Church of Scientology International response to ABC on social betterment and humanitarian programs ABC has repeatedly ignored the fact that Scientologists have long been champions of humanitarian activities as enshrined in the Code of a Scientologist, written by L. Ron Hubbard in 1954: “To use the best I know of Scientology to the best of my ability to help my family, friends, groups and the world.”
October 26, 2015
Mr. John W. Bentley
ABC News 20/20
47 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10023
Re: ABC’s Upcoming Programs about the Church of Scientology
Dear Mr. Bentley:
In separate correspondence I detailed the unprecedented growth of the Scientology religion in the past decade under the ecclesiastical leadership of Mr. David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board Religious Technology Center. I also touched upon the Church’s social betterment and humanitarian programs that touch the lives of millions of people each day across the world. ABC has repeatedly ignored the fact that Scientologists have long been champions of humanitarian activities as enshrined in the Code of a Scientologist, written by L. Ron Hubbard in 1954: “To use the best I know of Scientology to the best of my ability to help my family, friends, groups and the world.”
Scientologists believe that one’s value is measured by his ability to help others. The magnitude of help provided globally by Scientologists on a daily basis is unparalleled as to breadth and reach. The Church-sponsored humanitarian programs are empirically designed to imbue humankind with decency and morality by:
- Eradicating pandemic substance abuse with Truth About Drugs materials and education
- Making the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a manifest reality with our United for Human Rights initiative
- Restoring innate value and decency to every human being with The Way To Happiness program, Mr. Hubbard’s nonreligious, common-sense moral code
- While our 24-hour hotline dispatches Volunteer Ministers for indiscriminate help whenever and wherever help is needed.
Volunteer Ministers Program
Noting a dramatic increase in drug use and the severe cultural decline in the late 1970s resulting from the drug culture, L. Ron Hubbard began formulating programs and materials specifically designed to address these issues. He created the Volunteer Ministers program in 1976, stating, “If one does not like the crime, cruelty, injustice and violence of this society, he can do something about it. He can become a Volunteer Minister and help civilize it, bring it conscience and kindness and love and freedom from travail by instilling into it trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.”
Over the past decade, the scope of this and our other humanitarian initiatives has taken on an entirely new dimension under the leadership of Mr. David Miscavige.
In just the past year, Volunteer Ministers gave more than 1.3 million hours of their time to help others; Volunteer Minister Cavalcades, tents and Goodwill Tours traveled to some 1,000 locations; in excess of 18,000 people were trained in Volunteer Minister technology. Our Volunteer Ministers arrived in force from all over the world (Thailand to Colombia, Australia to the United States) and helped survivors in Nepal after the April earthquake. They provided 50,000 meals across 120 villages as well as succor and care in moments of greatest need. It was the same again in Pakistan where the Punjab Province suffered monsoon rains, the Philippines where a typhoon blew in with a cataclysmic tidal surge and Pakistan where nothing can describe what Taliban terrorists did to a military school.
In all, our ministry has trained more than 400,000 to provide volunteer assistance, while helping millions one-on-one since September 11, 2001. It was in 2001, in response to the World Trade Center terrorist attacks, Volunteer Ministers were sent immediately to assist first responders at Ground Zero. Mr. Miscavige appealed to Scientologists everywhere to use Scientology to address society’s underlying ills. At the International Association of Scientologists anniversary event, just a month later, he announced a major expansion of the Volunteer Minister program, including the publication on which they train, The Scientology Handbook, in 17 languages. He also announced a Volunteer Minister hotline anyone may call for help, still in operation today (1-800-435-7498 or www.volunteerministers.org). In subsequent years Volunteer Minister Cavalcades were launched to bring help everywhere.
The International Scientology Disaster Response team began operation and hundreds of Scientologists from around the world traveled to South Asia in 2004 in the wake of the tsunami disaster in that region. The following year, more than 900 Volunteer Ministers responded to the call for help following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. When the Haiti earthquake struck in 2010, chartered flights brought doctors, nurses and EMTs to provide urgently needed medical care along with teams of Volunteer Ministers to support them on the ground. Again, when the tsunami hit Japan in 2011, Volunteer Ministers were there, as they were at the sites of disaster after disaster, including this year’s cataclysmic Nepal earthquake as mentioned above.
But numbers alone do not convey the true story of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers and the lives they touch, only a few of which I include here:
A young man named Ralph, buried under the rubble of the earthquake by his collapsed engineering school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, by the 2010 earthquake, was unwilling to be an outcast and a burden to his family the rest of his life. He refused to have his leg amputated, although doctors told him he would die without doing so. Then a Volunteer Minister spoke to him and promised him he would personally see to his having a prosthetic leg. The Volunteer Minister arranged for Ralph to be flown to America and has sponsored him in the country through the entire ordeal. Now Ralph has graduated from community college and is in engineering school so he can help build the infrastructure his country so desperately needs.
A woman found the Volunteer Minister website online and enrolled on the Answers to Drugs Course. This was the result: “I never thought being drug free was possible until I found this program… This program and its methods changed my life. I now have 285 days clean. I’ve not only learned why I am an addict, I now know how to manage my daily life to stay clean and live a more productive life. I have reconnected with both my boys now… I was able to get house arrest instead of in custody because I could prove my dedication to this program and my recovery. Thank you for changing my life.”
A Member of Parliament for the Miyagi Prefecture in Japan first encountered the Volunteer Ministers after his country’s 2011 tsunami. “Following the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami that swept my city away,” he said, “your members, the Volunteer Ministers, were there clearing away debris from our collapsed house in the hope that our family members were there. We were so impacted by their sincere attitude. They showed such skill and discipline. Your humanitarian attitude was touching to the core. You even provided bicycles to people throughout the city that had this little message that meant so much to us: ‘Don’t give up, Japan!’”
