with the birth of our second child and the ill health of my wife's mother and father, we left the church back in '86. I didn't suffer any consequences of doing so. We were out in LA at the time, we moved out here, we've been in east Mesa since.
My wife is currently at the church right now, in fact, or on the way home from it. My two children have taken some courses, not that we're forcing the church on them. I find that in my 20 years with the church, it's been extremely helpful to me, and whereas I am upset as anyone would be at the death of a young person such as Lisa McPherson, quite truthfully, I'm in Mesa, Arizona. Until the police have finished their investigation, I couldn't make one comment one way or the other about what I think the outcome of that will be.
Strauss: Well, yeah. And I haven't concluded anything either. But let me point out -- when we went to the break after Jim's call, I turned to Jeff -- and my contact with Jeff -- I find Jeff to have a very gentle manner. I don't find him to be a hate-mongering guy. I turned to him and said, "You know, I bet anything Jim was telling us the truth." I get a gut feeling about people from their voices, and I felt Jim was being completely straightforward, very honest with us, and I said to Jeff, "What does that make you think?" And you said to me you believe that a lot of Scientologists have never participated in or witnessed any of the kind of abuses that you're exemplifying with the woman that you -- Rachel --
Jacobsen: Oh, Roxanne Friend.
Jacobsen: Right. No, I don't want people to misconstrue what I'm saying. I'm not saying, you know, destroy the church, I'm not saying everybody in the church gets hurt. I'm saying some people get hurt by this organization, and it's a policy that Hubbard wrote to hurt people. I quoted several quotes that Hubbard himself, the founder of the church, the person who people study -- they listen to his tapes, they read his works. That person told the church to hurt certain people. That's what I'm against. If the church would drop those policies and say, "We're sorry, we shouldn't do that," if the church would stop hurting people, some people -- I'm not saying everybody in the church gets hurt; in fact, I think in some ways the church can be helpful to people -- I'm saying that some people get hurt, and that's a policy of the church. That's what I'm against. I'm not against their religious teachings, which you haven't heard me say anything about even yet tonight.
Strauss: No. And I also should point out, and I'm sure Paul is familiar with this, as is Jeff, and most of our listeners, Germany has been on somewhat of a crusade to stifle and eliminate the Scientologists, and very recently, I think in the last 24 hours, the United States has come out publicly and condemned Germany for this.
Jacobsen: Well, that's kind of a murky situation. The U.S. government has actually condemned both sides. They've condemned the "Church" of Scientology for these full-page ads that they've put in the New York Times and different papers calling the German government, saying the German government is reverting back to Nazi-like--
Strauss: Both sides are calling each other Nazis.
Jacobsen: Yeah, basically. And I think the German government is actually handling this incorrectly, because they just sort of don't come out with their evidence. I think the German government should say, "This is why we think the Scientologist group is a dangerous group" and then lay their evidence out there so people can see what the problem is in Germany.
Ginny: OK, Bill?
Ginny: This is Ginny.
Strauss: Yeah, I knew that. I knew Paul's voice hadn't changed that much in the last couple of minutes.
Ginny: I just want to kind of interject that if people really wanted to know what Scientology was about and they have a computer and they are on the Internet, they can go into the Scientology website, which is www.scientology.org and see for themselves.
Ginny: And decide for themselves.
Jacobsen: Can I plug my web page?
Strauss: You already did. She just evened the score, 1-1, I believe. Paul, I appreciate your call.
[Jeff had not given the URL for his web page; Strauss may have been confusing Jeff's mentioning alt.religion.scientology with a plug for his web page. -- Tash]
Paul: OK, thanks
Strauss: Thank you. The next person doesn't feel comfortable giving up their name, and we don't demand that on the show. Let me just call you Skipper in Mesa.
Strauss: OK, hi, Skipper.
Jacobsen: Hi, Skipper.
Skipper: I was in the church for 22 years, and I believe what Jeff Jacobsen is saying is quite correct. I have been harassed. I have been locked up. I was in their prison for six years and escaped. And that's why I don't want my name given out. But I don't doubt a lot of those people saying what they're saying because they're trained and taught to say that exact thing that they've been saying. I have a little bit of fear for my own life, being that I no longer am allowed to speak to my son, who is still a member. And he refuses to call back when called, even at the request to attend the funeral of his late grandfather.
Strauss: Were you held against your will here in Arizona?
Skipper: Not in Arizona, in Hemet. Where the headquarters is.
Jacobsen: That's California.
Skipper: Yeah. And in Los Angeles, in the basement of what is known as the blue building.
Strauss: And what was the reason?
Skipper: Pardon me?
Strauss: What was the reason?
Skipper: I no longer believed in what they were teaching. I saw flaws. And I went clear and then got sick, and I wasn't supposed to. And I saw others being mistreated. And it was just a really bad scene.
Strauss: Ginny? I don't know if you want to respond.
Ginny: I don't know who it is or even what they're talking about because, again, I can reiterate, that that does not happen in Scientology. I have no clue when it happened or even if it ever happened.
Jacobsen: You're saying people are never held against their will by the "Church" of Scientology?
Jacobsen: Is that what you're saying?
Ginny: That's what I'm saying.
Jacobsen: Just asking.
Strauss: I know Jeff doesn't buy into that. Well, yeah, I have no way of knowing, Skipper. There's no way of checking into what happened to you or how--
Skipper: Listen, I'll tell you what. I can give you a call and give you some specifics, very specific information, in the next day or two, and then you can read it for yourself.
Skipper: And I wanted to call because I was listening to these guys come on and how wonderful and everything great it is for them but there's at least two or three thousand people who are on the list that they issue who are suppressive persons, which Jeff had explained earlier.
Strauss: You've seen a list like that?
Skipper: Yes. Of course.
Strauss: With your own eyes?
Skipper: You want a copy of one? I can get you a copy of one. Hello?
Strauss: Yeah, no, I'm listening.
Skipper: So anyway, there's a list of people that they say are suppressive. Now, I wanted to ask Jeff to clarify something because he said that Lisa was declared an SP, is that correct?
