Scientology Leader Gave ABC First-Ever Interview

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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.

Miscavige: Well, I'm sorry, no, I'm sorry, that story 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, Fla., 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 add 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 one who speaks in 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.

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--

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.

Miscavige: Absolutely.

Koppel: Okay?

Miscavige: Okay.

Koppel: We'll continue our discussion in a moment.

("Dianetics," a best-seller for a record 100 consecutive weeks (1986-1988).)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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. See if you can explain to me why I would want to be a Scientologist.

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