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    1. I, Frank I. Flinn. reside at 7472 Cornell. St. Louis. Missouri


    2. I am currently self-employed as a writer, editor, lecturer and

consultant in the fields of theology and religion. I am also a Senior

Religion Editor at the Edwin Mellen Press of Toronto and New York.

    3. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy (1962) from Quincy

College, Quincy, Illinois; a Bachelor of Divinity degree (1966), magna cum

laude,from Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and a Ph.D. in

Special Religious Studies (1981) from the University of St. Michael's

College, Toronto School of Theology, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I have also

done advanced study at Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania,

and the University of Heidelberg, Germany. At the University of Heidelberg, I

was a Fulbright Fellow, 1966-67. At the University of Pennsylvania, I was a

National Defense Foreign Language Fellow, Title VI, 1968-69.

    4. Since 1962, I have devoted intense study to religious sectarian

movements, ancient and modern. A portion of my doctoral studies was focussed

specifically on the rise of new religious movements in the United States and

abroad since World War II. That study included the investigation of new

religions in terms of their belief systems, lifetstyles, use of religious

language, leadership, motivation and sincerity, and the material conditions

of their existence.



   5. Prior to my present position, I taught at Maryville College, St.

Louis. Missouri, 1980-81; St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, 1977-79,

where I was Graduate Director of the Masters Program in Religion and

Education; the University of Toronto, Ontario, 1976-77, where I was Tutor in

Comparative Religion; St. John's College. Santa Fe. New Mexico, 1970-75,

where I was Tutor-in the Great Books Program; LaSalle College, Philadelphia,

Pennsylvania, Summers 1969-73, where I was Lecturer in Biblical Studies and

the Anthropology of Religion; Boston College,. Boston, Massachusetts, 1967- 68,

where I was Lecturer in Biblical Studies; and Newton College of the Sacred

Heart, Newton, Massachusetts, where I was Lecturer in Biblical Studies.

    6. I am a member in good standing of the American Academy of Religion,

the Religious Education Association, the College Theology Society, the

Council on Religion and Law, and am an associate member of the Christian

Legal Society. I am a practicing Roman Catholic at All Saints Parish,

University City, Missouri.

    7. Since 1968, I have lectured and written about various new religious

movements which have arisen in the 19th and 20th centuries in the United

States. In my lecture courses "Anthropology of Religion" (LaSalle College),

"Comparative Religion" (University of Toronto) and "The American Religious

Experience" (St. Louis University), I have dealt with such religious

movements as the Great Awakening. Shakerism, Mormonism, Seventh Day

Adventism. Jehovah's Witnesses. New Harmony, Oneida, Brook Farm, Unification,

Scientology, etc. I have published several articles and been general editor

of books on the topic of new religions. It is my policy not to testify about



a living religious group unless I have long-term, first-hand knowledge of

that group. I have been invited to testify on various aspects of the new

religions before the U.S. Congress, the Ohio legislature, the Illinois

legislature, and the Kansas legislature. I have delivered lectures on the

topic of the new religious movements at colleges and universities in the

United States, Canada and Europe.

    8. I have studied the Church of Scientology in depth since 1976. I have

sufficiently sampled the vast literature of Scientology (its scriptures) to

form the opinions expressed below. I have visited Scientology Churches in

Toronto, Ontario, St. Louis, Missouri. Portland, Oregon, Clearwater, Florida,

Los Angeles, and Paris, France, where I familiarized myself with the

day-to-day operations of the Church. I have also conducted numerous

interviews (spiritual biographies) of members of the Church of Scientology. I

am also familiar with most of the literature written about Scientology,

ranging from objective scholarship to journalistic accounts, both favorable

and unfavorable.

    9. The question has arisen in the minds of some as to whether

Scientology is a religion. As a comparative scholar of religions, I maintain

that for a movement to be a religion and for a group to constitute a church,

it needs to manifest three characteristics, or marks, which are discernible

in religions around the world. Below, I define these three characteristics.

(a) First, a religion must possess a system of beliefs or
doctrines which relate the believers to the ultimate meaning of
life (God, the Supreme Being, the Inner Light, the Infinite, etc.).