Jacobsen: No, I didn't say that. She had a -- OK, she did have, I think, which we can get into this, I guess. She had what the church calls a "psychotic break," I believe, when she took her clothes off after the car accident. And then, that's what the Introspection Rundown is for. A member who has had a psychotic break is supposed to do the Introspection Rundown, which I quoted from before the break, before the news. And the purpose of the Introspection Rundown is so that person can get over the psychotic break. And the method that Hubbard himself wrote, in the Red Volumes of his teachings here, are to isolate the person and have no speech. The person cannot be talked to or even hear someone speaking. And then there's a case supervisor. He supervises until he feels that the person understands why they had the psychotic break, and then it's over. So in other words, the Introspection Rundown -- the process itself involves isolation of the person.
Skipper: Yeah, I've experienced that myself.
Strauss: Skipper, I would welcome anything you could send me, send my way.
Skipper: OK. There's one other point too. The statement that the church doesn't harass members is absolutely incorrect. And there's a whole stack of issues which show the members of the church how to do it.
Strauss: Issues of what?
Skipper: They're written references.
Jacobsen: How to harass people.
Skipper: Policy letters and so forth. And it's just really hard to believe sometimes the level of ... um ... I don't have the right word for it, so I don't even know how to say it. But anyway, it's hard to believe that somebody died, and all of a sudden, it's sort of like a mystery, nobody knows what happened. The girl was in the church for 18 years. At least somebody would have been -- like a medical officer from the church could have been there.
Strauss: Well, the salient point is when she was released from the hospital, they said they would watch her 24 hours a day, day and night, and the next time she returned to the hospital, her physical condition was unbelievable, and the medical examiner says that the person that was brought back to the hospital could not have been conscious within the 24 hours preceding that return to the hospital. That is not the story that Elliot, at least in the Inside Edition interview, that he is portraying.
Skipper: Well, you know, as a 20-year veteran, the question I would ask is what did they do to Lisa to change the condition from being at the hospital and just a little bit psychotic to dead? I mean, that's like a real, I mean from one extreme to the other.
Strauss: Well, we don't know that anybody did anything. That's what the investigation is hopefully going to uncover.
Jacobsen: That's what the police are trying to find out. And we're hoping that -- we're just trying to help the police, actually.
Strauss: Skipper, I've got to take a break. Thanks for the call.
Skipper: Hey, OK. You're welcome.
Jacobsen: Thanks, Skipper.
Strauss: We are going to break. Ginny Leason is with us, from the "Church" of Scientology. Jeff Jacobsen is the one that got the whole show rolling when he called me a few weeks back about Lisa McPherson, and we're coming back.
Straus: The lady's name was Lisa McPherson. And her death in December of 1995 is the subject of a police investigation, an ongoing investigation in Florida. Jeff Jacobsen has tried to make the link or at least lead toward the link -- possible link -- between the "Church" of Scientology, of which Lisa was a member, and her death. And we're hearing from lots of callers that feel otherwise. And we have Ginny Leason, who is a local spokesperson for the church on the phone. And Ginny, any comments about Skipper before we move on?
Ginny: No, I don't think so.
Jacobsen: Can I ask Ginny a quick question?
Jacobsen: I have a question for you, Ginny.
Ginny: Mm hm?
Jacobsen: The church has been using Elliot Abelson and attorneys to speak about the Lisa McPherson case, and I want to know why -- the church has all these highly trained PR people that use Hubbard tech for their PR methods -- why isn't the church using a PR person instead of using this attorney?
Ginny: I can't answer that. I'm just a local director of special affairs here locally, and you would have to ask the attorney that.
Jacobsen: OK. Thanks.
Straus: All right, we go back to the phone. Larry says he's in San Antonio. Larry.
Larry: Yes, this is in connection with the conditions of Scientology and so forth that you've been discussing.
Straus: Are you in San Antonio?
Larry: I am.
Straus: How do you know what we're doing?
Larry: I've been following it on the Internet, the local IRC group of people who follow Scientology activities. Somebody from Arizona was posting about how this show was going.
Jacobsen: IRC channel Scientology, right?
Straus: Unbelievable. OK.
Larry: OK. I have an article in front of me from the St. Petersburg Times, November 14, 1991, an editorial on the children of Scientology. OK?
Larry: The story -- I'm quoting real briefly and quick -- the story is told of "Carlo, a 15-year-old boy found weeping on a Clearwater street last March. He told police he didn't go to school but instead did maintenance work for the "Church" of Scientology from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily. His mother was a church staff member, but Carlo lived away from her in a church-owned housing complex. Beth Erlich at 11 signed a billion-year contract pledging herself to Scientology. She attended a Scientology school but worked about 50 hours a week. Other recollections of poor food, inadequate schooling, overcrowded living facilities, separations from parents and painful divisions in families." This is an area that doesn't get talked about very much, is the way the children of staff members, the conditions they live in. And I have other affidavits that Jeff knows about of rotten food, and I think that's just one of the really outrageous areas that really needs to be discussed.
Straus: Well, quite honestly, it's not exclusive to Scientology that children are eating rotten food in this country.
Larry: Well, but nevertheless, if it's to save money -- if the church is also spending lavishly on John Travolta and Tom Cruise, I think that's disgraceful. To be feeding kids old lettuce and rotten rice and beans in order to save money to spend on movie stars, I think--
Straus: I've got to ask both you guys a question --
Larry: Uh huh?
Straus: Are you -- is Larry--
Larry: I know Jeff, and Jeff knows me.
Straus: OK, Larry, is your point that the church feeds these people and, I mean, it's like a self-contained environment that that's their whole life?
Larry: Well, actually my point is, first, I wanted to get Ginny's reaction to this, OK?
Ginny: OK. Well, first of all, what he is speaking of is called the Sea Organization. And what the Sea Organization is is it's a religious order where the members sign a pledge sign a pledge of eternal service to Scientology and its goals. They're basically dedicated to the core of the "religion." That's what they do. I am a member of the Sea Organization. I have basically decided to pledge my life to my "religion." And that doesn't make it wrong. That's what I have chosen. That's what my family has chosen. I've been down in Florida in the Sea Organization. My children were down there with me, and trust me, we did not eat rotten food.
Larry: OK. My point is -- OK, so you don't think this story is accurate?
Ginny: No, I do not.
Larry: OK, my question then is -- and Jeff has talked about how litigious the cu--the -- Scientology is. This came out about the same time, a few months after the Time magazine story. They sued Time for $400 million. I'm wondering, if this is inaccurate, why they wouldn't sue the St. Petersburg Times, which surely has to have a lot fewer resources than Time Warner, Inc.
