From: gisle@ifi.uio.no (Gisle Hannemyr)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Re: A few definitions
Message-ID: <GISLE.91Nov9200729@kyrre.ifi.uio.no>
Date: 9 Nov 91 19:07:27 GMT
References: <7vc__KA@engin.umich.edu> <638@uucs1.UUCP> <JLd_YFB@engin.umich.edu>
Sender: gisle@ifi.uio.no (Gisle Hannemyr)
Organization: Dept. of Informatics, University of Oslo, Norway
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Nntp-Posting-Host: kyrre.ifi.uio.no
In-Reply-To: davidb@caen.engin.umich.edu's message of 7 Nov 91 18: 05:32 GMT
Originator: gisle@kyrre.ifi.uio.no

Somebody wrote: >> world's most power and money hungry groups in history ... >> get suckers money, even by dubiously legal means David Bonnell wrote: > Who said this garbage? Could you possibly generalize more?

> Scientology is the MOST law abiding organization on this planet. > They even have an entire department devoted EXCLUSIVELY to ethics. Wouldn't > it be nice if Congress had that and it actually worked!!!!

David, I agree with you that generalized attacks on is not a productive way of debating an issue. But neither is your reference to the existence of a Church of Scientlogy Ethics Department. In a George Orwell novel describing the nightmare of a Facist/Stalinist society ("1984"), there is an institution called the "Department of Truth", which task is to fabricate lies. My point is that because something happen to be named the "Ethics Department", that does not prove that it is devoted to "Ethics" in the ordinary, everyday meaning of that word.

Now, over to some specifics: In a recent court case in Norway (Steinar Lem vs. The Church of Scientology) the preliminary verdict was that the Church has been un-ethical in its business practices. The court therefore ordered the Church to refund Mr. Lem a sum of money, which his late mother had paid the Church for purification, auditing and spiritual counciling.

I called Knut Joergen Plesner (which I believe is in in charge of the Norwegian chapter of the Church of Scientology) and asked him to comment on this verdict. He indicated that in his opinion, the church had not behaved un-ethical. As long as the lady had been in the church, she had expressed satisfaction with what she received for her money. She had, at that time, expressed a profound interest in continuing taking courses. Only more that two years after she had left the church, just one month before she died, did she express dissatisfaction, and asked for a refund.

There is a number of "facts" in this story -- as expressed in the verdict and in the press coverage of this case -- that are disputed by the Church. Because they are disputed (the verdict and the press states one thing, the Church of Scientlogy another), I won't repeat them here. I asked Mr, Plesner to explain why the Church lost in court, and his response was that the judge was biased. that the court was selective in what evidence was taken into consideration, and that a number of "facts" in the case was wrong or misrepresented. The Church has a period of two months to decide whether to accept or appeal. Mr. Plesner clearly indicated that the Church will not accept this verdict, and that the case will be tried again in appeal court.

However, one fact is not disputed by the Church. Mrs. Lem was involved with the Church from August 1985 to December 1985. During that time, she paid the Church a large sum of money for various services. Mrs. Lem was not rich -- and after expending her own resources, she had to borrow money, using family property as collateral.

My own opinion of this is: I believe that it is un-ethical to sell someone services or goods that they cannot afford, knowingly putting their sustenance in jeoapardy.

Please note that I am not debating the quality of the the services sold by the Church, nor the prizing of these services. I am just discussing the ethics of salesmanship here, which I also believes should apply to those selling spritual services.

-- Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of my employer, not necessarily mine, and probably not necessary. - gisle hannemyr (Norwegian Computing Center) EAN: C=3Dno;PRMD=3Duninett;O=3Dnr;S=3DHannemyr;G=3DGisle (X.400 SA format) gisle.hannemyr@nr.no (RFC-822 format) Inet: gisle@ifi.uio.no UUCP: ...!mcsun!ifi!gisle ------------------------------------------------

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