Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dennis Erlich and the Freedom of Mind List Serv

Until last week, I considered the deletion of the now-defunct Freedom of Mind (FOM) list serv a dead issue and was more than happy to let it go and move on. However, Dennis Erlich's recent postings containing misinformation to alt.religion.scientology have changed all that and so, hopefully just this one more time, as the year 2009 begins to draw to a close, I am going to post here, for the record, what actually occurred where Dennis was concerned, as it was his behavior that was the "last straw" for the list getting deleted. Some of Dennis' most loyal followers are now erecting straw man arguments, saying I am doing this because I cannot tolerate disagreement, when nothing could be further from the truth. This is not about Dennis' disagreeing with me. I am fine with that. What I am not fine with is his abusive behavior towards me. I am also going to demonstrate how Dennis has a long-standing pattern of abusive behavior. I do this, not to be vindictive, but rather, to set the record straight about the behavior of a person who is claiming to have a spiritual calling and help people. He may very well be helping some people, but I think people seeking his help have the right to know these things. His abusive behavior towards me is yet another illustration of his continuing pattern of blaming the target of abuse, rather than recognizing that there are times when innocent people do get abused that did nothing to deserve it.

When Dennis came barging onto the ARS thread, resurrecting this issue, he chose to broach this topic at the worst possible time. Just provide the background, the original posting on the thread was one where a cultist had falsely claimed that I had invented and was promoting a quack device, and used Florida State University's name in connection with it. I pointed out to the individual that he had now libeled not only, me, but FSU. Dennis then jumped in on a discussion where an anonymous member (or perhaps leader) of a therapy cult I have been exposing for practicing dangerous, abusive therapies with children that have no evidence for safety and efficacy, was attacking me. Behaving as he did while he was in the Sea Org, the Reverend Dennis Erlich jumped in on the thread and not only brought up the whole FOM issue, but also stated that I had "pulled in" the attacks from the therapy cultist. Way to go, Reverend Erlich (his Reverend by his own admission, is still registered as a Scientology minister and has been since 1969).

Even though Dennis claims he has disavowed all of Scientology's teachings his behavior and statements about his beliefs that people who are activists against abusive therapies "pulling in" the attacks, show us otherwise. In Scientology, there is no such thing as a victim, not ever. People who have bad things happen to them, it is believed, had them happen because they had done something bad to other people. Scientology calls this the overt-motivator sequence and it is similar to the law of karma, as he later tried to rephrase it. However, both, from my point of view, are magical thinking and quite cruel when applied to situations such as starving children in Africa born into poverty and people who were victimized by crimes who in no way were responsible -- or, people who are activists going up against abusive pseudoscientific therapies who get libeled and attacked for doing so. This, however, is the magical belief system Dennis still subscribes to when he wrote, regarding the attacks on me. He asserted that my motive was craving attention and then
proceeded to misrepresent what happened on the now defunct FOM list:

So for her lame defense, first she threatened the moderator of the board that if I was allowed to post there, the moderator was going to get into serious legal trouble because I was under a gag order.
However, that is not what actually occurred and in rebuttal, I posted a statement from the FOM list owner and moderator to set the record straight [see below]. Dennis also went on, in true Scientology Sea Org style, profanity and all, to assert that I "pulled in" my attackers
I bet she has done the same kind of disinfo campaigns to others who are less able to defend themselves. Now she complains that it is being done to her. Boofuckinghoo. If there ever were a use for scieno-babble, it's pretty obvious she "pulled in" her current flea-brained tormenters. She loves seeing her name in the topic, and claiming to be the victim of bullying.
Observe the subtle twist Erlich engages in here, along with the Scientology language. I was not claiming to be the "victim" of his bullying. I was the target, but he does not have that kind of power to victimize me. I was calling him out on his bullying behavior. Later, he attempted to backpedal and say it was the law of karma, but either way this is magical thinking. Some people just seem to be natural personality fits for the Sea Org, and Dennis, 25+ years after leaving it shows this attitude, in my opinion. He posted nothing for months about the FOM fiasco and apparently waited until the most opportune time to come on and attack me.