Ginny: I'm actually not the one to ask on that.
Larry: Well, I just think it's a point to bring up. I think that if it is false, given how litigious Scientology is, and how eager they are to pursue even the slightest inaccuracy of fact, why they let this -- and this was a series of stories on the children of Scientology. The only thing I can think of is because they didn't want national publicity about these conditions. OK? And because it's accurate. Because I think they certainly would have wanted to intimidate further investigation into this if they could. I understand your host has already heard the word "libel" passed around in connection with the show this evening.
Straus: It was mentioned to me twice today, that's all.
Larry: OK. So do you see where I'm driving here?
Straus: Yeah. I also see that you cannot necessarily make the conclusion that because an organization is litigious in nature, that it is going to sue every time anything false is printed.
Straus: I mean--
Larry: It certainly is not a logical conclusion, I agree with that, but there aren't too many counter examples like this, either, I'm saying.
Straus: Well, I don't know that any of us can answer the question for you.
Larry: Oh, sure, I know you can't. I just wanted to bring that out, I just wanted to make people aware of this. And in addition to this, there was a case where sheriff's deputies from Florida went to give a puppet show to kids in the Sea Org, saw all these nasty conditions, and the Florida social services people got into it. The records of that investigation were sealed.
Ginny: The reason that those records were sealed were because you're dealing with names of minor children. And they have a right to be sealed.
Larry: Well, I mean I think the conditions -- I think the names could be kept private while the conditions were investigated. I mean, I think, you know, it's just another example.
Straus: All right, Larry, I've got to break for the news.
Larry: OK, sure, I know you've got a lot of people waiting. Thanks so much for hearing me.
Larry: Bye bye.
Straus: Bye bye. Ginny, we'll wrap up this topic by 11:00. Will you stick with us?
Straus: And Jeff? What else are you gonna do? I mean, you're--
Jacobsen: Nothing else.
Straus: You're there. We're talking about Lisa McPherson and the "Church" of Scientology. If you're on the line, and I know some people have been really patient, Aaron, Les, Jim, Jim, we will get to you after the news with Mike on KTAR.
Straus: Approaching 10:40 at Straus's Place. Lisa McPherson's death is the primary topic, but you can't talk about it and not have the subject gravitate to the "Church" of Scientology. Jeff Jacobsen is in studio with me. He brought the story to my attention. And Ginny Leason is a local spokesperson for the church, and we've got Ginny on line. I hope we do, Ginny. <pause> Don't tell me we lost her again. <pause> Well, Ed Cole's checking it out. Let's make sure.
Ginny: I'm here.
Straus: OK, good. What's happening there? Let's go back to the phones, and Aaron in Mesa. Hi.
Aaron: How you doing, guy?
Aaron: It's been a while since I talked to you, in fact it was before the Rose Bowl. I'm one of the fellow ASU fans and ... I was listening tonight, and the thing that kind of hit me is I've heard some things about Scientology both positive and negative, and both have been displayed tonight. One of the things about Lisa McPherson's death -- I don't know much about it, but what I can tell you is if -- if let's just say the theory around is true. That can be applied to almost any religion. There are people that take the extreme on any religion. There are Catholics who blow up abortion buildings, there are Muslims who kill Jews, you name it. And you can take any religion -- chicken-killing cults -- there are wackos in every religion.
Straus: That's a tremendous point.
Aaron: But I do want to say--
Straus: Well, wait, let Jeff respond here.
Jacobsen: There's a few things about this case though. The church in Clearwater is the spiritual headquarters of the church. The best training is there in Clearwater. If you want to go for the best in Scientology, you go to Clearwater. Also, it's -- well, never mind, go ahead. I lost my train of thought.
Aaron: Thank you. But I do what to make some points on Scientology that I have not heard tonight. Scientology to me is not really a religion, it's more of a self-help kind of organization. And the things that I have heard about it is they don't force, but they strongly encourage people to spend a massive sum of money taking courses to -- whether it's to benefit themselves or benefit the church, that's up for debate. But these people spend lots and lots of money to go these classes. And the other thing that bothers me about Scientology and some of the other religions, and I don't feel it's really up for a debate at this particular point unless the subject ever comes up, is that Scientology does not exactly throw its doors open and tell people everything about itself. Now, I understand that your guest on the phone has said that there's a web page. I'll bet that there's a lot of stuff that's been omitted from the web page that could be discussed.
Aaron: And my final thing--
Straus: And I think your point about other religions holds true for that too.
Straus: I don't think -- I'm trying to think of a religion that is completely upfront with everything about itself, and probably very few, if any.
Aaron: Well, I'm a Lutheran, and I have found that my religion, when I started in it, was very, very upfront with me.
Jacobsen: Scientology, there's a division where Dianetics comes first, and then you become a clear, which Ginny -- excuse me, Lisa McPherson, was, became clear two months before she died. That's an important demarcation point within a Scientologist's life, where you've been taking Dianetics training to get rid of your mental problems, it's a mental health thing, and then from there on, you get into the spiritual aspects of the church. Which is basically gnosticism, if you want to look that up. But as a pre-clear, someone who has not gone clear yet, you don't even know -- for instance, Ginny, I think, doesn't even know what her church teaches on the OT levels, they're called, above clear. So you have to pay a pretty big hunk of money to find out what your own church teaches.
Aaron: But let's be fair to Ginny because we don't know what she does or doesn't know. And that's my final point, is the fact that any questions that have come up her way, no offense, has either been directed as "that can't happen," "I've never seen that," "that's not possible," or "I'm not the person to talk to." If you're a spokesman for an organization, you need to know what's going on. And if there is a bad story, you need to have either proof that that's true or you need to have counterproof that that's false.
Straus: Well, I don't know that she needs to have anything. Nobody has proof one way or another on this, or it would have been a solved case at this point.
Aaron: Well, you've had callers that say that they do have proof. And if they can present that, then she needs to be able to have a counterpoint if she's going to be a spokesman. If I am a spokesman for my workplace, and somebody says, "You guys have conned us," I need to be able to say to these people, "Well, here's our position on this, and here's what we feel."
Aaron: If you say, "Well, you need to direct this to somebody else," then you're not really a spokesman.
Straus: Ginny, any comment?
Ginny: Well, Bill, we went over this earlier this week. I'm not a spokesperson when it comes to the matter on Lisa McPherson. And that's why Elliot Abelson was the one who spoke to you earlier today.
