If You Are Afraid of the Scientology Contract

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Consult a real lawyer.

I have been thinking more about the terrible Scientology Contract. I hear of people, long out of Scientology, still being required to abide by the horrible conditions of those contracts. This seems very wrong. If I were concerned about this for me, I would take steps now to protect myself.

If I were concerned about this, I would formally inform all the churches where I signed such things that I declare that all of those contracts were void for the following reasons.

From upcounsel.com, these are a few of the indications of a void contract:

  • It is unfairly one-sided.
  • It unfairly restricts one side’s actions (such as the right to work).

The Church of Scientology contract cancels all legal rights of the buyer while promising absolutely nothing in return. That is obviously one-sided.

  • This is another reason the Scientology contract is, in my opinion, void: A contract, to be valid, must contain a quid-pro-quo: A specific offering for a specific return. While the contract requires a lot from the buyer, it promises nothing in return. This is not valid.

As far as I know, there is still another reason why the contract is void.

  • The buyer never receives his/her own copy of the “contract” properly signed by a legal representative of the church. It isn’t valid if it isn’t properly signed by all parties.

In addition, I would inform the church that I formally withdraw from any and all association and participation with any Church of Scientology and therefore, in the future, if any Scientology contracts are found to be valid, those agreements and contracts with the Church of Scientology are, as of my departure, declared to be completed and now cancelled.

That’s what I’d do and I’d keep a notarized copy of each letter.

Do consult a lawyer if you want to move in this direction.

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Is Scientology’s “Contract for Services” Valid?

I am not a lawyer so, while I have this question, I cannot answer it.

My question is simple: Is Scientology’s Contract for Services a valid, legal and enforceable contract?

Certainly, the Church of Scientology’s stable of expensive lawyers would, and do, insist it is fully enforceable — but is it?

I looked at several legal-advice websites. This one has the following criteria for whether a contract is valid:

Identify an offer, acceptance, and consideration. For a contract to be valid, it must have these three basic elements: a specific offer, [3] acceptance of the terms of the offer,[4] and consideration, which is the agreed-upon exchange of goods or services. [5]

– A valid offer must be sufficiently definite.[6] It must be clear, unequivocal, and direct.

– A contract must contain consideration: mutual promises to do something or to refrain from something that a party has a legal right to do. Without this mutual promise, there is no valid consideration and the contract is illusory.

Does the Scientology Contract for Services fulfill these criteria?

To be clear, what “specific offer” is the church offering? What “clear, unequivocal and direct” offer does the Church of Scientology propose?

Absolutely nothing.

Very specifically and explicitly the Church of Scientology promises to deliver … absolutely nothing, ever.

Neither the Church nor any other Scientology church or organization makes any claim … that any particular result may be forthcoming from my participation.

Church of Scientology Contract for Services

And what “consideration” does the church demand from the Scientologist? In exchange for this explicit “nothing”, the church requires Scientologists give up every single legal right they would have to protect themselves. These rights are extremely valuable.

… I am forever abandoning, surrendering, waiving, and relinquishing my right to sue, or otherwise seek legal recourse with respect to any dispute, claim or controversy against the Church, all other Scientology churches, all other organizations which espouse, present, propagate or practice the Scientology religion, and all persons employed by any such entity both in their personal and any official or representational capacities, regardless of the nature of the dispute, claim or controversy.

Church of Scientology Contract for Services

To repeat from the website regarding what makes a contract legal:

A contract must contain consideration: mutual promises to do something or to refrain from something that a party has a legal right to do. Without this mutual promise, there is no valid consideration and the contract is illusory.

(Emphasis added)

No competent lawyer would ever allow their client to sign such a one-sided “contract”. But, of course, Scientologists are not allowed to take the contract to a lawyer. Further, no Scientologist is allowed to have their own copy of the contract.

More from the website:

Look at the relative bargaining power between the parties. A contract will be considered “unconscionable” where there is a gross disparity in bargaining power between the parties and the terms of the contract are oppressive.