(b) Secondly, the system of beliefs must issue into
religious practices which can be divided into 1) norms
for behavior (positive commands and negative prohibitions
or taboos) and 2) rites and ceremonies (sacraments,
initiations, ordinations, sermons, prayers, services for
funerals and marriages, etc.).

(b) [sic] Thirdly, the system of beliefs and practices must
unite a body of believers so as to constitute an identifiable
community which is either hierarchical or
congregational in polity and which possesses a spiritual
way of life in harmony which the ultimate meaning of life
as perceived by the believers.

    Not all religions will emphasize each of these characteristics to the

same degree, but all will possess them in a perceptible way.

    10. On the basis of these three criteria and of my research into the

Church of Scientology, I can state without hesitation that the Church of

Scientology constitutes a bona fide religion. It possesses all the marks of

religion known around the world: (1) a well-defined belief system, (2) which

issues into religious practices (positive and negative norms for behavior and

religious rites and ceremonies), and (3) which sustain the body of believers

in an identifiable religious community. In terms of their belief system,

Scientologists believe that mankind is basically good, that the spirit can be

saved, and that the healing of both physical and spiritual ills proceeds from

the spirit, which they define as "thetan." According to Scientology belief,

" thetan" is immortal and has assumed various bodies in "past lives." This

doctrine has many affinities with the Buddhist belief in samsara or the

transmigration of the soul. Belief in the Supreme Being is expressed in

terms of the "Eighth Dynamic" which is equivalent to God or Infinity. The

Creed of Scientology can be compared to the classic Catholic creed of Nicaea,

the Lutheran Augsburg Confession and the Presbyterian Westminster Confession.



    11. In terms of religious practices, Scientology has many ceremonial

religious forms which can be found in traditional religious groups, such as

initiation or baptism (which is called "naming" in Scientology), marriage,

funerals, etc. However, the central religious practice of Scientology is

auditing, which is comparable to the confession of sins and spiritual

guidance among traditional religious groups. Scientologists make a

distinction between reactive or passive mind and analytical or active mind.

The reactive mind records what adherents call "engrams," which are like

spiritual traces of pain, injury, or impact. The reactive mind is believed

to retain engrams that go back to the fetal state and reach further back to

past lives. The notion of engram is functionally equivalent to the notion of

sin in Judaism and Christianity and bears close resemblance to the Buddhist

doctrine of "threads of entanglement" which hare [sic] held over from previous

incarnations and which impede the attainment of enlightenment.

Scientologists believe that unless one is freed from these engrams through

the activation of analytical mind, one's survival ability, happiness,

intelligence and spiritual well-being will be severely impaired. It is on

this basis that adherents are motivated to go through the many stages of

auditing. A beginner in the auditing process is called a "preclear" and one

who has successfully discovered and erased all traces of past engrams is

called a " clear." This distinction between preclear and clear may be compared

to the traditional Christian distinction between sin and grace, as well as

the Buddhist distinction between entanglement and enlightenment. Adherents

who are at higher auditing levels are considered as striving to become

"operating thetans" so that they may be at cause over matter, energy, space



and time. While not opposed to consulting physicians for physical ailments,

Scientologists have a firm taboo against the use of psychotropic drugs for

the mental and spiritual healing of the soul. The bulk of Scientology

ministerial practice is devoted to auditing, to courses for the training of

auditors, who are like spiritual counsellors, and to achieving the many

levels of spiritual enlightenment through the auditing process. These many

levels of auditing and spiritual enlightenment are remarkably like the levels

of religious and spiritual enlightenment is the noted Christian treatises,

Journey of the Mind into God by St. Bonaventure. and the Spiritual Exercises

by St. Ignatius of Loyola.

    12. As with every know religion, Scientology has a communal life and

ecclesiastical organization which serves to preserve and to propagate the

belief system and to foster the religious practices. In ecclesiastical

structure Scientology is hierarchical rather than congregational.

Congregational religions exercize authority horizontally by locally electing

ministers of churches, voting on reformulations of belief systems and

religious practices, as well as church polity. Hang Protestant denominations

in the United States are congregational in polity. Hierarchical religions,

on the other hand, exercise authority by appointment from the top down,

either from a central religious figure such as the Pope in Roman Catholicism,

the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhism, and the Archbishop of Cantebury in

Anglicanism, or from a central executive body, such as a synod of bishops or

council of elders. Some religious groups such as the Missouri Synod Lutheran

Church have a combination of congregational and hierarchical polities. In

hierarchical religious, the church leaders are invested with the power to



interpret doctrine, modify, religious practices and formulate polity. My

study of the Church of Scientology shoved me that it followed the traditional

hierarchical type of church polity.