Straus: Mm hm.
Ginny: As far as the "religion" itself, what the "religion" does, what the "religion" is about, yes, I am the spokesperson, and I do know my "religion." It's a matter of what it is that I am comfortable in expressing and in telling you, and where I have to draw the line and say, OK, the attorney or whoever will be the spokesperson for it.
Straus: OK, Aaron?
Aaron: Yes, sir.
Straus: One last comment. You know, getting upset because somebody spends a lot of money on this or that -- that doesn't -- I really -- religions are such a personal thing that if somebody's happy in their religion -- and I talked to Jeff about this during the one of the breaks -- If somebody's happy, it's great. Jeff's problem is not with the church per se.
Aaron: Oh, I--
Straus: Jeff's problem is certainly -- and he will specify abuses that he, that are the driving force behind his actions.
Aaron: I have no problem with a person spending money on church. Everybody does it every Sunday. They put money in the plate, and who knows where that money goes? My point is the fact that it's almost so strongly encouraged to the point where it's -- I feel, in some cases, from the people that I've talked to that are Scientologists now and have been Scientologists, that it's almost rammed down their throat.
Aaron: And I don't agree with that.
Ginny: Aaron, I actually invite you to come in and take a tour of the church, and you can see for yourself. The doors are open.
Straus: I'd like to do that.
Ginny: Sure. Anytime. Just give me a call.
Straus: OK. Aaron, thanks.
Aaron: Good night, sir.
Straus: Bye bye. We'll take a break, come back, this is Straus's Place.
Straus: We're coming up on 10:50 at Straus's place. Jeff Jacobsen is in studio with me. Brought my attention to the case of Lisa McPherson. And I certainly will be interested in what the police end up concluding, if anything. The case is already over a year old.
Jacobsen: Yeah. It's an ongoing investigation. And the police are asking help finding these three Scientologists that are on listed their web page. One's in Hungary supposedly, one's in Mexico, and they believe one's in Austria.
Straus: And Ginny Leason, from the "Church" of Scientology locally in Mesa, is with us on the phone. Have the police made a statement that they believe there's a link between members of the "Church" of Scientology and Lisa McPherson's death?
Jacobsen: Well, it's a suspicious death, that's what the police say--
Straus: Right, that--
Jacobsen: But you don't have very many suspects. I mean, she was in the church's custody for the 17 days before she died, the church admits she was there. They came up with a story that the coroners totally disavowed about how she died. So there's not that many suspects that you can think of.
Straus: And that does seem to be the case, based upon my knowledge of it, which is certainly not complete but getting more so as the evening moves on. Let's get to as many callers as we can. I will ask you to be somewhat brief with your comments so we can squeeze a few of you in. Les. Hi.
Straus: Hello there.
Les: Yeah, this is Les. And oh, man, I don't know where to start here. We are talking about my "religion," and I've been in it since 1971. In fact, I moved to the valley in 1973 because there was a "church" here, and plus I liked the friendliness of the Arizona area, especially Phoenix. So I've lived here for many years. I have two businesses. I have a wife, two children. And I live my life with the principles of Scientology and I must say that we have a happy life, and my wife and I are more in love to day than we were when we first got married. My children don't take drugs, they have high morals, they're like our friends, everybody tells us how great our kids are. We're examples of Scientology. Now, all I want people to do is get the facts for themselves. I think they mentioned the Internet site? But you know, I would like to invite you personally, just as a guy who lives out in the field as a businessman, I'll meet you at the church, I'll take you and walk you around or we'll have lunch, and I'll show you personally what I have done via the church, and what we do as far as the criminal justice system, people, in prison, getting people off of drugs, I think we could have a wonderful show to show actually what our fruits are.
Straus: I jumped on the line at the last break, and said to Ginny, I'm very sincere, I want to come out and take a look at the church, so get ahold of her, she'll let you know when I'm coming.
Les: Hey, that would be great because I'm proud of my "religion," I tell you what. And you know, when I got into Scientology, because of that, I now have a greater and deeper respect for all religions, and I'm going to be helping on rebuilding that church that was burned, and I would go to war if somebody -- you know -- I would stand up for the freedom of all religions. I'd put my life on the line because I feel religion is that important to this society.
Jacobsen: But just because something says it's a religion does not mean that you don't have a right to be criticized. For example--
Les: Oh, I'll tell you what. People need to consider the source of criticism. If they want, you know, real integrity is you need to look at it for yourself. Don't take what I say as fact, don't take what Jeff says as fact.
Les: Look for yourself.
Jacobsen: But look at both sides. Don't just look at one side.
Les: The IRS did more scrutiny than Jeff could ever do, and they came out with a completely bona fide "religion," and--
Jacobsen: No, wait.
Les: Go to any religious--
Jacobsen: Wait, wait, wait, wait--
Les: Just a second--
Jacobsen: The federal government does not say what a--
Les: Go to any religious-- Please let me finish. Go to a religious scholar who has looked at all our materials, go to several religious scholars if you want an opinion. But to Jeff Jacobs ? What kind of credentials do you have, Jeff?
Jacobsen: I have a bachelor's degree in religious studies and nine hours toward a master's. I've listened to 50 hours of Hubbard's speeches, I've read 18 of his books, I've been to--
Les: Yeah, and the problem is, see, I can go to a bible, which I respect the bible, and I could take one or two sentences out of that bible out of context--
Jacobsen: I don't take anything out of context.
Les: Just a minute, just a minute -- and send shivers down somebody's back if they didn't know the rest of the bible. Is that not true, Bill?
Jacobsen: I'm not taking anything out of context.
Straus: I do think that's true. I do think that's true.
Les: So I mean, listening to him quote minutiae--
Jacobsen: It's not minutiae.
Les: --that I haven't read, but for him to do that, you know, it just doesn't make sense, but hey, come on down! The doors are open, I'd love to show you around, I'd love to have you meet my kids and my wife--
Straus: Let me make one thing clear--
Straus: I don't live in a field. It's not the nicest place in the world, but it's not a field. Jeff wanted to respond to one thing you said about the IRS.
Les: What did you say about a field?
Straus: You said something like, "You live out there in the field."
Les: No, no.
Straus: I'm just--
Les: No, that's all right.
Straus: I was kind of playing. I was trying to lighten it all up. A little joke.
Les: (laughing) Oh, OK.