Certainly, it is obvious that the terms of Scientology’s contract are quite oppressive. The bargaining power of a Scientologist in this situation is nil. The “Contract for Services” is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. Sign it or get out. “Bargaining”? Don’t be silly. “Take it to my lawyer”? Not allowed. Require the church to promise to do anything? Definitely not.

All in all, it appears to my non-lawyer eyes that Scientology’s Contract for Services is not valid. There is no quid pro quo – something given or received for something else. Quid pro quo is the essence of a contract. Scientology’s contract is completely one-sided – to the vast benefit to the church and the massive detriment to the Scientologist.

Is this legal?

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I Apologize

I did not realize my “Contact” form was broken. I’m sorry for not catching that sooner. I believe it is working now.

I’m always happy to hear from you. I welcome all comments, corrections, complaints and questions.

If you want me to answer, you will need to give me a valid email address but that’s the only requirement. Otherwise, your name and email address can be fake.

Here is the contact page.

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Church of Scientology: All Promises are Cancelled

All promises by Hubbard, the Church of Scientology or any Scientologist have been cancelled!

I covered this in my last post but this deserves repeating. The Church of Scientology says, explicitly, that every single claim made by L. Ron Hubbard is false – Hubbard’s claims are”not a statement of claims by the Church, by any other Scientology church or organization, or by LRH.” (emphasis added).

Scientologists: If you were wondering why you didn’t get the abilities you were promised from Scientology processing, here is your answer:

First, you weren’t actually promised any gains. Technically, you weren’t promised anything. As I covered in my last post, the Church of Scientology explicitly revoked every single promise of gains, benefits or results of any kind. It’s in the contract they wrote.

Second, truthfully, the church never expected you to actually attain any new abilities, gains or benefits. “Neither the Church nor any other Scientology church or organization makes any claim … that any particular result may be forthcoming from my participation”

Still having trouble talking to your cantankerous Aunt Tilly after Grade 0? That’s not surprising, no abilities were actually promised.

Still having problems after Grade 1? Well, that’s what was promised: Nothing.

If you are like every other Scientologist, you have secretly felt that you didn’t get the full, promised abilities after each Grade Chart level.

If you mention to the Church of Scientology that you feel you didn’t get the full, expected gains from each level, or any gains you did get just didn’t last, the church will blame you. You are out-ethics, you false-attested, you are committing crimes, you-you-you! But the truth is that you did get exactly what was promised — not one damn thing.

The evidence is clear from the Scientology Contract for Services, the church knows they can’t and they won’t deliver on any of their promises. They know Hubbard made a lot of claims that were simply not true. They know you won’t get those promised gains. The contract admits and confirms exactly that.

So their solution isn’t to stop making those claims. Their solution isn’t to put disclaimers in every book and lecture by Hubbard admitting the claims are bogus – or, at least, unproven. No, their “solution” is to keep making and promoting ALL their wondrous claims, ALL of Hubbard’s bogus claims, but make everybody sign a contract that quietly cancels every single promise and every single claim.

This is extremely dishonest. But, that is what the Church of Scientology is all about.

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The Scientology Contract for Services

Imagine an organization that promises to help you if you buy their services … and then demands you sign a contract that says all their promises are fiction so they won’t deliver anything that was promised and there is nothing you can do about it.

I’ve been wanting to write about the absurd Church of Scientology contract for some time but could not find a copy. I finally found one on Wikileaks. Someone in Australia uploaded a copy (thank you!). This is the standard Scientology contract used around the world.

As we analyze parts of this contract, you will see exactly why the Church of Scientology does not want this generally seen.

The Church of Scientology contract

Every single Scientologist is required to sign this contract before every service — no exceptions. A long-time Scientologist may have signed hundreds of copies of this contract.

The contract is six pages of dense legalese. While the church doesn’t forbid a person from reading the whole contract before signing, few take the time. No Scientologist would dare show such distrust as to carefully read, question or (horrors!) reject anything in this contract. Few Scientologists know or even care that, in signing this contract, they are giving up all their legal rights.

One might wonder why a church needs every parishioner to be stripped of their rights and why the church itself explicitly absolved of all liability. Well, this is Scientology.

Let’s take a look at some of the more, let us say, “interesting” parts of this contract.