The Way to Happiness
In 1981, noting the continued downward plunge of morality affecting every echelon of society, Mr. Hubbard wrote a secular moral code for use by anyone of any faith to help them lead a happy, ethical life and to help them raise the moral standards of their communities.
Our passion to provide the tools for individuals and communities to help themselves resulted in materials that make it easy for anyone to learn and apply this moral code in their lives. The program now includes public service announcements illustrating each of the 21 precepts of the moral code, a feature-length The Way to Happiness book-on-film, and an educator’s kit with lesson plans and all materials included. All of these materials are made available to educators free of charge, and they are also accessible through The Way to Happiness website (www.thewaytohappiness.org).
Over the past year more than 3.5 million copies of The Way to Happiness have been distributed worldwide, with materials sent to more than 1,500 educators reaching more than 25,000 students. This booklet has an indelible impact in the lives of those who use it. But for a brief glimpse:
A city mayor from Ohio stated, “We salute your efforts to inculcate the participants of youth-oriented groups with positive values and a sense of self-worth. The Way to Happiness overflows with valuable guidance and affirms the Golden Rule—treating others as you want to be treated.”
A Colonel in the Colombian National Police praised The Way to Happiness as, “a spectacular tool. I read it, and re-read it. It changed the way I think. It keeps me motivated constantly and I want that for others.”
An official from the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel said, “The Way to Happiness is a new way to understand the purpose of humanity—my purpose, your purpose. We have this tool to spread to the minds and hearts of people not politics, but something that touches the heart of children, youth, adults, all genders, all religions, all races. We can defeat racism, hatred and fear. We can bring a change. We will build the bridge to our greatest dreams.”
The Truth About Drugs
The Truth About Drugs initiative is based on three decades of experience of Scientologists working to prevent drug abuse through education and prevention. The Truth About Drugs program effectively communicates the reality of drug abuse to teens and young adults. It includes a series of 14 fact-filled booklets empowering young people to make their own decisions to live drug-free; a series of award-winning public service announcements; and the documentary The Truth About Drugs: Real People, Real Stories. All elements of the program are included in the educator’s kit which we provide free of charge on request.
Over the past year, volunteers held nearly 5,000 drug prevention events attended by 1.8 million people; in excess of 220,000 students participated in the Truth About Drugs education program; and some 7 million copies of the booklets were distributed. Again, the results speak volumes:
A member of the Toshima City Assembly in Japan spoke of his partnership with the Church of Scientology in the Truth About Drugs program: “Our assembly officially chose to partner with your organization. Now, move forward to today, and there are no more shops that sell legal herbs (synthetic drugs) in Japan—thanks to the Scientologists! I want to tell you from the bottom of my heart that your contribution to our community is magnificent. I admire the duty and sense of obligation you demonstrate in leading individuals, families, society and the world in a better direction.”
A Los Angeles County Sheriff spoke of the effectiveness of the Church’s drug education program: “Your drug education means everything to the safety of our schools and neighborhoods. That is why we trained a corps of our own deputies in the use of your unbeatable program, so I want to thank each and every one of you for everything you do in helping me do my job—because today, crime in Los Angeles is at its lowest in 40 years.”
An alderman from Padova, Italy, had this to say about Truth About Drugs: “I have found that your anti-drug campaign is effective in helping young people to think about why it’s better to have a sane life. I am proud that Padova is the province that promotes the anti-drug message, and I want to thank your initiative with all my heart.”
United for Human Rights
Human Rights is also an inherent part of the Scientology religion with the Creed of the Church of Scientology, written by L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, beginning with the statement, “We of the Church believe: That all men of whatever race, color or creed were created with equal rights.”
Scientologists support what has become the world’s largest nongovernmental human rights education initiative that includes multimedia educational materials: What are Human Rights?—a booklet with a fully illustrated version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for young people and a version of the booklet tailored for adults; public service announcements depicting the 30 Articles of the Declaration; The Story of Human Rights documentary giving a brief history of human rights. As with our other humanitarian programs, all these materials are also available online free of charge, as are the educator’s kits we ship to educators requesting copies.
This year more than 3,000 orders for educator’s kits were fulfilled; in excess of 137,770 students received our human rights education. Some 340,000 copies of the booklets were distributed. And nearly 1,000 events were held reaching more than 400,000 people. And the human side of this story:
A Lt. Colonel in the Colombian Ministry of Defense thanked the Church for “reaching down to the very foundation of our institution: the Colombian soldier. A program that, in a clear and understandable way, teaches the importance of respecting human rights. Working together we reached 100 percent of the Colombian Army in just 12 months. In the name of the 500,000 men who make up the Colombian Military Force: Thank you.”
A Kaohsiung City Councilor expressed his appreciation to the Church: “I am particularly proud that I have partnered with your human rights program now for over five years. I have been honored to support many of your city events all of which resulted in thousands of our citizens becoming informed of their rights. You are making a huge impact because your program is not just citywide, it is countrywide, and that means a better and brighter Taiwan for us all.”
The president of a youth charity in Sacramento stated, “You are educating people on their rights and thereby building up the coming generation who we’ll rely on to protect those rights for everyone, no matter their race, color, creed or religion. Here in California’s capital, we come from everywhere… We need to nurture that, which is exactly what you’re doing. Because this is a Church, not just open to everyone but you freely give to anyone the many tools you have. That’s why this Church is as much a gift to Sacramento as to your parishioners.”
This is the real story of how the Church of Scientology provides indiscriminate help across the globe. You could be informing your viewing audience about this story instead of regurgitating the same tired myths. This is what parishioners worldwide passionately stand for that ABC continues to ignore.