Scientologists Write to Channel 4
What Scientologists said to Channel 4—but did Channel 4 listen?
If Channel 4 were truly interested in reporting accurately and fairly on Scientology, they would have listened when Scientologists spoke.
They did not even bother to pretend to listen—in fact, they blatantly ignored the dozens of letters sent to them by members of the Scientology religion who saw the pre-broadcast ads and were incensed at what they saw was coming. UK Scientologists from many walks of life and many communities throughout the country are outraged that this anti-religious, bigoted and false portrayal of their religion could occur in this day and age.
While there are no doubt many more of which we are not aware, following is a sampling of the letters shared with us by Scientologists:
"I am at a loss as to the title of an intended upcoming programme—Scientologists at WAR. I’ve been a Scientologist for nearly 40 years and I am not at war with anyone and I don’t think it proper that your title include an entire group and especially a group that is clearly not at war with anyone and has a clear aim and purpose of creating a world without war. The only “war” we could possibly be accused of waging is against the misuse of drugs, mal-education, criminality and ignorance. As for the content of your programme, it seems to centre on someone called Mark Rathbun who is completely unknown to Scientologists in the UK. This is not news or human interest—it is just disaffected sniping and far from anything resembling a WAR either literally or metaphorically. You should reconsider!" —CM
"In any church there will always be dissidents who will try to justify their leaving an organization. Although I have been a Scientologist for 43 years, I have never seen Mr. Rathbun, whom you are planning to feature. I do not remember him ever attending one of our events, and we have thousands of people from around the world attending our events. My life has benefited greatly from Scientology. I did not do particularly well at school but I obtained a university degree and a pilot’s licence after becoming a Scientologist. I then became a successful businessman employing many people. I have also helped many others with Scientology principles. It seems strange that a well-known channel such as yours should want to belittle our movement, which has benefitted hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people throughout the world. I can only trust that in the name of integrity and honest journalism, you do not show a misleading programme when so many people in the present day are seeking the truth. You state that you will be giving a “rare insider view” of our Church as if we are some secret organization. This is laughable when hundreds of public daily walk into one of our world-wide Churches or Missions to find out about our services." —FS
"From my experience, Scientology has taken me from being completely illiterate to being literate. At the age of 13 I could barely read. My mother put me on a course that is designed to deal with such difficulties and I have been able to overcome the boundaries that I was faced with. This is by the use of Scientology. This is what Scientology is all about, not what your program is trying to show. " —DW
"As a Scientologist of 44 years standing I am baffled as to why Channel 4 is putting on a programme purporting to give a view of Scientology put forward by someone who left the Church over ten years ago. Mr. Rathbun cannot pretend to represent the Church he left so long ago and I simply cannot see how a balanced view can be portrayed by someone who is so distanced from today’s Church. My own experience of Scientology has been very wide and I have seen so many instances of lives saved from drug habits, of failing students helped to master their subjects, of marriages in difficulty being repaired and of all manner of distress being resolved. This is of course no more and no less than one would expect from a bonafide religion. However, I am very concerned about the clear attempt to put forward the sensationalised view rather than using the recognised Church contacts. This is hardly a balanced programme you are making." —DH
"I wish to make my opinion known concerning a soon to be aired programme, highlighting supposed conflicts in theChurch of Scientology of which I have been a member in this country for over 40 years. Within this time, as a Church staff member for 33 of those years, I have been involved in many of the Church’s social betterment programmes such as our drug education initiative, and I have only been aware of a concerted effort of the Church in the UK to extend help to those in need. I would like to register my disagreement that a programme principally built around the views of a long-gone disaffected ex-Scientologist could somehow be held up as a valid and unbiased view of a group of thousands of committed Church followers without any inclusion of varied opinion and experience. To me this is biased and unfair broadcasting designed to cause an intentionally negative view of my Church and, as such, I am disappointed this is being allowed to occur." —FO