Straus: I love having to explain my jokes.
Les: I missed it, Bill, I'm sorry.
Straus: That's OK. Jeff, you wanted to respond about the IRS.
Jacobsen: OK, I want to make two points. First -- I'll do the IRS second -- the religion aspect. Aum Shinriko is a group in Japan that gassed five thousand people. They said, "We're being persecuted. It was actually the FBI and the U.S. government going against us and gassing us." And yet now they finally, some of them, have confessed to killing people. They did this "we're a persecuted religion" thing.
Les: Yeah, so do you actually--
Jacobsen: So don't go trying to tell people that just because a group says "we're a religion," that they cannot be scrutinized--
Les: Oh, no--
Jacobsen: --and are not doing anything wrong. There are several religious groups that do things wrong.
Straus: No, he--
Jacobsen: And I am saying the "Church" of Scientology does things wrong.
Straus: He was saying that the IRS scrutinized and found--
Les: Well, there's no, there's no--
Jacobsen: OK, we're back to the IRS now. OK
Les: There's no more scrutiny than to go through an IRS audit, I'll tell you. (laughs)
Jacobsen: The federal government has no position to say what is a religion and what is not a good religion. You know. That's not the point of the federal government. In fact, the Constitution says they can't do anything to establish a religion.
Les: Well, tell that to anybody that's gotten a tax audit. (laughs)
Jacobsen: Also, the IRS case is in court right now. Tax Analyst is a magazine that's suing the IRS for the way that they gave tax-exempt status to the "Church" of Scientology. Also, one last thing. In a "Church" of Scientology publication I saw, the church claimed that they had 2500 cases against the IRS before that went through.
Straus: Well, and pending litigation means nothing because--
Les: Yeah, that's true.
Straus: But I will say one thing, Les.
Straus: Elliot Abelson made the statement that he thinks there's a conspiracy in Clearwater between the police and the medical examiner's office. I found that to be the most suspicious statement on the entire tape.
Les: Well, hey, I don't know the lawyer, and I can't back that up. But I'll tell you what, I've been to Florida in the last three years, my wife's been there, I know many people that are part of this Sea Organization that they spoke of, I know children that are there, I've actually toured the place, and I have to go with Ginny as well. What they're talking about, I don't see. So--
Straus: OK, it--
Les: You know, that's all I can say.
Straus: It's a split decision at this point, but I would look forward to meeting with you at some point.
Les: It would be great, Bill, and I'll tell you what.
Les: What ends this, all this, is if people just come in and look. Go to Florida and go take a tour. You know?
Jacobsen: Again, I'm not saying that the church hurts everybody, I'm not saying that people don't get helped by the church. I'm saying that some people by policy of the church are hurt.
Straus: Listen, I've got to take a break. Les, thanks.
Les: You bet.
Straus: I was going to open up the phones, but the phone lines continue to be filled. Ginny? I'll talk to Ginny off the air. Can you stay, Jeff?
Straus: We'll be back. We're gonna stay with this topic.
Straus: Welcome back. I had anticipated opening up the phones this hour, but I am finding our discussion of the Lisa McPherson case and the "Church" of Scientology extremely interesting. I hope we still have Ginny Leason.
Ginny: Yes, you do.
Straus: OK, good. And we also have Jeff Jacobsen in studio. Ginny, I wanted to start out this hour. The security guard, Jerod, here, stopped me and asked me a question I couldn't answer during the break, and I told him I would ask you to start out the hour. And the question is: Basically, in a nutshell, what do the Scientologists believe? I could give a two-sentence capsule of my religion. But, like he asked me, do they believe in God? Does their name mean that they believe more in a scientific approach to the world than a God approach?
Ginny: OK, Scientology believes that man is basically good and offers the tools to anyone that they can use to become happier and more able as a person, to improve their conditions and their life for himself and others. And that's basically, in a nutshell, what Scientology is.
Straus: Belief in God?
Straus: OK. One god? Monotheism?
Straus: OK. Also, much has been said, and just a couple of quick points. Psychiatry. The church is down on psychiatry in general. Is that accurate?
Straus: What about regular doctors?
Ginny: No. We don't -- there's nothing against regular doctors. If a person's body needs to be handled physically, they go to the doctor. And the church encourages a person to go handle their body, you know, through medical means.
Straus: Jeff. One of the points that Jeff has made regarding the Lisa McPherson case is that she originally didn't want medical assistance?
Jacobsen: No, when she went to the hospital after the November 18th accident -- of course, she took all her clothes off, so the doctor there wanted her to be psychologically evaluated. But some other Scientologists came to the hospital and stated that Lisa did not believe in psychiatry so they would take care of her. And that's why she ended up, instead of at a psychiatric unit, she went to the Ft. Harrison Hotel of the church.
Straus: OK. We have an abundance of phone calls, and because the show is being tracked on the Internet, we're getting calls from some locations I don't normally hear from. For example, Lee is in Oak Harbor, Washington, on Whidbey Island. Lee.
Straus: You are really in a pretty place.
Lee: Yeah, thank you.
Straus: I don't know about spiritually, but physically, you are in a good place.
Lee: I just have one question, I have a couple of questions for Ginny. Scientology states that it respects "other" religions. Am I correct in stating that?
Ginny: Yes, you are.
Lee: I listened to a recording of L. Ron Hubbard stating that there is no Christ. Is that correct?
Ginny: I don't know what tape you are talking about. I by no means have listened to everything that L. Ron Hubbard has taped. If you could tell me what tape that is. Do you know?
Lee: Well, one of the things I wanted to bring up also is respect for another religion is respect for its beliefs. Is that also correct too?
Ginny: Mm hm.
Lee: This happens to be a recording I actually listened to off the Internet, and it also stated that the birth of Christ, according to L. Ron Hubbard, was a mistake, an implant in the human psyche 76 million years ago. Is that also correct?
Ginny: Well, I actually haven't read that. I mean, where on the Internet did you read that? If you read it in the area that the Scientology has it on, then yes.
Lee: I've read most of the information that the Scientology has, "Church" of Scientology. The Citizens' Committee on Human Rights, whose sole support is for the downgrading of the medical rights of psychiatry. Not for other human rights, just for fighting psychiatry.
Ginny: Mm hm.
Lee: And several other critics on the Internet, yes.