    13. In the course of time certain religious and ecclesiastical

practices of the Church of Scientology have come under criticism by outsiders

and disaffected members. Those criticisms can be enumerated under four

topics: (a) the "disconnection" of Church members from their natal families;

(b) the information gathering practices of the Church; (c) the disciplinary

practices associated with the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF); and (d) the

use and confidentiality of the Pre-Clear files (contained in what are known

as PC folders) of upper level members of the Church.

    Below I will discuss these issues one by one. But, first, some general

remarks are in order. As noted above, religions are constituted not simply

by beliefs, however unintelligible to the non-believer, but also by acts and

practices (ethical norms and rites), both of which serve to shape a way of

life for a community of believers. In general, a great amount of attention

has been given to the varieties of belief among the religions of the world,

while religious acts have been subordinated to illuminating those beliefs.

Most definitions of religion focus on the belief system to the detriment of

the religious practices and community. Hence, the attention given to

religious acts has tended to be either minimal or slanted. When religious

acts are noticed, that attention has frequently been prurient, that is,

religious rites elicit interest only in so far as they are odd, bizarre or

quaint. Both beliefs and religious acts, however, are like twogears which



make the transmission (the way of life) of a community of believer go

around. All three -- beliefs, acts, and way of life -- need to be looked at both

separately and in conjunction.

    (a) Hang critics of the new religious movements, in general, and of

Scientology, in particular, have claimed that converts have been deliberately

induced to alienate themselves from their families and to devote themselves

heart, mind and soul to their new-found religion. 'Ibis claim and the tension

between an older generation and new converts are neither a simple nor a new


    I will address the complexity of the issue first. Here we are dealing,

first, with a matter of media bias. Scholars of new religious movements have

noted that newspaper, television and radio coverage of religion-related

events keep pertinent information about mainline religions in the background

while underlining that about the new ones. If, for example, two men, one an

Episcoplian and the other a Jehovah's Witness are arrested for murder, the

news headline about the Episcopalian will read "Man Kills Wife," while the

one about the Jehovah's Witness will read "Jehovah's Witness Slays Mate."

    Secondly, the media often lump all new religious movements together

such that the practices of one are attributed to another which has completely

different practices. Media coverage of innovative religious movements

frequently fall into the age-old trap of the sweeping generalization: " If you

have seen one, you have seen them all." Immediately after the Jonestown

massacre -- indeed a lamentable tragedy -- the media started carrying articles

about " suicide pacts" and "suicide drills" in other "cults" and ceased so



doing only when the evidence proved absent. So, too, alienation of new

converts from parents and other relatives, while true about some new

religious movements under some circumstances, quickly became attributed to

all. My study of the new religious movements showed that " disconnection"

between members and their relatives occurred the least among Scientologists.

    Thirdly, my interviews with new converts of several new religions

showed that friction between the young adult member and his or her

parents -- an often enough occurrence throughout American culture -- often

preceded the membership. Thus conversion to a religion, whether old or new,

becomes the occasion but not the primary cause of the surfacing of

long-standing family conflicts.

    My studies show that contact with parents and others by members of new

religions was nearly normal, even when the parents disapproved of membership

in the new religion, until "deprogramming" became common. Because the new

religions could not predict whether or not their members would be abducted

when meetings were sought on the part of relatives, they naturally became

guarded. Even on this score, Scientology was an exception for few of them

were in fact "deprogrammed" at the instigation of their parents or other


    Keeping in mind the complex factors sketched above. I can note that

friction, tension, alienation, lack of communication between members of new

religious movements and their parents is no more nor less than the same rifts

that take place in every family known to me. Nor, in fact, are these rifts

anything new in the history of religion. In his quest for spiritual



enlightenment Gautama Buddha, born a Hindu prince, not only abandoned his

parents, much to their dismay, but also his wife and children. Moses,

reacting to the bondage of Israelite slaves under Egyptian domination, slew

one of their persecutors and fled the comforts of the Egyptian court to

encounter God is the desert of Midian. In the Middle Ages, both Thomas

Aquinas, offspring of Neapolitan nobility, and Francis of Assisi, son of a

wealthy Umbrian merchant, abandoned as youths their lives of ease and

privilege, joined the urban youth movement of [sic] known as the Mendicants (Latin

for " beggars"), and took vows of absolute poverty, chastity and obedience.

