Scientology Leader David Miscavige: First-Ever Network TV Interview
In his first-ever interview, David Miscavige tackles misconceptions and falsehoods about Scientology.
During a 1992 ABC News interview with Ted Koppel, Miscavige describes how Scientology helps people, how the church uses money for social causes, psychiatry abuse, and how Scientology differs from Judeo-Christian religions.
The program, which ran over its time slot, also addresses controversial allegations about the church and its teachings, explains what the Sea Organization is, and the state of clear.
Copyright 1992 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
All rights reserved.
February 14, 1992
KOPPEL: Joining us live tonight is David Miscavige, whose formal title is Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center, the organization which manages Dianetics and Scientology. Mr. Miscavige took over as the head of Scientology in 1987 following the death of the church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard. You’ve been sitting here very patiently for the first 15 minutes. It’s your turn. We’re going to take a short segment here to talk, and then we’ll take a break, and then we’ve got the rest of the program to talk. Where would you like to pick up on what many in our audience, I suspect, have seen for the first time about the Church of Scientology?
DAVID MISCAVIGE, Church of Scientology: Yeah, well, I think – you know, I guess the first thing I would like to take up is the fact that the intro piece – there’s no question that there’s some controversy surrounding Scientology, but if you want to look at what the real controversy is, there’s been stories like this one that we saw here for the past 40 years, and yet during that time period Scientology’s continued to grow, in fact, it’s 25 times larger today than it was in 1980.
I would just like to take up a few of the falsehoods that are in there, because I think this explains a lot why you have the controversy.
I don’ t know that Scientology lends itself so well to the press. In this instance, we did agree that we would have your correspondents come in, and in fact, he did have unlimited access to the church, but then you get a piece like this.
For instance, something that isn’t mentioned in there is that every single detractor on there is part of a religious hate group called Cult Awareness Network and their sister group called American Family Foundation.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve heard of these people, but it’s the same as the KKK would be with the blacks. I think if you interviewed a neo-Nazi and asked them to talk about the Jews, you would get a similar result to what you have here. The thing I find disingenuous is that it’s not commented upon, and yet, in fact, your correspondent Forrest and Deanna Lee were aware of this fact, and not only that, that is the source of where they- they received these people to talk to. They didn’t find them randomly.
KOPPEL: Well, if I may just interrupt for a moment, you realize there’s a little bit of a problem in getting people to talk critically about the Scientology because, quite frankly, they’re scared.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, no, no, no, no.
KOPPEL: Well, I’m telling you —
Mr. MISCAVIGE: No, no, no, no. Let me tell you —
KOPPEL: -I’m telling you people are scared.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: — let me explain something to you. The most disingenuous thing is that you are of those people. Now, let’s not give the American public the wrong impression, that these are people that randomly were pulled in from around the world and that they decided to talk against Scientology. Those people aren’t scared and they’ve been loudly speaking in the press. You showed me a book you had before this show that has many detractors, same ones, so they’re not really frightened. That’s a good story-
KOPPEL: Actually, that wasn’t a book, it was a collection of articles –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: -let me finish.
KOPPEL: -that has been written about you and the church.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: But the same people were quoted.
KOPPEL: No. What I was saying is the reason, perhaps, that we only hear from those folks is that there are a lot of other people who might be considered detractors of the church, and they, who do not belong to any organization are, quite frankly, afraid to come out and speak publicly.
“If you really looked at the big picture of what’s happening in Scientology, it isn’t really controversial, certainly to a Scientologist.”Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, l’m sorry, no, I’m sorry, that story doesn’t – doesn’t hold water, because I’ll tell you, from my perspective, the person getting harassed is myself and the church. Let me give you an example. We did make access possible for Forrest. That isn’t to say that he took advantage of it, Ted. For instance, the subject of money comes up, it comes up routinely, and I’m sure we might bring it up later on in this show, but I in fact had the highest contributors of Scientology gathered up so that Forrest could interview them, to ask them why they gave money to the church and how much they had, and believe me, it’s larger figures than these people are talking about.
He told me he didn’t have time. I said, “Please, I mean, they’re here.” He said, “No, I don’t have time, I don’t want to see ’em.”
I offered for him to go down to our church headquarters in Clearwater, Florida, where 2,000 parishioners are there at any given time from all over the world. In other words, he would get a cross-selection of people from Germany, England, California, Florida, Spain, Italy, you name it. Didn’t want to go, didn’t have time. So to represent also that this is what the church puts forth isn’t so.
Here’s what I find wrong and here’s what I find the common mistake the media makes. I can give you a hundred thousand Scientologists who will say unbelievably positive things about their church to every one you had on there, and I not only am upset about those people not being interviewed, they are, too. And the funny thing about it and why you find this not really being that willing to speak to the media is because not just myself, any Scientologist, will open up a paper, will watch this program, they’re probably laughing right now, saying, “That isn’t Scientology.”
That’s what makes media. Media is controversy, I understand that, and if you really looked at the big picture of what’s happening in Scientology, it isn’t really controversial, certainly to a Scientologist.
KOPPEL: Okay. We are going to have to take a break.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Very good.
KOPPEL: I hope you understand that there’s a little bit of a paradox in your saying, you know, “We’re not going to get a chance to listen to what Scientology is really about”; we have with us, after all, since you were courteous enough to join us…
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, absolutely, I’m Just trying…I’m just trying to correct this, that’s all.
KOPPEL: I understand, and we’re going to be spending the rest of this hour, in which I’ll have a chance to talk to you and you can clear up some of the misconceptions we have.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Absolutely.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Okay.
KOPPEL: We’ll continue our discussion in a moment.
[“Dianetics,” a best-seller for a record I00 consecutive weeks (1986- 1988).]
ANNOUNCER: We return now to A Conversation with David Miscavige. Once again, Ted Koppel.
KOPPEL: I’d like to begin, Mr. Miscavige, with, I guess, the kind of broad question that perhaps folks at home may be asking themselves right now, but let me be the guinea pig for a moment.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Mm-hmm.
KOPPEL: See if you can explain to me why I would want to be a Scientologist.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Because you care about yourself and life itself. Scientology, the word means study of life, study of knowledge, and that’s what it is, it takes up all areas of life itself, things that are integral and maxims that are related to life and very existence.
Let me give you an example, it’s better if I take that, because it is such a broad-ranging subject covering so many different areas, the subject of communication. This is something that major breakthroughs exist in Scientology, being able to communicate around – in the world around you. And I think everybody would agree that this is an important subject. Well there’s an actual formula for communication which can be understood. You can drill on this formula of communication, and learn to drill, but moreover, take the person who has trouble communicating, has – well, for some reason he can’t, anxiety, whatever.
KOPPEL: I’ll tell you what. Let’s stick with me, okay? So far in life I haven’t had a whole lot of trouble communicating. Now see if you can communicate to me what it is that you’re going to be able to do for me that makes me a better communicator.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, I don’t in Scientology you-don’t do anything for somebody else. Scientology is something that requires somebody’s active participation.
KOPPEL: Then, fine, I. . .
