Austin American-Statesman Staff -- utterly naive article about Scientology

17 Dec 2001

Houses of worship
By Vanessa Juarez
Austin American-Statesman Staff
Saturday, December 15, 2001

Letter to the Austin American-Statesman:

I was sorry to read Vanessa Juarez's utterly naive article about Scientology (December 15). I have first-hand experience with this predatory cult and the harm that it does.

At a time when my husband was battling cancer, we were drawn into Scientology with promises that they could "help" him. Over the ensuing two years, as my husband was literally fighting for his life, this organization subjected us to intense, sophisticated psychological manipulation and coercion and relentlessly badgered us for money -- including demands that we drain our 401-K and other retirement accounts.

We were high-pressured into giving Scientology many thousands of dollars before getting out. Fortunately, we escaped with minimal residual psychological effects and we were able to obtain a refund of about half the money we had lost.

MANY other people have not been so lucky. The stories of Scientology's extreme harassment of its critics and maltreatment of its own members are legion.

Scientology preys on people who are vulnerable and gets away with this behavior by hiding behind the banner of religion, screaming "religious intolerance" when criticized, labeling critics "bigots" and setting up misleading front groups such as the "Foundation for Religious Tolerance" and "Foundation for Religious Freedom."

"Peace and brotherhood," Ms. Juarez? Scientologists refer to those outside the cult as "wogs" -- a racial slur. Ask "Reverend" Fischer if he has ever heard that term -- or used it. "Scientology avoids dogmatic principles," Ms. Juarez? Hardly. Founder L. Ron Hubbard's writings are referred to as "sacred scriptures" and agreement with them is mandatory.

I am sure that The Austin American-Statesman would not want to publicize nor showcase Scientology in any way if you understood its true nature and purposes.

I hope that you will investigate further and publish a followup article giving your readers a more accurate and balanced view of Scientology. I suggest that you begin research at Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, a residential treatment facility for recovering cult victims and home of a sizable library on cults and "high demand" religions. You can reach Wellspring at (740) 698-6277 or at their website,


I'd recommend that you contact Liz Shaw.

You might also contact Steven Hassan, founder of the Resource Center for Freedom of Mind and author of two acclaimed books on cult mind control. You can reach him at his website,


Yours truly,
Mary Ann Bosnos


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