Both Thomas and Francis were kidnapped and imprisoned by their parents and

relatives who, to no avail, used methods remarkably like those used by modern

" deprogrammers" in order to get them to abandon their nays. St. Thomas

received the title "Angelic Doctor" by the Catholic Church because he

resisted the blandishments of a prostitute employed by his brothers to get

him to break his vow of chastity. Orthodox churchmen labelled members of the

new mendicant orders, known today as Dominicans, Franciscans and

Augustinians, as "dementes" (Latin for "insane") and "filii diaboli" ("sons

of the devil"). St. Thomas even wrote the first anti-deprogramming treatise,

entitled " Contra pestiferam doctrinam retrahentium homines a religionis

ingressu" ("Against the Pernicious Doctrine of Those Dragging Youth Away from

Entering Religious Life").

    Martin Luther instigated a lifelong alienation with his father, who

wanted him to become a lawyer with a lucrative income, by joining the

Augustinian order. In turn, Luther created a rift within Christendom itself

by attacking. the practice of indulgences and holding to the doctrine of



Justification by faith alone. Similar rifts and alienations have occured in

American religious history, especially in the events surrounding the Great

Great Awakening, which American historians recognize as a primary source for the

rise of the democratic sentiment in America and the the [sic] principle of freedom

in religious conscience and practice. The Great Awakening was the beginning

of revivalism in American, a religious tradition still espoused by many, most

notably the Rev. Dr. Billy Graham. As noted by Jonathan Edwards in his

"Faithful Narrative" (1737), the New England revival of religion began among

the youth. This resurgence of piety among the young stirred such staid

Harvard divines as Charles Chauncey to score the revivalists for "a certain

wildness ...discernible in their general look and air." Today deprogrammers

attempt to convince parents that their offspring, often well educated and

legally of majority age display "glazed eyes" or have been " zapped" into

being " zombies" by the single glance of a guru's eyes. The religions have

changed but the charge remains the same.

    In past and present religious history alienation from family and kin

has been not only an unintended, and seemingly unavoidable. byproduct of the

conflict between the old and the new but also a fundamental tenet of

religious practice. Thus the monks and hermits of the third century onwards

practiced " withdrawal from the world" because the world and its ways were

believed to be "corrupt" and "under the dominion of the Prince of Darkness."

The eremites of Asia Minor not only withdrew from the world but also their

fellow monks, living alone in prayerful solitude in caves still to be seen in

present-day Turkey. Members of contemplative orders, both in the West and the

Far East. enter monasteries where rules of silence and solitude are so great



that phone communication and letters to and from relatives are prohibited or

restricted to a few feast days. As a member of the Franciscan order from

1958-64, I was alloyed no phone communication with my relatives for the

entire year of my novitiate. wan not alloyed to attend my grandfather's

funeral, and received only one letter a month, which vas subject to

inspection by the master of novices.

    The "disconnection" between parents and adult offspring in the new

religions appears to be part and parcel of the immemorial conflict between

the old and the new. Though the conflict may be immemorial, it is not

immutable. My acquaintence with enduring members of the new religions,

including Scientologists suggests that over time familial rifts and

disagreements become healed, especially as the member assumes positions of

responsibility, gets further higher education, or marries and has children.

    (b) The information gathering efforts of the Church of Scientology have

stirred not a little controversy. I have heard it described as an

"intelligence service" on the order of the Central Intelligence Agency and

other governmental agencies. Though I in no way condone the violation of the

lawful administration of government and the civil rights of others in the

gathering and use of information, this aspect of the Church of Scientology

deserves to be put in perspective.