Mr. MISCAVIGE: It certainly – let me explain something –
KOPPEL: -I want to participate, I want to be active completely. We are looking theoretically
Mr. MISCAVIGE: What in your life, Ted – what in your life do you not feel is right, that you would like handled?
KOPPEL: I feel perfectly comfortable with my life. I like my job, I’m happy with my family, I love my wife, I’m healthy. I’m perfectly content, that’s why I’m asking you what is it you can do for me?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well – well, number one, I would never try to talk you into that Scientology’s for you. You see, that’s the funny thing about this, as if I’m now going to give a sales pitch to you on Scientology.
Believe me, Scientology’s valuable enough that it doesn’t require any sales pitch, but let’s look at it this way, then, what Scientology does. If you look out across the world today, you could say that if you take a person who’s healthy, doing well, like yourself, you’d say that that person is normal, not a crazy, not somebody who’s psychotic, you look at a wall and they call it an elephant. Would you agree with me on that?
KOPPEL: So far I’ve got no problem.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Okay. And you can see people below that, and crazy people, criminals, that I think society in general will look at and say, “That breed of person hasn’t something quite right because they’re not up to this level of personality. ” You can understand that. Well, we in Scientology are not- you see, all past attempts have been to bring man up to somebody’s standard of what’s normal. What we are trying to do in Scientology is take somebody from this higher level and move them up to greater ability. You see, we’re interested in the-
KOPPEL: What about those folks “down there”?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – well, yes, no, you wouldn’t – we don’t ignore them, but my point is this. Scientology is there to help the able become more able. The guy who’s going around, he’s working, he’s trying to make it, these people generally have something in their life that they would like to improve and, in any event, if you can increase that person’s ability, the one who’s chipping in, the one who’s able, and bring him up higher, this sphere of influence that he affects in the world around him can be much greater and he can get on and do better.
KOPPEL: Now, Mr. Miscavige, when you and I talked the first time, a few months ago, I said to you I was going to come after you on some of these issues. I am a cynic, by nature. I guess that’s why I like being a reporter.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Mmm-hmm.
KOPPEL: What you have described to me there fits perfectly with the image that I have of Scientology, namely you’re interested in folks who are producing. Another way of saying that is you’re interested in folks who’ve got money and who can pay to work their way up the Scientology ladder?
“For the last two years we have been voted the community outreach group of the year in Los Angeles.”Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, you see, that’s where you miss the point, because in fact, you know, this subject of money comes up, but you’ve got the wrong issue there. The subject of money is, where’s it going.
You see, another part that isn’t in that piece, the money in Scientology isn’t going to me, it’s not going to my colleagues. That’s a fact. That’s a fact. You can call up the IRS and find that fact out. They’ve audited our records and seen all of that, and none of that money is going anywhere. As a matter of fact, the officials in the church are paid far less and live far more frugal existences than any other church leader. Our money goes to social causes that we accept. “You take these people, we are the largest social reform group in the world, do far more than any other church. For the last two years we have been voted the community outreach group of the year in Los Angeles.
KOPPEL: By whom?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: By the local city council. The Senate of California passed a resolution that’s for our work with underprivileged children in California. We work on getting drug addicts off drugs. We support Narconon, which is a drug rehabilitation center using the drug rehabilitation technology of L. Ron Hubbard. There are 33 centers around the world. Over 100,000 people have been gotten off drugs.
We sponsor educational programs. Several years ago in just- wait, in just one instance, we worked with –
KOPPEL: I don’t want to minimize any of that . . .
Mr. MISCAVIGE: -but wait-
KOPPEL: . . . but how does that make your group the- how did you put it, that you do more to help-
Mr. MISCAVIGE: . . . social reform, helping people.
KOPPEL: social reform. . .
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Sure.
KOPPEL: . . . than any other group in the world. More than the Catholic Church, more than –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, no, more accurately is per size, and when you put it in that rate, in other words, how big Scientology is compared to any others, the amount that we do on that subject, there’s not even anybody comparable.
KOPPEL: Okay. We’ve got to take a break, we’ll continue our discussion with David Miscavige in a moment. [Dianetics, sales worldwide 14. 6 million, languages 22]
ANNOUNCER: A Conversation with David Miscavige now continues. Here again, Ted Koppel.
KOPPEL: During one of Forrest Sawyer’s pieces a moment ago, we heard one of your colleagues talking about psychiatry, right?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Right.
KOPPEL: You guys are death on psychiatry. The criticism that was made was that this is foreign to the United States. He referred to its origin in Nazism and Communism.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Mm-hmm.
KOPPEL: And that your religion, Scientology, is an “American” religion.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Mm-hmm.
KOPPEL: Fair enough so far?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, American — of the mind. Yeah. That’s right.
KOPPEL: What does that do for Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and all the other isms that also did not –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, I think –
KOPPEL: – originate in this country?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – well, no, that isn’t really the point. The point there is this that those people, the fascists, the communists, have used psychiatry to further their ends. That’s just a fact. I mean, you want to look at the studies that brought about the Holocaust of the Jews, that the Nazis Justified killing the Jews, they were done at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Leipzig, Germany, and that justified the killing of six million people.
If you look at the report that even Forrest Sawyer did on mental institutions in Russia, several months ago he did this, you saw that that was a tool of the state. That’s the point he’s making there.
But let me tell you what our real problem is. Number one, understand this. Psychiatry, psychology, that comes from the word psyche.
Psyche means soul. These people have preempted the field of religion, not just Scientology, every other religion. They right now practice and preach the fact that man is an animal, and I guess that is where philosophically we’re at odds with them.
But to understand what this war is, this is not something that we started. In fact, 22 days after Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health came out, the attacks from the American Psychiatric Association started. This was the first popular book on the mind ever in existence, it was running up the best-seller list, it was popular with the people. I have the letter sent out by the man who was in the American Psychiatric Association asking for ad hominem reviews on the subject of Dianetics. These people absolutely felt that we were cutting across their vested interests, and the lengths with which they have gone to destroy Scientology and Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard is absolutely mind-boggling. They attempted to do so through the 1950s. First they tried to attack L. Ron Hubbard’s credibility, then they recruited the American Medical Association and the Food & Drug Administration, and they then proceeded to infiltrate our organization.
KOPPEL: May I…
Mr. MISCAVIGE: No, no, let me finish –
KOPPEL: … May I stop you just for a moment, because, you know, when you talk about undermining L. Ron Hubbard’s credibility, and again, I have no idea whether that video and the tape that we heard-
Mr. MISCAVIGE: … yeah, but why don’t touch on that –
KOPPEL: -that we heard was representative of L. Ron Hubbard, but when I hear about a man talking about having been taken out to the Van Allen space radiation belt-
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm-
KOPPEL: — of space ships that were essentially the same thing as the DC-8, I’ve got to tell you, I mean, if we’re talking about this man’s credibility, that certainly raises some questions in my mind about his credibility.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Okay. Well, let me ask you, have you read any books on Dianetics or Scientology?