"Scientology is a beautiful religion and has helped me understand my true spiritual nature and have a much greater sense of self. It has helped me maintain a happy marriage for 14 years and has helped me raise three very lovely children. My life wouldn’t be complete without Scientology. There are many great books you can read on the subject which can help you resolve any of life’s issues, how to improve study skills, raising happy children, self analysis with techniques to overcome depression. The list goes on and on. Speak to any real Scientologist and they will help you find the right book for you... or go to the website." —KM
"Airing a show with the title that yours has is misleading, disrespectful, and discriminatory, and should not be permitted by OFCOM or any other standards organization that Channel Four should be answering to. I would additionally not be surprised if this “rare insider view” of the Church of Scientology, as advertised on your website, is not simply more of the same dull, ignorant and uniformed “story” that has been aired previously and without, of course, an actual “inside view”—i.e. actual and factual information from the Church officials themselves. As for Marty Rathbun, how can information from a known apostate ever be considered to be a) a valid source or b) at all interesting? Why not speak to the thousands of Scientologists in England who are currently involved with the Church and who, like me, have and lead very fulfilling lives because of Scientology? Or, do what anyone can in this age, and log on to the Church website and look for yourselves at www.scientology.org? If you did so, you would start to see what Scientology really is and has to offer, and not just the nonsense of one man whose anti-social behaviour has been documented over and over again." —JB
"Don’t you think there’s enough hatred and discrimination in the world without adding more fuel to the fire? Whatever happened to unbiased, professional journalism, freedom of choice and “live and let live”. I think it’d be far more avant garde and interesting if you produced a programme that shows the basic tenets of Scientology and explained the fundamentals about what it’s all about. There are so many misconceptions about Scientology that it’d be far more thought provoking than watching one person having a good whinge, which people will see through as just being totally biased." —KG
"I saw that you are about to show a program about Scientology and some so called “war”. I think it’s a total joke that such a reputable and trusted channel as yourselves has chosen to go forward with this program, which is clearly very one- sided. You’ve chosen to select a minimal few “opinions” and “experiences” and apply these as “fact” to a general group of people. You are discriminating against a religion. Please get your facts correct. Please investigate for yourselves. Please look at all sources of data. Personally, I’ve been a Scientologist for 10 years and I’ve seen nothing but good things, social reform and community activity. I’ve personally been helped on a level that nothing before has helped. I hope you take this into consideration and act on true journalism and reporting, rather than hearsay." —MB
"Yay! Some crackhead wants to take a crack at my religion. Thank you Channel 4 for your stellar choice of programming. Excuse the sarcasm. But how much longer do I have to hear stories about this looney who, prior to claiming to be an authority while at the same time insulting my religion, I had never heard of. Can anybody tell me if they had ever actually heard any official statement from this scallywag while he worked for the Church? Because I haven’t. I literally have never seen him. Just for a change, don’t you think it would be novel to hear from a Scientologist inEnglandwhen claiming to represent Scientology to an English audience? It’s not exactly rocket science. Pardon me but I think I’ll give this sorry effort a miss." —VS
"I’m a Scientologist of many years and am very happy with the way the Church is progressing currently. There are so many areas in which we are achieving our aims. Fundamental to this expansion is the fact that as a group we have a high level of affinity between our members and have full transparency with regards to management direction. The title of your show—“Scientologists at War”— in itself points a highly misleading picture and leads me to believe that the content will be similarly deceptive. The views of a handful of ex-members, who have their own issues going on, in no way represents the reality of how successful Scientology is today and how enjoyable it is to be a Scientologist." —AB
"I believe the idea of this programme is ludicrous—“an insider’s view of Scientology” from an American who I’ve never heard of and it’s airing on British television. This reads more like bigotry to me." —RM
"I heard that you are doing a program about Scientologists at War. I wondered if you actually know the Aims of Scientology which is to create a civilisation without war, crime and insanity where the able can prosper and honest beings have rights and where man is free to rise to greater heights. How about a program where you show the good works and help that Scientologists give?" —AR