From news.interserv.net!news.sprintlink.net!in1.uu.net!world!dodo Thu Sep 14 09:44:02 1995
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dean ODonnell)
Subject: Boston Protest Report from a Lurker
Organization: The World Public Access UNIX, Brookline, MA
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 1995 04:08:15 GMT
Xref: news.interserv.net alt.religion.scientology:95221 comp.org.eff.talk:61752
Today I helped picket Scientology here in Boston and I had a blast!
I'm usually a lurker here on a.r.s. (I think I've posted about 4-5 times),
so I read about the protest and headed on down to the Boston Org at noon.
I didn't bring anything, no signs, no flyers, just me (and a friend).
In front of the Org were about 20 people milling about. Over the course
of the day between 30 and 40 people came and went, protesting for a bit
then going off. Some had signs, some had flyers. Within 5
minutes I had a handful of flyers and was passing them out to passersby.
Scientologists came out of the Org to see what was going on. My friend
started talking to a woman who was standing on the street, so I wandered
over there. I started talking about alt.religion.scientology, and Xenu,
and the raids. She said, "But isn't that about copyright?" I asked her
if she was a scientologist and she said yes. We talked about the free
exchange of information, and about court records and some more stuff, and
by then someone else wandered over and I left her to him (because he
seemed to have more facts in his head than I have on my computer ).
It turned out later that she claimed to be OT5, but denied knowing
anything about Xenu. Gosh, was I being "handled?"
I figured, "Let the big guns (Modemac, Ron Newman, and others) deal with
the scientologists, I'll just talk to people walking and driving by who
don't have a clue what this is all about." And that's what I mostly did.
At first all the Scientologists gathered on the stairs in front of the Org,
beaming intentions at us (they looked grim there for awhile, so that's what
I figure they were doing). There was another guy lurking around the corner
wearing a suit and tie that we started calling the Private Dick (he seemed
very "detectivey", but we could've been wrong) so some people took pictures
of him and he went inside. Then another scieno with a bandage on her arm
came out with this really nice camera with this mondo-huge lense and started
taking pictures of all of us. We smiled and waved and eventually all got
together for a group photo.
Signs our group was carrying:
Save the Internet
Hands off the Internet
Scientology is a Dangerous Cult Run by Thugs
Why Does a "Church" Need so Many Lawyers?
Ask Me About Operation Freakout!
How Can a Church Have Trade Secrets?
Read What Scientology Doesn't Want You to Know, Read alt.religion.scientology!
and others that I can't remember off the top of my head.
Another big hit of the protest was a guy wearing a T-shirt with a picture
of L. Ron on the front and a caption that said, "Ron is Xenu." On the
back it had a picture of Campbell's Clam Chowder Soup and the caption,
"Poor clams. Snap, snap, snap. alt.religion.scientology"
So some scieno got a Great Idea and brought out a bunch of signs for the
scienos milling about. These said:
Scientology is the Road to Total Freedom!
The Internet is a Haven for Criminals!
and a couple of others that I don't remember.
At this point some enterprising person unveiled a great sign that said:
They're not with Us!
(with arrows pointing to either side)
And tried his best to stay in between two scienos. The scienos even
laughed at this, one of whom said, "That's really funny and clever.
That's good." and was pointing it out to the other scienos, when one
of our more militant people said, "That would be really funny if you
That put a damper on the comraderie that was developing, so they went
back to beaming intentions at us.
So with the scienos milling about with their signs, and all of us milling
about, our protest started looking TWICE as big as it really was. They
eventually figured out that they were only helping us and went back into
the Org, taking their signs with them.
Apparently the cult's neighbors aren't all that thrilled with them either.
Right next door to the Org is a fraternity. I learned today that one of
their members joined the cult last spring, and disconnected from everyone
and was about to drop out of school. The fraternity organized their own
protest, and hounded the org, and apparently their buddy left the cult
and is fine.
The frat (needless to say) was rather pleased to see us turn up and put
on a show for the afternoon. They provided garbage bags and rest rooms
for us, along with some nice conversation and moral support.
Another woman who lived nearby told me (everyone, get out your notebooks
and add this to your list of Scientology crimes) that the scienos
DOUBLE PARK in the alley and block it for the locals! Sheesh! Is
there nothing they won't stoop to?
THE INTENTION BEAMS WORK!
Yup, that's right, Dear Reader. I succumbed to high level OT powers.
After about 2.5 hours of protesting I kept hearing this voice in my
head-- "You are hungry. You need some lunch." I tried to resist,
but it kept getting louder and louder, and my stomach started to growl.
What could I do? I asked my friend and he said lunch sounded like a
good idea, so we took a break to go get some hamburgers. Amazingly, as
soon as I ate, the intention beams lost all power over me and we walked
back, ready for more.
I PLAY IN TRAFFIC
When we got back, I saw that our numbers had dwindled a bit, but were still
hanging in there at about 20 people (hey, the Rev. Moon was in town too
so some people went over to protest there--- so many cults, so little
time). The protest had turned into two clumps-- one back on the
sidewalk consisting mostly of people talking among themselves, and one
at the corner, showing their signs to all the passing cars.
The scienos had managed to park a big tall van in front of the Org, so
anyone back on the sidewalk couldn't be seen from the street. I went
to the corner with a nice tall stack of flyers-- by the way, these were
pretty good-- one had the complete Scientology price list, one had
quotes from various judges around the world (first quote: "Scientology
is evil." I liked that one.), two described exactly why we were
there (a list of all the nasty stuff Co$ has been doing on the Internet
lately), and one was a copy of the NY Times and Washington Post articles.
I started smiling, and waving to people walking by on the sidewalk and
driving by on the street. Anyone who seemed to be reading the signs
became a target for me. I'd yell, "Hi! We're protesting Scientology!
Want to read more about it? It's FREE!" Then I'd hand them some
flyers. This was working really well (I was giving out a lot of flyers)
and so the other guys holding the signs started doing it too. Soon
we worked out a kind of system where the sign guys would talk to people
and point them out to me as I ran around in traffic trying not to become
I never forced anyone to take a flyer, and I made sure to be pleasant
to everyone. Most people rolled down their windows and held out their
hands to get the flyers. I narrowly avoided death a number of times
(hey, you run around in Boston traffic and see how easy it is!), ran
alongside a lot of cars who were holding out their hands for flyers
(like a really mismatched relay race), and even managed to talk to
some people who were merely walking.
Eventually I ran out of flyers (I know I handed out a good 200-300),
and by this time it was 5 o'clock (we were only supposed to protest
until 4, but what the heck, I wasn't punching a timeclock), so we
cleaned up any litter in the area (don't want to be litterbugs!)
talked a bit amongst ourselves, waved goodbye to the scientologists
("See you next time!") and ended our bitchin' day 'o protest.
So next time someone announces a protest, I'm goin'. To all the
lurkers out there-- no one got beat up, no one got arrested,
everybody had a very good time, and there's nothing to be scared of.
So next time you see a protest announced, come on down!