KOPPEL: I’ve been reading little else over the last two days.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: You see, here…
KOPPEL: I must confess, I’m not a student of…
Mr. MISCAVIGE: . . . but you haven’t read Dianetics or any books on Scientology…
KOPPEL: – you’re absolutely…
Mr. MISCAVIGE: …okay, fine. Then that’s why you would make a comment like that I mean, let’s not joke around here. That bit that Forrest did there pulled out of context items- and let’s not forget something else, by the way. I told Forrest Sawyer, and I was open about this the whole time, I have been in communication with Nightline numerous times – I said, “Forrest, if something comes up, you want to bring me up an allegation, you confront me it before this so I can do away with this garbage and not have to do it on the program.” “Dave, I promise you I’ll do it. ” Numerous calls have been put in to him. I have never heard it from him, I never heard about these. To do that is take anything out of context. Ted, when I talk about …
KOPPEL: Can you …
Mr. MISCAVIGE: … no, but let me just give you an analogy …
KOPPEL: … you know that there are going to be a lot of folks out there, and I’m sure there are a lot of Scientologists, and I don’t want to offend anyone who truly believes this, but there are a lot of people out there who will look at that, you say it was taken out of context. Take a minute, if you would, and see if you can put it into context for us so that it does not sound ridiculous, because, quite frankly, the way it sounded there, it sounded ridiculous.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Okay. Well, let me tell you – let me ask you to do this, then, I want you to take the Catholic Church and take right now and explain to me, to make sense that the Virgin Mary was a virgin, scientifically impossible, unless we’re talking about something- okay, I’ll be like you, I’ll be the cynic, if we’re talking about artificial insemination, how could that be, if you’re talking about going out to heaven – except we have a space shuttle going out there, we have the Apollo going out there, you do that. I’m not here …
KOPPEL: I will …
Mr. MISCAVIGE: wait …
KOPPEL: … I will …
Mr. MISCAVIGE: … I’m not here to talk…
KOPPEL: … let me do it, and you’re- you were a Catholic as a child, right?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Mm-hmm, yeah.
KOPPEL: So you know full well that those issues are questions of faith.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Mm- hmm.
KOPPEL: Are you telling me that what we have heard L. Ron Hubbard say on this broadcast this evening, that they, to Scientologists, are issues of faith? If that’s what you tell me, then that’s fine.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: No, no. As a matter of fact …
KOPPEL: Then it doesn’t have to be explained exactly.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – [crosstalk] …talk about the Van Allen Belt or whatever is that that forms no part of current Scientology, none whatsoever.
KOPPEL: But what did he mean when he was talking about it?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, you know, quite frankly, this tape here, he’s talking about the origins of the universe, and I think you’re going to find that in any, any, any religion, and I think you can make the same mockery of it, I think it’s offensive that you’re doing it here, because I don’t think you’d do it somewhere else.
KOPPEL: I’m not mocking it. I’m asking you a question, and you know, you turn it around and ask me about Catholicism, I say we’re talking about areas of faith.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, it’s not even a matter of faith, because Scientology is about you, yourself and what you do. You’re bringing up something that isn’t part of current Scientology, that isn’t something that Scientologists study , that is part of some tape taken from, I have no idea, and asking me about it and asking me to put it in context.
That I can’t do.
KOPPEL: All right. So this has nothing to do with your faith today?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: If you read any books on Scien – no. Van Allen Belt. Absolutely not. Nothing.
KOPPEL: All right. Okay. We’re going to continue our discussion in just a moment.
KOPPEL: And we’re back once again with David Miscavige. I’m going to let you get to the point you want to get to, but I was astonished, during the break you told me you had never heard that tape before, the L. Ron Hubbard tape.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: No, I’d never heard that. No. I’m not – I mean, it may exist here, but I haven’t heard it. I mean, I don’t know if you understand, there are 6,000 lectures by Mr. Hubbard. There are over 20 million words of printed words in Scientology, and all of these have been made available in Scientology, so if it is there, well fine. I don’t think anything’s being hidden, either. I just personally haven’t heard that tape, no.
KOPPEL: Okay. Now, you wanted to get back to the issue of the psychiatrists.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yes.
KOPPEL: And let me, if I may, by way of introduction to that, I did not interrupt you before, but you were talking about the use of psychiatry in Nazi Germany, the use of psychiatry in the Soviet Union.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yes
KOPPEL: I would argue, and I think most psychiatrists in this country would argue, that what we’re talking about here was the misuse of psychiatry in both those countries.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, okay. And if we’re talking about the misuse, fine. In an event, I think any use that ends up killing people is a misuse, and I think that’s a hell of a record to have. But let me get back to where I was, because it does tie in. You say the misuse, but I don’t know if you’re aware that there was a plan in 1955 in this country, Ted, to repeat what was done in Russia. There was going to be a Siberia, U. S. A. set up on a million acres in Alaska to send mental patients. They were going to lessen the commitment laws, you could basically get into an argument with somebody and be sent up there. This sounds very odd. Nobody’s ever heard about it. That’s in no small part thanks to the Church of Scientology. I must say, though, that when that bill was killed in congress, the war was on with psychiatry where they declared war on us, and I want you to understand something –
KOPPEL: Let me just ask you to be specific on that. You are talking about a bill having been brought into Congress for the setting aside of a million acres in Alaska-
Mr. MISCAVIGE: You got it.
KOPPEL: – for people –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Send mental health patients. . .
KOPPEL: – for mental health patients. What was – who was the sponsor of that bill ? What was the bill number? I mean, we’d — I’m sure we’re going to [crosstalk]
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, I have a copy of it and if you want it I can give it to you. All of these documents –
KOPPEL: I would. Let me see it.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – all of these documents were made available to Forrest. If they’re not on here, I don’t know why, but I do have them and I will make it available to you.
KOPPEL: Okay. Now, was that bill ever voted on? Did it ever come out of committee?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. It was a major, major, major flap for the psychiatrists when it got voted down, because then the slogan around the country began, “Siberia U. S. A. ,”and it was really the first time that psychiatry had been denigrated publicly, that they weren’t the science that they had been promoting themselves to be. And they took it upon themselves then to start dealing with anybody who would oppose them. They definitely saw Dianetics and Scientology as opposing them, not only in terms of their brutal treatments, such as electric shock and prefrontal lobotomy, which are specific things that we’re against, but also for the fact of the people that were going to Dianetics and Scientology and not there.
They went to the Food & Drug Administration, they went to the American Medical Association, they arranged an informant to go into our headquarters here in Washington, D. C., and infiltrate the organization over the next five years. I have documents on this, too. They wanted to get somebody in the church to recommend medical treatment, couldn’t get ’em to do it, walk in and say, “I want to be cured medically. ” People wouldn’t do it. They finally went so far as getting the head of the D. C. morals – the moral department of the D.C. police to send his daughter in as an informant, pregnant, to get an abortion, to ask the church to do it, a frame job. The church didn’t go for it. They did then raid the church.