“The writings and recorded spoken words of LRH on the subjects of Scientology and Dianetics … are not a statement of claims by the Church, by any other Scientology church or organization, or by LRH.”

Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General Release: 2.c. [FAIR USE]

The church demands that the parishioner agree that all of Hubbard’s books, writing and lectures were, according to the Church of Scientology, all fiction, speculation and imagination — and not real.

Next, no one in Scientology is claiming or promising anything about the benefits or results from any Scientology service. Any statements that sounded like claims of results or benefits were also pure fiction.

Neither the Church nor any other Scientology church or organization which espouses, presents, propagates or practices the Scientology religion makes any claim:
I. that the nature or purpose of Scientology, or of Dianetics, or of the writings and recorded spoken words of LRH, is contrary to what is stated in this Contract;
II. that the application of any Scientology or Dianetics technology or practice will have any particular effect…
III. that any particular result may be forthcoming from my participation … if any individual staff member of any Scientology church or organization makes any claims about the results which may be forthcoming from my participation in any Scientology Religious Service, any such claims are the personal opinions and beliefs of that staff member only, and are not claims made by the Church or any other Scientology church or organization.

Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General Release: 2.e. [fair use]

It is ironic that, in this section of the contract, the Church of Scientology admits and confirms that it is all a lie. Everything from Hubbard on down is a lie. Scientologists and the Church of Scientology can and do make all sorts of fabulous claims about the benefits from Scientology to get someone in, to get someone to pay — but here, where it counts, all promises are revoked.

What if you are currently in mental or physical pain? What if that is specifically what you came into Scientology to handle?

Of course, the Registrar would tell you “Scientology can handle that!” but the contract says differently:

I know that I should not participate in any Scientology Religious Service if I have a physical or mental condition which might be aggravated or which might make my participation in the service uncomfortable or distressful to me, and I agree to accept and assume any and all known or unknown risks of injury, loss, or damage resulting from my choices and decisions in that regard.

Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General Release: 4.e. [FAIR USE]

In signing this contract, you declare that you don’t have any such things. Sure Scientology can help you … as long as you don’t have any real problems.

What about Hubbard’s “Return of Donations” policy letter which requires the church to refund your money if you are not “completely satisfied”?

No Scientology church is under any duty or obligation whatsoever to return any portion of any religious donation I make. …

Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General Release: 5.c. [FAIR USE]

Finally, what if the church doesn’t help you? What if the church causes you real damage? What if, instead of better, you get a lot worse? What if you find out they lied? What if they defraud you, steal your money? What if they lock you in a room and force you to pay more? Surely you can take them to court.

… I am forever abandoning, surrendering, waiving, and relinquishing my right to sue, or otherwise seek legal recourse with respect to any dispute, claim or controversy against the Church, all other Scientology churches, all other organizations which espouse, present, propagate or practice the Scientology religion, and all persons employed by any such entity both in their personal and any official or representational capacities, regardless of the nature of the dispute, claim or controversy.

Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement and General Release: 6.c. [FAIR USE]

When you sign this, you give up every legal right you have against any abuse, crimes, fraud or damage to you by the Church of Scientology. You have no recourse no matter what they do. Is this even legal?

These sections are the tip of the iceberg in this six page monstrosity.

This contract is quite comprehensive. It cancels every single statement claiming any benefits or results from any Scientology service — including everything Hubbard claimed. It frees the church itself from any obligation to provide any benefit or any result to the Scientologist. It removes every single right a Scientologist has against the church if the church does anything wrong.

I’m sure no lawyer would allow a client to sign such a blanket abandonment of all legal rights in exchange for absolutely nothing.

But no Scientologist is allowed to take this contract away for advice. No Scientologist is allowed to have his/her own copy of the contract. No one is allowed to cross out or modify any part of the contract.

If anything demonstrates how much of a fraud the Church of Scientology is, this document is a prime example.

No one should sign such a horribly one-sided contract — but all Scientologists are required to do so.

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Can Scientology solve YOUR problem?

Some people are attracted to Scientology because Scientology promises to handle any and all human problems. Scientology, they say, has a solution for everything!

