More info in this article:http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/0
The Scientology cult was ordered by US Federal judge Gerhardt Gesell in 1971 to place very explicit and detailed warning labels on each of their special gizmo "E-Meter" devices, as well as on all documents and publications in which the E-Meter is mentioned. The E-Meter is just a primitive lie-detector machine, but to Scientologists it is simply a fantastic apparatus. After a brief initial gesture of compliance, Scientology proceeded to disregard virtually every aspect of Judge Gesell's ruling.
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Some questions and answers:
Is it important to adhere to a Federal judge's ruling? Yes.
Who said Scientology could drastically modify the judge's explicit order about the warning labels? Nobody.
Who said they could ignore many aspects of the order? Nobody.
Is stress a health condition? Yes.
Who said Scientology could resume using the e-meter as a device for diagnosing health conditions? Nobody.
Is a sidewalk stress-test with a passers-by "pastoral counseling"? No.
How about "bona-fide religious counseling"? No.
Is it "secular use"? Yes.
Do Scientology web pages and printed materials about the E-Meter and auditing provide the required warnings? No.
Scientology's E-Meter warning labels of the year 2008 have an extremely mild and watered down version of what Judge Gesell had ordered, and it is affixed to the bottom of the gadget, where no-one is likely to see it anyway.
Doing it this way helps Scientology with one of its main cash-cow businesses and recruitment strategies, offering free "Stress Tests" to people on city sidewalks, street-fairs, and other such venues. After the "stress test," in which the subject is told that yes, he or she is indeed under stress, and that bad things are probably going to happen. The solution, they say, is to buy a copy of their "Dianetics" book for $23, and then come on down to the "org" for some more auditing.
How it all got started.
In the early 1960s, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) realized that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and his acolytes were claiming that "auditing" with the E-Meter could help to diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses. Auditing, one of Scientology's core practices, is based on the notion that the E-Meter can reveal a person's mental state, past lives, and other odds and ends of the unconscious mind.
This is done through intensive questioning by an "Auditor," as the subject holds the E-Meter and the Auditor leads him or her through a sort of guided hypnagogic fantasizing.
Because Scientology believes that illness is caused by the presence of "suppressive persons," and not germs, toxins, genetics or other causes, Hubbard and the Scientologists were spreading the word that the E-Meter could help root out the suppressive people in one's life, thereby curing a variety of illnesses and health conditions, raising IQ, and making one successful in every way. This, of course, was complete nonsense.
In 1963, the FDA seized more than 100 E-Meters from the cult's offices in Washington, DC. Thus began 8 years of litigation, with lots of dramatic highlights that I will not discuss here. On July 30, 1971 Judge Gesell reluctantly ruled that Scientology must, indeed, legally be considered a "religion," but only because the US Government had neglected to do anything about it earlier.
Unfortunately the Government did not move to stop the practice of Scientology and a related "science" known as Dianetics when these activities first appeared and were gaining public acceptance. Had it done so, this tedious litigation would not have been necessary. The Government did not sue to condemn the E-meter until the early 1960's, by which time a religious cult known as the Founding Church of Scientology had appeared.
Gesell ruled that the Scientologists could keep on auditing and using the E-Meter, but they were forbidden to make any claims that it could diagnose, prevent or treat any health condition.
Moreover, they were only to use it under the strictest of "religious" contexts, and they were to prepare warning notices that could be prominently seen on the E-Meter as well as in any literature or publication about the E-Meter or the auditing process. "The effect of this judgment," Gesell wrote, "will be to eliminate the E-meter as far as further secular use by Scientologists or others is concerned."
Here are the key elements of Judge Gesell's ruling, in "bullet point" form:
The device may be used or sold or distributed only for use in bona fide religious counseling.
Unless an ordained Scientology minister, any user, purchaser or distributee must file an affidavit with the Secretary of the Food and Drug Administration stating the basis on which a claim of bona fide religious counseling is made, together with an undertaking to comply with all conditions of the judgment so long as the E-meter is used.
The device should bear a prominent, clearly visible notice warning that any person using it for auditing or counseling of any kind is forbidden by law to represent that there is any medical or scientific basis for believing or asserting that the device is useful in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease.
It should be noted in the warning that the device has been condemned by a United States District Court for misrepresentation and misbranding under the Food and Drug laws, that use is permitted only as part of religious activity, and that the E-meter is not medically or scientifically capable of improving the health or bodily functions of anyone.
Each user, purchaser, and distributee of the E-meter shall sign a written statement that he has read such warning and understands its contents and such statements shall be preserved.
Any and all literature which refers to the E-meter or to auditing, including advertisements, distributed directly or indirectly by the seller or distributor of the E-meter or by anyone utilizing or promoting the use of the E-meter, should bear a prominent notice printed in or permanently affixed to each item or such literature, stating that the device known as a Hubbard Electrometer, or E-meter, used in auditing, has been condemned by a United States District Court on the grounds that the literature of Dianetics and Scientology contains false and misleading claims of a medical or scientific nature and that the E-meter has no proven usefulness in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease, nor is it medically or scientifically capable of improving any bodily function.
Where the notice is printed in or affixed to literature, it should appear either on the outside front cover or on the title page in letters no smaller than 11-point type.
The E-meter should not be sold to any person or used in any counseling of any person except pursuant to a written contract, signed by the purchaser or counselee, which includes, among other things, a prominent notification as specified immediately above.
Instead of following these highly detailed and very explicit instructions, Scientology's "warning" label, placed discreetly underneath the contraption, reads as follows:
"By itself, this meter does nothing. It is solely for the guide of Ministers of the Church in Confessionals and pastoral counseling. The Electrometer is not medically or scientifically capable of improving the health or bodily function of anyone and is for religious use by students and Ministers of the Church of Scientology only."
How can this be?
How can this be happening, that a Federal judge's extremely clear ruling is so blatantly ignored by a money-hungry cult, with its stress test tables constantly seen in totally secular, public contexts; attempting to diagnose stress in hundreds of people every day;
Why hasn't the FDA cracked down? Why hasn't anyone enforced Judge Gesell's order?
We don't know for sure. It very likely has to do with Scientology's horrible reputation for lawsuits and personal blackmail, which is the means by which in 1993 it regained its official, tax-exempt "religion" status in the USA (to the utter shock and surprise of all who had been following the Internal Revenue Service proceedings). Perhaps the FDA feels intimidated by the cult, which is well known for its "fair game" practices of stalking and harassing any critic or perceived enemy.
But things have changed.
Since the beginning of 2008, much has changed in the way the world and the general public view the Scientology cult. The worldwide "Anonymous" peaceful protests and demonstrations have brought a tremendous amount of light and clarity to Scientology's secretive and immoral practices. People no longer see Scientology as merely a weird and harmless cult. People have begun to understand Scientology's "disconnection" policy, through which families are destroyed; people now know about its internal carceral gulag called the "Rehabilitation Project Force"; people now know about Scientology's motto of "Always attack, never defend"; people now know that the cult owns a 500-foot luxury cruise ship for tax-deductible Caribbean cruises for Scientologists; people now know that Scientology was well aware that this ship internal structures and ventilation systems were filled with highly carcinogenic blue asbestos, yet did nothing about until port authorities forced them to do so, 21 years later. People now know that Scientology really is what Time Magazine declared them to be in 1991: The Cult of Greed.
Let us see whether the FDA and other US Federal authorities are really interested in enforcing the law, by putting an immediate stop to Scientology stress test tables; by making Scientology observe each and every one of Judge Gesell's required warnings; and by making Scientology leaders accountable for their flagrant disregard an important judicial ruling.