KOPPEL: When you say “they,” you’re talking about who now?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: I am talking – this is – the APA, AMA, Food & Drug Administration. These people were all coordinated doing these activities, and it went on for five years, Ted, and you have to understand, we only find this out recently. They then proceed to raid our church. Now, the following takes place. They killed one of our executive directors. They literally-murdered – the Food & Drug Administration hired an informant to go into our organization in Seattle, Washington, his wife was there. He wasn’t for Scientology, she was. They said, “Great, report on her and report on Scientology. ” He proceeded to do so . Several weeks later, murdered the head of our organization. The Food & Drug Administration never told us that it was their informant. Instead – wait – instead, they got with the D.C. – I mean, with the Seattle police, and went undercover in the organization on the homicide investigation to rifle our files. At that same time – and here’s where the media comes in – a man interviewed L. Ron Hubbard for The Saturday Evening Post. He came out with an unbelievably bad article in that magazine. Of course, Scientology said, “You’re part of this Food & Drug Administration thing,” and of course, he said, “Oh, excuse me, you just sound like the French,” which is very easy to say. What do I find out 20 years later through the Freedom of Information Act? I find out that this man, a man named James Phelan, had been – well, The Saturday Evening Post had been written to by the Food & Drug Administration to get a discrediting article written on Mr. Hubbard and Scientology to help their case against us, that this man then went and interviewed Mr. Hubbard. He interviewed him for two days. Mr. Hubbard provided him with tapes and transcripts. The man came back here to the United States, Mr. Hubbard was in England, and provided those transcripts to the Food & Drug Administration for their case a full week before he ever wrote his article.
KOPPEL: We have got to take another break. We’ll continue our discussion in a moment.
KOPPEL: Mr. Miscavige, I must admit, I’m curious. You have been the head of the Church of Scientology now for what, a little over 10 years?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Not really the head there, but certainly a senior Scientologist, yes, Ted.
KOPPEL: Okay. During all that time – you just told me again, earlier this evening, you have not done any interviews.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: No.
KOPPEL: (A), tell me why, and(B), why now?
“I once added up all the press that had been written about me before the first reporter called trying to speak to me, and from around the world, it stacked up to four and a half feet.”Mr. MISCAVIGE: Why now? Okay. Why not, let me tell you something, I once added up all the press that had been written about me before the first reporter called trying to speak to me, and from around the world, it stacked up to four and a half feet. By then it was myth and legend. And then only on one or two occasions can I think of that somebody has asked to speak to me, but never to interview me, it was always, “I want to ask you about some allegations. ” And to that degree, I’m not interested. I gave you the story about this reporter.
Quite frankly, from my view, a lot of the people who have written stories on Scientology are doing it from a certain pitch, they already have their story somewhat made up, they’ve already made up their mind. It’s a waste of my time, I have to be honest. Why now? It’s live.
KOPPEL: Okay. It is live. As you know, initially, I mean, we wanted
Mr. MISCAVIGE: And you asked.
KOPPEL: – that’s – well, we certainly did. We asked, and we have been talking to each other now –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Sure, absolutely.
KOPPEL: – and negotiating now for about nine months.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: That really has never happened, Ted.
KOPPEL: Initially, we wanted you to come on because you folks were really upset about that cover story that Time magazine did.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yes.
KOPPEL: Now, a lot of people have been upset by stories in the press about them.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Mm-hmm.
KOPPEL: Certainly a cover story has more impact than just any old story in a magazine, and Time is a big magazine, but one might argue that your response to it, your reaction to it, was huge. I think Forrest said you spent $3 million in USA Today alone, with some of those full- page ads, double-truck ads, that you ran. Didn’t you also run some TV ads and radio ads on that?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: No, nothing on Time. And by the way, when you say the $3 million dollars, that- there was an advertising campaign. You have to understand, the first three weeks of it were about the Time magazine and correcting the falsehoods on it.
KOPPEL: All right.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: That was a campaign that ran for 12 weeks. The rest of it was attempting to inform the public of what Scientology was.
KOPPEL: All right. Now, I told you, we’ve got to take a break in exactly one minute, so I may have to cut you short if you go longer on this –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Okay.
KOPPEL: – but why were you so – what was it about the Time magazine story that so upset you?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Because it wasn’t reporting on anything, it was an attempt to cause something. Richard Behar is a hater.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Behar, he had done an article on Scientology three years earlier in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service, the man was on record on two occasions attempting to get Scientologists kidnapped. That is an illegal act. When you get somebody like that doing an article, you’re not too interested.
KOPPEL: All right. Let’s leave that hanging in the air, and I promise we’ll come back to it –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Okay.
KOPPEL: – I think both you and Mr. Behar deserve more on that subject. I’ll be back in a moment.
ANNOUNCER: A Conversation with David Miscavige now continues. Here again, Ted Koppel.
KOPPEL: As you can see, our hour is up, but (A), the opportunity to talk to Mr. Miscavige is such a rare one, and (B), we really do have some issues that have been left hanging, that we’re going to go a few minutes over our allotted time. You made the charge a moment ago that Mr. Behar at Time magazine, the reporter who wrote the cover story for Time, that he had, what, conspired with someone to try to get someone from Scientology kidnapped?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: No, no, he was- he had written an original article and some people had called him up and he was telling them to kidnap Scientologists. Now…
KOPPEL: He was telling them to kidnap Scientologists.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yes, and get them forcibly deprogrammed which, according to Ted Patrick, who was the father of deprogramming –
KOPPEL: All right.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – it always includes kidnapping, usually assault and battery and certainly with the intent to commit a felony.
KOPPEL: All right. Now, kidnapping, as you well know, is a federal crime in this country.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, let me tell you something, there is one person who he used in that article that at the behest of him – that infiltrated our church in New Jersey. He didn’t quote this in his article. I didn’t find out until actually about a month ago, and the person has just been arrested. As a matter of fact, four people from this same group I mentioned at the beginning of this show have just been put under arrest last week for forcible kidnapping. A person’s from another faith, you have to understand something, Ted. These people that he aligns with, this Cult Awareness Network, which every one of these people are a part of. . .
KOPPEL: Although I told you during a break that my producer told me in ear-piece right after it, I was going to leave it -alone, that all of those people maintain they are not in that cult awareness group.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, no, they don’t, because I’ll tell you right now, I spoke to — well, that’s just not the case. But in any event –
KOPPEL: Can we stay on Mr. Behar for a moment?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – absolutely.
KOPPEL: Because you have made what is really a very serious charge, and that he was involved-
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, he admits to it.
KOPPEL: – that he was involved in kid – I’m sure he doesn’t admit to being –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: No, he admits to wanting to get a Scientologist kidnapped.
KOPPEL: – to being involved in kidnapping. That would be a very serious admission, as you well know.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: He absolutely admits to wanting to get a Scientologist kidnapped, it’s in your Washington Post.
KOPPEL: So why didn’t you bring charges against him?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: He didn’t succeed. He didn’t succeed. Our point is this- Ted, Ted, you’re missing the point.
KOPPEL: As I said to you before, there is such a thing as attempted rape, attempted murder, attempted kidnapping. It’s also a crime.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yeah, but they didn’t make it. They didn’t make it. I mean, the point is this.