Some people read a Scientology book, like “Dianetics”, and think the claims by Hubbard of “miraculous cures” are real and based on actual research. All those claims have been proven completely bogus and, technically, the church no longer officially makes those claims. Hypocritically, the church still sells the books without any footnote, correction or disclaimer about how false all Hubbard’s claims turned out to be.

One of the tricks Scientologists are trained to use to get people into Scientology is to find out a person’s “ruin”, their most pressing difficulty, problem or upset, and then say the magic phrase “Scientology can handle that!”

It doesn’t matter what the problem is and there doesn’t have to be any evidence that Scientology has ever solved that problem. No, it’s just a magic phrase to get someone into the Scientology machine.

So, does Scientology ever handle a person’s “ruin”? Will it handle your problem? Scientologists will always promise it will. Does it? Has it ever?

The answer is “no”. Scientology cannot, does not and never will “handle” it.

Oh, Scientologists will tell you, verbally (not in writing), “Scientology can handle that” and sell you as much auditing as they can — for as long as they can string you along — but that big problem you came in to handle? Don’t hold your breath.

Remember that Scientology’s results, if any, are primarily Placebo Effect. If you believe strongly enough, you may see some benefit.

However, understand this: If your problem can be solved by believing it to be solved, there are much better (and cheaper!) ways of achieving that result.

But for any significant problems you might have, stay far away from Scientology. Look for solutions elsewhere and you will have a much better chance of actually finding a solution to your problems.

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The True Story of Scientology

This is the true story of Scientology.

  • In 1950 L. Ron Hubbard proclaimed that he had “discovered” the cause of all human suffering.  This “thing” was invisible and undetectable.  Hubbard was the only person to discover it and only Hubbard’s “technology” could get rid of it.
  • He called the invisible “thing” the “Reactive Mind1“.
  • A believer pays a lot of money to Scientology and gets a lot of processing and, eventually, the Church of Scientology tells them that they no longer have this invisible thing, they are a “Clear”.
  • Unsurprisingly, Clears do not feel particularly different from before.
  • Then, in 1967, Hubbard proclaimed that, while “researching advanced levels above Clear”, he had discovered a myriad of new, invisible and undetectable “things”.  Again, Hubbard was the only person to be able to detect these things and his “technology” was the only way to get rid of these invisible things.
  • Hubbard called these invisible things “Body Thetans2“.
  • A believer pays a huge amount more money, goes through the various steps and, eventually, the Church of Scientology tells them that, “poof”, they no longer have all those “Body Thetans”.  They are an “OT”.
  • Unsurprisingly, OTs do not feel particularly different from before “getting rid of” their “Body Thetans”.

Or, to sum it all up:

L. Ron Hubbard worked out how to make people pay a lot of money to “get rid of” things that don’t exist.


1  Despite believer’s earnest efforts, the existence of the “Reactive Mind” has never been proven.
2 The existence of “Body Thetans has also never been proven.

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Scientologists: How to Stay “Under the Radar”

When a Scientologist realizes that the Church of Scientology is no longer something they want to be involved with, they will be confronted with a significant problem: How to distance themselves without being declared a “Suppressive Person”.

If the church detects that the Scientologist is no longer a happy, active, compliant member of the Church of Scientology, the church will usually declare the Scientologist a “Suppressive Person”. This means that all other Scientologists must “disconnect” from that Scientologist.  Family, friends, employers, clients — they will all be forced to disconnect.  This is unacceptable.

It is much, much easier for such a Scientologist to just “fly under the radar”. That is, pretend to still be a happy, compliant Scientologist but avoid, as much as possible, having to spend much time or money in the church.

Church of Scientology registrars (sales people) are trained to be extremely persistent and aggressive in getting money for the church and just about all Scientologists become deeply mired in debt.  This is often one of the primary factors in a Scientologist wishing to distance themselves from further involvement.  Today, the constant push for money by the church can be extremely disturbing.

Most Scientologists learn to screen their phone calls to avoid talking directly to church registrars. While this works to a degree, it can be annoying to clients, friends and family.  Scientologists need some better tools for defusing the power of the registrars without raising any alarms.

