Scientology’s Approach to Mental Illness

Posted on October 9, 2010 by

By John Brown.  First published in May 2008

Scientology claims to be the authority in the treatment of mental illness. Its desire to clear the planet of psychiatrists is public knowledge. But their own track record in the treatment of mentally ill people is alarming. There are numerous examples of a Scientology family devastated by the direct consequences of its faith.

Elli Perkins, a devout Scientologist and popular member of her community, treated her schizophrenic son Jeremy as recommended by L Ron Hubbard: by isolation and overdosing on vitamins. He stabbed her 77 times and then mercifully forgot what he had done. This not only deprived his family of a much-loved mother but ended his own chances of a normal life. The death of Elli Perkins continues to make headlines but it is not unique. Mentally-disturbed individuals who are deprived of psychiatric medication will repeat this pattern, so long as the cult continues to maintain its mindless opposition to all psychiatric treatment. Here are three more cases, two of which ended in tragedy.

In November 2006 an anonymous article was published in ‘Good Times’, a Santa Cruz magazine. The writer, Mrs C, said she had been a Scientologist for 16 years, during which time she became an ordained minister. Her mentally-ill daughter was treated throughout this time in the approved Hubbard fashion – with vitamins and isolation, the so-called Introspection Rundown. This regime was also adopted in the cases of Lisa MacPherson and Jeremy Perkins, with disastrous results.  Lisa died after 17 days of isolation, deprived of food and water, and Jeremy is now in a secure mental hospital. This was the treatment recommended also to Mrs C.  Otherwise if her daughter was treated by a psychiatrist she should ‘disconnect’ from her to avoid contamination. She refused to do so as it would evidently leave her daughter, a mentally-ill teenager, ‘abandoned and without any hope of assistance’. Despite being threatened on one occasion with a kitchen knife, Mrs C persisted with the standard cult treatment until her daughter was hospitalised for the ninth time. The daughter then decided to take the medication offered. Now she says she ‘feels normal for the first time in her life’. But Mrs C escaped death by a narrow margin and her daughter lost her childhood to a nightmarish but controllable mental aberration.

Mrs C was a friend of Elli Perkins. When she learned that her friend had been killed, she called Celebrity Centre International for information and was told (a) that Jeremy had been ‘mistreated’ by psychiatrists and (b) she should not be reading what was published on the Internet ‘because it is all lies’. At that moment she realized, with shock, that she had been betrayed by her ‘Church’ and that they would tell similar lies to her friends if she had been killed by her own daughter. ‘I consider myself very fortunate to have left Scientology alive and my daughter not dead by suicide or, worse, institutionalised for the rest of her life’.

Scientology’s alleged mastery of mental illness is a sham and its treatment methods, like other ‘tech’, are irresponsible quackery, to say the least. It is possible that the cult’s insane opposition to modern psychiatry refers back to the fact that L. Ron Hubbard himself was profoundly sociopathic, besides using alcohol and various drugs to excess. Opposition to psychiatry and to psychiatrists is currently used by Scientology leadership as a focus for fantasies of mindless violence. Videos are shown which feature scenes of psychiatrists being killed by automatic weapons, recalling the mind-bending rants used by the Nazis in pre-War Germany. Scientologists who permit a family member to take psychiatric drugs are declared SPs, Suppressive Persons, and all their contacts are told to disconnect from them.  Mrs C had to choose between keeping her ‘Total Freedom for All Eternity’, a belief she had fostered and invested in for sixteen years, and getting effective treatment for a daughter whom she loved. She chose sanity and her daughter but the girl suffered years of torment until her mother left the cult.

Scientologists are programmed to believe that they are the most important people on the planet and that their leaders have access to the secrets of the universe. This often overrides a genuine personal desire to help others. Mrs C tells that, with the help of her husband, she escaped. She now talks about Scientology as one would talk of a life-threatening illness. ‘All the goals and dreams I had before Scientology were not achieved until I left Scientology. I restored my marriage, I salvaged my business, and I am available to help my children. True JOY is pervading our lives at last.’

What does she now think of LRH? ‘Ironically, and to my great horror, I discovered that the True Suppressive is L.Ron Hubbard himself. How evil can one be? He could be so evil as to hack the souls of his very devoted. hard-working and often very intelligent followers for the sake of making money. I can think of no greater form of degradation than that’.

Tragedy overtook another Scientology family in Australia in July 2007. In Revesby, a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Linda Walicki, an untreated psychotic of 25, killed her father aged 53 and her brother aged 15, and then attempted to kill her mother (Sydney Morning Herald, 7 July 2007). Her mother, before removal to hospital, said ‘It’s not her fault; she’s sick’. Linda was diagnosed with mental illness late in 2006 but turned down the treatment offered by Bankstown Hospital because her parents were Scientologists. Unfortunately a magistrate at that time refused to sign an order which would have obliged her to continue her treatment. Was he irresponsible, badly informed, or influenced by the arguments brought by Scientologists?

Captured on video, a spokesperson for the Sydney org at first denied any knowledge of the Walickis. ‘They might have been among those who drop in or buy a book’. In fact they were sufficiently devoted to Scientology to refuse psychiatric treatment for this very sick and much loved family member, and Mr Walicki is said to have been a top recruiter for the CoS. There is no doubt about their allegiance. But it is typical of CoS priorities that instead of supporting a bereaved family, they will back off, lying furiously if usually ineffectually, in an attempt to distance themselves from the negative publicity produced by their own actions and beliefs.

A final example was reported briefly in the Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) on 15 March 1989. Gary Beals (32) attacked his father, Arthur Beals, and his mother, Lawana, with a knife, and then shot his father with a handgun. Gary was a Scientologist. The CoS had talked him out of seeking psychiatric help while bleeding his bank account dry. He blamed them for his crime.

There are more, more than one might imagine, for the Church of Scientology not only prevents its members from seeking effective medical help but its ‘tech’, notably the process known as auditing, promotes psychotic episodes almost as a matter of course. Lisa MacPherson had had an earlier breakdown before she went ‘Clear’. It is surely astonishing that a so-called Church should have its own standard techniques for dealing with psychotic episodes. The Church is notorious for its suicide rate which far outstrips that in the ‘normal’ population. Why is it not obvious to those involved that Ron was himself insane and not the best person to give advice on mental health to others?

Scientology’s Approach to Mental Illness: How Crazy Can You Get?…/Opinions.html

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