KOPPEL: That doesn’t matter. It’s still a crime.
“Here [Richard Behar] is on record a full three years before he wrote this article, stating that he felt Scientologists should be kidnapped to change their religion.”Mr. MISCAVIGE: Okay. The person would have to bring charges. I think you’re really missing the issue, Ted, because my point is this. That man represents himself as an objective reporter. Here he is on record a full three years before he wrote this article, stating that he felt Scientologists should be kidnapped to change their religion. Second of all, let’s look at this article, and let’s not fool ourselves. It wasn’t an objective piece, it was done at the behest of Eli Lilly. They were upset because of the damage we had caused to their killer drug Prozac.
They set up that article, they used their advertising dollar to force it to run, and that’s the facts.
KOPPEL: All right. Now, if that is the fact, you’re a careful man, I’m sure that you have evidence of that.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, here’s what I do have of that. I do have a man here in Washington, D. C. named Duffy Wall, another one named Walter Moore, these are lobbyists for Eli Lilly. We have Burson Marsteller, the PR firm for Eli Lilly. The reason I’m saying this, you have to understand, this isn’t my charge, I’m telling you what they say. After that article came out, they were around town here saying, “We caused that article on Scientology on behalf of Eli Lilly to help them out.”
KOPPEL: You have affidavits to that?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Let me tell you what else I have.
KOPPEL: You have affidavits?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: From them? Of course not. You think they’d admit it?
KOPPEL: Well, I mean, you’re-
Mr. MISCAVIGE: But they’re the ones who said it.
KOPPEL: -you’re saying they said it, I’m trying-
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Let me tell you what I do have.
KOPPEL: -go ahead.
“I asked him 10 times on the phone to deny that he had set this up on their behalf. He wouldn’t do it.”Mr. MISCAVIGE: I go one step further. I then later found out – and you didn’t know this – that Ell Lilly ordered a reprint of 750,000 copies of Time magazine before it came out, reported in The Washington Post. But most importantly, here’s what I do have. I put in a call to the people, the advertising firms, who set this up. I called up JWT, J. Walter Thompson, in New York. I spoke to the CEO. He said he would look into it and get back to me. He never did. I called up a man over in England who owns all these advertising and PR conglomerates for Eli Lilly, a man named Martin Sorell. Ted, I asked him 10 times on the phone to deny that he had set this up on their behalf. He wouldn’t do it.
KOPPEL: All right –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: We put in a call to Eli Lilly. Their response was, “We can neither confirm nor deny.” This is a pretty heavy allegation I’m making. I’m only making it because what I heard from their people, and they won’t deny it, so for you to challenge me on it, you have to understand, they’re not challenging me on it, and furthermore, our story that came out in USA Today covers this entire matter. They haven’t called me once to correct any fact in it.
KOPPEL: When you say your story, you mean your advertisement.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, there was actually an insert in there that laid out the entire way that that came about.
KOPPEL: Let us get back, during the few minutes we have left in this broadcast, to discussing Scientology a little, and I made a suggestion at the beginning of this program, or near the beginning of the program that, in order to progress within your church, it costs money.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Mm-hmm.
KOPPEL: Right?If I’m poor, how far can I progress?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Pretty far.
KOPPEL: How far?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, I’ll tell you this, by the time you started getting anywhere near the top, I guarantee you, you wouldn’t be poor anymore, because generally people in Scientology do better if they honestly make it.
KOPPEL: But let us assume there are some folks out there who are Just poor. They don’t have any money –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: You know, I don’t –
KOPPEL: – they don’t have any friends or relatives who have money. Is this the right religion for them?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, absolutely. This is the right religion for anybody. In Scientology, you’re dealing with yourself, you see- here, we have this in common with all religions of earth. All religions of earth try to help man to be a better, and to cause him spiritual improvement. Now, most – in the Judeo-Christian society, they say if you have faith and you live your life that you’ll achieve spiritual salvation in the afterlife.
We believe in spiritual salvation, but in the here and now. And that’s what we deal with.
KOPPEL: I think both Judaism and Christianity, or the proponents of those two religions, would argue with you that they certainly set forth quite a number of rules and recommendations and –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, in the now, no, I’m not disputing that. I’m not – I am not –
KOPPEL: – and precepts for this world also.
“There are higher levels of awareness as a spiritual being, and that’s what we’re dealing with in Scientology.”Mr. MISCAVIGE: – I am not trying to badmouth any other religion, and Ted, I would never do that. All I’m saying is that they have their way. What’s different in Scientology is how we approach it. There are higher levels of awareness as a spiritual being, and that’s what we’re dealing with in Scientology. Now, for me to talk to you about this and for you to have a reality on it, I don’t think I’m going to get that and I’ll tell you why. You don’t have a reality on it. You see, Scientology is a very personal thing. You ask why somebody would do it. I’m not making the claims for the church, Ted. Millions of Scientologists around the world are making that claim. You ask them, they are happier, they do feel they’re more able, they do better in life, they know it has helped them. They say it. You can’t take that away, and just like I wouldn’t take that away from any other religion, when somebody then comes about and says that Scientology doesn’t do that, are they telling me I don’t have my own feelings?
KOPPEL: No, I’m just asking you, and it strikes me as a reasonable question, but if you can’t answer it, you can’t answer it. But there must be a way of explaining, without going into any of the innermost secrets of the Church of Scientology – and I understand, your church has some secrets – there has to be a way of explaining what it is you do that’s different.
You look, you find out more about yourself, who you are, where you are, where you have been. A man who can look back and do that is a very courageous individual.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: What is it that we do? That’s not very difficult at all. We approach it on a one-on-one basis. There is absolutely a technology of scientology. There’s a philosophy which covers the subject of life. I started talking about communication earlier on. Well, of course, it covers inter-personal relationships, a million subjects. I don’t have enough time all night to go into them. But separately, there is a technology that’s applied to you as an individual, actual one-on- one counseling where you- you look- well, number one, you have to understand the first premise. You are a spiritual being. You look, you find out more about yourself, who you are, where you are, where you have been. A man who can look back and do that is a very courageous individual. All of that includes looking back on your own past and areas where you went astray. That’s similar to other religions.
KOPPEL: It’s also similar to psychiatry.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Listen, I’m not similar to psychiatry at all. I brought one piece of paper here because I knew this was gonna come up.
This is psychology, which covers the subject of religion. It’s called “Religiosity and Pre-Oedipal Fixation”
KOPPEL: Let me stop you one second. I just want to tell any members of our audience who may just have joined us and not have been with us, my guest is David Miscavige. You are now the head of the Church of Scientology.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yes.