  • First, read my post on A Scientologist’s Golden Age of Integrity Drills.  For fun, I wrote this like a “Golden Age” drill, but the information, suggestions and LRH policy references are very valuable and completely valid.  I used a few of these when I was in Scientology and registrars simply cannot contradict or ignore these references.  Registrars have been trained to argue about them, but the article covers that as well.  These references really do stop the registrars cold and I tell you how to accomplish that while remaining “100% on source”.

This won’t necessarily stop the phone calls or physical visits, it merely gives you tools to handle them.  Here are some further suggestions which will help you eliminate, or at least minimize, phone calls and visits.

  • When you realize a registrar is calling, always say “I’m sorry, I only have a few minutes.  I’m [expecting a phone call|walking out the door|meeting someone].”  This sets up the phone call so that you can, after a minute, say, “Hey, thanks for calling!  I’ve really got to run, but it was good talking to you!” and hang up. Note that you do not wait for some response (or their agreement), you just hang up.  Yes, this may seem a bit rude, but you need to do it that way.  Registrars know that if they can just keep you talking they will eventually wear you down and get your money.
  • Use a similar technique if they show up, unannounced, at your door.  First, do not let them in.  They won’t leave without prying some money from you.  Say, “Oh! You’ve come at a very bad time. Sorry. Call me later.” Then shut the door.  They will start talking and you must simply say “I’m real sorry!” and shut the door. Yes, this is, again, slightly rude.  But then, showing up at your door, unannounced, to demand you give them money is quite rude.
  • Optionally, if you want to be creative, you can make up a story about how you are working on a “startup business idea” that will make you a ton of money in a “few months”.  This explains why you can’t give them any money now and also appeals to their greed at the prospect of a “ton of money in a few months”.  If asked for details, you can always say you signed a “NDA” (Non-Disclosure Agreement).  “Call me in six months! I’ll have more news then!”  This works well and, if they do call in six months you simply say, “Things are going very well! Call me in six months!”
  • An important tip when talking to a registrar: Do not get into a discussion of your finances with a registrar.  Not ever.  Do not answer questions about how much you make, what you spend money on, what are your debts, etc.  Don’t ever, ever, ever do that.  You don’t have to explain yourself, but if you feel compelled, simply say “That’s personal.”  Nothing good ever comes from discussing your finances with a registrar.
  • When someone calls from the church to “confirm you for the event”, always say “Sure! Put me down!”  It does not matter whether you actually are going, they won’t do a roll call.  Certain events you do want to avoid, of course.  Any event billed as a “briefing” should be avoided at all cost, they’ll just demand money.  If you don’t go and are asked about that, just say, “I’m really sorry I missed it, something came up.”
  • There was a rumor that the church was threatening to declare a person simply because they weren’t active.  That’s pretty insane, but if that happens to you, there are always the Scientology “correspondence courses”. They are cheap and don’t require you to go into the org.  Buy one of those and be “working on it”. That should handle it for a while.

Note that, with all these techniques, you can smile, be polite and positive and still arrange it so that you don’t end up talking with the registrar.  As far as the church knows, you are not antagonistic, just very, very busy.  “Sorry, gotta go!”

These techniques, over time, will reduce the number of phone calls and visits. No registrar wants to waste time calling when no money is forthcoming. It is important that you never give them money just to “get rid of them”. Giving money, no matter the amount, just encourages more phone calls and more visits.

As you distance yourself from the church, you may want to know more about what others think and say.  Other articles on this site may interest you.  I’ve also some suggestions over on the right side of this page under “More Info:“. Check those out if you are interested.  But, if you are flying under the radar, do take some precautions.

  • While I think that communicating with other inactive (or ex-) Scientologists is very helpful and therapeutic, if you are under the radar, be very careful.  When visiting forums like Ex-Scientology Message Board or Operation Clambake, do not post any personally identifiable information, history or stories.  The church is constantly monitoring these forums, looking for people to punish.

EDIT: The Ex-Scientology Message Board is no longer active and Operation Clambake is not functional.  However, the advice is still valid.  Be careful.

Hopefully, these suggestions will allow you to stay under the radar and avoid being declared.  Good luck.