Jacobsen: Can I jump in a second? The Professional Auditors Bulletin -- I have at home, unfortunately -- says that Hubbard states that Christ is an implant, which means a false memory put in our psyches years ago. Scientology, Ginny didn't say, believes in reincarnation.
Jacobsen: So that's an important aspect of their teachings.
Lee: Yeah, that's all the questions I have.
Straus: Religions believe different things.
Ginny: That's right.
Straus: I really believe strongly that getting into a religion and examining it tenet by tenet -- if you have any religious predisposition, your objectivity is going to be questionable all the way through the process.
Ginny: Exactly, and if you take parts of a religion, and only take a part of a religion, it's not going to make any sense.
Jacobsen: But, however, wait a minute. Scientology does that though, because, as you know, Ginny, you haven't even taken the upper-level teachings of the church, so you still don't know what a lot of the major teachings of the church are.
Ginny: That's true. That's true. I haven't had the upper-level materials. However, in Scientology, like in all "religions," you go on a gradient as, you know, to what you need and to your speed. It's not a matter of -- I'm also Methodist. I was baptized and christened in the Methodist church. I wasn't baptized until I was 14 years old.
Jacobsen: But you knew about baptism though. That wasn't a secret teaching.
Ginny: I knew about baptism, yes.
Straus: All right. Lee, thanks for the call.
Lee: You're welcome.
Straus: Bye bye. Ginny, the Internet kind of sparked another thing. I know that the "Church" of Scientology is currently embroiled in a legal dispute over copyrighted materials appearing on the Internet. Could you give us a quick overview of that situation? 'Cause I don't know all the details.
Ginny: Well, basically, L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology material is copywritten material. You can liken it to any book on the market is copywritten . Am I correct?
Ginny: So consequently, if someone takes a portion of a book or the material from the "religion" and takes it and tries to duplicate it without the express authorization of the holder, then it's copyright infringement. And that is where the disagreement is.
Straus: OK. Has that case come near to being settled?
Ginny: That I couldn't answer.
Jacobsen: There are several cases. Arnie Lerma's case, in Virginia, has been settled, where he has to pay five infringements, $500 per infringement, to the church. The church raided his home, spent I think a million dollars, on both sides, in that case, and it didn't even go to trial. It was settled by the judge. The court cases are an interesting example of the church's heavy -- what I call iron-fisted -- approach to things that happen. The church also, by the way, uses trade secret law to try to protect their secret teachings. Which is interesting to me, because a trade secret implies it's a business, but yet it's a "religion" using these laws. But the heavy-handed approach, for example, Dennis Erlich was the first person that the church went after for Internet copyright infringement. They raided his home, spent seven hours in his home, and went through a whole bunch of stuff. They took his computers, a lot of things that didn't -- he claims -- a lot of things that didn't have anything to do with copyright violations, including some of his bank statements. Then they had a difficult time, he had a difficult time getting them back, even despite a court order to get his stuff back. So I think these court cases, if you look into them, are a good example of the church using this iron-fisted approach all the time to go after people.
Straus: Well, they certainly are exemplary of the statement made earlier that litigation just seems to be a big part of -- Scientology is involved in a lot of litigation on a lot of fronts.
Jacobsen: Right. Intimidation is a method that they always use. I would say always use. They've used it against me. They've had private investigators outside my home. I was deposed by a church attorney. And after I was leaving, they yelled at me. This is a real fancy attorney's office in downtown Phoenix. They yelled at me at the top of his lungs, "We will raid you and sue you. You are on notice." My posts have been canceled on the Internet. I just had a lunch with some Scientologists where they asked if I've ever murdered anyone, if I've ever bombed any buildings. They accused me of being a liar. I can go on and on. One private investigator came to my place of work and took photographs of me while I was working. He, by the way, is their main private investigator, and he has a warrant for his arrest in Tampa, Florida. Yet they continue to use him.
Straus: OK. Let's go back -- let's take our break, and then we will get back to the phones. Talking about Scientology, and all sparked by the Lisa McPherson case. Joined by Ginny Leason from the "Church" of Scientology and Jeff Jacobsen, who is obviously very into this subject and into the case of Lisa McPherson's death. Still unsolved, still classified as suspicious by the police in Clearwater, Florida. We're coming back.
Straus: It's been a most fascinating several hours tonight. Jeff Jacobsen in studio, Ginny Leason on the phone. We are talking -- we are interspersing conversational tidbits about Lisa McPherson and the "Church" of Scientology and there is a lot of controversy surrounding both. And we're getting a pretty even portrayal. We're getting a lot of pro-Scientology people who are objecting to what Jeff is saying or other callers have said, and quite a few people that join Jeff in crying out that something's wrong here, and they are happy to be heard on the subject.
[Tape cuts out; miss a 10-minute segment.]
Straus: I thought it would be interesting tonight, and it has exceeded my expectations. We have been talking about Scientology. Ginny Leason is on the phone, from the "Church" of Scientology here locally, and Jeff Jacobsen is -- fights the church, I guess is the best way of putting it. You feel there are abuses, and you--
Jacobsen: Yeah, I want to expose the abuses, put it that way.
Straus: Now, you're planning on going and picketing the church in Clearwater.
Jacobsen: Yeah, March 8th. In case anybody wants to go. (laughs)
Straus: And the point of your trip will be?
Jacobsen: Well, we want basically two things. To let the public have a voice. Picketing is the internationally recognized method of voicing your complaints, and that's just what we're gonna do. We're going to voice our complaint against the church in a peaceful manner.
Straus: Will you meet with officials of the church?
Jacobsen: I've had lunch with church people five times, I think. And I've talked to members before. Yeah, sure. By the way, they tried to crash our press conference last year. One of the head church attorneys, vice president of the church, and two other officials of the church. We always and consistently said the press conference was for the press and picketers only, and yet these five individuals came en masse and tried to barge into our press conference.
Straus: Barging into press conferences is kind of universal too.
Jacobsen: (laughs) Yeah, I guess.
Straus: All right. Let's get to whatever phone calls we can before we wrap it up. Jim, I'm going to try you again. Hi.
Straus: Hello there.
Straus: Hello again.
Straus: Yeah, can you hear me?
Jim: Yes. Can you hear me?
Jim: Oh, good. I guess I missed you the last time around.
Straus: Yes, you did. This was your last chance.