KOPPEL: Right. Okay. Please.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: This is what they say about religion. They say abstract – religious –
KOPPEL: Who is this again?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: This is out of the Journal of Genetic Psychology, this is March 1985, and I want you to understand why I don’t like being compared to these people, because I’m in a completely separate realm. “Religious belief and observance derive from pre-Oedipal oral and anal drives, according to psychoanalytic theory, specifically belief in deity and such concepts as the afterlife are consonant with oral needs for nurturance from an omnipotent benefactor, coupled with the denial of death. Observance of ritual and particularly church attendance” is a function of the anal need for regular activity and the anal compulsive need for regularity and repetitiveness.” This is an offense to any religion. I am not like these people. We deal with the spirit, they say man’s a body, we separate right there. We’re interested in bringing persons to a higher plane, they deal with the neurotic. They want to bring them up and tell him how to solve his problems; in Scientology, Ted, we want to bring the individual up to a higher level ability so that he’s more intelligent, he has better reaction time, he’s more able and intelligent so that he can handle his life better. . NOW you’ve handled something.
KOPPEL: Explain to me – and again, going back to the pieces that we saw before and, by necessity, even though we ended up doing 15 minutes on these pieces, you end up compressing things.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Sure.
KOPPEL: And I don’t want to lead people astray. Talk to me for a moment about the E-meters. Those are those handles that you see people holding in the pictures, and they are dealing now with an auditor, an auditor is the person who- this is the one-to-one –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, here’s what happens.
KOPPEL: – yeah.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: It could be me and you sitting across from each other, maybe [crosstalk].
KOPPEL: Okay, let’s say I’m holding the E-meter. What are you doing and what is that E-meter doing? What is it capable of doing?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Okay, what it is capable of doing is registering what’s bothering you. It is a guide, it doesn’t tell you anything, it doesn’t yell out. Well, it’s a meter there, and it sends a little electrical flow through your body. You’re holding something there, very tiny, you cannot feel it.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: It shows a reaction. What does that reaction mean? That reaction just says there’s a reaction. You thought something about it, or something that has some form of mental energy.
KOPPEL: A reaction to what, your saying words, and it’s almost like free association, or – I mean, what am I reacting to?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Listen, stop comparing it to psychotherapy, because it isn’t.
KOPPEL: No, no, I’m just asking. What am I –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: It is so – and by the way – okay, there are a million things you could do, but you take up an individual subject of a person’s life. I’ll bring up the subject of communication; if that isn’t you, fine. People do have problems with this subject. Very specific questions are asked, the person answers them. He looks, answers the question, answers it, to handle areas of upset that are upsetting him. He knows when they are no longer upsetting him. He finds out finally, for himself, why they’re upsetting him, and they no longer do. That is what’s happening. –
KOPPEL: What I’m still a little bit lost on is, presumably you and I could do that –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, absolutely.
KOPPEL: – right now, right?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, you’d have to want to participate.
KOPPEL: Fine, and – but why do we need that piece of equipment?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, because it’s far more accurate. I mean, originally in Dianetics and Scientology, there was no meter, and you would look at a person –
KOPPEL: Okay. So what is the E-meter
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – and you’d look at a person, I will tell you
KOPPEL: – because I’m looking at a needle sweeping across an arc, right?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – okay, you would look at the person for something similar. I can see your face flush, or I can see you cry, or I can see you smile. You can observe people, right?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, not many people have an ability to do that, and plus, that is pretty crude. What this does is, when there’s an area of upset, it registers. That’s all it does. When the area of upset no longer exists, it doesn’t register. That’s all it does. It is strictly a guide.
KOPPEL: And what is the auditor – what is the auditor doing?
“Only once you have experienced it yourself and you find this concept to be true should you then consider it to be true.”Mr. MISCAVIGE: The communication is taking place between you and I. You see, we’re in there together. I’m asking something about you. You are interested in finding out something about yourself, I’m there to help you find that. But I’ll tell you, here’s where else we differ from – psychotherapy, psychology. Those people would tell you, “This is your problem.” That’s a pretty arrogant position to take, for that person to tell you what’s going on, considering every individual on this planet is different. Scientology, we show you a way to find out for yourself.
And do you know who knows when you’ve found out? You do. An if this still doesn’t make sense to you, that’s because you haven’t done it. I can’t be more clearer. First principle in Scientology, by the way, Ted, you should understand is, in studying the subject or practicing it, never, ever, ever believe it just because we say it’s so. Only once you have experienced it yourself and you find this concept to be true should you then consider it to be true.
KOPPEL: Could you, just on the most basic level – I mean, you say originally it was done without the E-meter anyway – could you, on the most basic level, do it with me right now?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, absolutely not, because we’re not in an environment here that is conducive to all the elements of auditing.
KOPPEL: Why – I mean, I’m perfectly comfortable here.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, here’s why, because you’re the interviewer here on the program.
KOPPEL: All right.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: And you’re the one who’s in charge here on the program, and you’re interested in doing a program. That instantly throws out the first three rudiments to doing this, it’s not something –
KOPPEL: Okay. Fair enough.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – as a matter of fact –
KOPPEL: No, I buy that. That’s fair enough. One of the other- if you’re not going to use the E-meter, though, Forrest also showed some of the people working with what, plasticine clay?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, yeah. You know, I mean, there’s a sort of misconception that comes out. That’s part of the study technology of Scientology.
KOPPEL: Explain it.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: There’s a study technology developed by L. Ron Hubbard. He isolated the three barriers to study. You see, there’s a technology that helps you study any subject. One of those is not having the mass in front of you. I’ll give you an example.
KOPPEL: Not having the what?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: The mass of an object that you’re studying in front of you. A good example, here we are in the studio and we have cameras all over the place. Imagine you were going to school when you were 15 and you’re studying up on cameras and you’ve never seen one, okay? You wouldn’t really quite understand it too well. It’d be better if you had the camera there that you could do it with. Taking something more crude than that, where we’re not talking about electronics, any given area of study, the ability to demonstrate in clay a concept in the paragraph allows you to gain a greater understanding of that subject. This is something that he asked me about in the intro. There was a piece on it. But generally what people do is, they’ll be studying materials and then they will see if they really understand it by demonstrating it in this clay, and if they can make a three — dimensional figure of it, it often serves to clarify that concept and also show whether they understand it or not. And it’s part of a study program, it’s not a process of Scientology, we’re not looking to make people better with this. It’s strictly a way of studying.
KOPPEL: Why is it necessary, in order to progress, I mean, some of the sums that are charged, and I literally don’t have them- it’s not something I’ve tucked away in my memory, but we’re talking about, in some instances, to move from one level to the next level, $7,000, $10,000, $15,000, huge sums. Why?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yeah, well, okay, number one, we certainly do have a different donation system than other churches, although not all other churches.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yeah, absolutely.
KOPPEL: YOU call it a donation.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, absolutely, because there’s people there who are donating to the church, period.
KOPPEL: I understand, but are there people there who are making that progress – I mean, what, again, to get back to the person who doesn’t have any money, what does he or she do?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: He trains in the subject of Scientology, and then audits somebody else, and he can be audited by that person, and that’s free.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: You see, people like to pull out the sexy part, I’d like to point out, Ted. The people that are complaining about it in your intro, the one girl there that was complaining about it, a girl named
Vicki Aznaran, which, by the way, this is a girl who was kicked out for trying to bring criminals into the church, something she didn’t mention.