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Scientology, the placebo of personal betterment

placebo noun

  1. a substance having no pharmacological effect but given merely to satisfy a patient who supposes it to be medicine.
  2. a substance having no pharmacological effect but administered as a control in testing experimentally or clinically the efficacy of a biologically active preparation.

placebo effect noun

  1. a reaction to a placebo manifested by a lessening of symptoms or the production of anticipated side effects.

While it may be difficult to show that any one individual Scientologist has not “gotten gains” from his or her participation in Scientology, it is trivial to determine that Scientology does not and never has produced the benefits promised by L. Ron Hubbard.

Scientology promises to produce homo novis: A significantly superior being, far superior to current homo sapiens.  This isn’t just implied, this is explicitly promised many, many times by Hubbard.

If Scientologists were routinely becoming such superior beings, it would be obvious in the real world.  The leaders of science, academia, industry, politics and more would proudly declare that they were Scientologists, products of Hubbard’s amazing “tech”.

The truth is that there are no Scientologists of any note except those few who were already famous or successful prior to Scientology.

Given that it is true and self-evident that Scientology’s “tech” does not produce the wonderful results promised, why do some believers insist that they “got gains” from Scientology?

Enter the “placebo effect”.  And here is where Hubbard really pulled off a good one.  The capabilities and attributes of this mythical homo novis are largely undefined.  In general, the attributes are virtually godlike. Anything could potentially be a homo novis ability.

And here is why it is so very effective in convincing a believer that Hubbard’s homo novis is not just possible but is actually happening:

Anything unusual that happens to a Scientologist can and is considered “proof” of progress towards this homo novis.

– Found some money you forgot you had?  It’s Scientology!
– Your favorite team wins? It’s Scientology!
– Feel especially good for a day or two? It’s Scientology!
– Had a bit of luck doing some task? It’s Scientology!
– Unexplained tingling in your hands? It’s Scientology!
… and so on.

You, of course, understand that all these things are perfectly normal things that happen to almost everyone at one time or another but, to a true believer in Scientology, anything out of the ordinary is proof that Scientology is working.

It is the placebo effect in personal betterment.  Because Scientologists still believe Hubbard’s wild promises, they will grasp at any straw that appears to validate their beliefs.  After all that money, all that fuss and bother, there must be some benefit.

Yes, it is sad. No, you can’t reason with them.

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Going Clear – The Obvious Question that Scientologists Cannot Even Think

With the release of the new HBO documentary, “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief”, it becomes even more difficult for Scientologists to avoid a most obvious question.

The question had became increasingly obvious with the recent publication of several major books about Scientology: Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman and Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright.

The release of the HBO documentary makes the question even more unavoidable.

The Church of Scientology claims that these books and now the film are filled with lies, libel and slander.  In legal terms, these are all, according to the church, defamatory to the Church of Scientology.

Defamation is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation.

Without a doubt, the reputation of the Church of Scientology has been harmed greatly in the last few years.  These books and this film have just added to this problem.

The Church of Scientology has a large stable of aggressive attorneys paid quite well to attack all those who criticize and defame the church.

If these books and this film are, as the church  claims, filled with lies, libel and slander – the law would be very much on the church’s side.  The law allows the church to sue  publishers, authors, filmmakers to completely shut down “lies, libel and slander”.  Certainly, an injunction could have given the church almost immediate relief from such defamation.

So the obvious question that Scientologists must not even think is:

Why didn’t the Church of Scientology stop the books?  Why doesn’t the church stop the film?  The church makes lots of noise and accusations of their own but takes no action.  Why?

The question is obvious but Scientologists must not even think this.  They must not think the question because the only answer then becomes unavoidable.

The primary defence against a charge of defamation is truth.  Generally speaking to prove defamation, the alleged victim must show that the “defamatory” statements are, in fact, false.

More than anyone, Scientologists know that the Church of Scientology would do anything to ban these books and this film if they could.  The fact that the church does not means that they cannot.

Are all these “defamatory” facts in the documentary true?

By the Church of Scientology’s own actions – and inaction – it is obvious that the Church of Scientology believes the documentary to be totally true.

And that is a thought that Scientologists must never think.

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