Jim: Well, I appreciate your trying me again. I have some information that I'd like to share with you regarding the situation in Germany that you might find interesting. However, I must say there has been such a litany, much of it unsubstantiated charges, against my "church" and my "religion" that I tell you, the mind fairly reels.
Straus: You mean--
Jim: If Jeff Jacobsen harbors no ill will toward Scientology, he's doing a wonderful job of covering that up.
Straus: What charge has he not substantiated?
Jim: He claims to be -- well, I don't -- that comment actually was in regards to a number of people who have called up who have claimed to have heard a lecture by L. Ron Hubbard off the Internet. I have no way of knowing, and neither does anybody else, whether that was actually L. Ron Hubbard.
Jacobsen: Sure, you can get on the Internet and listen.
Jim: And honestly, I don't want to get off on that. I have some 25 years' experience in this subject, and I--
Jim: Look. Scientology is a broad body of knowledge about life. And it's a very broad subject. There are some 5,000 writings and some 3,000 tape-recorded lectures. And I haven't heard all of them, I've heard a significant number. I have never heard L. Ron Hubbard trash Jesus Christ, and I don't believe that he did.
Jacobsen: I've heard the tape.
Jim: Sorry. Congratulations.
Straus: And, well, I have to--
Jim: (Continuing, talking over Straus) And as far as this fair game thing goes, he drags this out every time.
Straus: I guess I don't have to.
Jim: (Continuing, talking over Straus) I have read virtually every policy letter written by L. Ron Hubbard. I have seven volumes of his work, which comprise his breakthroughs in the handling of organizations and how to run an organization in such a way to make it work and make it do what you want it to do and make it easy to work in. The fair game policy, I have not seen. You cannot find it in the subject index. I do remember years ago reading the policy canceling it. But I have never read the fair game thing. But anyway, I didn't really want to get off into that.
Jacobsen: I got it in front of me if you want me to quote from it.
Jim: No, I don't want you to quote from it. The point is, I just said, I have seven volumes here. I just went through the subject index, and it isn't in there.
Jacobsen: I have 30 volumes.
Jim: Now, what you have, I don't know where it came from, I don't know how long ago you dredged it up, I don't know. Anyway, I wanted to make a comment about the situation in Germany. It was alluded to earlier. Would it be all right if I do that, Bill?
Straus: Yeah, but I've got three other people I definitely want to get to, so I'll ask you to be somewhat brief.
Jim: OK, I'll be as brief as I can. I just got today a report that's going to be coming out regarding an investigation done by objective observers at the request of the United Nations into this situation in Germany. And it's a 25-page report, and there's just a couple of areas -- and I'd be happy to provide this for you if I can, Bill, if you're interested.
Jim: Starting out, the committee states: "We have to state from the outset that we were completely unprepared for the sheer scale of prejudice, discrimination, and even persecution which our witnesses recounted. What has astonished us is that in a rich democratic country, certain rather unpleasant things seem to have been happening to members of what are officially categorized as sects." That's s-e-c-t-s. "Among the groups being attacked, Scientology is not alone. Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, members of the Unification "Church", and other racial minorities" and so forth. As a matter of fact, it states "Since 1990 and reunification, cartoons have appeared in German magazines which bear a chilling resemblance to those in Der Sturmer" -- translated to stormtrooper -- "the Nazi magazine of the 1930s and 40s. These cartoons seem to build on stereotypes already present in the minds of the population. It is almost as if some former Nazi black propagandist had been stuck to the wrong side of the law waiting nearly half a century to emerge in 1990 and resume plying his trade." Now, as to why Scientology seems to be the most frequently attacked, they say: "Perhaps because it is also the biggest." Now, that is the biggest of the minority religions. It doesn't hold a candle in number to the official government-approved religions. Anyway, it goes on to say, "The attention devoted by the German state and certain officials to eradicating Scientology -- the words of a Christian Democratic Young Union official, not the committee -- was extensively documented. The placing of Scientology in the crosshairs was commented on by witnesses from the Unification "Church" and other minority groups. It was suggested to us by witnesses that the state is targeting Scientology as a prelude to and an excuse for the destruction of religious freedom for all religious and philosophical minorities in Germany."
Straus: Well, and I think that's generally, that's what the United States has come down on.
Jacobsen: My opinion of what's going on in Germany. I think -- I said this before I guess -- that the German government should simply lay their cards on the table, say "This is why we think Scientology is a dangerous organization." And I don't know why they're not doing that. I don't understand that.
Ginny: Because it's not--
Jim: Well, because they can't. It isn't a dangerous organization--
Jim: --and what they're doing is telling lies about it.
Straus: OK. I heard you try to get a word in there. Go ahead.
Jim: Hi, Ginny.
Ginny: Hi. Because it's not a dangerous organization. That's why they can't do that.
Jim: Believe me, if they could, they would. And believe me, in addition to that, the Internal Revenue Service spent 40 years investigating the "Church" of Scientology and I guarantee you they did not want to find as they were forced to find, that is, that Scientology is a bona fide "religion" and deserves to have tax deductibility for its parishioners' donations, just like all "other" major religions.
Jacobsen: Again, the IRS is not in the business of saying what's a good religion and what's a bad religion.
Jim: It's in the business of saying what is a religion for the purposes of tax deductibility, and if they could have found any way to justify denying that to the "Church" of Scientology, I promise you, they would have done so.
Jacobsen: Yeah, and that ruling's in court now. But I want to get back to--
Jim: (talking over Jacobsen) Yeah, well, we'll see how it comes out.
Jacobsen: Can I talk? Excuse me, can I say something?
Jim: (Continuing, talking over Jacobsen) And yes, the "Church" of Scientology is very litigious, and we're not a turn-the-other-cheek "religion."
Jacobsen: Yes. Thank you.
Jim: And when we're attacked, we defend ourselves, and we'll continue to do so. And we won't be harmed by such as the like of Jeff Jacobsen, I promise you.
Straus: Well, I don't--
Jacobsen: Is that like a threat? Or what is that?
Straus: Yeah. Jim, settle down. Jim, are you there?
Jim: Yeah, I'm settled now.
Straus: OK, calm down. Jeff, you were saying?
Jacobsen: As far as Europe goes, in Greece now, on the Internet it's been said that the Greek government is planning to close down the church there for different reasons. In Spain--
Straus: So says Jeff Jacobsen. I mean, come on!
Jacobsen: No, no, no. In Italy, 29 Scientologists were convicted of things like fraud recently.