KOPPEL: I think what- I mean, you say a ”girl,” I think we’re talking about a grown woman, right?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: A grown woman, excuse me.
KOPPEL: Yeah. I mean, and –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: A lady, Vicki Aznaran.
KOPPEL: – and you and she were at one point –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: I know.
KOPPEL: – at one point rivals for the leadership of the –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Absolute not. Absolutely not. I have no idea where Forrest got that from. Absolutely not. She violated the mores and codes of the group. She was removed for it. I was a trustee of that corporation. She knows it. The words she said to me “I have no future in Scientology. “She wanted to bring bad boys into Scientology, her words. Now –
KOPPEL: What you have just done is one of two things, and I’m not in a position to judge which it is.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Mm-hmm.
KOPPEL: Either you have made an accurate charge against someone or, what a number of your critics and a number of the pieces that have been written about the Church of Scientology suggest is that when you have a critic before you, you destroy those people.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yeah? Well, let me tell you, that’s easy to say –
KOPPEL: You smear them.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – that’s easy for the person to say, but she’s the one on that program smearing me, and let me tell you something else, this subject did come out before, Forrest did have it, I showed her deposition testimony, she admitted in there that that is what she was trying to do. She admitted that’s why she was pulled out. The fact that Forrest didn’t put that in there is extremely disingenuous. I’m not making any new charge against her, and let’s not also forget the fact that she is trying get $70 million out of the church, and I think that explains 70 million reasons why she would make up something like that. I’m trying to get nothing from her.
KOPPEL: Has she sued the church?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Absolutely.
KOPPEL: For $70 million.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: For $70 million.
KOPPEL: Where does that case stand right now?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: The case’ll drag on for years, it’s just been dragging on and on.
KOPPEL: Then it’s still in the court system.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Absolutely… Absolutely. But on the subject here, I mean, they bring that out. Ted, it’s simple for people to say that, except I’m not out there leveling charges out of the blue against people. In fact, you’ve got to look at it this way. You’ve seen the amount of attacks leveled against my church. I haven’t even bothered to come out to defend myself until this point, and I’m not even here to defend myself. But if somebody makes a move like that and they say something, and they have an ulterior motive, I think it should be explained. It’s that simple. You had another example on there, a Roxanne Friend. This is a horrifying story. This girl was ill. I feel for her.
KOPPEL: Another woman.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Another woman on there, excuse me, excuse me. I don’t mean to say that in a demeaning way, I’m sorry. She has a horrifying story of having an illness of cancer, and the word in there is that we didn’t sent her to a church
KOPPEL: To a doctor.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: To a doctor, excuse me. In fact, she’s been to a doctor 220 times while she was in Scientology. In fact, when we sent her out of the church we asked her to please go to a medical doctor and see if something was wrong.
KOPPEL: The charge, as I recall it, Mr. Miscavige, is that with many of these people, not just with …
Mr. MISCAVIGE: No, no, let me finish this one. Let me finish this one because it’s important.
KOPPEL: – not just with Ms. Friend, I’ll let you get back to it in just a second, the charge is that you inevitably – I don’t mean you personally, I mean the church – send people who complain of some illness to a doctor, but a doctor who is also a Scientologist.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: I don’t know where you got, since I never heard it in my life.
KOPPEL: So it’s – so if someone – well …
Mr. MISCAVIGE: First time I heard it.
KOPPEL: …& it’s not the first time, because you’ve read the L.A. Times series, and it was in the L.A. Times series.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Oh, if it was in the L.A. Times series, I didn’t read that. Believe me, I don’t read a report on Scientology from the L.A. Times to find out what it is, so I did not read that in detail.
KOPPEL: No, but you’ve got to understand what your critics are saying –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: This is not so.
KOPPEL: … about you, right?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: It’s just not so. Not so at all. Just absolutely not so.
KOPPEL: Any Scientologist who wants to go to an outside doctor, no problem?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Anybody he wants. It’s just an outrageous charge, I have no idea where it came from.
KOPPEL: Okay. The – what do you call the folks who are up at the higher level of your church, the ones in the uniforms? What is that –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Staff members, Sea-Org members of the church.
KOPPEL: Sea-Org? What does that stand for?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Sea Organization. Originally…
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yes, from the sea.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yeah. Sure. Absolutely. From the ocean.
KOPPEL: What does that mean?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, originally this group of people were based on ships at sea, and that’s where the term Sea Organization came from.
KOPPEL: That was at a time when all kinds of folks were going after
L. Ron Hubbard and he moved his operation out to sea?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Not because all kinds of folks were going after L. Ron Hubbard.
KOPPEL: Well, I mean, the IRS was going after him, weren’t they, at that time?
“The attacks on us, though, I will say, in the last 40 years, are unprecedented and unrelenting, not even rivaled by any other group during that time period, and yet the Church of Scientology has survived throughout that entire time period, and grown and continue to grown – to grow.”
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, let me tell you, I mean, you know, I went through these earlier, you want to talk about them, it had nothing- there was no cause-and- effect relationship to L. Ron Hubbard being at sea and these people going after him and therefore he was leaving. But you want to bring out all sorts of faults. Ted, let’s be accurate here. There have been attacks leveled against Scientology. They uniformly get reported by the media. The net result doesn’t – Let me just go through them. I mentioned the Food & Drug Administration. They tried this case for six years, they lost. It was headline press when it came out. They lost the case, full religious recognition of the church. They passed their information to Australia. There was a full inquiry down there. In 1982, the court ruled in our favor and issued an apology stating that this was an embarrassing chapter in the history of that country. You talk about the attacks here. The real story is this, Ted. A new organization, there are new ideas in Scientology. These get attacked. It’s not the first time in the history of the world that this has happened. This has happened to many other groups. This happened to Christianity. Bring it up forward to another religion, Mormonism, it happened to them. It happened to us. The attacks on us, though, I will say, in the last 40 years, are unprecedented and unrelenting, not even rivaled by any other group during that time period, and yet the Church of Scientology has survived throughout that entire time period, and grown and continue to grown – to grow. That is the real story of Scientology and the only way that can occur is if you have something beneficial to offer people, and Scientology does. You can talk about all of this, I can debate with you about that, you can go speak to a Scientologist which were made available to Nightline and ask them what it has done for them, and they do applaud it. The people who are detractors, anybody has critics. That’s fine, and I don’t – and I have to tell you, I don’t mind somebody criticizing a valid fact in Scientology, Ted. I’ll be the first one to deal with it. People within the church, there’s various complaints here and there, little ones, I always investigate them.
KOPPEL: Can you understand –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: But wait, but what upsets me –
KOPPEL: – can you understand what – go ahead.