In my opinion, Dennis Erlich was a bully in the Sea Org and continues to be one to this very day with the same patterns of behavior. Then, if I object and stand up for myself, he attempts to portray me as some kind of whining victim who "pulled it in". This is classic behavior, not only for an abusive cultist but also for batterers who try to turn the tables on the partners they batter.
To anticipate another objection I'm likely to get, I'm not saying that Dennis' verbal abuse on list servs and on ARS is as bad as his physically violent behavior towards Rosa. However, it is known that most batterers of his ilk are not only physically abusive, there is verbal abuse that goes along with it and that is what I am pointing out here.While fortunately, I have never been in that situation with Dennis, his ex-wife attested in an affidavit that Dennis himself posted, that he had hit her and he admitted that he indeed had, in a point by point response to the Declartion of Rosa Erlich at this link, a posting made by Erlich in March, 1995 his ex-wife, Rosa stated:
27. There were several instances when Dennis abused me, one time in 1977, we were in our bedroom and something made him mad and while I was laying on our bed he sat on me and hit me in the face. Another time in 1982, I asked him a question and he got very upset at me, grabbed me by the hair, he threw me across the room, I flew across the room and while I was cowering, he grabbed me by the hair again, threw me in the bathroom, I was cornered in the shower, he hit me across the face and I felt like he broke my jaw. I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with his child at the time and he knew I was pregnant. Shortly thereafter we moved to Colorado and he convinced me to get an abortion.
To be fair, I include Dennis' response to Rosa's serious allegations where he admits he did hit her [note again, that this is from a document publicly posted at the above link, so I am not revealing anything not already made public by Dennis himself]. He wrote:
Whoa, girl. Yes, I hit you. You were about to blow it and get sent to the RPF, if you recall. You started talking about wanting to leave Flag. I was another person back then. I am truely ashamed of what I did. Not mostly because I hit you. Certainly that. But mainly because I did it in front of Holly and Bethy. I'm sorry. Can you forgive me?
He says he was "another person" then, when he allegedly hit her after she was talking about wanting to leave Flag (Scientology's headquarters) but his continued verbal abuse right up the present really makes me wonder. It sounds to me as if he is claiming to have been a victim of Scientology, but I have to say that the entire time I was in Scientology I never saw or heard of anyone battering their spouse, so if Scientology did not have that kind of impact on most people who were in it, we have to wonder what people like Dennis brought to the situation in terms of his own personality traits. I am making no claim that Rosa Erlich is the "font of truth" but one thing she was telling the truth about, by Dennis' own admission, is the fact that he was physically violent with her at least one of the times was while she was pregnant.

To set the record straight, here is Cathleen Mann's statement that she gave me permission to post, about what occurred with Dennis Erlich on the FOM list serv. I also want to note, before posting this, that Steve Hassan, in our reconciliation session, sincerely apologized to me for his behavior in bringing Dennis onto the list, which in retrospect, he realized was a major mistake. He said he had no idea Dennis would behave so badly and we both agreed that he had taken on his Scientology SO personality (although unlike some ex-SO members who became decent people after leaving, Dennis has remained abusive). Here is Dr. Mann's statement:

Dennis's behavior on the FOM list, at the behest and encouragement of Steve Hassan, was one of the last straws that prompted me, the real owner of the listserv, to delete the whole listserv, which I did in January, 2009. Steve Hassan liked to claim it was "his" list, but in reality he did nothing to contribute to the list other than occasionally use it as an advertising venue or to appropriate posts without permission. I no longer associate with or support Steve Hassan, and this is one of the many reasons. He asked Dennis to come on the list specifically to attack Monica, and Steve was a coward in not representing himself. Dennis was the perfect bulldog -- attacking, ad hominen all the time, arrogant, and very vulgar and sexist. I was glad to be rid of him. I am sorry Steve Hassan has such a person as a friend, which shows me he has very poor judgment in this area. Monica attempted to defend herself and Dennis was the epitome of an angry, hateful person. I am so glad I don't have to deal with him or Steve Hassan ever again.

Cathleen Mann

Again, I note that Steve Hassan has had the decency to apologize to me for bringing Dennis onto the FOM list serv and I have forgiven him. I post this, not as an attack on Steve, but rather, to set the record straight about Dennis' misrepresentations. Dennis himself later posted an e-mail from Cathleen Mann as what he considered the "proof" that I had threatened her, but nowhere in her statement did she ever mention any kind of threat. All she wrote to him is that I was the one who made her aware of Dennis' legal situation. I had simply pointed out to her that he had a settlement with the CofS, I did not know what it was and that would need to ask him about it if she wanted to know whether it involved any restrictions on discussing Scientology. I said I did not know, but Dennis somehow took this as a threat. The letter also shows that I am not the only one who perceives his behavior as that of a bully.

And finally, here is Dennis Erlich's statement made in a posting to the FOM list serv in January, 2009, where he admits that he is still registered with the State of California as a Scientology minister and has been since 1969 [this was after a member of the FOM list serv politely noted that he was confused and asked him to clarify his status and state what sort of seminary and religious tradition he came from]. I admit that I don't know what the legal ramifications are of someone who remains registered with the state as a minister in a religion they long ago disavowed. For all I know it might be perfectly legal, but in my opinion, it is deceptive and unethical. An honest person would have contacted the state and withdrawn their minister's registration or replaced it with another that more accurately represented their current religious beliefs, but not Dennis. Here is his statement:
I'm sorry, you are confused. I thought it was clear that I was
originally ordained as a minister in 1969 by scientology.
As far as the "sanctioning agency" back in those days ministers were required to register with the State of California, which I did. After I walked away I didn't withdrawn my registration, so I am still on file in Sacramento that way.

Please be advised that I will welcome constructive comments on this post, whether they are in agreement with me or not. I have no problem with people disagreeing with me. What I will not welcome and do have a problem with are ad hominem attacks and gratuitous personal smears. Dennis Erlich is somewhat of a sacred cow with some people, so I am not surprised that I have already received hate mail about this posting for daring to challenge him. Note that I have posted his own words here, so if you have a problem with this, take it up with him.

Update: December 13, 2009
Here is how Erlich has responded regarding hitting Rosa, showing he appears to have little, if any remorse [no further comments are necessary, these words speak for themselves]
There's plenty I've already admitted.
Speaking of which, striking my wife when she was preggers ... this was her big secret from me at the time. She had stopped taking birth control and gotten pregnant against my explicit wishes. I certainly didn't know at the time. But she was displaying serious "mistwithold" manifestations, "dramatizing heavily" and a bunch of other phenomena confirming our mutual, and exclusive insanities at that time.

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