    First, scholars in many fields have noted that we live in an

"information culture" of centralized data banks, computerized credit records,

and electronic networking, etc. Just as early Christianity participated in

the general culture of the Greco-Roman mystery religions with whi ch it shared



such initiation rituals as baptism, so the new religions of our time share in

the informational "networking" culture of the late twentieth century. The

speed with which information of all kinds travels among the new religions has

continually amazed me, but the same amazement holds for the general business


Secondly, Scientology is not alone among religions in having

" intelligence" gathering services. It is well known that the Swiss Guards,

formerly the mercenary protectors of such European monarchs as Louis XIV and

now the protectors of the Pope of Rome, have intelligence units which gather

and share information with other national intelligence agencies for the

protection of the Pope and the benefit of the Vatican State. Furthermore,

most religions -- among whom I can name Greek Orthodoxy, Lutheranism,

Presbyterianism, Episcopalianism, and Mormonism -- have ecclesiastical

tribunals, courts and councils of elders for maintaining purity of doctrine

and practices. These ecclesiastical offices have information gathering

powers for trying cases of heresy and church crimes such as sacrilege,

annuling marriages, dispensing communicants from ecclesiastical impediments,

compiling confidential dossiers on candidates to high ecclesiastical office,

supervising seminaries, divinity schools and other institutions under

ecclesiastical supervision.

    Thirdly, while there has no doubt been some intrusion into government

administration on the part of the new religions, their information gathering

powers are dwarfed by those of modern states. The legislative, executive and

Judicial branches of government in the 1970's weighed heavily upon the new



religious movements. Witness the number of bills both in Congress and in

State legislatures which espoused investigations into the "cults," denial of

charitable status, conservatorships foe deconverting adherents, and penalties

for fraudulent belief. Local judiciaries have issued conservatorships on

scanty evidence. Agencies of the executive such as the Immigration and

Naturalization Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the Food and Drug

Administration have been called upon to examine, scrutinize and issue reports

about the internal practices of the new religions in a way that would arouse

national furor if used against mainline religions. The response on the part

of some new religions -- among whom I would include the Church of

Scientology -- has been a sense of persecution and sometimes -- an aggressive

pursuit of such laws as the Freedom of Information Act. In such a charged

atmosphere neither religion nor state can flourish in their proper spheres.

As the relation between the new religions and the state gets clarified and

rectified by the higher courts, my expectation is that these skirmishes will

diminish on both sides and both will be wiser and less wary of one another.

Only then will religion and state be less inclined to view one another as

conspiratorial enemies, which, unfortunately is the present perception on

both sides.

    (c) Another area for which the Church of Scientology is faulted is the

manner with which it seemingly controls the daily life of its members, in

general, and the apparently harsh discipline imposed upon Sea Org members in

the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), in particular. In Scientology the

Sea Organization is composed of highly dedicated members who take vows of

\eternal service and live a life in community. The RPF discipline is used



when Sea Org members find themselves "non productive" or, in Scientology

terminology, "stat crashers." In these situations, members are put on a

definite schedule, spend several hours a day studying Scientology Technology,

and have co-auditing sessions to achieve what believers call " release" and

"full cleanup." Members do physical labor, but also get lots of healthy food

and lots of rest.

    Critics of the new religions charge that this kind of discipline

constitutes " mind" and "milieu control" of the sort used by the Chinese

Communists to enforce political re-indoctrination after the Communist

takeover in 1949. The aim and goal of the RPF however is entirely different

than that of the Communists in China. The Communists wanted to guarantee

political uniformity, whereas the Scientologist wants spiritual " release" and

" enlightenment" as "an immortal thetan." Secondly, Chinese peasants were

forced into the re-indoctrination programs, whereas the Scientologists freely

participates in the RPF program as a consequence of his or her vows of

eternal service. Thus the proper comparison is not to political but to

spiritual disciplines, which are present in every religion known to me and

which I have undergone myself.

   When a young adult enters a contemplative order such as the Trappists

or Carmelites, that person takes vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to

superiors. The novice, or new member, cuts all ties with family and worldly

concerns. Men receive the tonsure (shaving of the head) and women have their

locks shorn to signify the renunciation of worldly vanity. In ceremonies,

involving women entrants into religious orders that I have witnessed, the nun



enters the chapel wearing a bridal garment to symbolise that she is about to

enter a spiritual marriage with Christ. The garments are then removed, her

hair is shorn, and she is invested with the habit of the order, which is

often made of plain wool.