“There are 100,000 Scientologists for every one detractor.”Mr. MISCAVIGE: – is when one of these critics brings this up and your reporter doesn’t mention the fact that they are suing, or the fact that they were removed- and I’ve shown deposition testimony. You see, it’s out of the realm of what I’m saying, the fact that another man wanted to kidnap Scientologists, and I showed the documents to your reporter, and he doesn’t put them in. My complaint isn’t that the people said them. My complaint is that the reporter didn’t give the motive, and he should have. He had it available to him and did not show it, it makes it seem like these people are objective. You want to go around and check out the controversy it’s created in the media because, Ted, like I said at the beginning of the show, there are 100,000 Scientologists for every one detractor, and when you just show those people, well, they’ve picked up the lines, they’re coordinated, they find all little buttons to press and they all say the same ones, and they’re frightened. They’re on the show. I spoke to Roxanne Friend over Christmas. I feel sorry for her, but you know what she said to me, Ted? She asked me at the end of our conversation, “Dave, please tell me, is it ever possible for me to come back to Scientology?” That’s the real story, and that isn’t on there.
KOPPEL: For every minute that we’ve spent in the report at the beginning, we have spent roughly five minutes now with you and me talking. I mean, you are, after all- we’ve gone almost an hour and a half [crosstalk] –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Very well, and I appreciate it. That’s right.
KOPPEL: – aren’t you capable of responding? I mean, you keep saying, “Why don’t you go talk to the Scientologists?” You’re the head Scientologist. I’m –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, you have to understand this, if you want to understand what benefits people in Scientology, I can give you my own personal thing, but what I am not going to do here is tell you – I am not going to make claims for other people. What I’m telling you is the best evidence is the successes of Scientology. Do you want to hear about mine?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: I came to Scientology, I was a young man, I had an acute case of asthma, I had been to doctor after doctor, nothing could cure it. My father heard of Dianetics and Scientology, took me to an individual. I was with him for an hour, I used exactly what anybody can read in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. That asthma disappeared for three years. I say three years because I’m not going to tell you it went away forever. After that, it came up again and I dealt with it, and I don’t have it now. I do five miles a day. I just don’t have that. Is that the greatest thing it’s done for me? No, but at that point I certainly knew – I certainly knew it was something beneficial. I knew it. It’s a personal story. What it has done for me since then is just fabulous, but that is my own personal story. That is what the story is of Scientology. The successes are endless, Ted. You see, we talk about these – and that’s why I was concerned about such an intro piece. The story – 100,000 people off drugs, that’s help, that’s good, I can give you these statistics.
KOPPEL: You were talking before about Narconon, right? Narconon operated in Oklahoma; correct? The state of Oklahoma said illegitimate group, tossed you out.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, there you go, now we’re going to bring up a new allegation. The state of Oklahoma-
KOPPEL: Well, isn’t it true?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – no, they didn’t, they didn’t toss it out. It’s still there and that’s in the court system. In fact, what happened, Ted, is that various doctors came in to testify. The leading drug rehabilitation experts in the country came in to testify –
KOPPEL: Well, who was –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – let me finish.
KOPPEL: – who was opposing it? Who was trying to get it out?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: The psychiatrists. The mental health board. The leading doctors across the country, Forrest Tennent, another gentleman whose name doesn’t come to mind right now, testified in behalf. All the testimony on the efficacy of Narconon program was all in favor of it. Studies have been done, governmental studies in Spain, in Sweden, found Narconon to be the most effective drug rehabilitation program in those countries. One man came in, a psychiatrist, he made statements about the program, that man was also on record as stating
– and it’s a man named Dr. Jolyon West out at UCLA, he stated that living a drug-free existence is an antiquated position in today’s society. The judge in that case ruled that having that man talk about our drug rehabilitation program is similar to asking Saddam Hussein to report on the treatment of the Kuwaitis in Kuwait.
KOPPEL: So why is it still in the court system?
Mr. MISCAVIGE: The mental health board is the one who ruled on it, and we couldn’t understand the findings because all the testimony was positive. Both health inspections they passed, and then at the last minute these mental health people denied it –
KOPPEL: Just –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: hang on, I gave you the story, though. You want to know?
KOPPEL: – sure.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Just like the FDA, just like that, we get a level playing field, Ted, it always comes out. You’re bringing up Narconon now, but you know –
KOPPEL: NO, you brought it up, that’s why I raised it.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – well, I didn’t bring up the Oklahoma matter.
KOPPEL: That’s correct.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: And you brought that up.
KOPPEL: That is correct.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: You want – you know, if you – I could have been on here two years ago and you would have brought something up, and it’s over now. There have been these cases, but in the end, we come out on top, and I’m telling you, Ted, there are a group of people on this planet who find us to be a threat to their existence, and they will do everything in their power to stop us. And that is the mental health field. I didn’t pick a war with them. You can ask them if they feel this way, and they will tell you that.
KOPPEL: One last quick area I want to go into. Explain to me what a “clear” is.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Okay. Well, the first book, Dianetics, talks about the mind.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: And the subject of the mind, well, you have a mind, and I did this with you before, but anybody can see what their mind is. Their mind is composed of pictures. Close your eyes, look at a cat, and you’ll see a cat. And those pictures you’re seeing are your mind. There’s your- there are parts of this mind. If you use your analytical mind, which you do your thinking with, which is very analytical, a perfect computer is a good analogy. And there is a reactive mind, and this is the mind that kicks in during any moments of trauma, stress, unconsciousness. It is recording a series of pictures of these incidents. Unknown to the individual, at a later time, these incidents that are traumatic can come back and affect the person, affect his rationality, affect his happiness. This is where you find the cause of a person acting the way he doesn’t want to.
KOPPEL: Where –
Mr. MISCAVIGE: A clear is –
KOPPEL: – yeah.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – a clear is eradicating that reactive mind, so the person no longer has matters like that not affecting him.
KOPPEL: Clears don’t get colds.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Well, I don’t know that clears don’t get colds, but –
KOPPEL: L. Ron Hubbard said clears don’t get colds.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: – back in 1951, L. Ron Hubbard, I believe, said in that book that – postulating that a clear wouldn’t get a cold, so again, you’re taking a line out of context.
KOPPEL: So clears do get colds.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: I guess one could.
KOPPEL: Okay. In the few seconds that we’ve got left – we’ve got about 45 seconds left – we’ve heard a lot from you and I understand there’s a lot more to be said, but why is all of this a religion? And you’re speaking now to a great many people out there who have a different concept of religion.
“Why Scientology is a religion? Religion is about the spirit, and Scientology deals with the spirit.”Mr. MISCAVIGE: Yeah, well, unfortunately, we’ve talked about a lot of allegations, and it’s tough to describe a subject when you’re dealing- when you get hit with a litany of accusations at the beginning you’re trying to deal with them. Why Scientology is a religion? Religion is about the spirit, and Scientology deals with the spirit. We are in the tradition of the much older religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, helping the person as a spiritual being improve himself. That is what religion is about. That is why this is a religion. It doesn’t fall into any other field.
KOPPEL: And on that note, David Miscavige, let me thank you. I appreciate very much your joining us.
Mr. MISCAVIGE: Okay. Thank you.
KOPPEL: Sunday, on This Week with David Brinkley, the New Hampshire primary, with Democratic presidential contenders Bill Clinton and Tom Harkin, and President Bush’s campaign chairman, Robert Teeter. That’s our report for tonight. I’m Ted Koppel in Washington. For all of us here at ABC News, good night.