Jim: So says Jeff Jacobsen. Where's your documentation? Where's your proof?
Jacobsen: I'm reading this. This is from news reports that have been put on the Internet.
Jim: This is news reports. Give me a break.
Jacobsen: In France--
Jim: Like news reports are never wrong. Nobody ever makes a mistake in news reports. They always get it exactly right.
Jacobsen: In France--
Jim: Give me a break. Inside Edition is comparable to, let's see, what would it be, the National Enquirer?
Straus: Well, Jim, Jim, Jim, you're kind of contradicting yourself. You just told us that your church comes under fire and it really upsets you. Now he's telling you that it's coming under fire here, here, and here, and you're not believing it.
Jacobsen: In France, a member, a high-ranking member, was just convicted of manslaughter. That was, he contributed to the suicide of a Scientologist. That was just in November, I think. And I think it was 14 other Scientologists were also convicted of lesser charges. So it's not just Germany that's coming after the church.
Jim: Any number of people could do any number of things while claiming to be Scientologists.
Straus: Yeah, listen, Jim--
Jim: And nobody would suggest that Scientologists are perfect people. But I'll guarantee you that the policy of the church, and L. Ron Hubbard's policy was that we obey the laws of the land, and if we violate the laws of the land, we're to suffer the consequences.
Jacobsen: I think you're turning a blind eye to some of the things that Hubbard taught though. Hubbard taught to go after people, to use the court systems to harass and ruin people is the word, is the exact--
Jim: I don't believe that that's true. In the extensive 25 years of my study--
Straus: He's quoting from a book.
Jim: I'm just saying, I'm just saying I haven't seen it.
Jacobsen: But I have.
Jim: OK, fine. You have. In 25 years of study, I haven't seen it.
Straus: Jim, I appreciate the call. I've got to get a couple more on here.
Jacobsen: That's why you need critics. So critics can bring up stuff that maybe you don't know about.
Straus: Well, you did have that, but again, he makes a valid point too. Because you read a news story on the Internet -- we're starting to find out that a lot of the news proliferating on the Internet is bull.
Jacobsen: Oh, sure. Sure. Absolutely.
Straus: And the point that was made -- nobody knows that that was L. Ron Hubbard giving the speech. You know, it would be very easy to trash a person, a group, a religion, a government with false Internet news, false Internet speeches. You know. I know that you know that it would be ...
Jacobsen: Oh, sure. I try to be very careful, especially since the church is very litigious, with what I say about the church. And I'm confident that those things happened. I saw a picture of -- I think his name was Patrice Vic, the guy in France, heading off to jail. So that's been in different newspapers and magazines. I didn't bring everything I have tonight, so I can't give you exact quotes of what newspaper said this or that.
Straus: No, I can tell the listeners, including Jim. Jeff has quite a bit of documentation with him, not just Internet sources, and seems to take this very seriously. For what that's worth, I think that's important to bring out. Jerry. Hi.
Straus: We're running out of time, Jerry, so I'll ask you to be brief.
Jerry: OK. Yeah, I just want to say I've been a Scientologist for over 16 years, and I got involved in it first when I was in college, and I was interested in the study technology there, and it helped me with my grades there. As a matter of fact, I graduated second in my class at ASU in engineering. And my kids are now in a school that uses that same technology. It's a fabulous technology. I think it's gonna be the solution to the decline of education in our society. And I just wanted to say that the aims of Scientology are a civilization without insanity, without criminals, without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights and where man is free to rise to greater heights. And there's a few of us that are trying to make things better on this planet, and I really think what Jeff's doing is really counterproductive to those causes. We've got this great educational technology as well as drug rehabilitation technology and criminal rehabilitation technology, and we're trying to do something to change things on this planet for the better.
Straus: He thinks he's doing the same thing, I would imagine.
Jacobsen: Yeah. Apparently I'm actually educating Scientologists tonight that don't know some things that Hubbard actually wrote. That's pretty good, I think.
Jerry: Well, what you're doing is you're pulling attention away from a lot of the works that can improve a lot of things in our society.
Jacobsen: But again, I'm not saying that the church should be destroyed, I'm not saying that Scientology doesn't help anybody. I'm saying it hurts some people and they have policies that Hubbard wrote to hurt people. If those things were done away with, if the church would apologize to the people they have hurt and say, "We're not going to follow these Hubbard teachings anymore," I would shut up and go sit on the beach in Clearwater instead of picketing.
Jerry: I think that's what the earlier caller, Jim, had talked about. I mean, that one policy you talked about is no longer in force in the church.
Jacobsen: No, I disagree with that. It is in force. There's other teachings besides the fair game that are identical.
Straus: Ginny? Did you-- Ginny?
Ginny: Thank you.
Straus: Did I detect a little Ginny noise there? (Ginny laughs.) I've really gotten good at that.
Straus: I can hear-- Yeah, go ahead.
Ginny: Basically, all I wanted to say is I have not seen, I mean, Jeff is more than, I'm more than willing for you to send me over those policies that you say that LRH wrote to hurt people, and you know, if they're there, then, you know, we'll get them handled. Otherwise, if they're not there -- because, see, I know that they're not there.
Jacobsen: I'm looking at them right here. I got 'em right in front of me. I can show it to Bill Straus. What do you want me to do?
Straus: Yeah. Jerry, I want to wrap it up. Thanks for the call. Kelly, Gordon in Ashland, Oregon, and Ray in Ft. Collins, Colorado, I'm glad you got to enjoy the show. I'm not going to have time to get to you because I want to give each of my guests an opportunity to give a website address and a phone number. Ginny Leason?
Ginny: Yes. Web site address is www.scientology.org, and the phone number is 833-0610 here in Mesa.
Straus: OK, and I thank you very much for joining us. Jeff Jacobsen?
Jacobsen: For me, if you go to a search engine like Yahoo or Altavista and type in "Lisa McPherson," which is M-C-P-H-E-R-S-O-N, you'll get to my web page.
Straus: And I want to thank you both for joining us. It was a most interesting discussion. We might do it again some time. Thank you all. Tomorrow night we will be open-phoning it. I want to remind you, Senator Bill Bradley, in studio, a week from tonight. Roy Buck. He's ready to give you the midnight update. I'm heading out of here. Ed Cole, thank you so much, as always. Larry King follows Roy on KTAR. Bye bye.