    Contemplatives, soaks, mendicants and other religious societies not

only take the three vows mentioned above, but also commit themselves to other

religious practices such as long hours of meditation each day, periods of

manual labor, midnight choir (the singing of Psalms), fasting during Lent and

Advent, study of the rule of the order and other spiritual writings, and

silence. As member of the Franciscan Order (which I left voluntarily and was

free to do so). I myself freely submitted to the religious practice of

flagellation on Fridays, striking the legs and back with a small whip to

mortify the desires of the flesh and to commemorate the flagellation of Jesus

Christ before his crucifixion. In the tradition of St. Benedict's dictum

"ora et labora" (Latin for "pray and work"), I also spent several hours each

day, with the exception of Sunday, doing physical labor, including

woodworking, tending a garden, cleaning floors, washing laundry, peeling

potatoes, etc. These tasks were assigned to me by my superiors, and because

I took a vow of obedience, I did them. Furthermore, as a mendicant, I took a

vow of absolute poverty such that I owned absolutely no material possessions,

including the robe which I wore. When rules of the monastery are broken,

monks and friars are regularly assigned menial tasks as penances. Compared

with these Roman Catholic practices, the practices of the RPF are not only

not bizarre but even mild.



    The RPF program can also be compared to spiritual retreats conducted by

many religions in order to restructure believers' lives, including their

secular life, and to provide refreshment for the soul. The Jesuits, much

like the Sea Org members, have a period of retreat and rededication which is

called Tertianship after undergoing a period of temporary vows. During

Tertianship the Jesuit practices the "Spiritual Exercises" of St. Ignatius of

Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. After Tertianship a Jesuit takes a

fourth vow of special obedience to the Pope, much as the Sea Org members take

vows of " eternal service."

    Just as the Sea Org members who go through the RPF discipline to obtain

" release" and "full cleanup" for the sake of redemption or salvation, so

religions around the world have practiced sometimes stringent disciplines in

order to attain "samsara" (escape from the cycle of rebirth in Hinduism),

"moksa" (Buddhism), "satori" (Zen), the "beatific vision" (Roman Catholicism,

Greek Orthodoxy), or communication with heavenly beings such as angels or

transcendent "Masters" such as the theosophic Master of St. Germain believed

in by the I Am religious group. (Perhaps it is worth mentioning that the

beliefs and practices of the I Amers were the subject of the famous Supreme

Court case U.S. v. Ballard in 1944).

    It is my opinion that the spiritual disciplines and practices, such as

the Rehabilitation Project Force, of the Church of Scientology are not only

not unusual or even strange but characteristic of religion itself when

compared with religious practices known around the world. Contrary to the

generally second-hand opinions of outsiders and to the claims of disaffected



members, whose motives are suspect, I would say that submission to such

practices is not due to browbeating on the part of church leaders but follows

as a natural consequence from a free religious commitment to a spiritual

discipline in the first place.

    (d) Another religious practice of the Church of Scientology which has

come under scrutiny is the issue of the confidentiality exercised with

respect to the auditing records of members and especially of the "pre- clear

files" of upper-level church members. I find the practice of the Church of

Scientology in this regard fully in keeping with the practices of other


    In general, there are two fundamental reasons why churches, including

the Church of Scientology, seek confidentiality with regard to unauthorized

examination of spiritual records. The first is to preserve the sanctity of

the spiritual privacy of the believer. The second is to safeguard the

integrity of a religion's innermost sacred doctrines.

    In regard to the first reason, the spiritual privacy of the believer,

Scientology is like every religion known to me. The Roman Catholic Church

protects the priest-penitent relationship with the severest of sanctions,

including dismissal from priestly office and expulsion from the Church

itself. Upon ordination priests take an oath of the "confessional seal"

before they are allowed to hear the confession of sins and administer

official spiritual counselling. My pastor, a Monsignor in the Roman Catholic

Church, has testified to me that he would undergo imprisonment and death

before revealing the contents of any confession, whether this revelation was



demanded by the President of the United States or by the Pope of Rome.

Furthermore, each Roman Catholic archdiocese possesses a sealed religious

archive to which only the Bishop or Vicar General may grant access. Such

archives include files on the spiritual lives and morals of the clergy and

the religious orders, dispensations from impediments to the reception of the

sacraments like marriage or ordination, judgments from ecclesiastical trials,

unproven denunciations, episcopal admonitions and reprimands to believers.

The strict regulations regarding the use of these archives are contained in

what is known as the "Corpus Juris Canonici" or Code of Canon Law. Among such

regulations are included rules for documented authorization of the use of the

files, oaths of absolute secrecy, control over the amount of information to

which a user may have access, limitations on historians researching deceased

persons, etc. Abuse of the archive and unauthorized divulging of information

can bring severe penalties, including demotion from office, penances and even


    Most Protestant denominations have similar regulations and penalties in

their respective church polities. Likewise Scientology has codes of conduct

for auditors and other officials regarding authorized files. The Church does

not allow any outsider access to a parishioner's files as a matter of

priest-penitent privilege, as is the case with other churches.

Confidentiality of this type of material touches on the nerve center of

religion itself. The historical record shows that no church lightly suffers

the intrusion into such records by the government or any other outside

agency. The history of the Reign of Terror in France reveals the great

number of priests who went to the guillotine rather than break the



confessional seal.

    The second reason, the safeguarding of a religion's innermost religious

doctrine, is also a motive for preserving the confidentiality of

ecclesiastical files and records. As an outside scholar, I naturally had no

access to Scientology auditing files. My interviews with members, however,

showed that during the auditing process, especially with regard to upper

level embers, [sic] matters calling for religious interpretation or appointment to

higher church office often came up. The same kinds of questions come up in

Roman Catholicism, Episcopalianism and the Orthodox Church when fundamental

beliefs come into question or someone is a candidate for a bishopric or

higher office and the files collected on the candidate are protected in the

exactly same way. [sic]

    Historically speaking, many past religions were led toward policies of

confidentiality because public dissemination of personal spiritual

information and more complicated religious doctrines led to abuse, outside

ridicule of beliefs, theological disputes which spilled over into the secular

arena and hostile misinterpretation. A religion's guarding of its personal

ecclesiastical files and its innermost teachings is like a sacred patent,

comparable to the secular practice of protecting industrial patents and

processes on the part of business corporations. Failure to protect these

sacred patents would violate each believer's trust and lead to the

disintegration of the religion itself.

    14. Throughout religious history mangy acts and practices of religious

groups have elicited strong reaction from the surrounding society. Thus the

Romans saw the early Christian ceremonies as "superstition" and as occasions

for plotting sedition. Luther scored the ceremonial pomp of the Roman Curia

as "more corrupt than Babylon and Sodom." Many outsiders and even Catholics

contemned Jesuit moral theology as "casuistry" with such great vehemence that

the term " Jesuitical" became synonymous with the terms casusitic and

devious. To the westerner the Jain practice of "ahimsa" -- not harming any

form of life, even to the extent of wearing masks like those used in surgery

lest a gnat be inadvertently killed -- can seem downright ludicrous. The Amish

practice of not wearing buttons or using tractors and electricity because

they are showy and hinder the "plain life" enjoined by the Bible strike most

Americans as unprogressive, at worst, and quaint, at best.

    Many find the practices of Jewish Orthodoxy unusual and

incomprehensible. Orthodox Jews follow strictly the laws of Deuteronomy and

Leviticus. They do not mix milk with meat, weave linen with wool, sow wheat

with barley or eat any animal which mixes the categories of creation sketched

in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis as a matter of religious

principle. All such mixings are deemed "unclean" and contrary to God's will

in " separating" or "dividing" the orders of creation. To the Orthodox Jew

these practices entail great inconveniences, such as keeping two completely

separate sets of eating and cooking utensils. These food laws are not kept

under compulsion but out of a desire to keep holy the ways of the Lord.

    To the outsider, to sceptics and to agnostics, the religious practices

I have discussed above might appear as nonsensical, primitive, devious,

manipulative, or oppressive. But, just as belief is in the mind of the

-21 -


believer, so religious practice issues from the body of the believer to give

concrete evidence and assurance of release from sin, impurity or spiritual

ignorance and to signify to all the hope of redemption, salvation or




Given this 14th day of July, 1985, in St. Louis, Missouri.

Frank K. Flinn, B.D., Ph.D.


State of Missouri

County of St. Louis


    Sworn and subscribed before me this 14th day of July, 1985

[signed] Martha (illegible)
Notary Public

My commission expires 2/27/87


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